AAMAD Dance Center highlight the importance and impact of Indo – Persian..


New Delhi. September 21, 2016. AAMAD Dance Center organized an interactive seminar along with video interaction to highlight the importance and impact of Indo – Persian art and culture in Indian society at India International Centre, Lodhi Road.

“JASHN” represents a singular opportunity to engage, educate, and entertain the public about a treasured of the living tradition of Indo-Persian synthesis of North Indian art and culture giving due credit to the achievements of the renowned Sufi poets.

rani-khanam-addressing-the-audiance                                lighting-the-lamp

Seminar on 14 September 2016 at IIC

The event witnessed the gracious presence of Chief Guest Smt. Shanta Sarabjeet Singh (Senior Art Critic & Former Vice Chairman, Sangeet Natya Academy). The eminent speakers on the occasion were Shri Narmada Prasad Upadhyaya from Indore who imparted his opinions on the topic ‘Dou Bhaye Ek Rang’ – Tradition of Indo – Persian Miniature Paintings in the context of North Indian Dance. Latif Bolat  from Turkey discussed about The Silk Road – Cultural Bridge between East and West whereas Mirza M. Arif from Delhi emphasized on how Amir Khusrau was as an innovator in various fields of art and culture with a flavor of North India. The whole event was moderated by Dr. Arshiya Sethi.

Shri Narmada Prasad Upadhyaya from Indore – a noted scholar of Hindi Literature and Indian paintings quoted – “Indian followed the concept of the miniature paintings religiously. They used to paint within a specific block size, whereas Persians were more into definite figure paintings like the portraits. Indian artists used to paint so perfectly that you can actually differentiate the figures created. For instance, a person can actually count the petals and waves in a flower and a rising wave respectively. The fusion of Indo – Persian culture was made famous by legendry artists Amir Khuasrau and Wajid Ali Shah relying on the idea of “Ganga – Jamuni Tahjeeb”. The Indian miniature paintings hold great history in art and culture as the artisans prevailed before the Mughal era and described the concept of miniature art during and prior the 16th century. Awadh artist also contributed in this to elaborate the artwork with more finesse. The miniature paintings were used to tell the story that of scenarios from Ramayana.

Later the art was fused into one where the portraits of the rulers were made in miniature style with specific size frame. The artists enhanced the paintings by doing miniature work in portrait style. This art has been there before since the Sultanate period. Persian stroke influenced the whole art background with more use of blue colour scheme. The depictures were made in Rajasthani, North Indian, and Awadhi flair. The miniature art also represented various Hindu literature instances and confluence of Indo – Persian art and culture.”

Mr. Latif Bolat – a turkish scholar, singer and composer, said that “Silk route is prevalent between Iran, Afghanistan, Persia, and India where people are more into merchandizing. This art and culture fusion and concept is the base for generating the accolades in respective field. The much of Persian art is being adapted to infuse the religious aspects being there during the era. Commercialization through silk road changed various dimensions of the art and culture because religious parameters which played a vital role in its relevance as the merchants in Iranian countries promoted religion through merchandising of these paintings, motifs to build up a cultural bridge across nation.”

As per founder and Secretary General of Mulaqaat NGO, Mirza M. Arif, “contribution of these great artists is major thing among all. They tend to narrow down the cultural ridges among different nations especially India. This is because India holds a great history with Islamic or mughal background since its initial years. Mix of Indo – Persian culture can be acknowledged through inter caste marriages and associations among the rulers. Art was just a platform to promote the amalgamation of both the cultures with the concept of ‘Ganga – Jamuni Tahjeeb’.

Seminar on 15 September 2016 at IIC
The second day’s discussions open with Dr. Chetana Jyotishi Beohar, former Director, Kathak Kendra. Now based in Khairagarh, she has given a presentation on “The Contribution of Wajid Ali Shah towards Music and specifically Kathak Dance”. With her breadth of knowledge and her post doctoral work on “Kathak Nritya ki Aitihasic Avadharana ka Punarmulyankan” and several publications, Dr. Chetana’s is a familiar name to those involved in arts-related research.

