Sushma Swaraj, India's minister of external affairs has mediated to resolve the issue after Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, a celebrated Indian Sarod maestro, was refused visa to the UK.
The 70-year-old Padma Vibhushan awardee was invited to perform at a private music concert organised by the Durbar. It is believed that the issue will be resolved at the highest level. Amjad informed that Sushma has held parleys with the high commissioner of the UK and he has promised all possible support.
The Indian Ustad took to the social media site Twitter to express his “shock” in a series of tweets, he lamented that it was “extremely sad for artistes who are spreading the message of love and peace”.
It is believed that Amjad Ali Khan’s surname may have caused the dispute and distrust in the overseas country after Shah Rukh Khan faced a similar incident in a foreign country. However, Amjad stated that there could be another reason for refusing his visa apart from his name being Khan. He reasoned that the organisers of the UK concert, who is an NRI Sikh, may have missed some information in the application. He further informed that the NRI organizer, who operates an organisation called Durbar, has good rapport with the Arts Council and arranges a music festival in London annually.
Amjad Ali Khan stated that his visa form is being re-submitted after making corrections by the Durbar organisation. He expressed his commitment to British audiences by stating that he does not want them to suffer due to the incident. He informed that many other well known musicians are taking part in this festival. He reaffirmed that he is against the belief that he is being denied visa due to him being Muslim or his name being a Khan.
Whatever the case may be, such treatment of a celebrated artiste who has been accorded the Padma Vibhushan – the second-highest civilian award of the country – certainly raised a few eyebrows.