Sunday, January 25, 2009

Qawwali for Obama

By Rashmee Roshan Lall, TNN, "Sufi blessings for new Prez" - The Times Of India - New Delhi, India
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In a rare act of political alchemy, Barack Hussein Obama united a South Asian Sufi tradition dating to the 16th century with the 21st, as the strains of a special 'qawwali for Obama' soared into the night-time skies over one of India's most important dargahs.

The qawwali, the first ever to be held anywhere for the inauguration of an American president, is seen as a sign of the intense anticipation heralding the accession to office of a man whom India and much of the globe believes will bring relief, if not redemption to a world weary of war and strife.

Dewan Syed Ali Moosa Nizami, chairman and pir of the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, where the qawwali was organised to herald "a new dawn of peace and hope in the world", said when Obama is sworn in as America's 44th president, "we hope it reinforces the Sufi tradition of peace and tolerance joining hearts, not cutting them asunder".

The pir added, in a nod to the congregation that usually assembles for the weekly qawwali on a Thursday, that "everyone, and Muslims too, has great hopes of Obama".

Some of those "hopes" were voiced by the pir's nephew, Ajmal, who appeared to speak for many disaffected young Muslims, both aspirational and traditionally bred to a intense antipathy towards America.

In a reference to the famous dismissiveness towards his political masters by Auliya, one of the sub-continent's most influential teachers of Sufism, Ajmal said, "He disdained to meet kings and emperors, seven of them, but politics has always been linked to religion and we now hope Barack Obama will bring about a really new world order".

But Ajmal's youthful agenda for Obama's brave new world came just as the 20-strong troupe of qawwals sang the customary sufi lovesong to the world's one constant, God.

In a possible reference to the fact the Obama era too will pass, lead singer Sultan Hussain Niyazi Qawwal chanted, "You (God) were here when there was nothing, not the sun, the moon, the stars, You were here, You're still here, You will be here when all will pass".


1 comment:

John Huber said...

This is inspirational and exciting news. Nizzamuddin is a beautiful setting for such music. Thanks for sharing.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Qawwali for Obama
By Rashmee Roshan Lall, TNN, "Sufi blessings for new Prez" - The Times Of India - New Delhi, India
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In a rare act of political alchemy, Barack Hussein Obama united a South Asian Sufi tradition dating to the 16th century with the 21st, as the strains of a special 'qawwali for Obama' soared into the night-time skies over one of India's most important dargahs.

The qawwali, the first ever to be held anywhere for the inauguration of an American president, is seen as a sign of the intense anticipation heralding the accession to office of a man whom India and much of the globe believes will bring relief, if not redemption to a world weary of war and strife.

Dewan Syed Ali Moosa Nizami, chairman and pir of the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, where the qawwali was organised to herald "a new dawn of peace and hope in the world", said when Obama is sworn in as America's 44th president, "we hope it reinforces the Sufi tradition of peace and tolerance joining hearts, not cutting them asunder".

The pir added, in a nod to the congregation that usually assembles for the weekly qawwali on a Thursday, that "everyone, and Muslims too, has great hopes of Obama".

Some of those "hopes" were voiced by the pir's nephew, Ajmal, who appeared to speak for many disaffected young Muslims, both aspirational and traditionally bred to a intense antipathy towards America.

In a reference to the famous dismissiveness towards his political masters by Auliya, one of the sub-continent's most influential teachers of Sufism, Ajmal said, "He disdained to meet kings and emperors, seven of them, but politics has always been linked to religion and we now hope Barack Obama will bring about a really new world order".

But Ajmal's youthful agenda for Obama's brave new world came just as the 20-strong troupe of qawwals sang the customary sufi lovesong to the world's one constant, God.

In a possible reference to the fact the Obama era too will pass, lead singer Sultan Hussain Niyazi Qawwal chanted, "You (God) were here when there was nothing, not the sun, the moon, the stars, You were here, You're still here, You will be here when all will pass".


1 comment:

John Huber said...

This is inspirational and exciting news. Nizzamuddin is a beautiful setting for such music. Thanks for sharing.