Adnan Sami, the singer of Pakistani origin with an Indian heart, has finally got what he wanted the most, an Indian citizenship.
While I’d refrain from seeing this as a major triumph for diplomacy over the barbed fence I’d like to say this: Adnan couldn’t have hoped for a better New Year gift. I’ve known him for years. He’s a dear friend and we are bonded in ways that the Wagah border cannot define. Somehow I’ve never thought of Adnan as a Pakistani. No, my next sentence is not , ‘Some of my best friends are Pakistanis.’ The truth is, Adnan is not Pakistani to me. It doesn’t matter where came from. It’s where he belongs that matters.
Last month after India allowed him to stay indefinitely in the country, Adnan was home for lunch with his lovely wife Roya. He sighed and reiterated how much at home he felt in India. “I’ve renounced my Pakistani citizenship and now India is my home, as it has been for the last 14 years. It is a relief to be allowed to stay without the fear of being asked to leave. I am honoured and grateful to the government of India for granting me the permission to stay in India for an indefinite period.”
Adnan feels India welcomes artistes from all over the world and keeps its doors open for every kind of skill. “Look at the number of nationalities and cultures that co-exist in Bollywood. The Indian government is passionate about supporting artistes from anywhere, and to allow them to pursue their dreams.”
He is proud to have made a home for himself in Mumbai. “India has been my beautiful home for 16 years. I’ve received infinite love from everyone in this country. I love the country and the people and never felt like an outsider. I am grateful to everyone in India for making me feel I belong here.”
Incidentally Adnan’s German wife Roya speaks fluent Urdu and Hindi, makes the most amazing Biryani on this side of Hyderabad and enjoys listening to all kinds of Indian music.
That brings me to the tie that binds me most strongly to Adnan. We both worship Lata Mangeshkar. Adnan inherited his love for the Melody Queen from his father. When his father was seriously ill and on his death bed in Mumbai, Lataji called him up and sang Adnan’s father’s favourite song Dheere se aaja ri ankhiyan nindiya aaja ri aaja, that timeless lullaby composed by C Ramachandra for the film Albela.
And then Adnan’s father went into an eternal sleep.
And now Adnan’s struggle to be homogenized in India is over. How happy his father would have been to see his son come home.
Welcome home, Adnan.