New Delhi- The 70-year-old Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, who has shared his rich experience in Indian classical music was “shocked and appalled” that his application for a British visa to perform at a festival in London had been rejected.
Amjad tweeted.“Extremely sad for artists who are spreading the message of love & peace…,” he said in another tweet. He said he had been performing abroad almost every year since the early 1970s, and the rejection of his visa application had “upset” him.
Khan has performed many times in Britain and he was to form at the Darbar Festival which is dedicated to Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee (1937-2005), to be held in the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, on September 17 and 18. Tickets have also been sold for the events.
A spokesman for Southbank Centre said. “It is extremely unfortunate that Amjad Ali Khan has been refused a short-term visa to come and perform at Southbank Centre, which we understand is due to a recent change in the visa’s guidelines.”
“We are working closely with the high commission to try to rectify this situation and are hopeful that he will be able to perform on September 17 at the Royal Festival Hall as planned.”
Khan said, “As compared to earlier, it’s happening more now. The moment you are Khan or Ali, these issues come up. I haven’t been given a reason for the rejection. There never is. But a lot, I think, has to do with the current situation in the world. May be they are considering world peace, harmony and disharmony matters. In these, they’ve also forgotten that I am an artiste, who will be there as a messenger of peace.”
Khan approached Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj via his Facebook page for help. He said.“They must understand the feeling of the artiste. We all want peace and harmony. This is becoming a very sad situation for the artistes who are trying to spread the message of peace and love across the world,” he added.
“I am committed to performing at the Royal Festival Hall and have already said yes to the organisers. I’m hoping that the matter would be looked into.”
On Friday Shah Rukh Khan was detained briefly at the Los Angeles international airport.