Reversal of ban on music concerts
IN view of severe criticism by people from different segments of society the Punjab Assembly had to reverse (Jan 27) the resolution adopted on Jan 24, seeking a ban on ‘objectionable’ music concerts in all public and private educational institutions in the province.
This resolution was triggered on account of recent deaths of three girl students in a stampede during a music concert at the Alhamra Cultural Complex in Lahore. The unfortunate incident had nothing to do with any obscenity but happened just on account of overcrowding of the premises. Punishing the student community for a solitary incident was an insensible step.
Putting unnecessary restrictions on a decades-old activity of students, which provided them happiness, was like withdrawing a privilege availed for a long time. Although the ban was applicable throughout Punjab, it would have affected college students of Lahore more than anyone else because of their deep-rooted association with music.
Lahore has always been the cultural hub of the country and abode for many famous people associated with all the genres of fine and performing arts.
People belonging to the Bombay film industry, who migrated to Pakistan after the partition, settled here and started producing films in Lahore. Music maestros Khwaja Khursheed Anwer, Rashid Attrey, Master Ghulam Haider and Feroze Nizami composed superb melodies crooned by the legendary Madam Noor Jehan, which became instant hits.
Classical singers Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan and Salamat Ali Khan came from Sham Churasi and Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and Fateh Ali Khan from Patiala and dominated the classical singing for a long time. Sitar player Ustad Shareef Khan Punchwalay and Tabla player Ustad Shaukat Hussain Khan also resided in Lahore.
Having a favourable environment for such activities all around, various colleges in Lahore also set up their respective music and dramatics societies with overwhelming participation from students.
The dramatics societies of the Government College and Kinnaird College, now both of them Universities, have been regularly staging plays.
Indian film stars of yesteryear Dev Anand, Balraj Sahni and Kamini Kaushal owe their earlier training in acting to these two societies.
When I went to college in 1962, a popular extra-curricular activity amongst the students was singing or playing some musical instrument. Every year music competitions were organised by the University of Engineering and Technology, Law College, Government College and the Forman Christian College, in which the students would compete.
Students who won prizes in music concerts during those days later became popular singers on television. One of them, D. Amjad Parvez, an industrial engineer by profession, was awarded Pride of Performance in singing.
It is heartening to know that the Punjab government has withdrawn the ban on a healthy activity which, besides providing students a source of entertainment, helps in their development as balanced human beings.