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KARACHI: Arts Council audience enjoy Qawwalis

April 04, 2003

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KARACHI, April 3: The Niazi brothers enthralled the audience at the Arts Council on Wednesday night as they presented one Qawwali after another.

The music programme, titled Baithak, was organized by the music committee of the Arts Council.

Abdullah Manzoor Niazi and Makhmoor Manzoor Niazi performed alongside their 87-year-old father, Manzoor Ahmed Khan Niazi. They presented a couple of Naats as well as compositions by Hazrat Amir Khusrau.

Veteran singer Salamat Ali explained that the Arts Council’s music committee felt that it was ignoring Qawwali which was an important genre of Eastern classical music. “The music committee has organized programmes of Khayal, Thumri and Dadra. We thought that it was about time that the music committee also organized a Qawwali programme.”

He recalled that he had first listened to a Qawwali by the Niazi brothers first in South Africa in 1988.

The Niazi brothers started off with what is known as Qaul by Hazrat Amir Khusrau. The Qaul was prefaced by Alap.

Qaul is actually the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which were set to music by Hazrat Amir Khusrau. The words — Man kunto maula, fa Ali-un Maula — mean ”whoever accepts me as a master, Ali is his master too”. The rest of the lines are known as Tarana bol.

The Qawwals presented a Persian Naat by Maulana Abdur Rahman Jami which went down very well with the highly initiated audience. They presented other compositions as well, but the one which was largely appreciated by the one by Hazrat Amir Khusrau. The composition runs: Teri soorat kai balihaari, Nijaam/ sub sakiyan mein chundar meri mailee/ dekh hansain nar naari, Nijaam/ ab ke bahar chundar meri rang de/ Piya rakh lay laaj hamari, Nijaam.

The organizers of the function explained that the Niazi brothers belonged to the Delhi Gharana. “The father of the Niazi brothers, Manzoor Ahmed Khan Niazi, was born in Delhi, India, in 1922. His grandfather was Haji Mir Qutub Bukhsh who was famous as Tan Ras Khan Sahib Rehmatullah and who was the teacher of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadurshah Zafar. He was awarded the title of Tan Ras and Nawab Atamad-ul-Mulk by the Emperor.”