My essay on Mehdi Hasan has been published in this book compiled by Asif Noorani Saheb. This is a memorable collection of essays, reminisces and two CDs of choicest music from Mehdi Hasan. The greatest of Pakistan music icons deserves much more but this little offering brought tears to his eyes. Here is an excerpt from the essay which I will post after a permission from the publishers:
“But this has been our tragic tradition. Our greatest artists, singers, poets and intellectuals have suffered at the hands of a conformist society and state captured by puritans especially since late 1970s. It is never too late for the intelligentsia of this country to mobilise public pressure on the state machinery so that it learns to respect cultural diversity and the imperative to nurture a creative, healthy and civilised society.
Tansen taught us how music is a route to immortality. An ailing Mehdi Hasan in 2010 is fighting with death. His longevity is ensured. Tansen must be proud of his new age prodigy. “