“Ek Suratiya Ki Do Hain Muratiya, Ek Khusrau aur Ek Kabir,” says Chand Nizami when asked about performing at the Khusrau Kabir festival. He explains the statement by saying that Kabir and Khusrau were two representations of the same thing; their messages were the same and so was their devotion.
Nizami and his group are famous Sufi Qawwals who are related to the Amir Khusrau dargah. “Since we have a very old association with Khusrau’s dargah, we have been requested to sing more Khusrau than Kabir. But having grown up in a Sufi khandaan (family), we have been singing Kabir as well from a young age. So, I will surely feel like reciting a few of Kabir’s dohas,” he says. Chand Nizami belongs to the Sikandra Gharana whose singers were known as the Darbari singers of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and Hazrat Amir Khusrau for the past 700 years.
“Khusrau’s words, whether they were in Persian or in Urdu, were always dedicated to his Guru. When he saw his Guru, he would sing. Just like Kabir he also believed that everyone is equal and there should be no discrimination based on caste or creed. Both spread the same message,” adds Nizami.
“Singing songs of poet saints is a form of worship for us,” says Nizami, when asked how much of an influence have they been in his life. “When I started singing at a very young age we used to go to the Dargah and sing there. There was a dargah very close to our home and that was the place we practiced at. Singing is soothing to our senses, it soothes the soul,” he exclaims.
Apart from Chand Nizami and his group, Shounak Abhisheki and Prahlad Tippanya, who are renowned Kabir singers, will also be performing at the festival. Every year, many folk artists have come down from different towns and cities to be part of this festival. “We have added Kabir to the Khusrau festival this year and from now on every year we plan to add one more mystic saint to the list,” informs Mahesh Babu, Managing Director of Banyan Tree Events. “This is our first event this year and for me to begin a year with such great Sufi saints is fantastic,” he adds.