After 26/11, artists debate allowing Pakistani performers in India


Mumbai : A month after the terror strikes in Mumbai, several artists came together here to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in the attacks. While some felt India should restrict the number of Pakistanis performing in India in the wake of the strikes, others felt the focus should be on restoring peace.

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Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas, who was present at the function here Friday evening, said: “After this attack we should stop our liberal policy of allowing Pakistani artists to perform in our country. Various great artists from Pakistan have performed in India but we have never been invited there.

“Though I believe that music does not believe in divisions on the basis of religion, caste, creed or country, but at same time we should not forget that there cannot be friendship between the two with a one-sided effort.”

Talat Aziz, another noted ghazal exponent, had similar views. “We are always there for friendship but they should accept us. There’s no point in one-way friendship.”

Santoor maestro Shivkumar Sharma however wanted his music to carry forward a message of peace at the concert held in memory of the martyrs and victims of the Nov 26 terror attack. The concert was attended by hundreds of people.

“These types of acts are not to be discussed. Uttering a word about these acts make us insane. Blood stops flowing through our veins. I believe that any person who loves god will also love peace. There is no doubt about it,” Sharma said.

Also present on the occasion were poet-writer Javed Akhtar, actress Shabana Azmi and singers like Sonu Nigam, Jaspinder Narula, Anuradha Paudwal and Anup Jalota.

Shabana Azmi disagreed with the anti-Pakistan stance. “Our fight is not against a particular country but against terrorism. We should be very firm and focussed in our endeavour and take desperate steps to get rid of this menace.”

Javed Akhtar lauded the spirit of Mumbai through moving lines in Hindi – “Mumbai kabhi rukegi nahin, Mumbai kabhi jhukegi nahin, Mumbai kabhi daregi nahin, Mumbai chalti rahegi.” (Mumbai will never stop, Mumbai will never bow down, Mumbai will never be afraid. Mumbai will go on).