Ahmed-Mohammad Hussain: Pakistani artists are highly respected in India, our artists are suppressed

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
9 Min Read

Hussain Brothers are as adept at singing bhajans as they are at singing ghazals beautifully. This is the reason why Prime Minister Narendra Modi also praised Padma Shri Ahmed Hussain-Mohammad Hussain's Ganesh Vandana. They adopted Sanskrit instead of Urdu in school. They believe that the language you adopt wholeheartedly becomes your own. Here is a special conversation with them.

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Respect should have been given 30 years ago

We got Padma Shri, it is not our merit, it is God's grace. He does everything. There Prime Minister Narendra Modi also praised us for Ganesh Vandana. There were other award winners with us. One of them came to us, whom we did not know. He told Modi sahab that the one whose hand is in your hand and whose hand is in your hand, this is a music university and I am its student. I am sad that I am getting this honor and he too. He should have got this honor 30 years ago and I have got it now.

Gulshan Kumar had placed a condition

Gulshan Kumar ji first called us to sing ghazals, but asked us to sing bhajans. We said that we have pillars like Surdas ji, Tulsidas ji, Meera ji. When he agreed, we composed Ganesh Vandana. Gulshan ji put a condition that no musician or recordist would come wearing shoes for recording. This is the atmosphere and faith. We have learnt music from our father-guru Ustad Afzal Hussain Khan sahab. He had said that you should not sing classical music, sing light music, especially ghazals. You will get name and fame in this. When we were in school, there used to be prayers there. All the teachers of the school recognized us. From that time onwards, we started singing bhajans. This was around 1960. That series continued. Then we also sang prayers along with bhajans.

If they don't invite us then why should we go to their house?

Music, Shayari and humanity have no boundaries. They cannot be divided. Pakistan was also once one with us. Just like we divide things between young and old children in our homes, the same has happened here too. What happens is that when artists from there come to India, they are respected a lot because this is our religion. Then the sad thing is that in our own home, our artists are suppressed and elevated so much that it is beyond understanding what they are trying to do. We are not speaking ill about them. I don't know why should we go to their house if they do not invite us now. Amir Mirai has said it very beautifully,
What's the point of mentioning a rich man's party,
We will not go to the house of God without being invited

If there is a second birth, it should be in India

Muslims do not have a second or third birth, but we wish that every birth of ours should be in India. We went to America twice, but did not stay. They tried to stop us by luring us with 20-25 times more money, but we cannot leave our land and live anywhere else. You can make us perform anywhere because foreign land is always foreign land.
'We built a house here and live in this paradise,
We are fortunate that we live in India.

'A brother's appreciation is for both'

Hussain Brothers tell that their father always instructed them to maintain mutual understanding. If one of them gets appreciation in any program, stage or recording, then the other should not be jealous of it because appreciation of one will be for both. We are children of the same parents, our heart, tongue and thoughts are the same, when so many things are the same then how can we be different. Yes, there are attempts in the world to separate them. He has fed these things to us and that is why we have been singing for 60 years and sitting in front of you.

Go and find your way

Unless you walk one step at a time, you will not reach your real destination. If you do not cross all the steps, how will you know how to walk, what is the path. Even today our children do not have to go anywhere and they can reach their destination just by making a phone call to us, but we say go yourself and find the path. Understand how people behave. What all you get to hear and understand. Wherever your car stops, take help from us. If you are taken directly to the destination, you will not know the importance of that stop. We want our students to work so hard that they know what life is and how much journey has to be taken to reach Bollywood.

The identity of today's music remained for some time

People in the industry accuse the public of liking filmy and noisy songs more than ghazals. The public is also listening to Tulsi, Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir. Then why is the responsibility being put on them. You are responsible for what you are presenting. We can also change anything according to the new generation. We can sing today's compositions but after a few days it will not be seen because the composition will not have words, meaning and strength. This will not give you recognition in singing. If you see today, only a few people have made a name for themselves. Earlier it was not known who was singing. We have sung for many music directors. In the olden days, whichever music director was there, he would ask the singer to sing in his own way and would say do what I am saying. Whether it is good or bad, leave it to me. Today's music directors call us and say that Ustaad you see for yourself. If we see for ourselves then what work will remain for them. This is the reason that the identity of today's music has remained for a short time only. Things don't reach there. They themselves don't know anything. They talk nonsense that this is good, this is bad. They say that ghazals are over, you sing this. Brother, why did that end? If ghazals had ended, how would we be sitting in front of you.

Any show is incomplete without 'Main Hawa Hoon…'

In 1978, we went to Ambikapur (Surguja, Chhattisgarh). The singer-director there was Amik Hanfi sahab, who had also lived in Lucknow. He had written a ghazal called 'Main hawa hoon, kahaan watan mera…', it was made at that time and became our identity. There is another specialty in it. If we see it in Sharad, then this Raag becomes Madhyam Bhairavi and if we see Madhyam in Sharad, then it becomes Darbari. In this ghazal, we used Western, melody, harmony for the first time, which became our identity. This composition was made in 1978, recorded in 1979 and released in 1980. The amazing thing is that none of our programs were complete without it.

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