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Posted at: Mar 17, 2016, 1:00 AM; last updated: Mar 17, 2016, 1:00 AM (IST)SAANJH— INDO-PAK PEACE FESTIVAL

Building bridges between Amritsar, Lahore through art

Feel more loved in India, says Pak musician

  • Unhinged by the acts of terror and political indifference across the borders, Sain Zahoor, who is celebrated for his music on both sides of the border, said he feels more loved and welcomed in India than any other part of the world.

Neha Saini

Tribune News service

Amritsar, March 15

It becomes a special performance when a Pakistani artiste performs kathak, one of the eight forms of Indian classical dance and has the audience in awe. Nighat Chaudhary, a Pakistani kathak exponent, got on stage to present her inimitable style of the dance and owned it. That was just one of the highlights of Saanjh, Indo-Pak peace festival, held at the historical Pul Moran.

The 12th edition of the annual Amritsar-Lahore festival jointly hosted by Amritsar-based Punarjyot and the Lahore-based Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop was significant as it was presented in collaboration with Zeal for Unity, a unique peace initiative of Zee Entertainment Limited.

Hosted against the backdrop of Pul Moran, the epitome of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s relationship with a courtesan named Moran, situated near the Indo-Pak border, artistes from India and Pakistan again shared the stage reiterating the need for promoting mutual peace and bonhomie through the exploration of shared heritage and cultural roots.

The performance lineup for this year included renditions by popular folk artiste Sain Zahoor Ahmed and Indian artistes Deveshi Sahgal and Lakhwinder Wadali. In attendance were participants and noted filmmakers from both countries, including Tanuja Chandra, Bijoy Nambiar, Khaled Mohamed, Aparna Sen and others.

Unhinged by the acts of terror and political indifference across the borders, Sain Zahoor, who is celebrated for his music on both sides of the border, said he feels more loved and welcomed in India than any other part of the world.

“The two countries celebrate shared culture and roots and it becomes important to sustain people to people contact through art,” he said.

Belonging to a breed of street artistes performing at shrines and dargahs, Zahoor transported the audience with his simple and intense performance of Sufi kalam. He emphasised on the traditions of sufism being used to foster the message of love and peace through world.

“People should learn the language of love and everything else will find a solution,” he said.

Usmaan peerzada, CEO, Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, Lahore and a eminent actor, said such collaborations open the passage for more peaceful initiatives.

“What both countries need is an open dialogue between people of the two sides, without political agendas in the background. This can only happen through cultural exchange,” he said.

“Saanjh is all about spreading peace, which stands violated every now and then by mindless acts of terror,” said Dr Kirat Sandhu Cheema, director, Punarjyot.

“My parents along with Faizaan Peerzada, former COO, Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, Lahore, ignited this candle to teach people to live and let others live. It is not only my pleasure and prerogative to keep this flame aloft and ignited, but also mine and my team’s desire to take initiatives that can help in making Saanjh more effective,” she said.

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