Lessons in Sufism

Published: Nov 18, 2012, 10:59 IST | Tunali Mukherjee |

Head to NCPA for Sama'a: The Mystic Ecstasy Festival of Sufi Music for a heady mix of the arts and mysticism under one roof

Intrigued by all things Sufi but can’t get beyond the Whirling Dervishes? NCPA’s Sufi festival Sama’a is your one-stop guide to Sufism.

The three-day festival kickstarts on November 21 with an illustrated lecture titled ‘From Quest to Astonishment, then Nothingness: Sufis as seen by the Indian painter’. It will be presented in association with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. Eminent art historian Dr B N Goswamy will provide an insight on Sufism as interpreted by Indian painters.

Speaking about his lecture, Dr Goswamy says, “Sufiyat may have originated out of India, but from Kabir to Guru Nanak, Sufi thinkers have been very influential in the country. Different people bring their own understanding to Sufism, and I’m interested in the way painters saw it. I’ve selected paintings from the Mughal era and Rajasthani artists and want to present the painter as someone who encounters Sufism and tries to understand it through his own world.”

The talk is followed by ‘Love, Longing and Transcendence — in search for the spiritual’, a classical dance performance by Malvika Sarrukai, who will perform to renditions of Amir Khusrau’s poetry by Shubha Mudgal, to music by Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan.

Independent filmmaker, researcher and author Yousuf Saeed will screen his 70-minute documentary titled The Heritage of Amir Khusrau. The film, which took a decade to make, studies the life of India’s 14th century Sufi poet-composer Amir Khusrau Dehlavi. It follows his evolution through his poetry, Hindi songs, couplets and music compositions that have been archived by musicians and others scholars in north India and Pakistan.

In a bid to discuss what Sufism means to the common man, and where he fits in this mystical world of awareness, peace and tolerance, actor Farooque Shaikh will talk about Sufism and the Common Man. The talk will try to demystify Sufism by pushing the common man’s perspective into limelight.

Sanam Marvi and Group will conclude the festival with a Sufiana music performance on Friday, November 23. Performers of Sufi music from Sindh and Punjab, who are popular across the globe and on music shows like Coke Studio, Marvi and Group will perform ghazals and folk genres in Urdu, Sindhi and Saraiki. Marvi sings compositions of great Sufi mystics like Allama Iqbal, Baba Bulleh Shah, Baba Shaikh Farid, Alam Lohar, Sanchal Sarmast and Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.

Sama’a: The Mystic Ecstasy at NCPA from Wednesday, to Friday. Tickets available at venue 

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