The Sufi Way

A festival of music and documentaries in the city will highlight the various aspects of Sufism.

The origins of Sufism are obscure. Even the origins of the name are not clear — some scholars associate it with a woollen garment (Jamah-i-Suf), while others think that it is derived from the word safa (purity). Some others think the word Sufi came into being from the Greek word, sophia (wisdom). Sufism, however, has influenced all performing, literary and visual art forms in the world. Now, the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi has invited Yusuf Saeed, Prof Madan Gopal Singh and Mohammed Ahmed Warsi from Rampur to share their creative experiences regarding this mystic world.

The two-day festival (March 28 and 29) will have musical performances and film screenings on Sufism. The film festival will feature documentary films by Saeed. The Delhi-based filmmaker has been producing documentaries on a range of subjects related to pluralistic culture and heritage of South Asia.

The first day of the festival will see an introduction to Sufi music and qawwali, and an illustrated lecture by Saeed and Singh. The multimedia presentation will introduce the audience to the role of Sufism in the development of Indo-Islamic poetry, music and culture.

The festival will open with the film, Boojh sakey to boojh – The Heritage of Amir Khusrau, which explores the poetic and musical heritage of the 14th century Sufi poet-composer. It looks at how the legend of Khusrau evolved over centuries not only through his Persian poetry, but also through his Hindi songs, couplets and compositions. The screening of another film, Basant, Jannat ki Rail, will be followed by a conversation with Warsi and a qawwali performance by him. Warsi is a celebrated qawwal known for his charismatic voice and vast knowledge of Sufi music.

Day two will see the screening of  Qasba Sanskriti – Amroha, a documentary that explores the material culture, performance arts and crafts of Amroha, a small town near Delhi, focusing on the cultural exchange between different communities and sects through arts, crafts, rituals and iconography. A short film, The Making of the Taj, will look through the history of the famous monument. It features historians and scholars of Mughal architecture talking about what went into making of the Taj.

The festival begins at 4 pm on March 28. Passes available at Sangeet Natak Akademi's office in Sector 34 Library.

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