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Kabir festival begins with a moving performance

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Prahlad Tipanya performing at the Kabir festival in Bangalore on Friday.
Prahlad Tipanya performing at the Kabir festival in Bangalore on Friday.

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: The three-day Festival of Kabir in Bangalore – “Koi Sunta Hai” – got off to an unostentatious start with the lighting of lamps in earthen pots by participating artistes.

As Prahlad Tipanya, the Kabir singer from Malwa put it, the symbolism was most appropriate considering that the saint-poet of 15th century India often compared the human body to the earthen pot in which the Supreme Spirit glows.

The event on Friday included screening of one of Shabnam Virmani’s four films on Kabir, “Had-Anhad”.

Beginning with images of the demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya, the film slowly travels away from the militarist image of the God to one which breaks barriers and binds the human spirit.

The journey is at once physical and metaphorical, as the film moves from India to Pakistan.

The highlight of the day was the brilliant performance by Prahladji, who interspersed his rendering of Kabir’s compositions with short interludes in which he spoke about the poet, his philosophy and its relevance to the present in the most evocative and yet unpretentious idiom.

The most telling comment of Prahladji was the passing reference made to Rama Sene.

A Kabir panthi, he said, had suggested: “With people like Prahladji, we should now start a Kabir Sena!” He found this ridiculous, he added, because that would be forming another boundary, against the spirit of Kabir.

The rendering of Prahladji moved the two invited Pakistani singers — Shafi Fakir and Fariruddin Ayaz — so much that they spontaneously walked on to the stage and shook his hands even as he was performing.

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