oh well borrowed from a cliched Bollywood title right enough yet this post is all not-so-all-about-Bollywood..
..while the whole of India(media) is obsessed with the Khans -Aamir , Salman, Shahrukh and so on and so forth and fighting over what these Khans represent, their views on religions, tolerance or otherwise, if they want to live in India or move away to safer havens, the narrow, short sighted cult (read Bollywood) they represent churning out movies that neither represent India truly nor honestly for the most part, let us Indians for a moment remember some of these Khans(and some other Muslim surnames, you get the point!) for what they represented -
Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan - an Indian prior to Aug 14th 1947 when there was no Pakistan but more importantly perhaps the best Hindustani classical voice ever to have lived ( thats just my opinion but try listening to his Ka karun sajni aye baalam and we can sit down and debate smile emoticon )
Ustad Abdul Karim Khan - remember the Carnatic rendition of Rama nee samaanamevaru.. yes a Muslim North Indian rendering a composition by the South Indian Brahmin Tyagaraja..
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan and their sarods and sitars that echoed the ethos of my ancient land where every diversity is accepted, celebrated and integrated from the mists of time...
Ustad Bismillah khan - whose Shehnai filled the narrow alleys of Benaras and the inner sanctum of the Kashi Vishwanath temple there and on the banks of the river Ganga and whose favourite diety was the Hindu goddess Saraswathi... whose shehnai recitals has been broadcast during moments of joy and grief countless times on TV..
Ghulam Ali - whose rendition of "Baaju Bandh Khul Khul Jaaye" - a thumri that is so highly suggestive and erotic in nature despite its divine connotation,sometimes being awkward to listen to even in solitude! - but sadly who was denied a chance to perform his art in my country in the recent days.. shocking... surely there is some conspiracy somewhere.. note his ghazals only come a mere second in comparison with his highly trained classical knowledge..
talking of ghazals ,Mehdi Hassan - the ghazal genius who only had to sing "Kesariya Baalam padharo maro desh re" and that would just suffice...why do we need this Bollywood Khan's Incredible India campaign at all when a Rajasthani folkore can invite people to visit our beautiful country and experience the richness of her music, dance and traditions?
Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, Ustad Amir Khan and many many more, some of whose magic am still trying to figure out thanks to my recent marathon pursuit of Hindustani music recitals...
..and of course how can I forget my favourite - the one and only Ustad Rashid Khan whose voice gave me goosebumps 10 years ago and still does..- he mesmerises us with this emotionally charged rendition everytime but the best for me is his jugalbandi with the Hindu brahmin ( again!) Pandit Bhimsen Joshi where the two artistes sang like they were one soul, one a veteran another the relatively amateur, yet the nod of the veteran when the younger one sang a passage like a flash of lightning just before the first monsoon rains commence, explains so beautifully the mutual respect for the divine art of classical music age,religion notwithstanding...
Yes there are many such Khans and Alis India has produced.. today when modern India is arguing (read that wasting time!) over the stupidity of the Bollywood Khans, let us try for a second to remember these other Khans, let us pay homage to their timeless art, their contribution to our country's music, to their Indianness, bow down in respect to to their sacrifice and commitment to the one and the only religion that is true in this world - music!
Right.. back to "Baju band khul khul jaaye, sawariya ne kaisa jadu daala re". Oh boy, am I blushing!