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A musical celebration of Sufi poet Amir Khusro’s ode to women

Amir Khusrau

New Delhi: A woman’s struggle to discover her identity and her constant desire to unravel her own existence, poetically penned by sufi mystic Hazrat Amir Khusro, found voice here in a musical saga performed by a group of upcoming women artists from the Dilli Gharana.

The musical narrative “Rudaar-e-Shireen” or the ‘Tale of Shireen’ depicting the life of the protagonist, who represents an ordinary woman was performed last evening at function where the chief guest was the Woman and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi.

The saga beautifully woven with music, poetry, lights, and painting of artists recreated the era of Khusro and his spiritual teacher Khwaja Nizammudin Auliya of Delhi.

The tale depicts a women’s life starting from her marriage at an early age 16 followed by a heartbreaking separation from her home, parents and friends.

It further depicts a women’s plight and her discomfort of a new place, theĀ  immense burden of responsibilities imposed on her in the name of a “good wife”, “good daughter-in-law” and “a good mother”.

“Through Rudaar-e-Shireen, we tried to tell a musical story oriented towards women empowerment. We at Delhi Gharana strongly stand for the rights of women and we believe a society can flourish only if its women are empowered,” the director and composer of the play, Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan said.

Hazrat Amir Khusro, who founded the Dilli Gharana in the 13th century was an iconic figure in the cultural history of the Indian subcontinent.

“While composing I tried to come up with an amalgam of Khusro’s iconic Jhoola geets, sawelas, qawwalis, bidais and Banhda geets to give the play a new twist of its kind,” Khan said.

The narrative touches on pertinent issues of society like child marriage, the uncertainty of a woman after marriage, her constant struggle to survive in patriarchy, and taboos imposed on her if she embarks on a journey of self actualisation.

“Women empowerment is found everywhere these days. And portraying it through a musical story telling is innovative indeed. Khurso’s work extraordinarily threw light on the situation of women at that time,” says renowned Kathak artist, Uma Sharma.

In the composition the protagonist Shireen who denies to play any role that society has scripted for her eventually finds salvation in the divine love of Nizammudin Auliya.

The musicians were led by vocalist Vasut Iqbal Khan, who played the role of the narrator.

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