In the race to become the ‘Ultimate champion of secularism in India’ Mamata Banerjee took a giant leap in the very first month of the year when she cordially organised a Ghulam Ali concert in Kolkata in the backdrop of communal violence of Malda and Pathankot terror attack. By doing so, she also added a whole new dimension to secularism which was earlier used as a tool to deceit any level of hypocrisy and humbugs conveniently.
The drama around the Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali started in October last year when one of Ghulam Ali’s concerts was cancelled after Shiv Sena’s protest. Shiv-Sena’s anti- Pakistan stand are infamous and there is nothing new to it. However, the current champion of secularism, Shri Kejriwal tried to earn a bonus point by being very quick to invite Ali to perform in Delhi discounting the fact that he had performed and embraced by Delhi crowd a number of times in past. Ghulam Ali dismissed the invitations saying that he has cancelled all his future concerts in India.
But how a well-respected, old, visibly hurt, Muslim and a Pakistani singer could be left on his own? Some serious efforts by the conscience keepers of secularism were initiated across the border. Mamta Banerjee scored an ace when she persuaded Ghulam Ali for a mega concert in Kolkata on the eve of Vivekananda’s birthday. It was a wholesome mix of secularism and symbolism.
The circumstances took a sharp turn few days ahead of Ghulam Ali concert. A group of heavily armed terrorists from Pakistan attacked the Pathankot air base in Punjab. Six soldiers were martyred. The country was still fighting with the terrorists, a communal violence erupted in Malda, hardly 300km from Kolkata where more than 2 lakhs protestors from a certain community vandalised police stations, burnt vehicles, beat police, insulted women and looted temple.. A large number of people including 30 policemen were injured. The social media was flooded with the concerns of riots in Malda, the vigilant fourth pillar of democracy unsurprisingly remained silent.
What an average Chief Minister of the state would have done? She would mourn the irreparable loss of soldiers and support central govt in exerting pressure on Pakistan to nab the perpetrators. Secondly, as a responsible chief of law and order of the state, she would have gone heavily after the Malda attackers and enforced the law to avoid any such incidents in future.
Alternate politicians are not made by acting on doing what is entrusted on them but by doing what they chose to do. Unfazed by terrorist attacks, communal riots and grief of nation Mamta Banerjee put her brave foot forward. She not only continued with the concert but personally attended it.
The story did not end there. In the beginning of the concert, she recited an Urdu couplet (in her typical accent of course) and drew parallels to Vivekananda, Tagore, Paramhans and Bose. She inherited Vivekananda’s legacy and declared Bengal a truly secular state. She even gave a first class lecture on the practice of tolerance. Her offering a shawl and scarf to Ghulam Ali on a stage draped in Vivekananda’s posters was the mirage of universal brotherhood. Awestruck by this, an emotional Ghazal singer hailed Mamta as a form of Saraswati.
throughout the concert, didi was seen engrossed in the music with closed eyes as she let herself lost into Ghulam Ali’s magical voice. All those who have already known her love for painting (She had sold India’s one of the costliest painting at Rs ~1.8 crores) was not surprised by her passion for music. Others have started crying foul play. No wonder, Didi will give a befitting reply to them by singing:
हंगामा है क्यों बरपा..
डाका तो नहीं डाला, चोरी तो नहीं की है..