The Week, April 2013
I recently performed in Kerela to a very distinguished and invited audience which included the great poet and lyricist in Malayalam cinema Prof. ONV Kurup and K.C. Joseph the cultural minister of Kerala. Every year the Kerala Government honours an artist with the Swathi Thiruna Award. This year’s awardee was the great composer V. Dakshinamoorthy who is ninety four years old. He is a veteran Karnatic musician and music director in Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi films. I was very honoured to meet him along with the Chief Minister Mr. Oommen Chandy. I am in love with Kerala and the people of this beautiful state. I still remember my first visit to Kerala in the late seventies. I was invited by a dynamic organization called Soorya which is dedicated to art and artists. The man behind this organization, Mr. N. Krishnamoorthy, is multi-dimensional and multi-faceted, promoting art and artists in Kerela and all over the world.

I am so happy that, this year, we celebrate a centenary milestone to showcase the cinematic heritage of the Indian film industry over the last 100 years. In India, we all grow up listening to film songs or watching movies which makes these hundred years very symbolic to what we are as a nation, both socially and psychologically. Like millions, I am happy that Pran Saheb was bestowed with the Dada Saheb Phalke Award. I am also a great fan and admirer of legendary the Pran Saheb. I had the honour of meeting him on a few occasions.
Recently the West Bengal Government honoured my father and guru, the Sarod icon, Haafiz Ali Khan by naming a road after him in New Park Street in Kolkata. This road is now called Haafiz Ali Khan Sarani. The road renaming committee of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation has finalized this which was announced by the chief minister Mamata Banerjee at an event in Town Hall along with 17 new roads on the names of legends of India including Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Debabrata Biswas, Salil Chowdhury, Nilratan Sarkar, and Ashapurna Devi. The town hall was packed with the presence of so many creative people.

I recently gave a message for the Srimanta Sankaradeva Movement initiative. Srimanta Sankaradeva was a saint-scholar, playwright, social-religious reformer and an iconic figure in the cultural and religious history of Assam. He molded Assamese Society and gave it its culture, literature and its social equality His literary and artistic contributions are living traditions in Assam even today. The creative process is intrinsically spiritual and vice versa. Every individual has his or her own take on spirituality. However, for me spiritually or a connectivity with god gives me a certain level of satisfaction and also self-confidence which I cannot do without. It is very easy to renounce the world! But, to live and face today’s world is very difficult and challenging. Being a world citizen today, my spirituality or spiritual beliefs give me strength to face the world of glamour, politics, fundamentalists and radicals of today. Therefore, as mentioned, there are times when I get off stage and realize what I did. You are taken over on many occasions and hence you become just the mediator of that cosmic power. It is through my music that I make and perpetuate my connection to the Divine. In this connection, there is no hate and there is no will. So I believe!


-Amjad Ali Khan

music@sarod.com