On January 20th 2018, the Aam Aadmi Party government organised Awam ki Awaz, a concert of thought-provoking music with Shubha Mudgal. At a time when the dominant political party is doing little to stop the increasing polarization witnessed in recent times, the AAP government is leaving no stone unturned to bring society together and shift the discourse to things that matter to the common people. Through various art and culture initiatives the AAP government is clearly displaying its commitment to constitutional and secular values, core to its ideology.

Brainchild of Deputy Chief Minister Mr Manish Sisodia, Awam ki Awaz is second in the series of concerts held every month to bring forth and celebrate the ideas of communal harmony, peace, equality, and the right to free speech and dissent. Mr Sisodia said,

Our subcontinent has had a truly rich tradition of Hindi and Urdu poets who have always articulated what it means to be conscientious citizens in a democracy. We are grateful that we have musicians like Shubha Mudgal ji to bring alive their message of peace, communal harmony, social justice and humanity through music.  The idea of hosting such an event in Central Park is that we want its message to not just stay confined in the cozy comforts of auditoriums and conference halls, but to resonate far and wide among the people of this city. We hope to present such programmes regularly to that will bring people together and leave no room for hatred.

In this concert Shubha Mudgal sang select verses of poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Gopaldas Neeraj and Ibn-e-Insha. Over a thousand people in Central Park, were treated to a mesmerizing evening of powerful poetry rendered beautifully by her. Well known historian and activist Sohail Hashmi introduced the songs, poets and contextualized the text for the audience. Hashmi said, “At a time when all kinds of divisive things are being encouraged, it is good that spaces are being created where artists can openly perform and everybody is welcome to join. Governments have always tried to keep people in control by putting curbs on free speech. In a situation like this, if voices of dissent are being celebrated, then it is a welcome step.”

Dy CM Manish Sisodia inaugurates the concert

While inaugurating the event, Mr Sisodia said, “Only art and culture have the power to chronicle the voices of people today. We did a similar event last month too. The thoughts are the same; all we are trying to do is to ensure that these ideas should penetrate our psyche through music.”

Through the course of her performance, Shubha Mudgal rendered verses by diverse poets like Dushyant Kumar, Ibn-e-insha and Habib Jalib.

The high point of the evening was Mudgal’s rendition of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s legendary composition, Hum Dekhenge. As the gigantic tricolor in Connaught Place fluttered in the horizon, Faiz’s immortal words echoed in the air – “Sab taj giraaye jayenge, sab takht giraaye jayenge, hum dekhenge”.  Shubha Mudgal ended her performance on a hopeful note with a composition by Sahir Ludhianvi, “Aao ki koi khwaab bune kal ke vaaste.”

There were several moist eyes in the audience as Shubha Mudgal left thousands of people spellbound with verses that challenged hatred and bigotry and imagined a better tomorrow. Kartikay Agarwal, a media professional who travelled from Gurgaon for the concert said, “It was a great experience to witness such powerful poetry right in the centre of Delhi, especially at a time when it’s become increasingly difficult to speak up on such issues.” Noted social activist Shabnam Hashmi said, “I really want to congratulate the Delhi government for taking this step. It is very important to organize such programmes and I hope it is taken to different parts of Delhi.”

The line-up in the coming months of Awam ki Awaz include noted bands like Swarathma, Indian Ocean and Magsaysay award winner singer Mr. T M Krishna.

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