As far as Ghazal and Bhajan singer Anoop Jalota is concerned, Pakistan’s Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali’s decision to stay away from India is only befitting, and the need of the hour.
Speaking on the Ghazal maestro’s decision to cancel all his concerts in India, Anoop Jalota said exclusively to this writer, “He (Ghulam Ali) is following my decision. I never sang in Pakistan, never did any concerts there as a matter of policy. Now he has decided to stay away from India out of fear, strangely after singing in India for last 35 years without any mishap.”
Anoop Jalota’s sarcasm is not misplaced. A lot of musicians in the Indian entertainment industry secretly feel the atmosphere in India is not conducive to a free-wheeling give-and-take of talent. For every Gulzar who has visited Pakistan and come back raving over the hospitality there is an Anoop Jalota who thinks it’s unwise to step across the barbed wire when there is so much hostility between the two countries.
Anoop Jalota says he had many opportunities to visit Pakistan which he declined. “I was invited many times and granted the visa which I still have on my passport page. Why should I go and sing for the country where they run factories for creating terror? After those bomb blasts in Mumbai I cancelled all my concerts in India and North America which I was doing with Ghulam Ali Saab. Bal Thackrayji was very impressed and always appreciated my policy. My wife Medha was also very much against me performing in Pakistan. “
However, Pakistanis who love Anoop Jalota’s music are most welcome to visit India to enjoy his music.
Says Anoop, “They (Pakistanis) do come to India to hear me often. Last month 100 Pakistanis organized my concert in Nagpur and enjoyed my music. But I have no wish to sing and earn money in Pakistan.”