Adnan Sami was there at the polling booth in Mumbai on Monday to vote for the Lok Sabha elections. What made him a unique voter was the fact that Adnan relinquished his Pakistani citizenship in 2015. This election he voted in India as an Indian citizen for the first time.
“It was surreal,” exults the singer-composer who describes himself as a true Indian. “I’ve felt at home in India for 19 years. But this time I felt I was truly an India.”
Adnan confesses he was waiting to exercise his voting right as an Indian citizen. “I’ve waited for this moment. Would you believe, I couldn’t sleep on the night before the voting. All kinds of anxieties passed through my head…what if I was turned away (from the polling booth) what if I overslept? Suppose my car broke down on the way to voting?... But it was all smooth and very very satisfying. I felt like a true Indian. This is where I belong and now I can choose the government I want.”
In 2015 when Adnan got his Indian citizenship he had told me, “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.”
The musician par excellence couldn’t thank the Indian government enough. “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 permission to stay in India for an indefinite period.”
Adnan feels India welcomes artists from all over the world and keeps its doors open for every kind of skill. “Look at the number of nationalities and cultures that co-exist in Bollywood. The Indian government is passionate about supporting artists from anywhere, and to allow them to pursue their dreams .”
He is proud to have made a home for himself in Mumbai. “India has been my beautiful home for almost 20 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.”