Your turn, Mr Fadnavis

The Maharashtra chief minister has spoken well. Now he must ensure the Ghulam Ali concert is held in his state.

By: Express News Service | Updated: October 9, 2015 12:20 am
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Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s announcement that his government will give “full protection to [Ghulam] Ali’s concert in Mumbai” is enormously welcome. The Shiv Sena’s warning against the concert has only confirmed the party’s image as a bully. The Sena, an NDA constituent, is free to express an independent view from the government on Indo-Pak relations, even if a political party with 18 Lok Sabha MPs and a cabinet minister at the Centre ought to know better than to issue physical threats when it wishes to proclaim its difference.

But now, Fadnavis must stand by his word and ensure that Ghulam Ali performs in Mumbai. His music transcends national colours and explores the borderless world of art. And as a great metropolis, home to a large population with an appreciation of music, Mumbai should not be deprived of a world-class performer. It may be too much to expect the private organisation that had booked the Shanmukhananda Hall to hold the concert in memory of the late ghazal singer Jagjit Singh to risk the Sena’s ire and organise the event. Instead, the Fadnavis government must step in and offer to host Ghulam Ali. The involvement of the government will reassure the maestro and his fans, and hopefully compel potential miscreants to stay home. If Fadnavis reaches out to Ghulam Ali, he will only be taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, after all, invited his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to witness his swearing-in ceremony.

A proactive step from the CM is necessary to convince sceptics that the state government is earnest about its commitment to freedom of speech and expression. Its past ambivalence when the administration intruded into the private spaces and habits of citizens, including their diet and social lives, is partly responsible for emboldening the likes of the Sena to dictate the terms of artistic engagement. The political mainstream and governments in the past were reluctant to censure the Sena’s loutish behaviour when its cadres dug up cricket pitches, threatened scholars and assaulted public intellectuals. The political gesture of the AAP government to invite Ghulam Ali to perform in Delhi is a departure from the old paradigm of letting the bully set the terms. More governments should follow suit and shame the Sena for its bigotry. Competition among states for a liberal cause is most welcome.

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  1. D
    Oct 9, 2015 at 1:09 pm
    We have so many artists superior to this pak national. Why make his music as though priceless. This propaa is doing great disservice to our nation's pride. Anything from pak even if it is good for us should be rejected outright. That is the only language that pak and most of its citizens understand. Let him use his skills in his nation to change the terrorists and religious zealots to normal humans. That will be a great service to his nation and the world.
  2. A
    Anil Tandale
    Oct 9, 2015 at 12:54 pm
    "Express News Service" would not write about the Fatwa against AR Rahman. None shouts for him in TV Studios' Kangaroo courts. Secularism and multi-culturalism gets affected only when any one from terror sponsoring country is sought to be boycotted, or when an Indian abettor of terrorism is punished. The supporters of sponsors of terrorism become rich from the corpses of victims of inhuman killings.
  3. A
    Oct 9, 2015 at 10:39 pm
    Why so much fuss about a stani musician since he is also playing politics by accepting AAP invitation to conduct his music program in Delhi. This behavior has proved that his ulterior motive, if any, for jumping into fray. He should have waited everything under calm.
  4. K
    Oct 9, 2015 at 11:48 am
    On the other hand this shows once again that disunity of states at the cost of self -dignity of the Nation. All indians have love and respect towards Gulamalisaab,but it is not a question of an individual. How can anyone feel happy when that government is fabricating stories in UN about us and killing our soldiers on daily basis? Self respect of the Nation is top most. Good will should not be one-sided always.Channels are criticising for each and every issue not withstanding its image.