By Sugandha Rawal
New Delhi–Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan has joined the debate on the inclusion of Pakistani talent in Indian projects, saying that while music has no boundaries, it is time to stand with the Indian armed forces and respect the patriotic spirit.
“I’m the first musician who visited Pakistan after 25 years of cultural silence at the time when Mr. Natwar Singh was the Ambassador and Mani Shankar Aiyar was the Consul General in Karachi. I received a lot of love and appreciation from music lovers of Pakistan.
“I met many artistes who came to my concert, including Roshan Ara Begum and Farida Khanum. This was back in 1981. Though I believe that music has no boundaries, it’s time to show solidarity towards our jawans and armed forces who are sacrificing their lives so that we can be safe.”
The 70-year-old musician, who became a part of Vision concerts in Mumbai and Delhi to mark the start of a new phase in the global campaign to eradicate cataract blindness, feels “today, terrorism and destructive activities are at their peak”.
Despite all the negativity around the world, he hopes for a brighter future.
“There are certain countries that ruin the future of their younger generation by injecting hatred among them. A group of people is committed and dedicated to destroy the world. Today, the human being has become the symbol of arrogance, hatred and destruction,” he said, adding he hoped and prayed that the younger generation “experiences peace, harmony and tranquility in the world”.
In general, Khan, who has performed internationally for over four decades, is happy to see the progress of young artistes.
“They are very fortunate to get access to so much content today through YouTube. However, to be a professional, you must learn from a teacher,” said the father of sarod players Amaan and Ayaan.
Technology might have opened up many doors for young artistes, but Khan is concerned that the “future children of this world should not behave or look like robots”.
Talking about his association with the Vision concerts, held as a part of an India-US musical collaboration that brings together leading international musicians, he said: “It is an irresistible model for what is possible when different musical cultures and genres come together with a purpose.”
The target of the concerts — presented by HelpMeSee and Music For Life International (MFLI) — was to create 50 free surgical backlog-free districts in India’s backward areas by 2020. George Mathew, a US-based music conductor and MFLI Artistic Director, and American violinist Elmira Darvarova, were also a part of the concert.