Soulful music from the strings of the sarod will reverberate in the iconic General Assembly hall on Wednesday as maestro Amjad Ali Khan pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi at an annual concert, with the UN chief Antonio Guterres underscoring that the message of non-violence “can change history.”
The Permanent Mission of India to the UN is hosting the UN Day Concert 2018, which will feature a performance by the sarod maestro and his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash along with the Refugee Orchestra Project conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya at the General Assembly hall at the world body’s headquarters.
The concert’s theme this year is ‘Traditions of Peace and Non-violence.’
Expressing his gratitude to the Permanent Mission of India to the UN for sponsoring this year’s UN Day Concert, Guterres said in his message that this year’s concert theme of Traditions of Peace and Non-violence is one that holds special meaning to him, particularly after his visit to India earlier this month.
“The United Nations Day Concert is an annual opportunity to come together to reaffirm and rejuvenate the UN’s message of hope, tolerance and solidarity - values that have guided us for the past 73 years,” Guterres said.
The UN Chief said Gandhi, who dedicated his life to non-violence, would have been “heartened” too see that India is sponsoring a night of peace at the UN. During his visit to Gandhi’s memorial, Guterres said he was reminded once again how “non-violence can change history.”
“As conflicts rage around the world, let us call, together, for justice, equality and dignity for all. Let us cooperate across borders to defend human rights, pursue sustainable development and advance peace. A better future is always possible if we work hand-in-hand to make it happen,” Guterres said.
India had last hosted the UN Day Concert in 1966 when the legendary M S Subbulakshmi had performed in the General Assembly and enthralled a world audience with her soulful rendition of the ‘Maithreem Bhajatha.’
Over the years, individual countries have hosted UN Day Concerts with performances by renowned artists, musicians and troupes.
The UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter.
With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the UN officially came into being. October 24 has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948.
In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.
On the eve of the concert, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted, “Promoting Peace & Non-Violence. Sarod Maestro @AAKSarod to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi @UN Day Concert. #Gandhi150.”
As India marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2019, several special commemorative events have been planned across nations to honour Gandhi’s legacy and message of peace and non-violence.