Explore Kabir’s poetry

‘The Kabir Project’ comes to town this weekend

September 09, 2015 03:29 pm | Updated 06:49 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Vipul and Shabnam

Vipul and Shabnam

To the urban population, the mention of Kabir probably brings a flashback of learning his ‘dohas’ for an examination in school, only to have felt great relief on it’s completion. For a large cross section of rural India however, Kabir is the Master who never left them — perhaps very few formally studied his dohas but several live by his simple yet profound teachings largely passed down the oral tradition route.

An evening of active listening to the songs of Kabir can help one transcend beyond words and musical notes — exactly what is planned for Hyderabad this weekend by The Kabir Project, an Artist-in-Residency Project at the Srishti School of Art, Bangalore initiated by filmmaker and artist Shabnam Virmani. Started in 2003 this project brings together the experience of a series of ongoing journeys inquiring into the spiritual and socio-political resonances of Kabir as well as other Bhakti and Sufi poets.

What makes Kabir’s thought-provoking poetry timeless? Here was a mystic who in the 15th century went straight to the crux of the important aspects of human birth — be it one’s purpose in life, the urgency of self analysis, the Eternal Truth, living without divisions and the like. He was also the saint who asked uncomfortable questions openly defying blind faith, discounting it with a logic that silenced those in authority. The humble weaver who lived in poverty, skilfully wove his deep spiritual insights on secularism, religion, ego, impermanence etc into songs in many dialects and diverse musical styles. These are heard to this day in the desserts of Rajasthan, the by lanes of Pakistan and in Nepal too.

“Kabir’s songs are not just songs, they’ve got ‘vazan’(weight). You get a lot of courage from them,” says Kaluram Bamaniya, a folk singer from Madhya Pradesh.

On Friday, September 11, the artists from The Kabir Project are performing for the students of IIIT-H.

Sanskar is hosting ‘Shoonya Gadh Shahar: Poetics of Absence in Kabir’s Poetry’ in song, conversations and film clips by Shabnam Virmani and Vipul Rikhi at Saptaparni on September 13; 6 p.m.

Two films on Kabir Koi Sunta Hai and Had Anhad will be screened on September 13 afternoon at Lamakaan with a concluding music performance at the same venue at 7pm. Perhaps this time round you will pick up some of those dohas by heart, by effortlessly opening your heart to the mystic weavers soulful couplets.

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