around the corner. It does great wonders to my city, Hyderabad.
months of intense heat, when it rains and cools the place completely, the
dreadful summer is forgiven. Mangoes are missed but the fragrance of jasmine
still lingers and the koel’s singing slowly fades out.
washed city wears a romantic look and that is when you fall in love with
Hyderabad all over again. I recollect one such lovely evening during monsoon
and pleasant memories fill my mind, taking me back to that day.
As the car
wound its way up the hill, higher and higher, like a woman’s veil revealing the
pretty face behind, Hyderabad revealed itself at dusk.
carriage with horses awaited at the entrance, to take me back in time, on a
regal path. Treading the route taken by the Paigahs and the Asif Jahis, the
coach stopped in front of the Falaknuma – set against the blue sky the edifice
truly looked like the “Mirror of the Sky”, fully justifying its name.
popular as the Taj Falaknuma Palace, one can’t but admire its beauty and the
respect accorded for heritage by its restoration.
Bungalow is the place where every evening, exclusively for the resident guests,
a Sufi qawwali is arranged at dusk.
the vast city, with a beautiful canopy above, one gets transported to a
different world, listening to Sufi music sung by traditional Langhas and
Manganiyars, brought especially from Barmer in Rajasthan.
famous for their classical folk music. Being hereditary professional musicians,
they were under the patronage of wealthy landlords and aristocrats for
are passed on, as a form of the oral history of the desert. The traditional
benefactors of the Manganiars are Rajputs, while the Langhas have a similar
relationship with the Sindhi-Sipahi, a community of Muslim Rajputs.
philosophy is universal in nature, though some Muslims consider Sufism outside
the sphere of Islam.
Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and hope to become close to
God in Paradise after the “Final Judgment” – Sufis believe that it is possible
to draw closer to God in this life itself.
They aim to
please God by working to restore within themselves the primordial state of
fitra, described in the Quran. In this state, nothing one does defy God, and
all is undertaken with the single motivation of love of God.
which is a general term for Muslim mysticism, was originally a response to the
increasing worldly power of Islamic leaders who attracted negative attention
for their lavish lifestyles, including gold and silver tableware, extensive
harems and numerous slaves and retainers, that stood in contrast to the
relative simplicity of Prophet Muhammad’s life.
early Sufi lived in a cell of a mosque and taught a small band of disciples,
proving that through self-discipline and concentration on God, by quelling the
self, and with a passion to be one with God, it is possible to maintain a union
with the divine in which the human self melts away.
white Pathani suits and Topis, the Rajab Ali group of eight singers set off
through their music, to turn away our hearts from all else but God, to travel
into the presence of the Divine. Their rich voices with a rustic charm melted
away the urban stress and the associated maladies.
presence beckoned and took me along to an unknown world that is filled with
peace and bliss.
Tendulkar and his wife Anjali were sitting at the next table and listening to
the music. Though Taj Falaknuma hosts many celebrities, the young Qawwali
singers were quite excited to have Sachin in the audience. After the concert,
Sachin posed with them for pictures.
Langha, the main singer in his teens, beamed saying, “Oh! I am a great fan of
Sachin.” For all I know, Sachin himself was admiring the boy’s singing.
Sporting a pretty Rajasthani ajrak scarf around his slender frame, Sattar is
totally a different person when he is performing.
with a rich voice and a true desire to be one with the Divine, he sings with a
gusto that totally mesmerises.
Hu’, I requested for ‘Chaap Tilak’ and they obliged. Raag Bilawal unfolded with
impressive taans in young Sattar’s incredible voice, as the kadthal kept the
moved on to ‘Damadam mast Qalandar’, the Joie de vivre was contagious, with
them is formally trained in classical music, but they sing perfectly, never straying
from the grammar of the Raag. Roshan Ali of the group disclosed, “Sangeet
Hamaraa Ang Ang Mein Hai. We listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali
Khan, and Abida Parveen et al, do Riyaz and master those tunes.”
music, he admires M S Subbulakshmi, “Unki Layakari, Adakari Bahut Hi Ache
believe that it is possible to draw closer to God in this life itself. It’s
true, listening to Sufi music at dusk when light meets dark, you are closer to
the ultimate truth!
Source: The New Indian Express