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Parveen Sultana loved returning to live concerts with Music in the Park: ‘I want future generations to know about us’

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SPIC MACAY event Music in the Park brought together multiple scions of Indian classical music back to their fans in a live performance. The musical extravaganza that spanned two days and was organised at the Nehru Park in New Delhi, on March 26 and 27.

Among the artistes who joined the fest, was Begum Parveen Sultana. The Padma Bhushan awardee is a Hindustani classical singer of the Patiala Gharana. She spoke to HT about coming back to perform live for her fans, her biggest supporters over the years and more.

Excerpts from the conversation:

How does it feel to perform for a live audience after two years?

I am very happy and would like to thank SPIC MACAY for it. It was lovely to witness the excitement among the youth.

These days, even the young are showing interest towards classical music. How does that make you feel?

I makes me very happy. I want Indian classical music to be popular in every home of the world. I want future generations to know about us. Indian classical music is a divine culture and ties everyone together.

You were honoured with a Padma Bhushan at a very young age.

I was honoured with the award when I was 24. Back then, only a select few would receive the award. I would like to thank former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the Nehru family for it. She pat my back when I was honoured with this award. She told me that she wanted more and more people to know about me and what hard work can get you, that I become an example for others. Indira Gandhi supported me a lot, cabinet members showed me a lot of love. Someone would pull my cheeks or my hair. People loved me a lot.

You come from Assam but made a mark for yourself in the Patiala Gharana. How did you manage that?

I was born in the Patiala Gharana. After my marriage, I started learning from Dilshad Khan. Then I also joined the Kirana Gharana. I love them both.

Would you like to speak about your family a bit?

I used to love music from a very young age. Our family was all about music. My grandfather would play the flute. My father studied in Kolkata and it is the hub of Indian classical music. He used to mingle with the elite crowd and that’s how music entered our house. That’s the atmosphere we grew up in. We did not have a television in our house and would only read The Statesman and The Weekly. Apart from that, I would listen to Omkar Nath Ji and Salamat Ali Khan. I learnt a lot from them.

Any message for your fans?

Bring our music to newer heights, support our students, the young are our future. If we don’t care for the young, our future cannot be bright.

(By Prachi Rajput)

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