The famous qawwal, Ustad Ghulam Ali will be the first Pakistani artiste to perform at the Hanuman temple for the opening night of the Sankat Mochan Music Festival.
Set to perform at one of the most scared temples in India, Ali Saheb will be playing the classic thumri (Indian classical music) and chaiti instead of singing his ghazals due to the spiritual importance of the place of worship.
Being the first Pakistani to perform at Varanasi’s Sankat Mochan temple, Ghulam Ali will mark a change in history and India. Previously neither women nor Muslims could perform at the temple, however, in 2008 Mumtaz Hussain was invited to be a part of the Music Festival and became the first Muslim to perform at the holy temple.
In an interview with NDTV, the maestro explained that music for him was three words “Allah, God and Bhagwan.” Ghulam Ali is not one to differentiate between India and Pakistan, for him if love lies in India he will go there to perform for his fans. “Love of the people has brought me to Vanarasi, wherever we get respect and love, we’ll go there,” he said with a smile.
“Walls between India and Pakistan must fall; tazaa hawa chalni chahiye,” said the maestro. It was a sentiment echoed by Professor Nath, who said, “Language of music is universal and borders are irrelevant.” Their opinion is one which reflects the sentiments of many Indians and Pakistanis.
The respected qawwal was won over by the love he received in the neighbouring country. “People regard me as their own in India although I am Pakistani, however, everyone in India is in my heart and I am in their heart,” said Ali Saheb on the show.
He has previously worked on a number of projects in India and many of his ghazals have been used in Bollywood films. His recent albumHasratein was nominated in the Best Ghazal Album category at Global Indian Music Awards 2014.