Kerala

Muneer joins ‘support Babu bhai’ chorus

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition expresses his solidarity with the singer

On Sunday, beneath the S.K. Pottekkat statue at the entrance to SM Street, sat Deputy Leader of the Opposition M.K. Muneer humming Kadale neelakkadale with Babu bhai, whose music has enlivened streets of the city for almost three decades.

The Talat Mahmood number from Dweepu was one of the many songs Dr Muneer sang to express solidarity with the 60-year-old singer who was stopped by the police a week ago from performing at Kozhikode’s iconic marketplace.

Joining the duo in their musical tete-a-tete was Babu Bhai’s wife Latha and daughter Kausalya. Together, they sang more songs that have enchanted generations like Baharon phool barsao (Mohammed Rafi, Sooraj) and Chitti aayi hai (Pankaj Udhas, Naam).

Born at Kallayi railway station of Gujarati parents who migrated to Kozhikode, Babu Bhai literally grew up on the streets and has long been the city’s voice for popular Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi melodies.

But since some months, the police have been preventing him from performing at SM Street, citing a ban order of the district administration on public meetings. He was forcibly removed from SM Street recently. At places such as Mofussil Bus Stand, the police claim such public performances may give room for petty crimes such as pick-pocketing.

“Kozhikode has a tradition of honouring street singers and Mr. Babu has been part of it for long. It was music lovers who helped him construct a house.

Difficult to live

However, after the recent heavy rain, he finds it difficult to stay there. It is for earning a livelihood that they have come to the street,” Mr. Muneer said. The Indian Union Muslim League leader says he has spoken to the authorities about the police action and it will be sorted out soon. Mr. Muneer also offered to donate a new harmonium to Mr. Babu.

Last week, cultural activists under the banner of Safdar Hashmi Natya Sanghom had conducted a protest as they sang songs in Mr. Babu’s support. He had recently been abroad to participate in a music programme organised by a group of Non-resident Keralites.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 2:57:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/muneer-joins-support-babu-bhai-chorus/article24962121.ece

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