Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman enthralled a packed audience at the iconic UN General Assembly hall with his renditions of Indian Carnatic legend M S Subbulakshmi’s music, Sufi songs and the foot-tapping ‘Jai Ho’ at a concert to mark India’s 70th Independence Day.
The concert took place 50 years after M S Subbulakshmi performed at the UN General Assembly hall on 23 October 1966, invited by then Secretary-General U Thant.
It feels really, really good. I think 1966 was just one year before I was born. It’s been 50 years. So, (it was) coming back in a special way to celebrate one of my city’s icons, one of India’s icons- MS Subbulakshmiji,” Rahman said.
India’s Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said, the Independence day starts with the ‘aazans’ from the mosques, ‘bhajans’ from temples, devotional songs from the gurdwaras and hymns from churches. During the freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi started his meeting with the song, Ishwar, Allah, tere naam, he recalled.
The concert, organised by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN with the support of Sankara Nethralaya, an India-based civil society organisation, on India’s 70th Independence Day, was a tribute by Rahman to Subbulakshmi on the occasion of her birth centenary.
The United Nations is also celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. As India celebrates its 70th Independence day, the event emphasized that the wisdom of Indian traditions remains relevant to current global thinking. The musical evening provided a glimpse of gaiety and dynamism of India on the occasion of India@70.