It was a festive occasion as the Hazrat Shaikji Hali Dargah near Gulzar House was decked in yellow marigold flowers for a ‘Sufi Basant festival’. The evening started with a traditional qaul, Maan Kunto Maula by Ustad Ateeq Hussain Khan Bandanawazi and team. Ateeq further sang the famous Chaap Tilak, Dama Dum Mast Qalandar, Allah Hu and other Sufi compositions. Ateeq is from Hyderabad and his forefathers hail from the Gwalior gharana. Ateeq says, “The Sufi Basant festival is a 750-year-old tradition at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi. I feel very happy to be performing in Hyderabad since last four years. We are all one. Why should we not celebrate ‘Basant’? I feel all Dargahs in the country must celebrate this unique festival started by Hazrat Amir Khusro.”
Guest artiste Ghulam Hasan Khan (son of Ghulam Abbas Khan and grandson of Padma Shri Ghulam Sadiq Khan of Rampur Sahaswan Gharana) from Delhi sang compositions in raga Basant, raga Darbari, raga Kirwani and raga Bahar to rhythmic accompaniment on tabla by Udaykumar. Hasan had been to Hyderabad in his teens accompanying his father for a house concert in Begumpet. He was very excited to meet Ateeq Hussain as both discovered that their forefathers were related.
Janab Haji takes care of the Shaikji Hali Dargah and narrated the history of how Sufi Basant festival started in India. “Hazrat Amir Khusro decked himself with marigold flowers and added mustard flowers to his musical instrument. He appeared before his master Khwaja Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and started singing in joy on the occasion of Basant Panchami. Recognising his pupil in the avatar, Aulia burst into laughter. The incident made him smile again after a long time of depression from death of his nephew.” Most of the guests were of the opinion that similar festivals of the past need to be revived so that there is more communal harmony in society and the feeling of togetherness grows below the umbrella of music and culture.