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Music with no boundaries

Singer Kailash Kher. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Singer Kailash Kher. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy   | Photo Credit: V Sreenivasa Murthy

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Kailash Kher feels music is the best medium to foster people-to-people contact between India and Pakistan

When Bollywood singer Kailash Kher absentmindedly stepped foot on the Pakistani soil while he was at the famous Wagah border recently, he was reminded that it was the neighbouring nation’s territory.

Just when the singer looked a bit tense and anxious wondering whether he had contravened a law, a Pakistani guard gently and wisely commented that music knows no boundaries. The singer heaved a sigh of relief when the tall burly guards from the other side welcomed him in the traditional sub-continental style.

In those fleeting seconds, Kher could see the larger picture — boundaries are merely artificial demarcation lines as the fans on both sides cheered him loudly for putting his heart and soul into every song like “Allah Ke Bande” and “Babam Bam”.

Just a few minutes before performing at a function to mark the anniversary celebrations of The Hans Foundation, Kailash agrees to meet at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi. Every second of the long wait was worthwhile, as the singer expressed his views on how to give a thrust to cultural exchanges between the two nations. Something few artistes like to speak these days.

He says, “There are no barriers as far as music is concerned. Similarly, there are no barriers as far as art, culture and education is concerned. There is unanimity in both Pakistan and India that keeping the cultural space free from barriers and free movement of artistes is essential.”

Noting that music brings peace to innumerable people of both countries, Kher says, “ Music se dil ko kitna sukoon milta hai, insaan ki fitrat hi kuch aisi hai. Music does miracles; it does not distinguish between caste, religion or region. It connects soul to soul, reflects nature and gives oxygen to human beings to not show narrow mindedness or negativism. It needs a scientific bent of mind to understand its influence over such a large mass of humanity who belong to diverse faiths, countries and continents. Music does not understand complicating things. Dil or damag ka route alag hota hai.”

Elaborating on the incident when he inadvertently crossed the international border, Kher says he had gone to the Wagah border for a function when he accidently stepped on the Pakistani side.

“Just when I was told that I had crossed the other side, a Pakistani officer said ‘No problem’. Without visa, I entered the neighbouring country. But there is so much mohabat among the people there for Indian artistes. The real Pakistan is completely different from what is presented in the media. Akhbaron aur television par jo ata hai us se asliyat alag hai.”

While he does not agree with those who become jingoistic and start behaving in an unruly manner over things which arouse passion on both countries, he feels ties between the neighbours can cement further through cross-cultural exchanges.

“Pakistani artists are coming here. There is so much of work for artists of that country. Just the other day, I watched a Hindi film in which Pakistani TV actor Fawad Khan played the lead. Then we have the round-the-clock Zindagi Channel which airs thought provoking serials. Incorrect perceptions create problems and people belonging to both countries are affected due to terrorism and fundamentalism.”

His last trip to Pakistan was a memorable one as he sang to a full house at a beach resort in Karachi. “In my career, I have never seen such a fan following.”

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:46:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/music-with-no-boundaries/article6580418.ece

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