Early Sunday morning, a group of close to 60 people made their way through the gallis of the Old City, stopping occasionally to listen to tunes from a dotara, a guitar and a few beautiful voices.
Sufiyana: The Musical Trail, hosted by Hyderabad Trails was where all of this took place. Around the country, especially up North, there is a Sufi tradition called Prabhat Pheri, where people go on walks singing kirtans and playing music. The idea was to bring that tradition to Hyderabad. Gopala Krishna, the organiser says, “Of all the cities I’ve lived in, Hyderabad is the richest in terms of heritage and culture. But, I also found that it is the city where the culture is neglected the most, so through these walks I want people to know more about their city.”
Musicians Neelkanth, a folk singer with his dotara, Prem Sagar with his guitar and Raghav a singer, performed at various stops. The songs chosen were a mix of Sufi music (songs by Sufi saints) and a couple of classical songs for instance Krishna Ni Begane Baaro apart from a few kirtans. “A few of the songs are actually poems by Sufi saints, we used those poems and composed the songs,” adds Neelkanth. Prem chips in,
“This is the first time that such a Sufi walk is being held and the idea needs to be applauded, but there is always scope for improvement. Next time, we will have more performances.”
The walk started at the State Central Library in Afzal Gunj. The first performance was at a bus stop, after that the group stopped at the Jama Masjid, Afzal Gunj; but the second performance was at a graveyard near Osmania General Hospital. The group then made their way through the kitchens of Nayaab Hotel to reach their next stop, the Badshahi Ashurkhana, where there was a musical performance. The next performance was at a stop near the crockery market, that was followed by a stop through one of the bylanes where residents stuck their heads out to check what the music was all about. After that, the walk ended in a final performance in a lane adjacent to the Macca Masjid.
The group was a mix of old and young (the youngest being two years old). Padmini, who works with Tata Institute of Social Sciences believes that such walks teach you to value the culture of a city, “There is no better way than this to learn about the culture of your city. Despite living in a place, sometimes there is a disconnect with the culture, these walks help build that connect.” She adds, “Of course, music is the best way to connect people of different age groups and we’re glad that it has happened today.”...