Folk singer slams government apathy -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Folk singer slams government apathy

KHAIRPUR, May 19: A folk singer has criticised the government’s failure to help performing artistes. Alghoza Nawaz Mohammad Urs Bhatti raised this issue while talking to journalists on Friday. He said that though he had been performing for more than 15 years, the government had never offered him a job or a grant.

“Diabetes and hypertension have badly affected my performance during the last couple of years,” he said, adding that “I’m facing difficulties in raising money for medical expenses as I have to look after the families of my two deceased brothers as well.”

“The Sindh government and the Department of Culture frequently invite musicians to perform in their programmes which we attend without giving importance to our personal problems,” he said, recalling that he had to go back to work on the second day of his wedding to record a scheduled programme at Radio Pakistan. Yet, he complained, the government always turned down his requests for help.

Bhatti is a resident of Pacca Chang, Khairpur district, and studied the art under famous Alghoza Nawaz Misri Khan Faqir for about 10 years. They jointly performed at a number of functions.

During the past decade, Mohammad Bhatti had been regularly performing at the annual urs celebrations of the Sufi saints Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and Sachal Sarmast, but was not given even a single award.

The folk singer has had the honour of performing internationally, in Switzerland, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Malaysia and Japan where he played Sindhi Kaafi thaath music, including the Bhervi, Tillang, Kohyari and Raano raags. Though Bhatti received offers for many teaching positions abroad, he preferred to remain in Pakistan.

The great musician is heart broken at the lack of recognition in his homeland and he has decided against letting his son follow in his footsteps. “Musicians like me receive neither respect nor support in Pakistan,” he said.
Source: Dawn
Date:5/20/2007