January issue 2009
Ode to a Mystic
On November 29, the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) held a tribute to the revered Sufi mystic and poet Hazrat Amir Khusrau. And what better way to honour the spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Aulya than by a celebration of the two most sublime forms of human expression: music and dance.
The evening was hosted by Zia Mohyeddin, whose immense knowledge regarding Hazrat Amir Khusrau was elemental in effecting the success of the event as he not only eulogised the many triumphs of the mystic in the disciplines of poetry and music, but also educated the audience with respect to the colossal importance that he commands in the realm of mysticism.
Hazrat Amir Khusrau is credited as the originator of the musical styles of Khayal and Taraana; two of the most vibrant forms of classical singing that exist today. Moreover, he is also widely acknowledged as the “Father of Qawwali.” The beginnings of the tabla are also attributed to him. A musical genius in the truest sense of the word, Hazrat Amir Khusrau wrote not only Masnavi, Qata and Rubai but also contributed significantly to the development of ghazal.
Once the audience was equipped with the necessary information to truly understand and appreciate Hazrat Amir Khusrau’s brilliance, a selected cast of performers, led by Nahid Siddiqui, who interpreted the poetry of Khusrau in a transcendent display of mime and intricate footwork, set about the task of bringing the evening alive to highlight the achievements of the great man.
The audience was held spellbound, first by Fariha Pervez and her portrayal of Khusrau’s famous Keh-Mukurni (a form of musical entertainment popular amongst young women that involves the singing of riddles) and then by sitar maestro, Nafees Ahmed and tabla master, Bashir Khan whose cross rhythmic interplay was a source of enduring delight for the captivated audience.
The show, sponsored by Enshaanlc, a Pak-UAE real estate development conglomerate, despite being affected by the unrest in Karachi at the time, was a huge success and did justice to the exalted memory of the poet who is Hazrat Amir Khusrau.
— Husnain H. Malik