Ghulam Ali ban: What will your verse be, Mr Thackeray?

“We are admirers of Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali and listen to his music… But we cannot permit his concert here in view of the killings perpetrated by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists on our borders.”

~Aditya Thackeray

“We can not permit…” Who are you to say so Mr Thackeray? Did you sit in the Constituent Assembly which formed the Constitution of India? Did you serve as a Chief Justice who interprets laws? Are you the Prime Minister of India? Who are you?

You are a person, or a people, with agenda. As you say, you admire his ghazals and listen to his music then what compels you to this Ghulam Ali ban? In absence of something meaningful to do with your lives, people like you need something to cling on. You need these ridiculous ideas to thrive.

The moment you don’t get a pitch to dig up, your whole political base will get depleted. If you don’t have Maratha pride story to tell, how will you keep your fandom intact! If you don’t do this India-Pakistan thing, how will your cadre consider you to be the true patriot!

It is understandable that at such young age and with your ‘Yuva Sena’ you have too much to do. Being a political leader, or leader in making, takes too much away from us. The first thing to let go is, apparently, common sense as it doesn’t make any sense to me how rejection of artistes in India will solve the issue at border?

Why this hypocrisy of listening to his ghazals? Why can’t you mobilise your people to go on rampage, ask for people’s phones and delete their playlist with any song that has a Pakistani like Ghulam Ali, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mehdi Hasan, Abida Parveen and other!

In fact, if you look for the Pak connection, our young people would have no songs in their phones because all of us, shamelessly, download from!

Politics, diplomacy, law and art are different fields. Even if the first three are interrelated, can we please leave the art alone. Robin Williams’ character John Keating remarked in Dead Poets Society, “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” The same is applicable for music as poetry is a big part of it.

The notion of nationalism is good; patriotism is worth dying for but it is compassion, rejection of hatred and fake ideologies is one must strive for.

The question is, how does this help India as a nation and Indians as people? If stopping to play cricket with Pakistan solves border issues, I will take a Shiv Sena membership for life and pay for it. If Ghulam Ali not singing a tribute to Jagjit Singh, his friend and one of India’s best contemporary ghazal singers, stops the unprovoked firings at borders, I would visit the samadhi of Bal Thackeray and place wreaths on it.

But it doesn’t. It hasn’t. It won’t.

You are a young man of 25 years. Wikipedia says you are a published poet and lyricist. By doing this politics of bans and protests, we all know “that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse,” and but I wonder Mr Thackeray, “What will your verse be?”


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