Indian Promoters were recently asked to cancel International shows with Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
First, it was stand up comedian Hasan Minhaj (banned from participating in Howdy Modi US rally), and now global artists who are being asked to refrain from partnering with cross border artists.
News has it that the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) had asked Indian show promoters to cancel shows with Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, owing to the growing tensions between Pakistan and India.
However, a rebuttal was promptly issued by Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s producer and global promoter Salman Ahmed, who has condemned this directive strongly.
“I’m not only surprised but rather disappointed at the acumen of learned people that they feel shows and efforts of hundreds of people will just be put to waste by feeble threats of people/organisations.”
It is perhaps wise to point out to those issuing these directives, that Art has always found a way. Hate begets hate, and in today’s current climate of uncontrolled, and unexplained inflammatory feelings from both sides of the border, we (the sane), must be careful in our choice of words, and directives!
Salman Ahmed went on to state emphatically:
“Our shows and tours are not made out of Lego. There is a lot of time, efforts, money and most importantly sentiments of the artist and the audiences, which are at stake … No one can and will stop our shows unless the Almighty wants to. Our tours globally, be it Australia, USA, Canada, UK, UAE, Oman, are all going ahead. Be it Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan or other artists, they are not bothered by this neither are the promoters. Spreading hatred is a universal crime and no one has ever done this to artists irrespective of race or religion.”
Art Will Find A Way
Oh well, the voice of reason, spoken bravely and defiantly. It’s perhaps important to bring up that if you want your orders to be followed, be very careful in directing only that which makes logical and realistic sense. As we say, Art will find a way. Previously oppressive regimes in the USSR, China, and elsewhere in the world are credence to the fact that a wall is just a wall. Nothing else. Borders do not matter when collaborations of the mind, spirit, and talent are in the making.
And to those issuing directives, always remember that ‘Art is more defiant than weapons of mass destruction’ – will Indians to stop listening to Mehdi Hassan Sahab on YouTube, or perhaps, the latest episode of Drama Alif? For me, Lata Mangeshkar still plays on, and so does Abida Parveen for you. Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan? Well, I leave you to judge that one, except – have you ever witnessed the concerts he packs abroad? Let’s hope the greater powers are listening…