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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

India is another home of mine: Pak folk singer

Rameshinder Singh Sandhu, Hindustan Times   October 23, 2013
First Published: 11:45 IST(23/10/2013) | Last Updated: 11:50 IST(23/10/2013)

‘Jugni king’ Arif Lohar — the famous folk singer from Pakistan — who made Indian music lovers love Sufi music even more, reworked his magic and left the audience spellbound last Friday during a two-day Sufi festival in the city, called Amrit De Sur, which was organised by Music Today and Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB).

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Arif had travelled a long distance from Delhi, where he had gone to perform before coming to Amritsar, but exertion was nowhere written on his face as he talked with HT.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/10/Arif.jpg

(Arif Lohar during his performance in Amritsar last week. HT Photo)

“It really excites me whenever I am in India and I thank everyone who loves me so much. As always, I am offered superb hospitality, so much so that I feel at home here. I will continue coming to India to not only entertain, but also to promote love and peace between both India and Pakistan,” he said. About Amritsar, Arif paused to think before commenting, “Amritsar was the first platform where I performed in India, and it all began with the blessings of the late couple Mrs and Mr Shivender Sandhu, who gave me the chance to come to India in 2007 for their Saanjh festival that took off in the same year.”

Arif hails from a rich musical family of Pakistan and says he took inspiration from his father, Aalam Lohar. It is now Arif’s turn to feel proud of his six-year-old son who is also following in the footsteps of his father. “My blessings are with him and I will continue to inspire and support him,” beamed Arif, who has toured all over the world for his concerts.

In India, his recent hit songs such as Jugni from the film Cocktail and Bhaag Milkha from the film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag have made him a popular name. For Jugni, he “thanks Allah for making the family creation a super hit all over the world.” His passion in Sufi music is the language of the soul, says Arif. “Sufism is more than just singing, it gives many inspiring and meaningful messages, teaches the society the right way of life and expresses what our soul wants to say,” added the singer.

To the youth, Arif advises to never forget their roots and heritage. “If we cannot respect our own culture and traditions, we will never be able to stand tall in life,” he believes.

Now that Diwali is around the corner, Arif had another message for the youngsters.

“It is a very special festival. Let us say no to fireworks and celebrate it with lights and sweets, especially ladoos, which are my favourite and of course by promoting love and peace,” he smiled.

Before signing off, Arif doesn’t forget to add that governments of both India and Pakistan must encourage music festivals that not only promote culture but also galvanise cordial relations between the two countries.

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