Latest posts by Sana Khan Afridi (see all)
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Coke Studio’s parchi system just wasted a lot of talent. This year’s coke studio was the biggest disappointment, even bigger than India’s pigeon conspiracy.
In the finale episode coke studio did cash the whole season with just one performance and that was based on someone who left this world so unjustly..
Amjad Sabri was the true torch bearer of Qawwali genre even after his demise he let people cash his voice. Before starting a debate on Sabri’s pain I would like to introduce you all with what the Qalaam “RANG” was all about and its history.
Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia specifically in the Punjab and Sindh sections of Pakistan; in Hyderabad, Delhi in India as well as Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and several parts of Bangladesh. It is part of a musical legacy that stretches back for more than 700 years. Qawwali was started by Muslim Chishti Order and RANG is supposed to be the announcement of the arrival of Moinuddin Chishti here as Sufi believes their saints are free of time – cosmos and also that Nabi, Siddiq, Shaheed, and Saleh are never dead, just gone into some other ceremonial from where they visit whenever they are mentioned, especially if there is a function in their honour.
Qawwali genre is divided into the following;
Manqabats in praise of Sufi saints
Manqabat Shaikh: Praise of the Shaikh/Pir if the performance is at an Urs celebration
Rang or Badhawa: If it is an Urs performance, then it is usually Rang, a poem by Amir Khusro.
The audience is often asked to stand when the Rang is sung. If it is the Shaikh’s birthday, it is usually the Badhawa.
Aaj Rang Hai is a Qawwali composed by Amir Khusro in appreciation of Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. It is predominantly recited at the very end of a Qawwali session.
Sultan-ul-Mashaikh, Mehboob-e-Ilahi, Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad bin Abdullah AlHussaini Nizamuddin Auliya also known as Hazrat Nizamuddin, was a famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order in the Indian Subcontinent, an order that believed in drawing close to God through renunciation of the world and service to humanity. He is one of the great saints of the Chishti order Nizamuddin Auliya, like his predecessors, stressed love as a means of realising God. For him his love of God implied a love of humanity.
It is claimed by the 14th century historiographer Ziauddin Barani that his influence on the Muslims of Delhi was such that a paradigm shift was effected in their outlook towards worldly matters. People began to be inclined towards mysticism and prayers and remaining aloof from the world.
Once a poor man, having heard of the repute of Hazrat Nizamuddin’s generosity came to Delhi from a distant part of India in the hope of getting aid from him to solve his financial problems. Incidentally, the saint had nothing to offer him that day except a pair of his old shoes. Momentously disappointed the poor man however thanked the saint and left to return to his village.
On his return journey he stayed at an inn for the night. Unexpectedly, the same night Hazrat Amir Khusro, who was returning to Delhi from a business trip in Bengal and was also staying in the same inn. Hazrat Amir Khusro at the time traded in jewellery and precious stones and was painstaking to be one of the most wealthy citizens of Delhi. The next morning, when Hazrat Amir Khusro got up, he remarked: “Boo-e-Sheikh mee ayad” (I smell my Pir’s fragrance here).
After finding the source of the scent, he found the man and asked him if he had been to see Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya during his stay in Delhi. The man replied positively and told Hazrat Amir Khusro the story of his meeting with Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, whilst holding up the pair of shoes to show how old and of little value they were.
Hazrat Amir Khusro at once asked the man to give him the shoes in exchange for his entire wealth to which the man fittingly obliged. Overjoyed at this totally unexpected good fortune, the poor man thanked Hazrat Amir Khusro openhandedly and went away rejoicing. Amir Khusro eventually reached his Master and placed the pair of shoes at his feet. After explaining that he exchanged his entire wealth for the pair of shoes, Hazrat Nizamuddin remarked “Khusro, Bisyaar arzaan kharidi” (Khusro, you got them very cheap).
