Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali will not sing at the concert being presented by the Delhi government on November 8, said a person associated with his Mumbai event which was cancelled following protests by Shiv Sena.
“It’s now confirmed that Ghulam Ali sahab will not be performing at the Delhi concert. He has categorically told me today in a conversation from Lahore that he is not willing to perform. The last few days have been tough on him in a country where he has sung for the last 50 years. He has also conveyed it to me that the Delhi government has been intimated about the same,” Randheer Ranjan Roy, business head and founder of Panache Media, which was at the helm of Khan’s Mumbai concert, told The Indian Express Monday.
Roy added the reason for the change of plans had a lot to do with Shiv Sena workers barging into the BCCI office Monday to protest against the talks between Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shahryar Khan and BCCI president Shashank Manohar over resumption of bilateral cricketing ties.
“Shahryar Khan is close friends with Ustad Ghulam Ali and he is also disappointed by the treatment meted out to his friend (Ghulam Ali) in India. He also said that he is also concerned about his own government’s reaction if he visits again. He is saying he will return once the situation becomes normal,” said Roy. He added the ghazal maestro had also declined to perform at a concert in Bangalore in February.
The news of the ghazal maestro not performing in Delhi on November 8 was confirmed by two of his Delhi-based patrons. One of them, who insisted on not being named, said the concert was actually a ticketed event that had been planned by a publication much before the Shiv Sena controversy broke out. Ali had agreed to this invitation months ago. “They comfortably took the credit for the concert which had already been planned. Khan (Ghulam Ali) is just a pawn in this controversy right now and that is what has upset him the most, which is why he has decided to not visit Delhi.”
Delhi tourism minister Kapil Mishra, however, stuck to the government’s earlier statement and said the concert would take place at Siri Fort Auditorium on November 8 as scheduled.
“We had requested that he sing in Delhi and that is exactly what he will be doing. We are sticking to the same date and Khan (Ghulam Ali) sahab
will be there for the performance… There is no change in that. The entry is free and the concert will not be ticketed,” said Mishra.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a tweet on October 8, had announced the ghazal maestro had agreed to perform in Delhi after he extended an invitation to him.
The announcement had come in the wake of the Shiv Sena’s forced cancellations of the singer’s Mumbai and Pune concerts. Both concerts were tributes to Indian ghazal singer Jagjit Singh.