Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was granted visa by the UK on Friday, a week after his application for the same was rejected apparently due to incomplete information.
“My UK work visa has finally been granted. I would like to thank everyone for their absolute love extended to me last week over this was humbling to read all the messages of support truly means a lot,” he posted on Facebook.
“A special thank you to Keith Vaz for taking such a keen personal interest in the matter. I look forward to performing in London on the 18th of September at the Royal Festival Hall, Ministry of External Affairs, India, Sushma Swaraj, Indian High Commision in UK,” the 70-year-old artist added.
The UK Home Office had earlier said visas were declined due to incomplete information. Responding to Khan’s message, the longest serving Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz, today expressed his delight after the Labour MP and chair of the influential House of Commons Home Affairs Committee had expressed his shock and written to the UK Home Office after Khan had been initially denied a visa earlier this month.
His intervention helped process the musician’s application for a short-term visa to take part in an ‘In Conversation’ as well as performance at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, on the banks of the river Thames in London, scheduled for September 18.
“I am delighted that Amjad Ali Khan’s visa has now been granted. Britain adores the music of Amjad Ali Khan and I am so pleased we will be able to hear it after all,” Vaz said in a statement in London.
“I want to thank the staff at the British High Commission in New Delhi for dealing with this issue promptly once the technical problem had been identified,” he added. The 59-year-old Goan-origin politician also called for a review of the UK’s immigration rules vis-a-vis Indians following the controversy.
“We need a long hard look at the immigration rules so that they are seen to encourage Indian people to visit and work in the UK. This is especially so after Brexit. The UK must always be seen to be open to the rest of the world,” he said.
A spokesperson for the British High Commission in New Delhi had earlier said: “We don’t comment on the detail of individual cases, but can confirm we will offer to speak to Mr Khan about how he should apply for the correct type of visa to do what he wishes to do in the UK.”
“Listen as legendary sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan reflects on his 50-year career. His wife Subhalakshmi Khan joins him for this candid conversation,” reads the programme for the Southbank Centre’s ‘Classical Season 2016-17’ as part of the annual Darbar Festival.