Tuesday, October 26, 2010

About Qawwali... by Abid Ikbal

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Raag

‘Qawwali’ is considered to be an integral part of culture in Pakistan. Pakistan has produced ‘qawwals’ like Qari Saeed Chishti, Sabri Brothers, Aziz Mian and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who became the identity of the country throughout the world. But now these legend ‘qawwals’ are no more alive and the art of ‘qawwali’ is declining due to lack of attention from the concerned authorities.

The new breed of ‘qawwals’ is facing hurdles in continuing this old art. One such ‘qawwal’ is Imran Aziz Mian. He is the son of Aziz Mian Qawwal, who had ruled the field for almost three decades and gave a new touch to this art with his unique style. Imran Aziz Mian, learnt ‘qawwali’ from his father and has the same style and voice.

In an exclusive interview with this news agency, Imran Aziz Mian said: “I was only 8 years old when I started getting training in ‘qawwali’ from my father. However I released my first album after his death”. He said that he had released eight albums, but now he has no plan for any other album as he thinks that ‘qawwali’ has lost its charm due to the government apathy.

“There is no set-up in our country for the preservation of this art. Neither our TV channels nor radio stations are doing anything. ‘qawwals’ have no platform where this art is promoted”, he said. He said that the environment of Rawalpindi and Islamabad has no scope for ‘qawwali’, while the situation is comparatively better in Lahore and Karachi. “I am thinking about shifting to Lahore from Rawalpindi”, he added.

Imran Aziz said that he had performed in the US and India where he got terrific response from the audience. When he was asked why doesn’t he switch over to other forms of music like ‘ghazal’, ‘thumri’ or pop, he replied that he only wants to promote the art of ‘qawwali’.

According to him, ‘qawwali’ is the ‘epicentre’ of all types of music. “A ‘qawwal’ could sing any type of music because he has full command over all types of ‘surs’, but I want to preserve the dying art”, he explained.

Imran Aziz Mian said: “qawwali played a key role in the spread of Islam in the subcontinent. Khawaja Moeenddin Chishti had used ‘samaa’ (qawwali) to persuade the non-Muslims.

As a result, more than 90,000 Hindus embraced Islam”. He added ‘qawwali’ has enough power to change the current disastrous situation, which Pakistan is facing. The young people could be persuaded towards peace through ‘qawwali’.” “The government should take immediate steps to preserve the dying art of ‘qawwali’.

The new generation of ‘qawwals’ should be appreciated by the government and provided a platform where they can show their talent”, he demanded.


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