Violence against minority communities can be tackled through the strength of music that creates a social consciousness, Bangladeshi Minister of Cultural Affairs, Asaduzzaman Noor, said at Dhaka.
Speaking at the ongoing Bengal Classical Music Festival at Dhaka last evening, Noor said while on one hand the country has embraced and sheltered Rohingya refugees, on the other hand, “fundamentalist forces want to destroy the harmony among people”.
“They are killing people in the name of religion. We are giving shelter to foreigners but we see the people we have been living alongside for thousands of years are being attacked.
“We saw Chittagong tribals and Buddhists coming under attack. We saw Santhals being targeted… we saw in Rangpur, Hindu localities were attacked. The hyper activities of such elements ought to be overcome,” the minister said.
Noor along with finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith and Harsh Vardhan Shringla, High Commissioner of India, formally inaugurated the five-night classical music festival at Dhaka on Tuesday.
The culture minister emphasised that music festivals help in the revival of the “value of pluralism”, which he said, was getting destroyed by “militancy and fundamentalist forces”.
“We see that in our country fundamentalist forces are destroying peace. Their social exploitation of women and children make us concerned. We have to overcome these hurdles.
“This is not just a festival, it is creating a social consciousness. Young people are enjoying the classical music. If we can create this consciousness, I feel that Bangladesh will have nothing to fear,” Noor said.
Shringala also reiterated Noor’s thoughts, and added that the festival will be a source of inspiration for the secular citizens of Bangladesh.
The 6th edition of the musical extravaganza commenced with a passionate performance by violin maestro L Subramaniam at the Abahoni Grounds here under a half moon sky.
With Sriram Murhty Dhulipala on mridangam to his one side and Pandit Tanmoy Bose on tabla on the other, complemented by Sathya Sai Ghantasala on morsing, Subramaniam held the audience in a trance that was broken only by a crashing crescendo.
The evening moved to another spectacular performance by world-famous Astana Symphony Philharmonic Orchestra from Kazakhstan that started off with an exhilarating rendition of Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’.
Conducted by Berik Batyrkhan, the orchestra played close to a dozen compositions by famous musicians from across the world including a symphony by Tless Kazhgaliyev.
The audience was then treated to an emotional composition of “Shanti Priya” by Subramaniam, as he joined the orchestra.
Rajrupa Chowdhury, took the evening forward, gracing the stage with her sarod, with Avijit Banerjee on tabla.
The musical air continued to resonate in and around the Abahoni Grounds with performances by Vidushi Padma Talwalkar, who sang Raga Kedar, Tarana in Raga Desh, Meera Bhajan and Raga Bageshree; sitar artist Firoz Khan from Bangladesh accompanied by Zakir Hossain on tabla, who performed Raga Jhinjhoti and Dhun.
The first night of the musical gala also witnessed performances by Supriya Das, who rendered Khayal in Raga Malkauns and Thumri in Raga Desh.
As the first light of dawn illuminated the surroundings, the event came to a close with a jugalbandi by Rakesh Chaurasia on flute and Purbayan Chatterjee on sitar.
The annual musical fete will conclude on December 30.