Intolerance in any form not good for India or Pakistan

Ustad Ghulam Ali during dubbing of his debut acting venture at a Delhi studio.
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By Nivedita

NEW DELHI– Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali, who believes in the importance of keeping music and creative mediums away from politics, says his love for India remains unchanged despite Shiv Sena’s resistance to his Mumbai concert last year.

“I think one should not mix politics with artistes,” said the singer, who stressed that intolerance — whether in India or Pakistan — was not doing good to anyone.

Ghulam Ali
Ghulam Ali

“Intolerance in any form is not good. It’s a misfortune for both India and Pakistan if they are facing this problem. Both the countries should live in peace,” Ali told IANS in an interview here.

The singer, who made an entry in Indian cinema with his popular song “Chupke chupke raat din” for B.R. Chopra’s “Nikaah”, faced disappointment when his concerts in Mumbai and Pune were called off in October last year after the Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt his live performance.

Ali said his fan following includes those from the Shiv Sena.

“I know that lots of people from Shiv Sena admire me a lot, but political compulsions and their view of national interests may dictate otherwise. It’s not that they don’t want Ghulam Ali to perform in their city but they might be having a problem with the country from where I come from,” said Ali, who took to the stage in Kolkata earlier this month.

Back in October, Ali had said that he won’t return to India until “things settle down”.

Clarifying that, he said: “Being an artiste, I had got confused keeping in mind the situation. Artistes are emotional people and I get upset when someone talks to me in a loud voice. So, I was not in the right frame of mind to come and perform (here).”

He said the late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, his daughter-in-law Smita Thackeray, son Uddhav thackeray and his wife Rashmi have been his fans.

“They showed me so much love, and whenever I got the chance to meet some of them, I got nothing but love and respect from them. Everything else is politics and I am not into that.”

He insists he will continue enthralling his fans in the country as long as he can sing.

“My sentiments for India have become stronger. The episode involving the Shiv Sena has not at all affected my love for the country,” Ali said.

“My well-wishers and fans are everywhere, including India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Australia and the US. They never disappoint me and shower love whenever I perform in their country.

“Even if I am not able to visit a specific country, my voice is still reaching my fans. Also, I will keep on performing in India for as long as I am singing. Till the time I am alive, I will sing and perform,” added the 75-year-old, who impressed everyone with his suited and booted look at a studio here.

The singer, who has enthralled millions across the globe with his baritone voice and songs like “Aawargi”, “Tumhare khat mein” and “Dil dhadakne ka sabab”, says the people were not personally upset with him.

“India and Pakistan are like shadows of each other and whenever a person faces any problem, the shadow too gets to know about it… So, a nice relationship can help in maintaining peace (for both).”

Ali is all set to make his acting debut with Hindi feature film “Ghar Wapsi”, directed by Suhaib Ilyasi. The legendary singer has also composed and lent his voice to an Indian patriotic song for the movie.

“I don’t know acting as I am singer and I am busy with my singing commitments. Suhaib Ilyasi is like my younger brother and he asked me to do this film for him and since I love him so much, I couldn’t say no,” added Ali, who will head to Mumbai on January 29 for the music launch of the film, which is produced and directed by Ilyasi of “India’s Most Wanted” fame.


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