Asian rock bands join for Indian quake victims

NEW DELHI, Reuters

Four South Asian rock bands came together for the first time in the Indian capital to raise funds for victims of an earthquake that hit India’s western Gujarat state earlier this year.

Indian bands Euphoria and Silk Route, Pakistani group Junoon (Obsession) and Bangladeshi rock band Miles shared the stage in front of hundreds of fans in New Delhi on Sunday evening.

The ‘United for Gujarat’ concert was held to raise money for victims of the earthquake that devastated the state in January, killing at least 30,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

“If all of us can stand on the same stage and play together and have no animosity against each other why can’t they (politicians) do the same,” Euphoria’s singer Palash Sen told reporters.

Neighbors Pakistan and India have long been bitter rivals. Bangladesh and India have traditionally been friendly neighbors, but their forces recently clashed on their border and 16 Indian and three Bangladeshi soldiers were killed.

Ignoring politics, members of the four bands said they looked forward to getting together again.

“If politicians knew how to rock and roll they wouldn’t be politicians, they would be musicians,” said the lead singer from Miles, Hamin Ahmed.

The crowd danced and cheered as the bands performed individually and later came on stage together for a final song.

But organizers were disappointed by the turnout and said they would not be able to collect the 4.5 million rupees (US$95,958), they were hoping for.

They said the total amount collected was still to be calculated.