That the concert was a much-awaited event was evident from the long queues that had formed outside the Chowmahalla Palace entrance much before the concert started. "I have come here not only for my love for Sufi music but also because I do believe that music can break barriers and bring about peace,'' said a hopeful homemaker, Anita Dhawan, a resident of Lakdi-ka-pul, as she stood in the queue eagerly awaiting to embark on the musical journey of peace.
Many left the first World Cup match between India and Bangladesh to make it for the concert, which they felt was their way of expressing faith in the peace process. "The message of peace is more important than the match. So we decided to come here,'' said cricket buff R Suneesh of Deloitte.
In tune with the concept of atithi devo bhava, Sanam Marvi was invited to perform first. The petite looking 25-year-old surprised everybody with her robust voice, the melodious tunes transcending the listeners to another level.
Performing a string of Sufi numbers, Marvi had the audience in a trance with her rendition of Amir Khusrau's Chaap tilak sab cheeni mose naina milaike or even Punjabi Sufi poet Bulleh Shah's Tere ishq nachaya. Marvi, looking stunning in a mustard kurta and green shalwar, went on to perform another kalam by Bulleh Shah Main Janu mera maula jaane, which had the audience clapping, cheering on the young singer, who had made her debut in India only last year at the Sufi music festival Jahan-e-Khusrau. And it was her Parchan shaal pavaar, a duet she has originally performed with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, that had Hyderabadis break into wah wahs, admiring the singer's mesmerising voice that held their attention for a good one hour, when Rekha Bharadwaj made an entry.
The two singers from two sides of the borders melted the boundaries in seconds as they teamed up for a rocking jugalbandi of Damadam mast kalandar. The duo set the stage on fire as Bharadwaj's husky, earthy voice with an unmistakable tinkle, blended with Marvi's powerful voice. If peace was the message of the evening, it was tehzeeb which both Indians and Pakistanis are famous for, that was the clear tone. If Rekha Bharadwaj greeted her Pakistani concert partner with main dil se tumhara saath doongi (I will accompany you with my heart), Marvi sat in the audience to clap and cheer as Bharadwaj performed, who incidentally dedicated her first Sufi number Tere ishq mein to Marvi.
With lyrics by Gulzar and composed by Vishal Bharadwaj, Tere Ishq Mein is from Rekha Bharadwaj's first album Ishqa Ishqa released in 2004. As she moved gently on the stage, swaying to the beats in her black dress with white sequins created by Nikhil (of Nikhil-Shantanu), Bharadwaj took time off singing to thank the Aman ki Asha initiative of The Times of India and Jang group to give artistes like her an opportunity to be part of the peace process. She went on to give her tribute to acclaimed late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with Tere bin nai lagda dil mera, after performing the title track of Ishqa Ishqa. And of course, the crowds did not let go of her without getting Raat ke dhaai baje (Kaminey) and Sasural genda phool (Delhi 6) among her other hit numbers.
The setting of the evening could not have been better. Washed in many hues was the Chowmahalla monument, standing tall and bright, and providing the perfect background to the performing artistes were the glittering chandeliers that date back to the Nizam's time. If the palace is famously known to be a synthesis of many architectural styles, on Saturday evening it saw two diverse styles of Sufi performances but with a common message - of love and peace.
"But then even Hyderabad Deccan reflects the message of Aman ki Asha. There are so many communities from different religions coexisting here,'' said Priyanka and Mohnish Shah, an IT couple living in Secunderabad. Watching the magical performances from a huge distance was the full moon, shining bright on both the countries represented on stage in a mystical evening.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
LUDHIANA: Partition saw him move to Pakistan but his heart still lies here in this city. Seventy-five-year-old Shabbir Ahmed Mufti Ludhianvi has .....more
I made lasting friendships with Indians as a high school student in an an international school in Victoria, Canada, then later as a graduate .....more
Unassuming, down-to-earth and soft spoken, tennis ace Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi embodies the spirit of Aman ki Asha, together with his Indian do .....more
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw