Ghulam Ali appears a little tired and cross, probably because of the unrelenting spotlight on him after the cancellation of his concert in Mumbai over threats from the Shiv Sena, but the Pakistani singer’s desire for better ties with India is undiminished.
“If any person wants to remove the distance between the two countries, then even a journey of a thousand miles can be completed quickly. It is my wish that Allah lets these two countries live together with a lot of love and affection,” Ali says, sitting in the home of a friend in Kalkaji area of Delhi on Thursday.
With a smile, the soft-spoken ghazal singer trained in the Patiala gharana acknowledges the cancellation of Friday’s concert is something he regrets. The disappointment is strong because the event was meant to commemorate the late Jagjit Singh.
“There is regret whenever anything is cancelled. In this case, it is even more so because thousands of people were linked to it, they were coming to listen to the music. I am very disappointed because of them,” he says.
“Jagjit Singh was just like a brother to me. So I felt bad because of that.”
Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party government has offered to host a concert by Ali and the 74-year-old performer behind evergreen classics such as “Chupke Chupke Raat Din” and “Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa” says he will perform wherever he is invited with love.
“Inshallah, I will perform in Delhi. Why won’t I perform in Delhi? Because one has to do one’s work as long as it is possible. Wherever people invite me with love, I will have to go, irrespective of whether it is America, Canada or Australia. I keep touring the world over,” he says.
Watch | Ghulam Ali speaks to HT
But Ali’s numerous fans in Delhi won’t be able to get a taste of his talents during his current trip. The singer, who arrived in the national capital on Tuesday, plans to return to Pakistan on Friday.
Despite the disappointment over the cancellation of the Mumbai show, Ali has nothing but kind words for the people of India. Music and cultures, he says, are the most appropriate way for developing friendship between the two countries.
“There are a lot of people in India who have shown me love. I get a lot of love there (Pakistan) too...there is no doubt about that. I have been coming to India for many years and nothing has ever happened because of which I was troubled, or anyone was troubled because of me,” he says.
“The work that we do – an artist is always hungry for love, and if he gets love then he shares it with two more people. And people love artists for doing that.”