Facing the music!
Years ago, I visited Varanasi along with my wife to witness two great institutions. One: Lord Kasi Viswanath . The other a Bharat Ratna, Ustad...
Years ago, I visited Varanasi along with my wife to witness two great institutions. One: Lord Kasi Viswanath . The other a Bharat Ratna, Ustad Bismillah Khan. We prostrated before both with all reverence and dedication. I tried to introduce myself to Ustadji as the son-in-law of Padma Bhushan Pinakapani. But it did not ring a bell in his mind. Perhaps he had not heard about Pinakapani, for all I know. Perhaps his mind started filtering the earthy norms long back. The temple of Viswanath was at a stone’s throw away as the crow flies from his house. I asked him whether he visits the temple anytime.
“But I communicate with Him every day’’ was his reply. “But how?’’ He immediately started mumbling a raga in a creaky voice. “What is this raga?’’I enquired. “This is Bilawal”. Bilawal is the Hindustani version of Sankarabharanam! And when it was time for us to take leave, he apologetically enquired: “Your good name, please!’’. He must have tuned in a mechanism that filters anything except music into his blessed psyche.
I often wonder if God is not in the glorious creation of K.Asif’s “Mughal-e-Azam’’, in the great screen presence of Yousuf Khan (Dileep Kumar), the divine voice of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and the heavenly melodies of Naushad, where can He be? The music, art, architecture, beauty and even the literary genius is devoid of its lion’s share if Muslim race is not there. How can anybody dare defy the great musical experience of Zubin Mehta’s memorable extravaganza for whatever political considerations! One editorial of a newspaper lamented that “If the relationship between politics and conflict tends to be linear, the interplay of culture and conflict is far more complex”.