“MUSIC, ART and creativity can be phenomenal in bridging the gap between India and Pakistan. Music knows no barriers of language, caste, creed and religion. It begins with unity and ends in unity,” says Pakistani Sufi singer Ustad Mazhar Umrao Bundu Khan who is in the Awadhi city to give it a taste of Pakistani Sufi music.
Ancestor of the great sarangi player Ustan Bundu Khan, this is Mazhar’s first trip to the city and he is already getting fond of it. He narrates, “I came to India on June 10 and got married to an Indian on June 11. And since then I have only been performing in India. After I got married I went to Kashmir to perform.
Kashmir was a fabulous experience. The people were so warm and they made my wife and me felt very ‘at home’. I have been to India a number of times and whenever I am in India I feel that is almost no difference between the countries.”
Mazhar is quite happy about the fact that now the Pakistani filmmakers will be able to engage Indian actors for their films. He said, “This move will only encourage harmony, peace and healthy competition.” He adds, “When Indian movies opened in Pakistan there was intense festive mood in the country.
Almost everybody wanted to go and watch the movie.”
In the initial years of his career Mazhar worked in a bank in Pakistan. He narrates, “I have worked in a bank for 19 years. But one fine day after I read Quran Sharif and got up a voice within me said that I should leave my job and devote myself completely to music. And since that day I am where music is.”
A few of his favourite Indian musicians are Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pt Ravi Shankar and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. He says, “I hope that these great musician come and perform in Pakistan. They will be an inspiration for the country.” He adds, “However, till sometime back the Pakistani government did not pay much attention to music and arts. But I am glad that now they are paying attention to music and have opened up a few institutes.”