Mumbai: Fifteen years ago, the affluent musician and singer from Pakistan, Adnan Sami's 'Mujh ko bhi lift kara de' caught the fancy of the public and his fortunes lifted, careerwise, in India. This year, further upliftment came his way, courtesy the NDA government at the Centre, which has awarded him the Padma Shri. Surprisingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the very party that had demanded his deportation in 2013, has now honoured him with the nation's fourth highest civilian award.
While the same award was also conferred on veteran singer Suresh Wadkar this year, the honour has been long due to him, with India's nightingale Lata Mangeshkar having made it an annual ritual to recommend his name to the Centre for this purpose. Wadkar has been singing for the past four decades and is widely popular. Why was he ignored by all the previous governments, including the Modi government in 2014-19 is the question in the minds of the public.
Sami got Indian citizenship in 2016 and since he lives in Mumbai, he is also a resident of Maharashtra. The Nationalist Congress Party, which also holds the home portfolio in the state government, took strong objection to this award.
"Sami has been awarded, first with citizenship and now, with a Padma Shri because he was a Modi sycophant. This is the true face of Modi and by announcing the award to Sami, the Modi government has insulted Indians," said Nawab Mallik, national spokesperson of the NCP and the minorities minister. "This is clearly an insult to the people of India. Are Indian Muslims not competent enough to get the Padma? Modi government wants to show that they are giving citizenship to Pakistani Muslims and Padma Shri", he added.
"As the entire country is witnessing protests against CAA, it has shown the government in a bad light on the international level. So, giving an award to Adnan Sami is nothing but a damage control exercise by the BJP," Malik said. "If you are against the BJP government, you will be tortured and if you continuously praise the BJP and Modi, you will be rewarded," taunted Malik.