SUFI MUSIC has been synonymous with serenity, piety, harmony and divine love and has been associated with maestros like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who took it to new heights.
But, the true heir of this musical heritage is noted Sufi Qawwal Ahmed Khan Warsi. It has not been a smooth ride for Qawwali exponents. ‘‘Bahut Kathin Hai Dagar Panghat Ki,” says Warsi in a pained voice, since Qawwali is now on the wane due to lack of patrons.
It also faced threat from other genres of music. Agrees Warsi, “Qawwali has essentially remained part of Sufiana renditions, but its chastity and originality is dying due to stiff competition from more lucrative counterparts like pop, rock and fusion remixes.
“This is because of change in temperament and mindset of the young people who like experimentation and innovation. Even today performing to a small group of sincere listeners is more satisfying than a recitation before a bunch of novices who lack appreciation for the art,” he said.
Ruing the plight of Qawwali, Warsi said Bollywood was the chief culprit for the degraded version. It was different during the times of Naushad and Khayyam. “Today film producers have reduced it to a ruckus and adulterated its purity in terms of raga and style.
But, this is a passing phase as many youngsters are looking towards it as a medium of spiritual connectivity in a stressful world. Qawwali will never lose its classical base and soothing effects no matter how much it is tampered with,” he said.
Chartbusters of singers like Kailash Kher (of Allah Ke Bande Has De fame) and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (Jiya Dhadak Dhadak) are ample proof that Sufi is back in the reckoning, he added.