Jashn-e-Khusrau: Sufi fest brings visitors to ignored monument

The ongoing ten-day cultural festival, Jashn-e-Khusrau, comes with an added objective this year — to bring the lesser-known monuments of the Capital to the fore as performance venues. 

Against the backdrop of the Chaunsath Khamba, the qawwali performances that are the highlight of the event have successfully brought this 17th-Century Mughal-era monument out of obscurity. The monument plays host to the qawwali performances based on the Persian and Hindavi compositions of the celebrated 14th-Century musician and poet Amir Khusrau. 

The choice of venue seems more suitable given the fact the Khusrau’s mazaar is next to that of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, in the neighbouring Nizamuddin Basti. “The physical restoration and landscaping of monuments such as the Chaunsath Khamba is linked with their use as cultural spaces. (Here) the shared legacy of Amir Khusrau’s music can be performed by musicians from India, Pakistan and beyond,” said Tara Sharma, programme officer (culture) of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), organisers of the festival in association with the India International Centre. 

The Chuansath Khamba, a Mughal-era monument, has stood unvisited for decades, but now it serves as a pivot for cultural revival in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti.” AKTC undertook landscaping and conservation work at the Chaunsath Khamba with community support to create a performance space. Heritage conservationists feel if the trend is taken forward, by bodies like the Archaeological Survey of India, this could be the solution to several of Delhi’s monuments that rarely see visitors. “We will be working with the Qawwal families to create training and economic opportunities through regular performances at historic venues in the Basti linked to this intangible cultural heritage. Through this festival we aim to use culture as an urban renewal tool,” Ratish Nanda, project director, AKTC told Newsline.  |…|

Source: Indian Express

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