Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali has decided to accept Delhi’s invite to perform in the national capital in December. This comes just days after the ghazal maestro’s concert was cancelled in Mumbai and Pune after Shiv Sena protested.
Post the cancellation of Ali’s concerts, which drew flak from several political parties and film industry veterans, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal invited the legendary singer to perform in Delhi. On Friday morning he also spoke to the Pakistani singer over the phone.
“Ghulam Ali Sahib, we are very big fan of yours. It was good talking to you now. Thanks for agreeing to do a program in Delhi in Dec,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra met the singer in the capital.
Ali accepted Delhi government’s invite saying he goes, wherever people invite him with love.
“Yes I have accepted the invitation and most probably I will be coming in December. I have always said that I will go wherever people invite me with love. I have been coming to India for the past 40 years. So, yes I am happy,” Ali told PTI in New Delhi just before he was leaving the country.
Ghulam Ali was also invited by the state government in West Bengal for a concert in Kolkata.
“Music has no boundaries. Music is the rhythm of the heart. Ghulam Ali concert can be held in Kolkata… We will make all arrangements,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had tweeted.
Delhi’s tourism minister, who also holds the portfolio of culture, Kapil Mishra, had alleged that an attempt is being created to “vitiate” the atmosphere in the country on the basis of religion, caste and boundaries.
On Thursday, the Shiv Sena had defended its decision to ban the concert in Maharastra.
“We all enjoy Ghulam Ali songs. But we need some sensitivity towards soldiers. Ceasefire violations are happening every day. We cannot have fun here when our soldiers are suffering…Terrorism and culture cannot go hand in hand. We are not against his music or art. But can we cannot enjoy when our soldiers are suffering”, Sena youth wing chief Aditya Thackeray who is also the son of Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray had said.
Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit expressed disappointment over the issue, calling it a setback for cultural ties after the shows were cancelled.
Meanwhile Bollywood veterans like Shabana Azmi took to twitter to slam the ban.
“R v at war with Pakistan? Hve v severed diplomatic relations?Hve v closd down our Embassies?Den what justification is dere 2 ban Ghulam Ali?Ghulam Ali was 2 perform in commemoration of Indias beloved Jagjit Singh in gesture of goodwill.Ok 2talk tough with Pak Govt not its artists”, (sic) Azmi lashed out on Twitter.
(With inputs from PTI)