The Sindhi [Secular] Sufi Music Festival this weekend focuses on an example of shared heritage of India and Pakistan
The Delhi Government has become known for promoting art and culture with a number of festivals throughout the year. To brighten up this weekend is the Sindhi Sufi Music Festival organised by the Department of Art, Culture and Languages. Here, singers from India and Pakistan come together to sing Sufi compositions.
Two leading singers from Pakistan — Sanam Marvi and Tufail Sanjrani — will join their Indian counterparts — Ghansham Vaswani, Kajal Chandiramani and Uma Lalla — to showcase the shared culture of Sindhis through the poetry of Sufis like Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. Kathak dancer Namrata Pamnani will also perform at the festival. March 16 and 17, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) from 5 p.m.
Calgarian Sindhis met over lunch last month where a vast majority of friends attended the program along with their families. We celebrated this program with a theme of ‘Latif Day’ and encouraged our youth to speak about sufi poet Shah. The objective was to have our kids understand Sindh’s heritage and the life of our great poet of peace, Shah Latif. This gesture was very well praised by all the attendees. The beauty of this program was the enthusiastic attendees who spared no single minute but to get involved in our traditional Katchehri.
Courtesy: SANA list + Sindhi e-lists, February 14, 2013.
Today, the Sun did not rise! Today, the Moon too went mourning! Today, the stars ceased to twinkle! Today, Maestro who refurbished with longing and yearning the souls of the seekers of Truth has passed away! Pandit Ravi Shankar jee has reinvented and rejuvenated Raaggu Sindhi Bhairvee.
اَڄُ نَہ اوطاقُن ۾؍ سي طالِبَ تَنواريِن؍
“Acju na otaaqun mein, sei taliba tanwaareen”
“Alas! Worthy devotees found not in courtyards today”
(Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)
Such GREATS are born once in a lifetime! All lovers of Raaggs and Kalaams and Classical music will forever miss the MAGIC of Maestro Ravi Shankar. May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace!
Sitar is an instrument which really perplexes most Westerners. Using this musical instrumeny, Ravi Shankar helped connect the world through music. The sitar virtuoso hobnobbed with the Beatles, became a hippie musical icon and spearheaded the first rock benefit concert as he introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over nearly a century.
“Preima akharu paarrhei, SatiGura manu seetal kayo” (Saamee)
“Taught me lessons of love assiduously,
True Master enlightened my soul graciously”
(Saamee Chanrai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)
Ravi Shankar was the legendary Indian instrument ‘sitar’ maestro and composer. He was most esteemed musical Ambassador and a singular phenomenon in the classical music worlds of East and West.
“Ravi Shankar has brought me a precious gift and through him I have added a new dimension to my experience of music. To me, his genius and his humanity can only be compared to that of Mozart’s.” (Yehudi Menuhin)
Listen and be enamoured, enriched and enlightened by the super rendition of Sindhi Bhairavee by the great Maestro here….
Pandit Ravi Shankar jee was always ahead of his time. He has written three concertos for sitar and orchestra, last one of which in 2008. He has also authored violin-sitar compositions for the world renowned Maestro, Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal, music for Hosan Yamamoto, master of the Shakuhachi and Musumi Miyashita – Koto virtuoso, and has collaborated with Phillip Glass (Passages).
آديسي اُٿي ويا؍ مَڑھيۇن مۇن ماريِن؍
“Aadeisee uthee wayaa, marrhiyuun muun mareen”
“Noble disciples gone forever, their solemn absence does slay”
(Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)
As a performer, composer, teacher and writer, he has done more for music than any other musician. He is well known for his pioneering work in bringing Indian music to the West. This however, he did only after long years of dedicated study under his illustrious guru Baba Allaudin Khan and after making a name for himself in India.
Always ahead of his time, Ravi Shankar has written three concertos for sitar and orchestra, last one of which in 2008. He has also authored violin-sitar compositions for Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal, music for Hosan Yamamoto, master of the Shakuhachi and Musumi Miyashita – Koto virtuoso, and has collaborated with Phillip Glass (Passages).
اَڄُ پڻ اُتَرَ پارَ ڏي، ڪارا ڪَڪَرَ ڪيسَ؛
“Acju pinnu utara paara ddei, kaaraa kakara keisa”
“Gloom ‘n darkness here ‘n there abound , today as well;
Black murky clouds on Northerly horizon, today as well.”
(Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)
Ravi Shankar is an honourary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is a member of the United Nations International Rostrum of composers. He has received many awards and honours from his own country and from all over the world, including fourteen doctorates, the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan, Desikottam,Padma Bhushan of 1967, the Music Council UNESCO award 1975, the Magsaysay Award from Manila, two Grammy’s, the Fukuoka grand Prize from Japan, the Polar Music Prize of 1998, the Crystal award from Davos, with the title ‘Global Ambassador’ to name some.
In 1986 Ravi Shankar was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house of Parliament.
Deeply moved by the plight of more than eight million refugees who came to India during the Bangla Desh Freedom struggle from Pakistan, Ravi Shankar wanted to help in any way he could. He planned to arrange a concert to collect money for the refugees. He approached his dear friend George to help him raise money for this cause.
This humanitarian concern from Ravi Shankar sowed the seed of the concept for the Concert for Bangla Desh. With the help of George Harrison, this concert became the first magnus effort in fund raising, paving the way for many others to do charity concerts.
ھۇجي جيٸَ کي جياريِن؍ سي لاھۇتي لَڏي ويا؍
“Huu jei jeeya khei jiyaareen, sei laahuutee laddei wayaa.”
“Filial ones nourished our souls, no more in motherland stay.”
(Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)
His recording “Tana Mana”, released on the private Music label in 1987, brought Mr. Shankar’s music into the “New age” with its unique method of combining traditional instruments with electronics.
He has been described as the ‘National Treasure of Sub-continent” by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. There is never going to be another Maestro Ravi Shankar! A supreme legend, he was far above each and every legend in the field of arts, music and entertainment. And, there is never going to be another 12.12.12 – that day in History when the Master Sitarist breathed his last at the age of 92 years.
جي ساہ سنڀارَ، سي اَڄ
جن جي ساہ سنڀارَ، سي اَڄ پَنھوارَ پَري ٿِيا،
(سَچَلُ سَرمَست، سُر مارئي، ۱داستان پهريون)
“Jani jee saaha sanbhaara, sei acju panwhaaraparei thiyaa”
He gave his life so that our Sindhrree can live and breathe. On 9th August, every year, the valleys and fields, hills and mountains, cities and towns, hovels and villages, rivers and lakes and every leaf of every tree and each pebble of the sacred Land of Sindh screams for one of the valiant, verdant, veritable and venerable son of Sindh, Nazir Abbasi, who was so brutally snatched away from the warm embrace of our sanctimonious Mother, Sindh, by the savages and barbarians!
آھِين شانَ شَعۇرَ سِين؍ جانِبَ تۇن جيڏو؍
مۈنتي ڪَرِ مُنھِنجا پِرِين؍ تَھِ تَسي تيڏو؍
اِيھو ڪامِلُ ڪَمُ ڪيڏو؍ جي نَوازِين نِگاھَ سِين؍
“Aaheen shaana shauura seen, jaaniba tuun jeiddo,
Muun tei kari, munhjaa pireen! Tahi tasei teiddo,
Eeyo kaamilu kamu keiddo, jei nawazeemi nigaaha seen.”
(Bhittai: Sur Barwo: 2/1)
“With Glory and Grace, O Loved One! Thee Supremely Lofty!
For Thine Blessings, O Beloved! Likewise, do make me thirsty!
Perfect is Thy Magnificence, sanctify me with Thy Magnanimity!
(Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)
It was sometime in early 1970s that there was a “Clash of Principles,” between my dearly beloved father and myself. That ‘clash’ resulted in myself moving out of the house of my father in Karachi and take up a rental little house in Latifabad, Hyderabad. Here in the peaceful surroundings of this wonderful Housing Society, myself , my mother, two younger sisters and a younger brother made our abode for a couple of years.
My mother was old, frail and her health was not better condition and my kid sister, Masna, was there to take care of her. My other younger sister Suraiya and brother Zahid were studying in Sindh University and as an eldest in the family, I had this privilege, duty, responsibility and honour to take care of them.
By 1970, I had already become a ‘veteran’ fighter for the rights of Sindh, Sindhis, Sindhi students and progressive Forces, who ignited the fire of Sindhyata and Sindhiness in the 1960s. Be it the Army Dictatorship of Ayub Khan, or Sindhi Language, or discriminatory policies and practices against Sindhi students, or One Unit, we were out on streets, agitating and protesting non-violently, peacefully against all forms of bias, discriminations, perjuries, torture, torment and tyranny suffered by the sweet, innocent, simple children of beautiful Mother Sindh! We were all the time, rounded up by the savage Authorities and thrust into inhuman prisons along with the criminals, rapists and murders. We were under constant scrutiny and gaze of the wily, wretched Army and Police.
