For the past nine years, he was the man behind the curtains, taking care of the cultural scene at the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR). But on Wednesday evening, Dr. Karan Singh, president, ICCR, changed his role and took to the stage — singing a selection of his favourite songs from across genres. The evening began with a Ganesh Vandana, which was followed by ghazals and a few songs in Dogri, Singh’s mother tongue.
“Music is my hobby and I have been singing for a while. But I am not a professional singer,” says Singh, whose liking for music ranges from classical to folk to western pop. “I have my own set of favourites, including Elvis Presley and Whitney Houston,” he adds.
Living in Delhi for the past 45 years, Singh says it’s the vibrancy in the city that he loves the most. “Delhi is the hub of activities, be it culture, political or intellectual,” he says. There are many places in the city that are special to Singh. These include the book shop in Jor Bagh and the food at Dum Pukht in ITC Maurya. Talking of food, it’s the combination of Nepalese and Dogri food that Singh likes the most. “My wife, a Nepalese, used to make these interesting fusion dishes that I totally loved,” he says.
Talking about ICCR, Singh says, “It’s a very vibrant cultural organisation and we are constantly getting performers from different parts of the world to India and vice versa.” Two years ago, they revamped the Azad Bhawan, the hub of all ICCR activities. ICCR has also established its 25 branches in different parts of the world, such as Kabul, Kathmandu, Dhaka, Kaula Lumpur, Mexico and Tokyo.