Mahim Fair Qawalis: Devotion Takes Center Stage

By Snehal Mutha | Published: December 27, 2023 01:14 PM2023-12-27T13:14:40+5:302023-12-27T13:15:28+5:30

Qawali serves as a heartfelt expression of gratitude by Qawals towards the revered Sufi saint, Makhdum Faikh Ali Mahimi. ...

Mahim Fair Qawalis: Devotion Takes Center Stage | Mahim Fair Qawalis: Devotion Takes Center Stage

Mahim Fair Qawalis: Devotion Takes Center Stage

Qawali serves as a heartfelt expression of gratitude by Qawals towards the revered Sufi saint, Makhdum Faikh Ali Mahimi. As part of the annual Mahim fair, a tradition is upheld where at least 45 to 50 Qawals stage performances in honour of saint Makhdum. Qawals through their performances express gratitude towards saints for the wealth and fame bestowed upon them throughout their lives. Makhdum dargah in Mahim is drowned in the festive mood, with the preparation of the annual Mahim Fair. The 10-day extravaganza event is held from December 27th, 2023, to January 5th, 2024. Qawali is the highlight of the event, passersby can hear the soulful adoration of Saint Makhdum even half a kilometre from the Dargah. It creates a captivating atmosphere that brings the Mahim Annual Fair to life with rhythmic beats and joyful greetings. all 10-day visitors can get lost in the melodies of devotional songs. 

"Qawali emerges as the most integral part of the festival, with ten days dedicated to performances by renowned Qawals. While participation is open to everyone, Qawals must seek permission from the office. Interestingly, performances are not pre-scheduled; decisions are made spontaneously on the respective day. Additionally, plans include 7 to 8 organized Qawali sessions in the hujra (worship room of Saint Makdum), attended primarily by dignitaries. These sessions add a ceremonial touch to the festival, although they are yet to be scheduled," said a member of the management team. The PIR Makhdum Saheb Charitable Trust orchestrates Qawali in two parts: one open to the public for all 10 days, featuring at least 40 Qawals, and the other privately organized for dignitaries. In the private sessions, at least 7 to 8 renowned Qawals, including Gulzar Nazan of the famous 'Ya Baba Makhdoom' album, are scheduled to perform. "For the past 18 years, I have been performing at Baba Makhdum dargah during festivals, since then my career has touched new highs. I got a chance to work with India's two big music companies. Whatever I have it is all because of Baba Makhdum and I can't be grateful enough," said Gulzar Nazan.   

Nazan started performing at the age of 16, he has at least 80 albums to his name and he credits Baba Makhdum for everything he has achieved. Further Nazan added, " Qawali stands for unity, everyone has love for it. I have seen Ya Baba Makhdum played at Ganpati, during Saibaba Jayanti. It is also played at Ambedkar Jayanti. According to Nazan, Qawali is of two types- one is ashiqui and the other comes from the court of Nizamuddin Auliya, a Muslim scholar and Sufi saint of the Chishti Order. The central theme of qawwali sung at Mahim Dargah has been love, devotion and longing for the Divine. Usually, a qawal starts the performance by singing kalam (hymn) first in honour of prophet Muhammed. A few qawwals follow a pattern of qawali, which first starts with honouring Allah and then the walli (saints). Qawali is a form of Sufi Islamic devotional music performed at Sufi shrines or dargahs. Sufi saint Amir Khusrow is credited with fusing the Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Indian traditions in the late 13th century. "I have been performing at Dargah for the last 5 years, and today all the name and fame I have is all because of Baba Makhdum. This is my way of showing gratitude. While singing, it is just me and Baba, there is no world. It is so spiritual," added Saif Iftekhari, a professional qawal. The Qawali sessions at the Dargah premises draw 8 to 10 thousand people daily, and the Mahim Fair attracts even larger crowds eager to celebrate the legacy of peace and harmony left by Saint Makhdum. The streets are adorned with canopies and lighting, and numerous stalls offer visitors a chance to savour food.


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