Most of the compositions of Hazrat Khusro, particularly his masnavis are full of praise of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Khusro’s composition Aaj Rang Hai the beautiful collocation of narrative told of the legend where an adolescent Khusro was on a quest for his Pir and when he finally chanced upon the saint, he receited this to his mother to describe his feelings of pure bliss. Although the word rang doesn’t have a proper meaning in English as it’s not color but still here it signifies as a glow, a much higher sense of beauty. When Khusro finally meets his Pir, Nizamuddin Auliya, such is his joy that he refers to the saint as his mehboob (beloved). Khusro wrote this upon returning to his mother from meeting Nizamuddin Auliya. He talks about how he has found the ideal spiritual “guru” or teacher. The fact that Amir Khusro recited these line ecstatically when he came back to his mother after meeting Nizamuddin Aulia for the first time, after a long search for an ideal sufi master.
There are various stories about why this Qalaam was written – the most popular version goes that it was the day young Khusro met Nizammuddin Aulia. He had been seeking a pir and when he met him, of course, he knew. He came home in an ecstatic daze and recited to his mother.
What a glow everywhere I see, Oh mother, what a glow;
I’ve found the beloved, yes I found him,
In my courtyard;
I have found my pir Nizamuddin Aulia. “A Small Excrept”
In fact, Hazrat Nizamuddin expressed his attachment to Khusro in a Persian verse:
“If they put a saw upon my head and asked me to give up Khusro, I would prefer to give my head rather than to leave Khusro.”
When Hazrat Amir Khusro was not in Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya would write to him, such letters shows the passion of the Sufi master’s affection and love for his favourite disciple, who was addressed therein as Turkullah (God’s Turk) the letters were preserved by Hazrat Amir Khusro with great care. In accordance with the will of Hazrat Amir Khusro, the letters are said to have been buried along with him after his death.
When Hazrat Amir Khusro attached himself to Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya he relinquished whatever he possessed of worldly things. The master was so deeply attached to his mureed that he often prayed “O God, forgive me for the sake of the fire of love burning in the heart of this Turk.”
In modern times, Exactly forty years ago a shrine echoed with the soulfulness of RANG when Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab & Fareed Sabri Sahab recited this beautiful Qalaam. The same Qalaam in 2012 was recited by Hadiqa Kiani on season 5 of the Pakistani Coke Studio. But after forty years the Sabri and Khan family again came together to perform this beautiful retention once again. Sadly, the torch bearer of Qawwali left us too soon. Amjad sabri was the most humble man one can meet; he was gem of a person. A true Aashiq E Rasool SAW and purest soul always bringing up smile on faces. His smiling face still haunts me whenever I reckon the unjust done to him. He was killed prejudicially without being any reason there and even if there were reasons how could you take away the soul of someone this innocent like Amjad. Throughout his life he kept himself busy only to praise Allah & HIS Rasool SAW.
Shamefully, it took coke studio nine seasons to bring Sabri on the platform; hearing that Strings met Sabri first time at the coke studio session also cuts my heart. Also when he was alive they didn’t care much and now when he’s gone everybody acts like his best friend. Go and ask his family, his innocent children, his wife and specially his mother who have lost everything to this cold blooded system of ours. Sabri was the giver and in our greediness we took his life and that too he gave with open arms.
Dear Coke Studio/Team, it was too late of you to cherish the real star and it saddens me how more limelight was given to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in Aaj Rang Hai. Considering Rahat a bigger star than Amjad isn’t fair as even in vocals Sabri can’t be defeated. His powerful aura and voice can give shivers. I couldn’t see the whole video first time it took me much courage to watch the whole video. Definitely the Qalaam was strongly powerful and it did give me shivers I was numb and could only hear their voices. But to such carelessness you people couldn’t find time to write Late Amjad Sabri with his name in the video & description maybe cashing his “probably” the last performance was more important.
Lastly, don’t let this parchi system ruin our proud strength coke studio. It’s high time we realize and respect our beautiful legends, precious assets and their contributions from not only the music but other industries too, before it will be amply late exactly like AMJAD SABRI’s case! Aaj Rang Hai, Amjad Sabri Ka Laal “Today Amjad Sabri’s Glow Is Red”.