Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is all for peace between warring neighbours India and Pakistan. The legendary musician who is in the National capital to perform at a unique evening of classical Indian and American orchestral works to eliminate cataract blindness in India told indianexpress.com that he stands with his country, India in these volatile times.
“I am with my countrymen and with my PM on whatever he decides. I feel sorry for my country’s soldiers. But not only my country, but for every other country’s soldiers. Young soldiers are losing their lives in every nation on account of their country’s politics. What is the point in attacking people? Is every country successful in providing food and water to all their countrymen? I think this (enmity) is a temporary phase. I respect the decision of my country but I also feel enmity can’t be forever. Someday India and Pakistan will have a better understanding”, he said.
Speaking about the ban slapped on Pakistani artistes, Khan added, “I visited Pakistan in 1981 and was the first Indian musician sent by our government after 25 years of cultural silence. Natwar Singh was the ambassador in Islamabad and Mani Shankar Aiyyar was the Consular General in Karachi. I received so much love there and had the honour of meeting so many great Pakistani musicians. I agree that artistes are not terrorists. Historically all musicians of Pakistan received much more appreciation in India starting with Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan saab. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saab was a Pakistani. At the time of Morarji Desai, Khan Saab was granted Indian citizen by Desai saab. I also feel the audience of most creative people of Pakistanis are Indians today because Pakistan has become more westernised.”
Speaking at the concert where he will be collaborating with Guest Concertmaster Elmira Darvarova (the first-ever female concertmaster of the MET Opera Orchestra), international piano soloist Julian Clef and distinguished guest artists from the MET Orchestra, Khan said, “More than 40 to 50 million in India are suffering from blindness. I am promoting and helping their cause. In my younger days, I used to perform in blind schools. The way blind people used to applaud indicated that the only sunshine in their lives is music and their applause was so heartening to see.”