Ghulam Ali to perform in Lucknow on Dec 3; Shiv Sena threatens again

Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali, who had announced plans to cancel his upcoming concerts in India, has decided to make an exception for Lucknow and will perform at Lucknow Mahotsav, on December 3.

The mastreo’s son Aamir Ali has confirmed that his father will perform at the annual fest, the district administration said in a statement. “On an official letter head, Ghulam Ali sahab’s son Aamir has forwarded the confirmation about his performance on December 3 to the district administration,” District Magistrate Raj Shekhar said.

The veteran singer, who was scheduled to perform in Delhi on November 8, had cancelled all his forthcoming concerts in India on Wednesday, saying he did not want to get involved in any kind of politics.

The 74-year-old singer was invited to perform in Delhi by the Aam Aadmi Party government after his show could not be organised in Mumbai in October following Shiv Sena’s threats.

Meanwhile, the right wing party is again up in arms against the Pakistani singer’s performance. The Uttar Pradesh unit of Shiv Sena on Thursday threatened of making situation “worse” for the Pakistani ghazal maestro if he landed in Lucknow.

“We will not only paint face of Ghulam Ali black but make his condition worse than Sudheendra Kulkarni if he landed in Lucknow to perform at the Mahotsav,” UP Shiv Sena president Anil Singh said.

Shiv Sena had attacked Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of Observer Research Foundation with ink, hours before the book launch of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri which Kulkarni had organised in Mumbai last month.

Singh added that the party would “keep watch on Ali’s movement” from Delhi and try to stop him from reaching Lucknow. “Even if he reaches here somehow, Shiv Sainiks will oppose him at the programme venue and will not let him perform. The UP government is inviting Ghulam Ali only for its politics of appeasement of Muslims,” he said. He suggested the government to “replace Ali with any other ghazal singer of our own country.”

Following the confirmation of Ghulam Ali’s participation on Wednesday, the Lucknow district administration released a letter asserting that “art does not know or care about boundaries.”

“Ghulam Ali ji is a renowned personality in the field of art, and the general public of Lucknow regards him and appreciates his art. Such an event should not be associated with any unnecessary controversy,” the District Magistrate said.

On Sena’s threat to disrupt the programme, he said that “adequate arrangement” will be made to avoid any untoward situation.