By 1970, many of those valiant sons and daughters of Sindh, my dear colleagues, my dear friends, my fellow travellers on the Path of Freedom, my buddies soldiering for Sindh Rights, after achieving their objectives, more or less – breaking up ONE UNIT, getting Sindhi language recognised as a National Language, getting rid of the dictator Ayub Khan and supporting to success Z.A. Bhutto and his new fledgling Political Party – were married with few children and having to support large combined families of siblings and relatives. We were busy eking out a living supporting our children, siblings and many family members and relatives.
I was a young Merchant Navy Officer at that time and had to leave home for few months to make a living on board foreign-going cargo vessels. During my absence, Suraiya and Zahid took care of the family and some of my dear friends kept our house replenished with groceries and all other needs, requirements to keep the family alive and comfortable.
During my visits home, after months of sailing, I used to meet not just my own friends but also those of my younger siblings, Suraiya and Zahid, who were both actively involved in student politics, nationalist, socialist and other issues affecting Sindh and Sindh people. Regularly, friends of my activist siblings, came visiting me at our home for ‘aashirwaad,’ as an elder and guidance and advice, if any.
Being veterans of countless struggles for Sindh, Democracy, Language, Socialism, Sindhyata, we were always sought by the young Freedom Fighters, who had taken our place to continue the struggle for the enlightenment and emancipation of our motherland, our fatherland! We continued meeting these valiant new soldiers of Sindhiness, sharing our experiences with them, advising them, guiding them and just encouraging them to move on, march on, never to look back and to STAND UP and BE COUNTED!
One sweaty hot morning of scorching Summer of Sindh, Zahid, my younger brother, brought with him a young man, handsome-looking and with an aura of wisdom and greatness surrounding his personality. I was mesmerised by his effervescent and humble demeanour and extremely enamoured by his extraordinary knowledge of the principles and precepts of Socialism, Communism and Sindhi Nationalism and firmly well-informed and well-read about the icons and leaders of each of these ‘isms,’ – like Lenin, Mao, Castro, Che Guevara, Hyder Bux Jatoi, Ustad Bukhari, G.M. Syed and others.
Since then, we met few times, had memorable kutchehries, discussions and shared our views and ideas. Sometimes, we were also joined by Jam Saqi and few other veritable and venerable icons of universal peace, co-existence, Sindhyata and Sindhiness.
This young man was Nazir Abbasi, whom, at a first glance, I found him to be so very much in love with Sindh, Putthheeya Ughaarraa (shirtless) Sindhi peasants, farmers, kurrmees, and so passionately involve with the fight for the rights of workers, fishermen, labourers and students. He was absolutely in control with what he was professing, planning, and practicing!
Nazir Abbasi continued pushing forward and pursuing relentlessly, ardently and intrepidly for the rights of Sindh and Sindhi downtrodden and suffering masses. He devoted his entire life, sacrificing family and friends, for his noble CAUSE and he enjoyed every moment of his serious involvement in his mission, until the last day of his celebrated life!
Shah Latif took care of two stray puppies he found. He named them motii (pearl) and khenuu (ball) and they accompanied him on all his travels across Sindh.
An old Sindhi Syed once visited my house. I asked him if he wanted me to keep the dogs away. No, he replied with smile: “Please let them be. They says angels stay away where the dogs are. I am an old man with many illnesses, as long as the dogs are around, I may be safe from the angels of death!”
In 1969, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto addressed students at Liaquat Medical College, Jamshoro, Sindh. He was allowed to speak on the condition that he would not talk about politics. However, in his speech, he said being a political animal, he could not refrain from speaking on the subject. He said the following:
– If Shah Lateef were alive today, he would be behind the bars. For all his poetry is based on democratic ideas.
– One unit is an evil. Were Shah Bhitai alive today, he would oppose One Unit.
– A child’s education should be in his/her mother tongue. No doubt Urdu and Bengali are national languages, I feel and as a minister I tried that Sindhi children be educated in Sindh.
