Akbar slams those who want to drive music away from religion

New York: Movements that seek to drive music away from religion serve neither religion nor God and their purpose is to create barriers between human beings, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar has said.

“Music is celebrated as a universal language. You do not have to belong to a particular society in order to enjoy the experience of music. One always feels that there is a touch of the divine in music,” Akbar told PTI here.

Akbar denounced those that seek to drive music away from religion, saying by doing so they are not serving God but only creating barriers between human beings.

“Those movements which drive music away from religion serve neither religion nor God nor man because they turn religion into something that is arid and sectarian. Their purpose essentially is not to serve the Almighty but the purpose of anti-music people is to drive a wedge between human beings,” he said.

He added that there are “movements among Muslims which attempt this” and he has always opposed such thinking.

The Indian Minister was in the city to headline India’s 70th Independence Day celebrations.

He had extolled the virtues of music in breaking down barriers among people and religions at an exhibition inaugurated in the United Nations headquarters honouring the life and work of India’s Cranatic music legend M S Subbulakshmi.

Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman paid homage to the legacy of Subbulakshmi through an enthralling concert at the world body, performing renditions of not just her impeccable music but also Sufi songs.

Akbar said prayers toward the Almighty are the highest form of music, be it the Islamic call to prayer the Azaan, the Shlokas in the temple, the recitations in the Gurudwara and the hymns in the Church.

“The call to prayer in Islam is the Azaan and what could be more beautifully musical (than that). Bhajan is music, Shlokas are music, a hymn is music. M S Subbulakshmi’s bhajans are the highest form of music,” he said.