The concert will be led by Dhani Harrison and Anoushka Shankar – son & daughter of the original stars of the concert George Harrison and Ravi Shankar.
India will be organizing the famous ‘Concert for Bangladesh’ yet again later this year, even as Bangladesh celebrates the 50th year of its anniversary.
The original 1971 concert was led by George Harrison and Pandit Ravi Shankar in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The concert was key to raising international awareness regarding Bangladesh’s war of liberation and the refugee crisis in East Pakistan.
The concert will be led by Dhani Harrison and Anoushka Shankar, the son, and daughter of the original ‘stars’ of the concert – George Harrison and Pandit Ravi Shankar. The entire event is being done under the aegis of India’s ICCR or Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
This year marks 50 years since the concert, which is still remembered as a landmark when it comes to global ‘cultural diplomacy’. Ravi Shankar is known for taking Indian classical music to the west, while George Harrison, the lead guitarist of The Beatles has been a famous cultural icon.
There can be an official announcement on the concert during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka from January 26 to January 27. This will be the first foreign visit of Indian PM in more than a year. His last foreign visit was to Dhaka in November 2018 and since then no visit has taken place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The concert, the first of its kind, became a model for future charity events in the west. According to estimates, it raised USD 12 million for Bangladesh. 40,000 people came for the concert back then. Such was the magnitude of the concert and the awareness it generated, geopolitically it was hard for the US to support Pakistan fearing a backlash domestically.
Remember, the US had sent its Naval Ship into the Bay Of Bengal to help the then ally West Pakistan but it remained only a show of force achieving nothing on the ground.
Last year, India had organised special events in Spain to celebrate the hundredth birth anniversary of legendary sitar player Pandit Ravi Shankar. During this cultural reach out an exhibition was organized in which several memorabilia were kept including a token of appreciation given to George Harrison to commemorate the more than one million dollars sales for the record of the ‘Concert for Bangladesh’.