When in Assam, sing like the Assamese do. That was the message from the separatist group United Liberation Front of Assam to singer Zubeen Garg. The 40-year-old singer, born in Jorhat in Assam, irked ULFA last week when he sang Hindi songs at a Bihu festival.
That’s a poke in the eye for the rebel group. Bihu is a major cultural festival in Assam, taking place three times a year. It’s a big deal for the most populous largest state in northeast India, and ULFA didn’t like Garg’s decision to sing in Hindi (check his song “Ya Ali” here) because its leaders consider doing that an erosion of Assamese culture.
“Zubeen is a talented singer but that does not mean he should consider himself an ambassador of Hindi and go all out to promote it. If he continues to do so, we shall not be responsible for any consequences,” the group wrote in a letter to the Press Trust of India wire service.
As a reply, on his Facebook fan page, Garg wrote, “i think assam is a wrong place for creative people. anyway i m gonna skipp all the bihu shows from next year.” (sic) Adding, “no power can dictate an artist.we have our own freedom……my music spoke only love n brotherhood.but some people never understood that.but i will live with my own freedom ….always.” (sic)