Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bangaloreans, a rare treat for us

Seeking the Beloved

A Festival of Sindhi Sufi Poetry


Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai

21 November, Bangalore

What –

A festival of poetry by 17th century poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai – featuring folk singers from Kutch, poetry readings and evocative story telling of the love legends which feature in the Sufi poetry.

Where –

Sophia School Auditorium, Sophia High School, 70, Palace Road, Bangalore 560 001.

When –

6pm-10 pm, Sunday, 21 November 2010.

The poet –

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (1689-1752) is one of the greatest Sufi poets along with Rumi (1207-1273) and Mir Dard (1721-1785), but relatively speaking lesser known. His poetry draws on the power and beauty of Vedanta and Islam melding the two philosophies into one poetic and spiritual vision. His major work is the “Shah Jo Risalo” and his poems thrive today as a vibrant oral tradition being widely sung, quoted and loved by both Hindu and Muslim communities in the Sindh region on both sides of the Indo-Pak border. He takes the popular love legends of the region and speaks through the voices of different woman protagonists. Sometimes he is Sasui, sometimes Moomal, sometimes Sohini and sometimes Marui… and through their journeys of seeking the Truth he expresses his own. His poetry creates a tantalizing dance of expressions between the sensual yearnings for the earthly Beloved and the deeply meditative yearnings for the transcendent Beloved.


my veins throb


he remains silent

my beloved butcher

soothe me

only you

can pacify my soul


she jumps in

to choose safe waters

is the path of imposters

those who love

take on the mighty river

(translations by Anju Makhija & Hari Dilgir, from “Seeking the Beloved”, Katha, 2005)

Disciples and followers of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai gather from all over the world annually at an Urs at Bhitshah in Sindh, Pakistan, where the poet spent the final years of his life.

The performers –

In the festival on Nov 21st, the poetry of Shah Latif will come alive in two distinct musical genres. One is the Kaafi form of singing prevalent amongst the bhajan singers of the Meghval community of Kutch. This style will come alive in the robust yet lilting voice of Mooralala Marwada, a folk singer from Janan village in the Khadeer region of Kutch.

The second is a deep, meditative musical form known as Waee which is also the name of the style of poetry created by Shah Latif. This style is prevalent across the border between India and Pakistan. The festival will present the last exponents of the Waee form of singing in the Indian Sindh region – Mitha Khan Jat and Sumar Khan from village Bagadia in the Banni region of Kutch.

The poems and love legends –

The music performances would be interspersed by evocative story telling of the folk love legends and poetry readings by Mumbai-based translator & poet Anju Makhija and filmmaker Shabnam Virmani.

Also –

A sampling of traditional Sindhi cuisine will be available at the venue along with stalls of films, music, books, T-shirts inspired by the poetry of Shah Latif and Kabir.

Organized by –

The Kabir Project, Sindhi Culture Foundation and National Centre for Biological Sciences.

The Kabir Project is housed at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore and has been engaged for the last 8 years in understanding and sharing contemporary expressions of the 15 century mystic poet Kabir. Currently the project has begun a similar journey of understanding the Sindhi Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. The Sindhi Culture Foundation was founded a year ago with the commitment towards researching and creating awareness about Sindhi culture and history.

Donor Passes available at –

KC Das – St. Marks Road, CMH Road, Wheeler Road, BTM Layout, Marthahalli, JP Nagar,

Sampige Road, New BEL Road.

Bulchee – Garuda Mall, Forum Value Mall -Whitefield, Cosmos - Whitefield, Total Mall - Sarjapur

Sigma Mall, Cunningham Road

Prism – The Bookshop, 11th Main, 4th Block Jayanagar 080-26637527

Inside Bharati Vidya Bhavan, Race Course Road (10.30-5.30)

Supermarket – 5th Avenue, Brigade Road 080-25581248

Pecos R & B – Near Ramaiah Hospital, New BEL Road 080-40905168

PecosBrigade Road, 080-25586047

MOJO – Residency Road (near Ballal Residency) 41142038

Stones Pub – Indiranagar 41481574

Favourite Shop – Commercial Street, MG Road, Jayanagar, Indiranagar, Marathalli, Forum Value Mall, Whitefield, Mantri Square

Soch – Forum Mall, Koramangala, Commercial Street, Forum Value Mall, Whitefield, Mantri Mall

Contact & Information –

For more information log onto www.kabirproject.org

The artistes will be available for interviews and interaction from 20 November.

Contact – Aruna Madnani arunamadnani@yahoo.com Mob: 9740066219

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