Presented by Rumi Foundation, Jahan-e-Khusrau festival is designed and directed by Muzaffar Ali. Each year Jahan-e-Khusrau presents rare lyrics of Sufi mystics in an innovative form. Over the last decade it has showcased Sufi singers, dancers and musicians from different parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Iran, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, Sudan, Egypt, Greece, Germany, Japan, USA and Canada. The festival has been presenting masters such as Shubha Mudgal, Shafqat Ali Khan, Ila Arun, Sukhwinder Singh, Malavika Sarrukai, Shujaat Hussain Khan and Abida Parveen amongst many others.
The objective of this festival has been to create a bridge between the East and the West and make the audience realise its universal-ism and develop new audiences for global Sufi music. Originally held in Arab Ki Sarai, Humayun Tomb Monuments, the festival now also travels to Central Park in Jaipur and Dilkusha Palace, Lucknow. “Jahan-e-Khusrau is a spiritual tribute to the mystics and their verse. It has grown out of a passion for rendering their poetry into music. It is this journey through pure voices and sacred sounds, that Jahan-e-Khusrau has germinated as an idea in those who are in quest for a divinity that unites diverse souls. It goes into an inner realm – the realm of the heart. Over the years we have come realise the enormity of this universal space,” says Meera Ali, director, Kotwara Studios.
The festival has great potential as a niche tourism attraction, for both domestic and international visitors. According to Ali, it takes time for people to feel and believe. “The government which is the custodian of culture and promoter of tourism has to be the single biggest patron sans interference. The corporate sector too must realise its culture responsibility. And therefore there must be a certainty for its present and future. Governments with short term populist agendas are not conducive for institutionalising such events. There is a global need for such events and India is the most credible place for them,” she asserts.
Elaborating on her perception of how music festivals like Jahan-e-Khusrau can be promoted on an international platform by the ministry of tourism/state tourism boards and the travel trade industry, Ali states, “Firstly, one’s own perception of India has to be clear. The vision of India has to be beyond petty gains and narrow ideas. We need to think of a world without boundaries. India has to be proponent of oneness of the human race. Such a vision has to be spiritually and aesthetically embodied in the likes of Jahan-e-Khusrau. And only then should the travel trade and the government agencies repose faith in its presentation and promotion.” In the future consolidation of the event will be the focus. “We need to consolidate all this by going virtual and spreading the essence universally. This will energise our future plans,” says Ali. He adds that they also publish, HU- the Sufi way, a poetry oriented publication dedicated to Sufi mysticism of different regions of India.
(As told to Sudipta Dev)