The message of his music would be that “we must realise that all of us have a common God and we are a common race,” he told IANS in an interview on the eve of the concert on Wednesday.
“We have great regard for Mahatma Gandhi and that is why I am here for this concert (with) a message of peace, love, non-violence,” he said.
“It is very sad that in the 21st century we are still killing each other on account of religion,” he said.
“The 21st century should have been very peaceful, very successful, but it is instead full of problems, full of terrorism.
“There is a fear of insecurity in every country,” he said. “So we need more people like Mahatma Gandhi, we need people who are committed and dedicated to peace and tranquility.”
Khan will be performing with his sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan Bangash and the Refugee Orchestra on the theme “Traditions of Peace and Non-violence”.
The concert will be at 4.30 a.m. India Time (from 7 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. at the UN Headquarters here) and will be webcast and can be watched at webtv.un.org.
The Refugee Orchestra brings together instrumentalists and singers who have fled to the US to escape violence and persecution as well as those who are friends and families of refugees.
Khan said: “This will be the first time I will be collaborating with the Refugee Orchestra.”
They will be playing, appropriately for the UN and his message, his composition, “Sangam” which, he explained, “means confluence of two cultures”.
It will feature “both my sons, Amaan and Ayaan, and me — three sarods — with the whole orchestra,” he added.
Khan contrasted the pure power of music to unite with the potential of language to create discord.
“Music has connected the world; language creates barriers,” he said. “I belong to the world of sound and through sound I cannot manipulate. If I am out of tune, the world will realise that I am out of tune. But through language people manipulate. Unfortunately language is ruling the world.”
“Unfortunately, with all due respect to education, education could not create compassion and kindness in a human being,” he said.
He said that he inherited not only music but his humanitarian philosophy of the unity of mankind from Hafiz Ali Khan, his father and guru.
“He not only taught me music, but he also taught me a way of life. In the very beginning in my life (he taught) — ‘All of us have a common God and we are the common race’,” Khan said.
“I think this message should have been conveyed by every priest of every religion,” he added.
“But, unfortunately every priest, they have their own agenda because (of how) they get their monthly salary. So the priest is not conveying the right kind of message to the people of the world.”
“So we need many Mahatma Gandhis in the world to create peace,” he declared.
He added, “We are very fortunate to have President like Ram Nath Kovind, and Prime Minister Narendra Modiji (who) are conveying the message of Mahatma Gandhi. They are taking it forward.”
Khan’s concert will come 52 years after Carnatic vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi gave her recital at the UN in 1966 for the UN Day.
Fifty years later, on August 15, 2016, Indian composer A.R. Rahman performed at an Independence Day concert at the General Assembly.
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