Via → Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups → Mohammad Ali Mahar → YouTube
-By: Nazeer Naji – Season of Confessions – Aetrafaat Ka Mausam, Daily Jung, August 27, 2009
Nazeer Naji is a senior news columnist inPakistan’s Urdu press. He frequently writes in the country’s largest newspaper, Daily Jang. /[Now he writes in Dunya News]/…. Below, is [Daily Jang, August 27, 2009] column by Nazeer Naji revealing some facts quite needed today, especially for people of Karachi and MQM: “After listening interview of Lt Gen (rtd) Naseer Akhter and Brig (rtd) Imtiaz on ARY, I got so disturb, which forced me to open my mouth, which I kept shut for many years, as I never felt safe for the life of my family, especially kids. A big lie of General Naseer Akhter and Brig Imtiaz regarding map of Jinnahpur, as they also had no knowledge! In 1989, as a Captain I was posted to B Company 50 Wing Bhittai Rangers district center Karachi in aid of civil administration. At that time MQM terrorist activities were on the top. I was local area force commander located in KDA office Liaqutabad and was responsible for almost entire district centre, where MQM leader was living (90) and had headquarter (89) in Al-kerm squire adjacent to my company location. I was the most active and well known officer at that time, because of my actions against all sorts ofcriminals. I had so much knowledge of the area, upon which general officer commanding major General Saleem Malik was assisted by me for the recce of the area. None of the IB person came forward or had the knowledge of the area, as they did not dare to enter the area being controlled by MQM. Where as IB personal have been making their reports after getting the information from us, while sitting their offices. MQM never spared any intelligence agencies personal, if ever entered to their area, thus they had very little knowledge about offices and torture cells of MQM on ground and a very little knowledge about MQM activities. Thus how it was possible for Brig. Imtiaz to investigate the map of Jinnahpur? How he confirm that it was not the actual? What were his resources, where as I was never contacted, since I recovered this map along with many other documents from Al-kerm squire.”
“Dust of Their Earthly Remains, Abdul Latif affirms, Surely Esteemed”
By Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom, Singapore
Today is that day in the glorious, glittering and grand History of the Great Nation of Sindh, when her most illustrious, filial, worthy and noble son, Shah Abdul Latif of Bhitt, was born. We celebrate today is the 330th Birth Anniversary. His sanctified and sacred soul eternally resting in the Garden of his Beloved and his earthly remains interned permanently in the warm, divine and hallowed lap of venerable and Blessed Mother Sindh, Bhittai, till today, 267 years after his passage into Eternity, remains an iconic, and saintly figure.
Thousands, from far and wide (even as far as from Berlin, Germany) throng to his Shrine at Bhittshah to attend his annual Urs (Festival of Love, Peace, Longing and Reverence), which lasts for three days, to pay homage to the memory of this great Saint, Sage and Sufi of Sindh. His remains may be mortal but his legacy, spirit and message is surely immortal and evergreen.
HYDERABAD: Renowned historian and research scholar of Sindh and Pakistan, Dr. Nabi Bux Baloch passed away on Wednesday. He was 94. He was born on December 16, 1917, in Jaffer Khan Laghari village, Taluka Sinjhoro, Sanghar District. He was scholar of Sindhi, Persian, Arabic and Urdu languages. He was author of a number of books on Sindh history, and about 42 volumes on Sindhi Folklore. He also compiled and published Sindhi dictionary in five volumes. Moreover, he compiled Sindhi-to-Urdu, Urdu-to-Sindhi dictionaries co-authored with Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Khan. He has compiled works of Classical Sindhi poets including Shah Inayat, Qadi Qadan, Khalifo Nabibakhsh, Hamal Faqir and compiled works of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai in ten volumes. He rose to the positions of the first Dean of Education Department and Vice-Chancellor of University of Sindh. He also worked as first Chairman of Sindhi Language Authority and Chairman of Allama I.I. Kazi Chair. His works in Sindhi Language has been published by Sindh Moti Manik Tanzeem Hyderabad and Institute of Sindhology, University of Sindh.
Kunwar Mahendra Singh Bedi Sahar, Phir chaley baad’e bahaari. Guru Nanak Ji was a Sufi and he taught Sikhs to respect all, and love all with truthfulness, if someone disrespects any faith, he is disrespecting himself. Love and respects to all nations, all races and all creeds. Live and let live that’s the way, the future is peace, there is no other way.
Bedi Saheb is Extra ordinary and lajawaab person. His Hindi/ urdu poetry recitation is beautiful. Listen to him and think what are you fighting for. All the true Sufis are above the sectarianism. Like Baba Guru Nanak Ji, Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal Sarmast, Sami, Bulleh Shah, Rahman Baba and others. True Sufis are open minded people. They emphasised on love, peace and communal harmony with Allah/ Eshwar/ God within yourself and most of the times the religious scholars didn’t understand their way of thinking and love with God. Mazhab nahi sikhaata aapas mein bair rakhna.
Salmaan Taseer dedicated his personal fortune to the cause of publishing the unvarnished truth and the people’s right to know this truth. It would not have been possible for this paper’s editorial board to carry itself independently were it not for Salmaan Taseer’s personal commitment to not only this project but to the very freedoms of speech and expression.
“The sorrowful smell of the mist,
Lingering over the Indus,
Gentle waves of rice, dung and rind,
This is the salt cry of Sindh,
As I die let me feel,
The fragrance of tears”
— Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.
