DESPARDES — Renowned classical singer Shruti Sadolikar Katkar offered her tributes to subcontinent’s greatest classical singer Begum Akhtar sahiba at her tomb — rendering one of her classics that say “O Love, I cry on your outcome”.
Katkar is the Vice Chancellor of Bhatkhande University in Lucknow. The video is undated, however, it transcends boundaries and a poignant reminder that music is seamless when it brings communities together. Begum Akhtar’s songs were a bundle of these.
Urdu language and Ghazal — classical music introduced by the Muslims in the subcontinent, are two lingua franca which keep the Hindu majority and Muslim minority community (nearly 202m) culturally close and relevant as symbol of a pluralistic society, “that was”, says an Indian observer.
Tribute to Begum Akhtar
“Later generations know her through the various covers of abhi na jaao chod kar ke dil abhi bhara nahi. While growing up we were enamored by Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar. Our generation was introduced to ghazals by Jagjit Singh. Begum Akhtar for us was a question of general knowledge”, said one Indian Muslim art lover in Riyadh.
Moves to take the sheen off pluralism and inclusiveness are being resisted though by who’s who of the country’s intelligentsia, including Arundhati Roy and Katkar, to name a few.
Recently, the intelligentsia in the Middle East, particularly Saudi and UAE also stepped out on social media to red flag the developing situation in world’s largest democracy.
“I am wondering why western media and so called human rights organizations are not covering these atrocities. It shows that racism is prevalent in most large western media organizations and human rights groups”, said one Saudi professional.
” I pray for an India without hate and Islamophobia”, Tariq Al-maeena, an influential mideast columnist, tweeted recently. He also shared a graphic videoclip of Muslim bashing: “The Hindutva rulers in #India have crossed all limits of barbarity. Remember there are more than ten million Hindus living under our sponsorships in the Arab lands. No one would like to see something like this here”.
Here’s Begum Akhtar’s original rendition…
With reemergence of interest in classical music young Pakistani and Indian singers are rediscovering her and other singers of that age, says Zafar in Saudi Arabia, which has a huge Indian Muslim Diaspora as in the UAE.
The Ghazal queen’s tomb is a mango orchard within her home, ‘Pasanda Bagh’ in Lucknow, UP. She died in October 2017 at the age of 104.