Qawwali is perhaps one of the best equalizers in this country
The Sufi exponent Kathak Manjari Chaturvedi was the host of the first edition of the Qawwali Symposium in the city. The objective behind the educational seminar, entitled Understanding Qawwali, was to put the art form and its nuances in the spotlight and educate a generation of Indians about it and its representation in films, poetry and photography. While the symposium was previously held in other cities, the event was held at the Royal Opera House in Mumbai for the first time. During the day, speakers such as Professor Yogesh Snehi, author, poetry and literature critic Dr. Saif Mahmood, photographers Dinesh Khanna, Leena Kejriwal and Mustafa Quraishi, classical vocalist-lyricist-composer Dhruv Sangari and filmmaker, fashion designer, poet and artist. Muzaffar Ali talked about different aspects of qawwali as an art form, its importance in popular culture and its future.
Filmmaker Muzaffar Ali, known for films such as 'Umrao Jaan' (1981) and 'Gaman' (1978), has been making short films such as 'Paigham-E-Mohabbat', which was also screened at the symposium. While talking about the unconventional films he has made on topics related to poetry, dance and music on stage, he said: Qawwali has many forms, like poetry, music and dance. As a filmmaker, it is a liberation of creativity for me to be able to see different art forms through different prisms and nuances. I have not trained in music or dance, but what I believe is from my soul. These forms are also interconnected. You have to learn to appreciate them and appreciate what unites them. Har cheez mein husn hai. Fann juda hua hua hai. Aur fann ko doosre mein dekh ke usko salaam karna sab bada fann hai. Fann, chahe woh jisme ho, use duniya ke saamne pesh karne ka keeda hai mujh mein.
In describing the musical genre as an equalizer, Dr. Saif Mahmood, author, critic of poetry and literature, added: The content of Qawwali is shayari, jo log mehsoos karte hain par aasaani se keh nahi paate. It goes back centuries to the mystical poet Amir Khusrow. There are so many poets who have contributed to their growth and popularity since then. Iski ek ehem kadi kasbati shayar hain, jinhone Awadhi, Khadiboli, Brajbhasha aur Purabia jaisi dialects mein bhi kalaam likhe hain. Kasbati rangon ka bada contribution hai. Much of his work is oral. I have been working to find that poetry in written form, but even in universities, I have not found a thesis that tells all this about qawwali. And because much of it is an oral tradition, sometimes you can't tell which lines are a poet's own works. Qawwali is perhaps one of the best equalizers in this country. The syncretic symbolism of music cannot be belittled.
Prahlad Kakkar was among the guests present at the one-day seminar that ended with a performance by Khanqahi Qawwals, directed by the Danish Husain Badayuni.