December Issue 2013
Sindh’s Sufi Soul
The Endowment Fund Trust, a non-profit organisation initiated by Hamid Akhund and other concerned citizens, has been working on preserving the indigenous culture of Sindh by undertaking various projects, which includes conducting workshops, lectures and concerts to increase public awareness. One aspect of Sindh’s heritage is the province’s rich Sufi tradition, that is under threat as more orthodox interpretations of religion take root. With this in mind, the Endowment Fund Trust and Dawn Media Group organised a concert with the queen of Sufi music, Abida Parween, in the gardens of the Mohatta Palace and, alongside, launched Shah Jo Raag, a musical anthology, 20-years-in-the-making, of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s poetry in her voice.
The audience comprised nearly everyone who is anyone in Karachi, from fashion designers and NGO workers to senior politicians and journalists. Some of the recognisable faces included designers Maheen Khan and Deepak Perwani, PPP parliamentarians Nafisa Shah, Sherry Rehman and Sharmila Faruqi as well as photographer Tapu Javeri, music composer Arshad Mehmood and actor and producer Asif Raza Mir.
After speeches by Hameed Akhund and Hameed Haroon, Abida took the beautifully set-up stage, along with the Soung Faqirs, Sanam Marvi, Humaira Channa, Reshma, Dilshad Mirza, Mazhar Hussain, Zulfiqar Ali, Jamaluddin Faqir, Jumman Shah, Sarwar Ghafoor and Fahim Allan, the son of the late Allan Faqir, and Mohatta Palace came alive with the sound of powerful vocals and a wide range of instruments. They were also joined by the dhamal faqirs of Qalandar Laal Shahbaz.
Abida sang some of her most well-known numbers, including ‘Tere Ishq Nachaya,’ ‘Arey Logon,’ ‘Munjhe Rani Khe’ and brought the memorable night to a close with ‘Dama Dam Mast Qalandar,’ which had members of the audience on their feet.
The writer is a journalist and former assistant editor at Newsline.