For a country that calls itself the world’s largest democracy, this event certainly points to the contrary. Pakistani singer Atif Aslam, who commands a feverish fan following in India as he does back at home in Pakistan, was forced to cancel his show after a senior Shiv Sena member threatened to disrupt his performance.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Ajay Bhoisle stated in clear terms that his party would see to it that no Pakistani artist performed in Pune. “If they decide to go ahead with the concert, they would have to face action “Sena style,” Mr. Bhosle cautioned. The organizers of the event were understandably concerned and wisely decided to bow to the conservative party’s demand. Organizers further disclosed that around 1000 tickets had been sold, all of which would be refunded. Anjaneya Sathe, the organizer, was disappointed but understood the reason for the cancellation.
“We are from the field of arts, we wanted to do it, but then the intention behind the cancellation is totally appropriate. So we shall always remain patriotic. As Balasaheb has said, ‘Be patriotic and put the nation first’, and thereby, at the larger level we had to cancel the show.”
This is not the first time that Shiv Sena has objected to Pakistani artists or sporting athletes touring India and performing therein. In 2011, when Pakistani cricket team under Shahid Afridi’s captaincy, was scheduled to play India in the semifinal of the cricket world cup, Shiv Sena had threatened the team members.
“If the Pakistani team reaches the final of the World Cup, Bal Thackeray will decide over the issue. After getting his signal we shall do the needful,” Joshi said at a media interaction.
Whatever be the case, the new of Atif Aslam’s concert being put off, will not be welcomed warm-heartedly. As mentioned earlier, the Pakistani artist has sung popular numbers for Bollywood films in the past and is an internationally renowned artist.