Music does not have borders.
Bhajans are tied with India, more than they are tied with religion. Bhajans which are usually religious or spiritual in theme, and based on ragas – are also free form. The word ‘bhajan’ literally translates to ‘sharing.’
And while there are several bhajans which are pretty popular, Vaishnava Jana To is one of the most famous ones. This bhajan was included in Mahatma Gandhi’s daily prayer and speaks about the life, ideals and mentality of a vaishnava Jana, who is a follower of Vishu.
The song highlights how, the follower should, “feel the pain of others, help those who are in misery, but never let self-conceit enter their mind.”
As a gift to India, Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali, who was the lead vocalist of the Pakistani rock band Fuzön, sang the bhajan, on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.
The song was sent via the Indian High Commission, and posted by a user on Facebook. Watch the video below.
He has also received a lot of praise for the song.
My friend @ShafqatAmanatA sings #VaishnavaJan , Gandhiji’s favourite bhajan, and proves pretty conclusively, as he always does, that music is both, “ibaadat” and “bhakti” together! https://t.co/SklUXzF11x
— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) October 3, 2018
Brilliant idea and equally brilliantly done by MEA . Top singers from 124 countries rendering Gandhi’s favourite ‘Vaishnav jan toh…’ Don’t miss @ShafqatAmanatA from Pakistan. Hope commando comic channels will forgive…
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) October 2, 2018
‘The rendition of ‘Vashnav Jan’ by @ShafqatAmanatA is probably the best after @mangeshkarlata , I have come across. 👏👏👏 . Plz do watch https://t.co/3Ppdw3AijJ via @YouTube @BDUTT @islahmufti @sardesairajdeep @sagarikaghose #GandhiAt150 #GandhiJayanthi #Bapu
— ARUN (@ManhasArun) October 3, 2018
This bhajan has earlier been covered by prominent Indian musical artists like Lata Mangeshkar, Jagjit Singh and M. S. Subbulakshmi, and was also reinvented by several singers for this 150th, which you can watch here.