Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Friday said that people’s presence at Carnatic vocalist T M Krishna’s performance on Saturday will be “a statement against those forces who are trying to divide and destroy our beloved India”. Krishna told The Indian Express that it is “an important day for all of us to come together to take a stand against the hate, violence and anger that is being perpetrated across this country”.
The concert, being held at the Garden of Five Senses in south Delhi, will be the fifth performance in the AAP government’s ‘Avam ki Awaaz’ series, launched on October 28, 2017, to celebrate “songs of dissent and protest”.
The Indian Express had, on November 15, reported that Krishna’s show had been “postponed” by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), allegedly following a backlash by right-wing trolls. The vocalist had then told The Indian Express, “Give me a stage anywhere in Delhi on November 17, I will come and sing.” Following this, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia rang up officials in the Art and Culture Department, which he heads, and directed them to reach out to Krishna immediately. “The thinking was clear: Krishna’s performance would fit perfectly in our Avam ki Awaaz series. We have been wanting to stage his performance for over a year now,” Abhinandita Mathur, Sisodia’s adviser in the department, said.
When contacted, Krishna confirmed: “Yes, my office had been contacted for a concert but the dates did not work out then.”
Apart from Gujarati songwriter and composer duo Vinay Mahajan and Charul Bharwada, who performed at the first concert, singer Shubha Mudgal, Bangalore-based band Swarathma and folk singer Prahlad Singh Tipaniya have staged performances in this series so far. Mudgal performed in January, while Swarathma and Tipaniya performed in October.
An official in the Sahitya Kala Parishad, an autonomous body under the Delhi government which is organising the event, said usually such concerts are held in Connaught Place’s Central Park. “But since this is peak season in terms of cultural events, no other venue was available. We could move quickly as we have a policy in place for organising such events. We have a list of empanelled vendors who will take care of the logistics,” he said.
The Avam events usually witness a turnout of around 1,000. However, the government is expecting a larger turnout on Saturday, for which it will be issuing advertisements in leading dailies while also spreading the word through social media and WhatsApp groups. “All are cordially invited. If you believe in an inclusive India, an India which belongs to all religions, faiths and castes, your presence tomorrow will be a statement against those forces who are trying to divide and destroy our beloved India,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Krishna, meanwhile, told The Indian Express: “The office of Mr Manish Sisodia has been coordinating with my office and I am glad that they were able to organise this concert within a day and in a public space. It is wonderful that everyone came together to make this happen. In this context, I must also thank the many volunteer organisations and individuals who offered spaces, their homes, offices and lawns for a possible concert. I do hope all of them come to the concert… I am very happy to be singing in Delhi on Saturday.”
He added: “It is an important day for all of us to come together to take a stand against the hate, violence and anger that is being perpetrated across this country. We should think of the many who are in the margins and facing the brunt of these attacks. Our voice must be raised for every one of them. It is a day to celebrate dissent, questioning and the multiplicity in Indian cultures and religions.”
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