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|May 14, 2001||
Delhi rocks for quake victimsBasharat Peer in New Delhi
What wars and border skirmishes could not do for Pakistan, three passionate Pakistani youth did.
Pakistani rock band Junoon rocked New Delhi's Jawaharlal Stadium on Sunday night to raise funds for the victims of the Gujarat earthquake.
United For Gujarat brought together, for the first time, bands from India (Silk Route and Euphoria), Pakistan (Junoon) and Bangladesh (Miles).
Clad in green, white and saffron -- a veritable human tricolour -- the three members of Silk Route opened their act against the backdrop of a partially broken wall of a house. Lead singer Mohit Chauhan’s voice rose and fell. And Delhi empathised with the lyrics Kismet ka likha hua tale na taale (Nothing can change destiny).
Bangladeshi rock band Miles then took the stage, the five ponytailed members clad in black leather trousers and shirts. The Delhi crowd clapped and swayed to their Bangla rhythms.
Euphoria, the band known for its mixture of ethnic Indian music and rock, paid a tribute to the undying Indian spirit with their Apnee yeh dharti apna jahaan, rok sako to rok lo (this world is ours,stop our march to glory if you can).
The singers were conscious of the tension prevailing between India and Pakistan and the recent Indo-Bangla border skirmish. Cue in Euphoria's musical appeal to forget the religious and national biases.
Lead vocalist Palash warbled: :”aa mita dein sab faasle; sarhad na mazhab na…( come let us bridge the distances, let the religions and nationalist borders not hold us apart).
Euphoria finished its final number, “Kaise boolege mera naam” (how would you ever forget me) to a rousing sendoff -- from which the audience cut to an equally rousing reception of the next act, Junoon.
The three-member Pakistani band’s albums Aazadi and Sayonee have been chart-busters in India. Its mixture of rock and Sufi music, plus the chaste Urdu lyrics with messages of brotherhood and peace, have acquired as big a following in India, as the band enjoys in native Pakistan.
Honoured with the UNESCO award for promoting peace in South Asia, and with the achet of having performed in the UN-sponsored Music for Peace concert in Paris, Junoon was back in India for the sixth time.
”I was apprehensive the first time we came to India," band member Brian O'Connel told rediff.com, "as we did not know what to expect. But then we got a tremendous response. I realised then that the tension between the two countries is political, not social”.
Dressed in a sleeveless T-shirt and jeans, lead vocalist Azmat Ali kicked off with a message of friendship and love.
Singing what he termed a love song from Pakistan to India, he sang, ”Pyar bina, hum juda tum juda, pyar bina kya bashr kya khuda”(Sans love, we cannot be together; sans love, we cannot be human or divine).
The band then segued into its superhit numbers, “Chain ek pal nahin” and “Dama dum mast kalandar”. The crowds lapped it all up, and begged for more.
“Love begets love," Azmat Ali, of Kashmiri origin, told rediff.com. "And I believe there is no way you can keep people of India and Pakistan from coming together. Plus, only when people meet the glass wall that is there, can it be broken. It is the eventuality.”
The people who conceived of this concert appear not to have missed a single trick -- as witness the grand finale. All the bands -- from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh -- came on stage together, for a jam session wherein they all played each other's music.
The only disappointment of the evening was that it had to end.
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