Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali, whose concert was cancelled in Mumbai last year following protests, on Tuesday performed in Kolkata at a West Bengal government programme.
Thousands gathered at the fully-packed Netaji Indoor stadium to hear him.
“I am always happy whenever I go anywhere, but this time I am very happy. I used to visit Kolkata often but this year it seems I am coming after 50 years,” Ali said.
He said he performs all over the world and when asked where does he enjoy performing the most, his answer is always Kolkata.
Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who was also in the audience, thanked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee saying it is nothing short of a miracle to have the singer amidst us.
“We had given up hope few months ago due to the kind of atmosphere that was created in Mumbai,” Bhatt said.
Describing Ali as “Sangeet Samrat”, the CM said music has no boundary.
“You have to come next time again as a gift to all of us,” she said, adding not everyone could be accommodated in the stadium due to heavy demand.
The program was organised by the Minorities Development Finance Corporation, which functions under the Minority and Madrassah Affairs Ministry whose minister in-charge is Banerjee herself.
Coinciding with the 153th birth anniversary of philosopher Swami Vivekananda, the concert was part of the inaugural function of “Milan Utsav”, a trade fair for small and medium enterprises.