Blind Pakistani girl learning music in India
08 May, 2005
NEW DELHI, May 09 (Online): She was born in the United Arab Emirates, brought up in Pakistan and has been living with a family of Hindu singers in India for over three years - for the love of Dhrupad classical music.
The fact that Aliya had been blind since birth did not stop her from crossing the border and knocking at the doors of well-known Dhrupad exponents - the Gundecha brothers (Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha) of Bhopal.
And she is thrilled with her experience in India. "With all this knowledge, I am going to teach Dhrupad to music lovers - thus spread it in Pakistan. It will deepen cultural relations and love for each other's art forms," Aliya told IANS.
As Pakistan has no Dhrupad exponents, this knowledge will be an asset for the classical music fraternity there, said the 24-year-old who was in New Delhi to give her first stage performance.
"There should not be any barrier to learn new things - no religion, no boundary."
No barrier has ever stopped Aliya, at least definitely not being blind. "It's just your dedication and passion for the subject that takes you through."
Aliya, whose father works in Dubai and mother is a housewife in Pakistan, was not too sure how things would turn out when she first came to India. The institute in Lahore where she used to learn music had advised her to go to the Gundecha brothers for further training.
"When I came in 2002 under a student visa, there was a lot of apprehension. After three years of stay, I have no bad feelings. I love Hindustan (India) and the people here," Aliya said.
Sure enough, as she prepares to return to Pakistan, she is taking back lots of clothes, handicraft items and bangles for her friends and relatives.
What she will cherish most, though, is her teachers' blessings.
"More than being a student of the Gundecha brothers, I have been like a family member. The environment, the love and care and personal attention I have got will always remain with me for life," said an emotional Aliya.
Her heart overwhelmed with the love and knowledge of music showered upon her, she said: "I am going to tell my friends in Pakistan to come to India and learn the fine nuances of different classical music forms."
She believes that by exchanging each other's expertise, India and Pakistan can strengthen relations. "For the betterment of our countries, there should not be any hatred among people.
"See, I am returning home with a bag of goodwill," said Aliya. "As a peace ambassador, it will be my duty to give a perfect picture of India.