Zakir Hussain, whose wife is an American, could easily have acquired an American passport but he never urged for it as he feels that his family had a deep-rooted bond with the culture of India.
Even during partition, Husain’s family decided against migrating to Pakistan as they did not want to lose their Indian identity by distancing themselves from the beautiful, culturally rich nation. Hussain believes that Indians are generally peace-loving and intolerance issues are few and far-in-between.
Being a hardcore Mumbai boy, he grew up in the lanes of Mahim. His father, an acclaimed tabla player himself believed in discipline and dedication and very staunch follower of Islam. Hussain would wake up for morning prayers and riyaaz and head to the madrasa to pray and study.
Hussain joined St Michael’s school where he was taught hymns and novenas. He even visited temples in the evening before coming home. Hussain feels that he was blessed as nobody ever stopped him from doing all this and he grew up with a multi-religious perspective.
Talking about the issue of Ghulam Ali’s concert, Hussain says that music has an independent global identity which is beyond the realms of region or religion.
Political parties have their own agenda and in all this many people bear the brunt. Media has a lot of hand in adding fuel to the fire, Hussain feels.
For Zakir Hussain, music is his religion which is over and above any other religion in the world. It was his father who introduced him to the pakhawaj of Lord Ganesha and dumroo of Lord Shiva.
The prime challenge Hussain has faced as an artist is the challenge of monotony. He has always tried to introduce spontaneity and has always helped his fellow artist to perform his best. He felt that was the only way he could bring up the level of the entire performance.