Persian qawwali

How the modern Persian qawwali canon emerged from an Uttarakhand shrine 90 years ago

This Article First Appeared In Scroll On Dec 11, 2022

Ninety years ago, a pensioner named Syed Noorul Hasan published an anthology of Persian verse titled Naghmat-us-Sama’ (Songs for Listening). A dense book running almost 500 pages, it contained more than 700 meticulously curated Persian poems that he had heard performed at shrines across North India as well as collected from other sources.

Naghmat-us-Sama’ is dedicated to the memory of a 13th century Sufi, Hazrat Alauddin Sabir Kalyari, a visit to whose shrine at Piran Kaliyar, Uttarakhand, lead to a personal mystic epiphany and inspired Hasan to produce the anthology.

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