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Musical route to national harmony

- Joi Barua to sing at Sadbhawna concert

New Delhi, Oct. 1: When social tensions tear people asunder, bring on the music.

The keepers of the country’s internal security are banking on two back-to-back concerts to heal ethnic wounds left behind by the Assam riots, some 400 years after William Shakespeare’s Duke Orsino wanted the “food of love” to play on.

The “Sadbhawna concerts” will see an Assamese singer and a rock band perform in Pune and Bangalore on October 5 and 7 as part of efforts by the home ministry to restore the harmony disrupted after the ethnic clashes in the Northeast state.

Thousands of north-eastern citizens had fled these two cities after morphed images of alleged atrocities against minorities in Assam sparked SMS threats against them.

Singer Joi Barua, one of those police are pinning their hopes on to heal the rift, will sing in both cities.

“It’s going to be a different kind of concert through this home ministry initiative for integration,” Barua, who has several hit Bollywood numbers to his credit, told The Telegraph.

“Since many people from the Northeast would know my songs, I would be doing numbers from my Assamese albums as well as Bollywood songs.”

The home ministry has hired an event management agency to oversee the programmes.

“We, through the medium of music, would like to tell every fellow Indian that we are one and there is only one religion which is foremost in our minds — the religion of oneness, Sadbhawna,” said Sanat Panda, director of event management agency Basics.

In Bangalore, folk fusion band Lagori and rock group Parikrama will perform. Parikrama has won acclaim not only in India but also abroad.

The band recently performed in the UK.

The concerts will be held under the aegis of Pune police and Bangalore city police and at least a few thousand music fans from the Northeast are expected to attend them. “We have taken the Northeast welfare associations in both these cities as our partners,” said a Basics executive.

Sources said the police in both cities had made efforts to get a mix of audiences from all sections of society, especially those from the Northeast and the minorities.

Barua, whose Dil Dhadakne Do number in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was a hit, and Mumbai singer Jankee Parekh would confluence with ghazal singer Ustad Anwar Qureshi and music director Iqbal Darbar in Pune.

Sources said more events were being planned in other cities where bands from the Northeast will also perform.

But if play on is the plan, a surfeit of music — that the smitten Twelfth Night protagonist wanted to cure his obsession with love — is not the objective.

The idea is to lend a healing touch.


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