New Delhi: Amidst the charge by writers and artistes of "rising intolerance" in the country, Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan today said here that he hopes peace and harmony in society is not disturbed.
"I am only worried that our nation's peace and harmony should not come to an end. It should be maintained," he said, adding that he has at present not thought of returning any awards like several eminent personalities have done in recent days citing "growing intolerance".
"I am only praying to God that peace and harmony in our country is not disturbed. The younger generation must get to experience peace and harmony in the country," said Khan, who was in the national capital to perform on the concluding day of the Delhi Classical Music Festival.
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
Khan had a few days back said in Lucknow that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should rein in errant party members, failing which peace in the country could be under threat.
A recipient of the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan honours, Khan was also awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1989 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 2011.
Coming out in support of writers, filmmakers and artistes who have returned their awards, the 70-year-old musician had said, "They are not mad. They are pained and are returning awards to express their concern. The government should examine why this is happening."
Emphasising the power of music to unite the world, Khan today called for more encouragement for classical music. "I think the government should encourage more classical music. There should be more music festivals all over India to create peace and harmony, because music is a connecting force," he said.
Pointing at two types of music -- pure sound or instrumental music and the music accompanied by lyrics -- the acclaimed musician said that the latter has gained more popularity because of the "manipulative power of language".
"This (instrumental form) is the purest form of music but song or the music of language, which has words like 'Chaudvi ka Chand' and 'Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Ho', becomes popular because of the words.
"Fortunately or unfortunately, the world of words is ruling the country. Through words you can manipulate. Through words a politician loses the election. Because of words a politician wins the election. There's an old saying that language creates barriers. Thank God I belong to the world of sound. We can't manipulate," he said.
The musician said he was performing after a gap of around 10 years for Sahitya Kala Parishad, which organised the festival in collaboration with the Department of Art, Culture and Languages of Delhi government.
Khan began his performance at the jam-packed Kamani auditorium here with a rendition of 'Raag Zila Kafi'. He followed that up with 'Raag Charu Kesi'.
Prior to Khan's performance, Hindustani classical music vocalist Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande performed 'Raag Deepavali' -- a mix of two raagas -- Yaman and Lalit.