“It was a Sindhi poet, Shah Abdul Latif, who captured the forlornness of his country in this haunting verse,” wrote Salmaan Taseer in the opening chapter of his 1979 book, Bhutto: A Political Biography. I have read these words many times but had never once thought that the forlornness might get deeper than the deepest depression one could feel. But the assassination of Salmaan Taseer has left many of us even more devastated and depressed than what Shah Latif could depict.
I do not mourn Salmaan Taseer alone but I also mourn those who have been killed before him on the perilous path of speaking their mind, and those who will be killed in the future on this journey. Ayesha Siddiqa, Kamran Shafi, Nadeem Farooq Paracha, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Sherry Rehman, and so many others are living on borrowed time. It is not a matter of if but when an indoctrinated bigot let loose by the deep state will get to them or, for that matter, any of us who decline to follow the rotten creed that it has been peddling for decades.
However, I have a feeling that Salmaan Taseer would not have wanted to be remembered with melancholy. His illustrious father, Dr M D Taseer, once said:
“Parwana jal kay dil ki muradon ko pa gaya, Aur shama reh gayi rukh-e-zeba liay huay” (Translation: The light-loving moth has died caressing the candle flame. The candle thus remains alone in all its elegance).
It is nearly impossible to accurately translate the above Urdu verse, which my father, Malik Rahat Ali, had quoted while writing Dr M D Taseer’s obituary for Edward’s College, Peshawar’s magazine Tajjali (light) in 1951. The obituary was titled ‘Aik raushan dimagh tha, na raha’ (an enlightened mind is no more). It is amazing how references to light and progressive thought keep popping up when discussing the Taseers and in the work of the Taseers themselves. Pakistan, and the liberal thought within Pakistan, is the candle that Salmaan and M D Taseer loved to the extent that to see it remain alight, they would dedicate their lives to it.
When thinking of Salmaan Taseer, two images come to mind. One is of a political activist and the second is of a patron of progressive and liberal thought. Perhaps senior members of the Indo-Pakistani leftist movement will recall that Dr M D Taseer, along with Abdullah Malik and Rajindra Singh Bedi had pioneered a liberal publishing house called Sangham Publishers in 1947, before the partition. I would not be wrong in assuming that the Daily Times and its media affiliates came into being due to Salmaan Taseer’s desire to follow in his father’s footsteps. …
Sindh – Hyderabad : October 03, 2010- Tens of Sindhis held peaceful protests on October 03, 2010 in different cities of Sindh against terrorist acts of religious right on NATO supplies. By condemning these acts of violence we are separating the people of Sindh from those who thrive on religious & ethnic hatred in Pakistan. We are sending a clear message to the world that the land of Bhittai believes in tolerance, peaceful co-existence and respect of all religions of the world. We are working on G.M. Syed’s true & real message of brother hood & humanity. These are the teachings of G.M. Syed that are giving us courage to stand up against religious right in Pakistan. ….
“Sachal, Thy friend, suffers in painful afflictions aplenty”
By Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom
In the beautiful land of Sindh, there is a beautiful goothu ( a village), Daraazaa. Here in this calm, sanguine, sanctuary of peace and tranquillity stand a monument, a Dargaah, an earthly monument, to that Heavenly Immortal soul, my murshid, my guide Saaeen Sachal Sarmast. The love for the Suufees, Faqeers and Darveishes of this remarkable land of Sindh that is enshrined in every son and daughter of this glorious land of Sindh is really heart-warming, inspiring and touching, indeed.
This paak, pavitar, pure dhartee of Sindh, the Cradle of Civilisations, had given birth to countless Suufees, Saints, Sages, Auliyaas, Avtaars. It is in this glorious land of Sindh that humanity learnt to breathe and take its first step towards emancipation, enlightenment and Eternal Peace, Prosperity and Progress.
Some people say that he fell in love, left home, became a phenomenon and came back to marry the woman who had been refused to him earlier. There is no way of knowing whether the career of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai of Sindh actually paralleled the Count of Monte Cristo so closely (and we need to be careful about apocryphal stories woven around the lives of great saints), but there are other testimonials to the warmth of the heart that throbbed in him.
Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689-1752) (Sindhi: شاھ عبدالطيف ڀٽائيِ) was a Sufi scholar and is considered one of the greatest poets of the Sindhi language.
Where there is no heaven and no trace of earth, Where the moon and the sun don’t rise, nor descend, That far the yogis have set their destination they shall perceive the Lord in Nothingness.
(Shah Abdul Latif)
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