Mamata Scores Political Points, Kolkata Hosts Ghulam Ali Concert

After the Shiv Sena debacle in October, Ghulam Ali performs in Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, West Bengal.

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Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali received by CM Mamata Banerjee at the Netaji Indoor stadium in Kolkata on 12 January. (Photo: PTI)

Making a political statement, Mamata Banerjee played host to legendary Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata after the Shiv Sena cancelled his October concert.

The Shiv Sena’s protest against the concert led to the cancellation of an attempted December concert in Delhi as well.

I am very happy today. I have been coming to Kolkata for 30 to 35 years. But this time it feels like I have come back after 50 years. I was so sad and today my sadness ends.

Ghulam Ali, Pakistani Ghazal Singer

The Shiv Sena, in October 2015, protested against the concert of Ghulam Ali in the light of the increasing exchange of gunfire on Indo-Pak border.

Subsequently, his performance scheduled for December in Delhi was also cancelled.

Also read: Ghulam Ali Plans Mumbai Visit; All Eyes on Shiv Sena

Performing with his son Aamir, Ghulam Ali hailed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a form of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of wisdom and music.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali and Ustad Rashid Khan in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali and Ustad Rashid Khan in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)

The maestro had first performed in Kolkata in 1981. Along with classical hits like Chupke Chupke Raat Din, the maestro is a student of Bade Ghulam Ali and his three brothers.

Gana wana mujhe nahi aata (I don’t know how to sing). I only know how to listen. I used to be after them (to learn).

Ghulam Ali, Pakistani Ghazal Singer

Mamata Banerjee was seen absorbed in the music with closed eyes as Ali entranced a packed hall with his expertise in vibrations.

Also read: More Demand for Ghulam Ali Show Passes Than for IPL: Derek O’Brien

The ustad’s arresting style conveyed a range of emotions, even as he rendered the same couplet more than once.

After cancellation of his concert in Mumbai due to threats by the Shiv Sena, Ghulam Ali in November had expressed disappointment asserting “never to return to India”.

Mamata Banerjee offered Kolkata as a venue following the cancellation of the Mumbai concert in October.

(With inputs from IANS.)

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