Are there clear skies ahead for Pakistani artistes visiting India? Legendary ghazal singer Ghulam Ali was finally able to perform in Kolkata after his earlier concert was cancelled in Mumbai last year due to security threats, reported IANS
The maestro expressed his gratitude and happiness at the beginning of the concert: "I am very happy today. I have been coming to Kolkata for 30 to 35 years. But this time it feels like I have come back after 50 years. I was so sad and today my sadness ends."
He also lauded the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as he performed with his son Aamir at Netaji Indoor Stadium. He refered to Banerjee as Saraswati who is the Hindu goddess of wisdom and music: “I am grateful to her. She has done us a favour in the form of Saraswati."
The minister welcomed the singer by gifting him a shawl and scarf and also requested Ghulam Ali to revisit Kolkata. He has previously performed in the city in 1981.
He also gave a humble response about his own skill of singing as he was taught by Baray Ghulam sahab: “Gana wana mujhe nahi aata (I don’t know how to sing). I only know how to listen,” he said.
He added: “I used to be after them [to learn]."
Ghulam Ali's concerts in Mumbai and Delhi were cancelled in 2015 due to threats from Shiv Sena, a Hindu extremist party in Maharashtra. The singer, who had then vowed to not perform in India until Pak-India relations improved, had confirmed his participation in the upcoming concert, organised by West Bengal Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (WBMDFC) at the Park Circus Maidan in Kolkata.