Ghazal ustad Ghulam Ali has expanded his horizon and has trained his sights skywards to take on Shiv Sena’s Udhav Thackeray, and MNS’ Raj Thackeray, who joined in pretty late in the game.
Ghulam Ali has decided to hold his concert mid-air, aboard Air India, after Shiv Sena, and later Raj Thackeray’s MNS, proved disruptive and prevented his concert from taking place because he is a Muslim, and a Pakistani at that.
Aditya Thackeray, who is sprouting as future Shiv Sena leader, attempted to defend the indefensible, parroting the same old same old: “Terror and cultural ties cannot go hand in hand. We cannot sit and enjoy and music in Mumbai while soldiers are being martyred in Kashmir. There has to be some sort of boycott.” Udhav Thackeray’s son is like Bollywood actors’ sons, acting stupid and expecting to become crowd favourite.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, and his Kolkata’s counterpart, Mamata Bannerjee, have invited the singer to perform in their States. Many more States would be willing to host Ghulam saab. It is what people want, but Shiv Sena’s loyalties lie with draconian Hindu concepts and bigotry.
The fringe has become the mainstream in Maharashtra, with a twist. The very same Raj Thackeray, who condemned Ghulam Ali and joined ranks with Udhav, half-brother but arch-rival, is one of the first ones to book a seat, and he will be in august company. Salman Khan has booked a ticket, too, not because he is a Ghazal enthusiast, but because he may have a bone to pick. He must still remember how Shiv Sainiks hounded him for posting a meaningless tweet that had more than a tinge of support for Yakub Memon. The ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ actor has cancelled his ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ shoot for October 16 just to get back at Shiv Sena.
Last heard, Bal Thackeray’s able successor, Udhav, was seeking legal opinion to claim Mumbai air space in a last-ditch attempt to outwit the ghazal singer… He should book a ticket himself, take the front seat, and make peace with the Sufi singer, now that his goal seems to have gone out of range, and control. It could help Shiv Sena salvage some lost ground.
In hindsight, Ghulam Ali may have chosen a wrong date for the concert. These are ‘beef times’ in India. A Pakistani Muslim hardly stands a chance, especially in the land of Lord Shiva’s self-proclaimed army.
Pakistan reposes faith, India disillusions
India is going through a rough patch. Communal tension is at its peak, and religious fanaticism is taking its toll on innocent lives. Foreign Governments, in such times, issue advisories to its touring citizens, asking them to avoid visiting such places in turmoil.
Pakistan must have known that one of its pride, Ghulam Ali, is scheduled for a concert in Mumbai. They had complete understanding of the ground reality in India, yet, let the maestro go ahead with his plans. By doing so, Pakistan reposed its faith in India, hoping that political hostility will not affect a cultural event like a ghazal concert, something that people from both the sides enjoy.
At least, for the sake of India’s esteem in the eyes of the international community, and for the sake of India’s basic tenet, that of religious harmony, Shiv Sena should have let this one go.