Music unites rivals as Pakistani singer to perform in Varanasi temple

Compositions extolling the beauty of Rama or the devotion of Hanuman will cross paths with ghazal
Mumbai: The Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali will perform in Varanasi, I read. This piece of news offers many layers of reflection. One, that two nations that live in disdain and avowed hatred of each other can come together over something as neutral as music. Also, that one can listen to either musician, Indian or Pakistani without having to fret over a trophy, number of wickets at the end or controlling berserk factions. Which means, you can listen peacefully and allay your frayed nerves.
At another level, given that Ghulam Ali will perform at the Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple, it is important to note that no one frets over what he will sing. It becomes immaterial that compositions extolling the beauty of Rama or the devotion of Hanuman will cross paths with ghazal, that classical and semi classical will run parallel. Listeners will enjoy the music.
That a temple will become the venue for this musical rendez-vous, is a thing of great interest. A temple represents the faith of a society over centuries, it is the palliative and the anchor of beliefs. When a Hindu temple will host a Muslim singer who may not necessarily sing of Rama, or Shiva or Hanuman, to me it is a remarkable sign of the secular nature of the religion. But above all the secular fabric of music itself. There's no denying that Carnatic music abounds with hundreds and thousands of compositions, each an ode to one deity or the other. Several Hindustani compositions as well. But still music is generous and giving. It does not ask you for a passport or your religious confession. It travels beyond the realms of the lyrics and goes into your soul to open up its windows. From within, surely the view is panoramic. How else would one explain a Jesudas, a baptized Christian, or a Sheikh Chinna Moulana, a devout Muslim devoting a life time to Carnatic music, or even Ustad Bismillah Khan, spending hours at the Badrinath temple in Varanasi in practice? For them, as to many listeners, music surely must transcend these borders into a higher space. It is that indefinable space that allows for musical enjoyment, empathy and bonding.
The Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple in Varanasi where Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali is scheduled to perform
It is this space that will be in engagement in Varanasi. It is this space that is constantly in movement in our daily lives, an unquestioned expanse wherein the person is just oneself and in dialogue with what touches the innermost core of human existence. Music allows you to do that. It talks about gods and goddesses and much more for one who wishes to feel the profound. Its that 'much more' which is in constant transaction when man engages with music. This has been proved time and again and immortaliSed in Tyagaraja’s magical composition Naadaloludai. You get enslaved by naada, the musical sound, the seven notes, which alone leads to supreme happiness and bliss. There is a secular underpinning that comes strong and clear to those who wish to interpret it thus. Having said this, I hope that more places of worship will become venues for varied forms of musical rendering.
Dr Vasumathi Badrinathan is an eminent Carnatic vocalist based in Mumbai. She can be contacted on
( Source : deccan chronicle )
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