Mekaal Hasan is currently on a tour to India spreading the message of peace between India and Pakistan. And he was recently in Ahmedabad for a performance when we caught up with the musician.
Coming to India and performing for a receptive crowd has been one of the fondest experiences for him and his band, even though they have toured in various other countries. Mekaal says, “India is such an amazing place. It has been so much fun performing here. There is a lot of freedom here and live performances have their own charm and experience.”
But whenever there is India-Pakistan involved, there are bound to have controversies. Ask him about it and Mekaal is candid to answer saying, “There are a lot of political motives for which people make controversial statements. But we musicians come here to perform. Music is our bread and butter, and since there are not too many options in Pakistan and severe security concerns, we look out for safer options like India to reach out to our audiences and follow our musical instincts.” He adds, “It’s not that concerts are banned or cancelled only when an Indian band goes to perform in Pakistan. Our concerts also get banned due to security concers. We haven’t done a show in the last seven months in Pakistan.”
In spite of that, Pakistan has created legends when it comes to music. To which he says, “But that won’t last for long. If the situation remains the same, the artists will die a creative death. If there are no resources, no freedom and no avenues, then how will they survive and flourish?”
Still there has been a lot of protests against Pakistani musicians coming to India and making a quick buck. “If an artist is mediocre then I would say they should be stopped from coming over. But if the artist is good, if the audience accepts them, then why should there be a problem?” asks Mekaal. He adds, “It’s not that only the singer is earning through his popularity. Everyone involved in the event earns profit. Par sirf yahi highlight kiya jata hai ki sirf hum log hi paisa kama rahein hai.”
Talking straight from his heart, Mekaal says that he and his band only believe in creating good music, and bother little about the money and politics. And that was the main reason he took up music as a profession. He says, “There were very few career options in Pakistan. But I always wanted to do something that my heart longed for. And I found that calling in music.” And that is clearly visible in his music. From collaborating with international artists to touring around the world, Mekaal has done it all. He says, “Of all the things I do, I am the best at music. And this is what I am going to do forever.”