Prashant K. Nanda; ((Indo-Asian News Service); June 18, 2005
She was born in the United Arab Emirates, brought up in Pakistan and has been living with a family of Hindu singers in India for over three years – for the love of Dhrupad classical music.
The fact that Aliya had been blind since birth did not stop her from crossing the border and knocking at the doors of well-known Dhrupad exponents – the Gundecha brothers (Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha) of Bhopal.
And she is thrilled with her experience in India. "With all this knowledge, I am going to teach Dhrupad to music lovers and spread it in Pakistan. It will deepen cultural relations and love for each other's art forms," Aliya told I.A.N.S.
As Pakistan has no Dhrupad exponents, this knowledge will be an asset for the classical music fraternity there, said the 24-year-old who gave her first stage performance in New Delhi.
"There should not be any barrier to learn new things -- no religion, no boundary." No barrier has ever stopped Aliya, at least definitely not being blind. "It's just your dedication and passion for the subject that takes you through."
Aliya, whose father works in Dubai and mother is a housewife in Pakistan, was not too sure how things would turn out when she first came to India. The institute in Lahore where she used to learn music had advised her to go to the Gundecha brothers for further training. "When I came in 2002 under a student visa, there was a lot of apprehension. After three years of stay... I love Hindustan and the people here," Aliya said.
What she will cherish most, though, is her teachers' blessings. "More than being a student of the Gundecha brothers, I have been like a family member. The environment, the love, care and personal attention I have got will always remain with me for life," said an emotional Aliya.