Earlier this week, Salman Ahmad of Junoon posted the following update from his Twitter account @sufisal: “PM Dr Manmohan Singh was born in Gah, Pakistan. He has invited me to perform a special concert on his birthday to celebrate Indo-Pak ties.”
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will turn 80 on September 26. Reports in leading Indian dailies quoted him as saying that he was approached by Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, who served as the chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to perform as part of the prime minister’s birthday celebrations. “Dr Pachauri invited me for dinner in Delhi and said that the prime minister would like Junoon to perform at his 80th birthday celebrations in his Pakistani birthplace,” Salman told the Times of India.
With this endeavour, it is reported that musicians from both sides of the border are gearing up to strum for cross-border peace and harmony. Along with Junoon, the other singer that will reportedly be taking part in these celebrations to be organised at Singh’s birthplace, Gah, Punjab, in British India (now Pakistan) will be Sunidhi Chauhan.
“It would be great to show Indo-Pakistan harmony through music. Besides, I love Sunidhi’s voice! Junoon has always promoted love and friendship between India and Pakistan and I feel that music is the most powerful force to bring the two neighbours together,” he added.
When contacted by The Express Tribune, Salman said: “Junoon’s music is a natural bridge between Indians and Pakistanis. I’m delighted to play a small role in promoting harmony between the neighbours. I also spoke with Gandhi’s grandson, the author and historian, Dr Rajmohan Gandhi who told me that Jinnah and Gandhi considered both India and Pakistan to be their countries as well. I hope the current generation will help to fulfill both founding fathers’ vision for the subcontinent.”
But amongst all these feelings of peace and harmony between Indian and Pakistan, another report published in the Times of India on Friday caused confusion. “I am not involved in celebrating the PM’s birthday in any manner. The programme, which my organisation has organised in association with a Pakistani NGO to promote sustainable energy, will be happening in Lahore on September 14 and 15. There is no event, at least of which I am a part of or which I have signed on Junoon for, on September 26 in Gah,” the daily quoted RK Pachauri as saying.
While the singer claims he was approached by Pachauri, the organiser claims to have made no contact with him. If Salman does end up performing at the PM’s birthday bash, the move will be well-appreciated by his Indian fans.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.
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