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The musical bond between India and Pakistan

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The exchange of art and music between India and Pakistan has “strengthened over the years” and remains unaffected by political intervention on both sides, says popular Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali.

He feels music managed to be a bridge between the two nations even when artistes from his country were barred from performing in India due to political forces.

“Politics hasn’t really been able to ruin the musical bond between India and Pakistan. This bond has always been there. In fact, it has strengthened over the years,” Shafqat told IANS during his visit here.

“I believe that had this musical bond not been there, the situation would have been worse. But, yes, there are times when a lot of things get cancelled due to tension. Like the Ghulam Ali concert got cancelled,” he said in reference to the cancellation of the ghazal maestro’s scheduled performance in Mumbai due to protests by right-wing outfit Shiv Sena last year.

“These types of political movements do affect this bond. But what’s good is that neither Ghulam Ali said that now he will not perform in India, nor did his Indian fans say that they don’t want him here,” Shafqat said.

In that sense, he believes music has been a constant bridge.

“We always try to do so through various projects (together with Indians). Sometimes the traffic gets high or low, but that happens due to the political situation or some other factors… But this bridge has always been there,” he said.

Nevertheless, he believes that when governments from the two sides begin bilateral talks and negotiate on issues, they should be brought to a logical end.

“It takes just one person who comes and does something or says something that builds controversy. And after that, everything gets ruined and goes back to zero. I feel we should understand that whatever we are starting, we should take it to the end and ignore people who try to ruin that on both sides,” he said.

Asked about his experience of working in India, Shafqat, who has cronned hit Bollywood numbers like “Mitwa”, “Yeh Honsla”, “Bin Tere” and “Dildaara”, said: “Bollywood was always open for Pakistani artistes. It is growing every day.

“Also, a lot of people from India like Daler Mehndi, Mika Singh and Kailash Kher have performed in Pakistan. People’s choice of music is same on both sides. The songs which get popular in India get popular in Pakistan and vice-versa.”

Shafqat says he also gets the love and attention of Indian music aficionados when he performs here, and finds it “a whole different experience”.

Does he feel Indian and Pakistani musicians today are getting widely influenced by western trends?

To that, Shafqat said: “Different trends have come and gone by, but only those songs get popular and stay with you which are melodious and meaningful. There are a lot of melodious tracks that we get to hear even today in India.” (INAS)

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  • sudheer naik

    There is always a interrelation between India and Pakistan.music is one of them and It creates the bridge between the two countries and I even appreciate Bollywood for encouraging Pakistan singers for giving chance in the Industry

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WhatsApp Announces 20 Teams To Curb Fake News Globally

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation

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WhatsApp
WhatsApp selects 20 teams to curb fake news globally, including India. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced that it has selected 20 research teams worldwide – including experts from India and those of Indian origin — who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news.

Shakuntala Banaji from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Anushi Agrawal and Nihal Passanha from Bengaluru-based media and arts collective “Maraa” and Ramnath Bhat from LSE have been selected for the paper titled “WhatsApp Vigilantes? WhatsApp messages and mob violence in India”.

The research examines the ways in which WhatsApp users understand and find solutions to the spate of “WhatsApp lynchings” that has killed over 30 people so far.

The Indian government has also directed WhatsApp to take necessary remedial measures to prevent proliferation of fake and, at times, motivated/sensational messages on its platform.

Among others selected were Vineet Kumar from Ranchi-headquartered Cyber Peace Foundation (principal investigator), Amrita Choudhary, President of the Delhi-based non-profit Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI) and Anand Raje from Cyber Peace Foundation.

They will work as a team on the paper titled “Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies”.

P.N. Vasanti from Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi woll work withS. Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University (Principal Investigator) to examine the role of content modality in vulnerability to misinformation, under the topic titled “Seeing is Believing: Is Video Modality More Powerful in Spreading Fake News?”

WhatsApp had issued a call for papers in July this year and received proposals from over 600 research teams around the world.

“Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 for their project (for a total of $1 million),” WhatsApp said in a statement.

Lipika Kamra from O.P. Jindal Global University and Philippa Williams from the Queen Mary University of London (Principal Investigator) will examine the role of WhatsApp in everyday political conversations in India, in the context of India’s social media ecosystem.

According to Mrinalini Rao, lead researcher at WhatsApp, the platform cares deeply about the safety of its over 1.5 billion monthly active users globally and over 200 million users in India.

whatsapp
WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We appreciate the opportunity to learn from these international experts about how we can continue to help address the impact of misinformation,” Rao said.

“These studies will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education campaigns to help keep people safe,” she added.

The recipients are from countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the UK and US.

WhatsApp said it is hosting them in California this week so they can hear from product leaders about how it builds its product.

“Given the nature of private messaging – where 90 per cent of the messages sent are between two people and group sizes are strictly limited – our focus remains on educating and empowering users and proactively tackling abuse,” said the company.

WhatsApp recently implemented a “forward label” to inform users when they received a message that was not originally written by their friend or loved one. To tackle abuse, WhatApp has also set a limit on how many forwards can be sent.

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation.

Also Read- Facebook Blocks Accounts Engaged in Malicious Activities

“We are also running ads in several languages — in print, online, and on over 100 radio stations — amounting to the largest public education campaign on misinformation anywhere in the world,” the company noted.

Sayan Banerjee from University of Essex, Srinjoy Bose from University of New South Wales and Robert A. Johns from University of Essex will study “Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour & Good Governance”.

Santosh Vijaykumar from Northumbria University, Arun Nair from Health Systems Research India Initiative and Venkat Chilukuri, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology are part of the team that will study “Misinformation Vulnerabilities among Elderly during Disease Outbreaks”. (IANS)