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MUMBAI: The first thing that Pakistani singer Adnan Sami did on receiving Indian citizenship on the New Year’s day was to say: `Jai Hind’.
After receiving the certificate of Indian citizenship, the 42-year-old singer tweeted, “A New Beginning…A New Feeling…A New Belonging…A New Love Affair…A New Country…Jai Hind.”
Adnan Sami, whose father fought in war with India as a pilot with the Pakistan Air Force, didn’t agree with the statements by Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan about growing intolerance in India. He said their remarks may be based on their own experience, but he has not experienced any intolerance in India.
“Had there been intolerance, I would not have taken Indian citizenship. I have never experienced intolerance. There is no intolerance in India,” the singer said.
Sami, who has been based in Mumbai since 2001 and has sung some of the most memorable songs in Bollywood such as `Kabhi To Nazar Milao‘ and ‘Lift Kara De‘, thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for granting him the Indian citizenship. Adnan’s latest hit song is Bhar Do Jholi Meri in Salman Khan’s blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
When his Pakistani passport expired on May 26, 2015, and the Pakistani authorities refused to renew it, Sami decided to renounce his Pakistani citizenship.
The question of cancelling my passport doesn't arise..Pak gov refused to renew it in May 2015 AFTER which I renounced my citizenship! FACTS!
— Adnan Sami (@AdnanSamiLive) November 17, 2015
The decision to grant Indian citizenship to Sami was taken before his birthday in August. When Sami got this news in August, he had said, “What an amazing gift I’ve received this birthday. The gift to breathe freely in my home. I can’t begin to express my relief and gratitude. I’ve renounced my Pakistani citizenship and now India is my home, as it has been for the last 14 years.
“I am over the moon . It is a relief to be allowed to stay without the fear of being asked to leave. I am honoured and grateful to the government of India for granting me the permission to stay in India for an indefinite period.”
Praising India for allowing artistes from all over the world into Bollywood, Sami said, “Look at the number of nationalities and cultures that co-exist in Bollywood. The Indian government is passionate about supporting artistes from anywhere, and to allow them to pursue their dreams.”
He said, “India has been my beautiful home for 16 years. I’ve received infinite love from everyone in this country . I love the country and the people and never felt like an outsider. I am grateful to everyone in India for making me feel I belong here.”
Adnan Sami belongs to an aristocratic family of Pakistan. His father Arshad Sami Khan was a decorated war hero who served as a Pakistani Air Force pilot, and then as a bureaucrat and diplomat for his country.
Adnan’s family traces its roots to Herat in Afghanistan where his grandfather General Mehfooz Jan served as Governor of four provinces before he was assassinated in 1929.
After his grandfather’s assassination, Adnan’s family left Afghanistan and moved to Peshawar in Pakistan which was then part of British India. So, in that sense, Adnan Sami is an Afghan.