The legendary Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has added another feather to his cap and is gearing up for his performance at the Nobel Peace Prize Awards ceremony and concert to be held in Oslo, Norway, on December 10.
One of the two songs that the singer will be performing at the concert is part of the Express Media Group’s nationwide highly-interactive campaign called Aao Parhao – Jo Seekha hai woh sab ko seekhao/ Come Teach – Teach all that you have learnt. This is not a passive campaign, it is a call-to-action with a specific objective, which is to raise the profile of the teaching profession — increase its value and respect in society as key agents of change thereby motivating and inspiring highly-qualified young adults to enter the teaching force.
The campaign will enable everyone to engage in the process of achieving its objectives, including citizens, policy-makers, activists and schools. Specific avenues of participation and entry will be provided through print and electronic media.
The singer, who has previously never been associated with a campaign highlighting a social issue of such grave importance, spoke of the factors that prompted him to become a part of this effort.
“It is a wonderful campaign and education is imperative to the growth and development of any nation,” he told The Express Tribune.
“The best thing about this initiative is the importance it gives to the role of teachers in a society and how they can make a difference to several lives by educating our children,” said Rahat who won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 2011 for his song Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji from the movie Ishqiya.
The Aao Parhao campaign is positive; it does not name and shame, it celebrates individuals who want to make positive contribution — who want to actively become agents of change, and use their agency to improve the situation.
Rahat termed it the “responsibility” of each and every person to be part of such a campaign in whatever capacity possible, he said, teachers are the ones who lay down the foundation of prosperous future. “Definitely it is my, and perhaps everyones responsibility to spread this message and participate in such initiatives,” he said.
He hoped to use this as a platform to launch his music academy, where he can pass on his skills to others like his teacher passed on to him. “My management is right now working on our dream project which is of making my own music academy. A place where music will be formally taught across all levels and I will be one of the teachers as well,” said Rahat, who is the nephew of legendary singer and qawwal musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
The singer also spoke of how education campaigner and his fellow citizen Malala Yousafzai — the co-winner of this year Nobel peace prize — has brought pride and honour to the country’s name and how Pakistanis are capable of delivering the best at every level.
“We are a very talented nation and self-belief is the key to making best use of it,” he said.
It is fitting that the musician, who is equally popular in both Pakistan and India, will perform at an award ceremony, set to honour individuals from the two countries.
Rahat refused to divulge any details about his performance, remarking, “It is all under wraps right now. But I can promise you that we will showcase Pakistan’s talent and music to the world audience with an amazing performance.”
“Surely, the Nobel Peace Prize Award is a highlight in my career. I would like my fellow colleagues in the industry to recognise the importance of having the right management, which can make a difference and make such ventures possible.
An abridged version of this story was published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2014.