Ghulam Ali Silenced In India

China isn’t the only country where there are sensitivities about popular music. Pakistan artist and 74-year-old Ustad Ghulam Ali Khan was scheduled to perform in Mumbai and Pune on the weekend of Oct. 10, but a far right-wing party threatened to disrupt them due to ongoing hostilities between India and Pakistan.

The group, which is called Shiv Sena, delivered a message to the venues hosting the would-be shows, demanding they be canceled.

The threat was publicized but tickets continued to sell well. Usually his concerts in India sell out. Ghulam Ali’s songs are used extensively in many Bollywood movies. In the letter, Shiv Sena said that India should not host concerts by Pakistanis when “our soldiers are being killed at the border,” according to

Reportedly, fans were angered by the protest that they saw as political posturing to upstage a rival organization that also advocates strict censorship of ethnic groups and nationalities it doesn’t agree with. Some of the wind was taken out of the party’s sails when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he “felt very happy after meeting Ghulam Ali. We talked a lot.” He also said he regretted not being able to attend the concerts in Mumbai. Nevertheless, the concerts did end up canceled, with the head of Shiv Sena saying that the entire issue boiled down to Ghulam Ali’s nationality.

“Terrorism and cultural ties cannot go hand in hand,” he said, according to the New York Times. Apparently, the manager of one of the venues tried to negotiate with the party, but it didn’t work out. Though the local government had promised to provide security for the concerts, the Indian organizer decided it was too risky and called them off. In an interview on Indian TV, Ghulam Ali simply said, “We came here to share love.”