Pakistan cricket players and artistes should be allowed to perform in India
— ZUBIN MEHTA
India’s most celebrated music conductor Zubin Mehta held an explosive press conference moments before his Delhi’s concert at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. He is performing on October 30 and 31 with the Australian World Orchestra (AWO) and cricket legend Don Bradman’s granddaughter Greta Bradman. KARAN BHARDWAJ brings you the major highlights from what he had to say:
ADDRESS THE CULTURAL UPRISE: If creative people are returning State’s honours, I believe there must be a strong reason behind it. I wish I coula talk to one of them to understand their point of view. I’m reading a lot about such news nowadays. This is one of the biggest issues in cultural avenue in India. I’m also reading what’s coming out as government’s response. I think there’s no communication between the government and the rebellious artistes. The government should speak to them and address the issue. They should sit together.
INDIAN EMBASSIES ARE NOT ISSUING VISAS: I have a big complain with the government. The Indian embassies across the globe are not giving visas to artistes to come to India. My wife’s visa was held up for good three weeks by San Francisco’s consulate before we could come here. Even for this concert, musicians faced similar nonsense. I’m getting this feedback from all over. This is really maligning India’s image abroad. I request the government to take immediate action on this.
ALLOW PAK CRICKETERS & ARTISTES IN INDIA: Pakistan artistes & cricketers must come to India. A lot of international artistes are coming to India and making money. So why can’t musicians from Pak come here and play? In my view, Indian musicians too must perform in Pakistan. One day, I wish to collaborate with Indian and other international musicians and perform in Pakistan. Pak cricketers should be allowed to be a part of India’s sporting leagues.
I WANT TO PLAY IN KASHMIR AGAIN: When I last performed in Kashmir, separatists wanted to disrupt the concert because they wanted to give out a message that situation is not normal in the Valley. But I am glad that the Kashmir and the Indian government stood by us. Over 70 per cent Kashmiris watched that concert on TV. I want to play music where Hindus and Muslims could sit together and enjoy. I wish to perform again in the Valley.
DELHI’S SHAMEFUL FACT: It is shameful that Delhi doesn’t have a concert hall. India is moving up everywhere and I am so proud of the fact that Indians are playing instrumental role in the new world order. But this is shameful that our national capital doesn’t have a concert hall. I have raised this issue at the highest level. Two weeks back, I complained this to President Pranab Mukherjee. He was very positive and promising about it. But that facts are different from the promises. It is often said, as an excuse, that Indian singers and musicians need microphones and play with amplifications so there is no need of concert halls. This is untrue because Indian musicians can play kind of music in the same concert hall. (While he was slamming Indian government, Delhi’s arts and culture minister Kapil Mishra was sitting right next to him)