Chennai and Tamil Nadu
JYOTI NAIR BELLIAPPA
Melodies of mysticism
The Banyan Tree event, Ruhaniyat, was a spiritual celebration — the crux of Sufi music.
An esoteric tradition: Latif Bolat.
The Banyan Tree event, Ruhaniyat, reflected a unity and the mystical power of love at the
All India Sufi and Mystic Music Festival. Parvathy Baul and Vishwanath Das from West Bengal sang in the tradition of Baul singers, whose music bore the anhad nad (the unstuck sound) in the line of Sufi saints such as Meera, Kabir and Guru Nanak.
While their free abandon was uplifting, the rendition of Latif Bolat from Istanbul, Turkey, combined haremic music with the hermetic. Besides reciting a poem by Sayyed Saifullah Nizamol, a 16th century Sufi poet, which gave the crux of Sufism as being unity of all creations, Latif presented a medley of compositions. The premise of which is that nothing belongs to him and everything is a gift from God.
This realisation was further strengthened by Ismail Para from Bhuj who sang in Multani, Sindhi and Punjabi to further the esoteric tradition of tasawwuf, that is Sufism.
The Zikr, — remembrance of God — a key to human happiness, was enunciated by Baithi Dhamal and through Bulleh Shah’s compositions sung by Khachra Khan and the folk musicians of Punjab, who upheld the oral mystic tradition.
The Siddhi Goma tribe from Gujarat with their painted faces and peacock feathers presented a rhythmic, spectacular, colourful show that retained the essence of a 700-year-old African tradition, in a language which they as migrants practised, and which finally culminated in the breaking of coconuts on their heads in mid air — a feat that left everyone awe-struck.
In an effort to unite with the universe, the elderly Dron Bhuyan group from Assam presented a drone-like sound which removed them from the realms of reality and into a union with the cosmos. There were many musical instruments with amazing sounds. Last but not the least were the Nizami Qawwals, Ghulam Sabir and Ghulam Waris, who have had the privilege of performing at The Royal Albert Hall, London. Their presentation was animated and powerful. They offered in quick succession, five beautiful compositions which left one asking for more.
‘Mere Maula Ali,’ a composition of Ghulam Waris, highlighted the Quranic roots of Sufism and the religious experience that it entails and presented the sacrosanct position of Hazrat Ali in the scheme of things.
It is pure ecstasy that the Sufi Qawwali aims to achieve with an element of Sama, a climate that is conducive to forgetfulness and the reverberations ensuing from the repetitive notes lead to a highly charged state of spiritual celebration.
A composition of Hazrat Amir Khusro revealed a closer, more mystical relationship between the lover and the beloved. ‘Bahut din beete Piya ko dekhe, main haari tum jeete…’
The next piece was ‘Main tuo deewaanee Khwaja ki deewanee’ addressed to Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti of Ajmer, a place of universal pilgrimage visited by believers of all faiths.
Siddhi Gomas from Gujarat.
The ever popular fast-paced, ‘Damadam mast qalander,’ with foot-tapping beat was quite an experience. The ‘Rang Aaj Rang Hai Eema Rang Hai Ree, Meire Khwaja Ke Ghar Rang Hai Ree,’ which stood for the mystical union and losing of one’s identity had a timeless quality to it. It would be appropriate to quote Munna Shaokath here,
“Koiee samhjhe tuo kya samjhe, koiee jaane tuo kya jaane,
haqeeqat sufion ki bas nabin samjhe, Khuda jaane.”
(Who will understand and who will know the Reality of the Sufis?
Prophet will understand and God will know.)
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