Sufi singer Dhruv Sangari popularly known as Bilal Chishty is training youngsters on different platforms in order to bridge the gap between communities through music. The 35-year-old believes people Sufi music is the best way to bring them closer.
“Sufism isn’t confined to one religion, it is the path to peace. The idea is to involve young minds to erase differences at various levels. Before training anyone in the field of Sufi music, it is important to make him aware of the idea behind it,” said Bilal, who learnt music under the tutelage of late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Gone are the days when few people understood and appreciated Sufi music. “Now people follow Sufism and the music, I believe, has the potential it make t h i s wo rl d peaceful,” said Bilal, a resident of Jangpura who has recently returned from New York, where he performed at Society for Ethical Culture. During his tour, he also delivered a lecture on poet and Sufi musician Amir Khusro.
He began training i n Hindustani classical music at the age of seven under Shahana Bannerjee and tabla from Pandit BS Ramanna. Later, he developed interest in Sufism and Sufi music and learnt qawwali from Ustad Meraj Ahmed Nizami of the Delhi Qawwal Bachhe Gharana.
During early 90s, Bilal received guidance by late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He has a master’s degree in Hindustani classical music from the University of Delhi and has been performing professionally since 2001 with his band Rooh, which means soul. His range includes Farsi, Arabic, Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi Sufi and Bhakti poetry from the works of famed poets and saints. The continuous singing made him more skilled in languages like Farsi and Punjabi as the poetry he sings was either related to Mawlana Rumi or Punjabi Sufi poet Bulleh Shah. Bilal comes from a family which has no connection with music and is the first to take it up as a career. His father was into hotel industry and mother is a professor in English literature. He has taught Sufi music in several universities, museums, official and cultural institutions. For his work in the field of Sufi Music, Dhruv has received awards from the University of Baroda, India and the Smithsonian Institution, USA.