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Uzbek and Pakistani artists enthrall Kashmiris
A three day International Sufi Festival concluded at Srinagar. Artists from Pakistan, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Syria and India left the viewers gasping at their thunderous performances. It was a fine blend of Islamic culture and Hindu traditions.
THE ARTISTS from five countries of the world including Pakistan, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Syria and India enthralled the audience and left them spell bound.
The three day International Sufi Festival concluded at Srinagar with sizzling performances by the artists from Syria, Uzbekistan followed by performance by internationally acclaimed Pakistan’s Ajoka theatre group’s landmark production "Bullah", a famous play depicting the life and the message by Sufi saint Hazrat Baba Bullah Shah.

The final day cultural extravaganza commenced with the Sufi dance of Uzbek, in which a dozen artists enthralled the audience by presenting ten dance performances showcasing the Sufi tradition popular in central Asia. The performance was highly appreciated by the audience.

The Uzbek dances come from an Islamic culture and north Indian court dance springs from Hindu roots, these diverse forms interacted and evolved under the Mughal dynasty found by the 16th century emperor, Babur. For Uzbeks, Babur is a much- admired hero and poet; for Indians, he is remembered as a cruel conqueror. But from either perspective, Babur is recognised as the founder of the Mughal dynasty that blended central Asian Islamic culture with north Indian Hindu traditions.

After the Sufi Dances, a play directed by Madeeha Gohar began. As per the story line, the play starts with the funeral procession of Bulleh Shah, while the chrous is chanting ’Bulleh Shah asi marna naahi, gour peya koi hor’ (Bulleh Shah, I cannot die. It’s not me in the grave, it’s someone else). However, the religious head refuses to grant permission for burial in the Muslim graveyard unless it is established that Bullah died a Muslim. Qazi narrates the misdeeds of Bullah in the court room and the story of Bulleh Shah is revealed in a series of flashbacks. The play is narrated by Sona and Chandi who move in and out of the flashback to carry the storyline forward.

The programme was a joint endeavor of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art Culture and Languages in collaboration with Doordarshan Kender Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir tourism department and Jammu and Kashmir information department.

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