Pakistani-origin musician Adnan Sami who became Indian citizen in the year 2016 had expressed his "infinite gratitude" at being chosen for the government award, Padma Shri. Moreover, since the central government made the announcement, he has become the centre of a political debate over his Padma Shri award.
On Thursday, the 46-year-old musician spoke to a daily about this controversy and said that his name was unnecessarily dragged into the debate by "minor politicians" trying to gain mileage. He also said that he shared good relationships with people across political spectrum.
"The people who are criticising are some minor politicians. They are doing it because of some political agenda that they have and it has nothing to do with me. I am not a politician, I am a musician. "They have their own political agenda and issues with the government and they are using my name as another stepney to try and further their agenda," he said in a media statement.
The whole controversy started when the Bollywood singer and composer, Sami was recently involved in a Twitter spat with Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill. His father's past as a Pakistani Air Force pilot has also drawn criticism but Sami finds this argument "irrelevant".
"My father was a decorated fighter pilot and he was a professional soldier. He did his duty for his country. I respect him for that. It was his life. He got awarded for that. I did not benefit or credit from that. Similarly, he cannot get credit for what I do. What is my award got to do with my father? It is irrelevant," he said.
Sami also added that he has been unnecessarily dragged into political issues. He also mentioned that he is ready to face personal and professional criticism but dragging his name into politics was unnecessary.
"I am dragged into it because of politics and not because of my art. The irony of all this is that all these wonderful, rosy sentences that art knows no boundaries or art is above politics, why don't they practise that? Leave art and artistes out of this nonsense," he added.
"Now I am an Indian citizen, perfectly entitled to be given this award. They are bringing the Pakistani element, it is funny, hilarious. They are picking up on something because they don't have anything else to pick up on. These are all junior guys, either they are trying to become relevant and some of them don't know that their seniors are so respectful. I am friends with everybody, whether it's the BJP or the Congress. I am a musician. I share love through my music," Sami concluded.