She explained and sketched a broader outline on Social and Political conditions of those days which were not so favorable for art, artists and artisans in general. But then there were some patrons, like Nawab Asafuddaula, Wajid Ali Shah, who were fairly sensible and considerable towards these fraternity. She also explained about the Geographical boundary of “Auodh”.

Nawab Wahi Ali Shah & his works, which he wrote in Matiya bur ,Culcutta, and explained Wajid ali shah detailed work in art during the time he has spent in Calcutta. She described Shah’s book ‘Najo and then Bani’ with critical comments. About the court dancers names of Nawab wajid ali shah with the projection of two pages from Maadan – Ul- Moosiqi written by Janab Karan Imaam, She described as it testifies many facts relating Nawab Wahi Ali Shah and also explainedsome facts relating to Amir Khusaro and his invention in particular in music.

The next topic brings us back to the visual heritage. Well known curator Dr. Alka Pande, Consultant Arts Advisor and Curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at New Delhi’s India Habitat Centre, speaks on “The Pleasures of Sartoria: The Dandy Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.”
She explained about Nawab dress up and its esthetic with the power point presentation of beautiful miniature paintings of Nawab, some of them are rare too. Alka pande also has given many references from ‘The Last King in India-Wajid Ali Shah written by Rosie Llewellyn-Jones. The book lies in its detailed treatment of Wajid Ali Shah’s time in Calcutta. Virtually written out of historical accounts after Awadh were annexed by the East India Company in 1856, very little is known about the last 30 years of Wajid Ali Shah’s life. He spent those long years in Calcutta at a riverside estate known as Garden Reach, “recreating the lost paradise that was Lucknow.” With him were thousands of followers and retainers, musicians and entertainers, his innumerable wives and children.
She also explained that, today, many Kathak dancers are following Nawab’s court dancers dress designs in their performance. There was a small dancing clip from of Satyajit Ray’s film, Shatranj kay Khilari, she played Nawab’s famous song- Babul Mora Naihar Chuto Jaye , sang by KL sehgal.

Another veteran is Shri Ravindra Mishra – music and dance critic. Though Mishra’s reviews of classical music and dance recitals in both Hindi and English publications are widely read, Mishra’s talk is titled “Sufiyat aur Shringar”. He explained, how these two personalities is totally different from each others. Amir Khusrau from- 13th Century when the new Indo Persian culture was in the begging stage and Wajid Ali Shah, 18th Century when the British has taken his dynasty. There is no similarities in their work.. But their contributions in Performing arts, language, visual etc. are magnificent.  They both has created any innovation whether it is related new Raags, Poetry.

He has spoken on the impact of Amir Khusrau & Nawab Wajid Ali Shah’s legacy and their masterful amalgam of Indian and Persian culture – the so called “Ganga – Jamuni Tehzeeb”, both of them as symbols of social harmony and cultural plurality. They were iconic figures & living legends in the history of Indian sub-continent.

Through the achievements of the renowned 13th century Sufi poet Hazrat Aamir Khusrau and 18th century – the last Nawab of Awadh Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. We so admiringly evoke both of them as symbols of social harmony and cultural plurality. They were iconic figures & living legends in the history of Indian sub-continent.

The last presentation was by Rani Khanam, Founder of AAMAD dance Centre, presented PowerPoint presentation on hazrat Amir Khusrow miniature paintings and many of his and others Persian & Urdu manuscripts and various miniature paintings of 11th – 19th century related to Indo Persian performing arts.

Rani Khanam concludes the seminar with the vote of thanks , “The seminar discussions has created a picture of the amalgamated heritage of art and culture and show how it has travelled through the 11th to the 19th Centuries, so that coming generations could know about it. It feels nice when you get to dance or perform for your talent. I would have been just a professional dancer if there was another option available for survival. Being from an Islamic background, there was lot more struggles in early years of my career. I went into depth to master the art of Kathak. Similarly in other art forms, when you dig deeper you get to know about the history and challenges to master that art. But with time I learnt that the art and culture of performing art was not of today, but have been around since centuries.”

According to her, “Sufi music or shayari is something that cannot just be recited, but to touch the souls of the listeners. To understand the depth of verses and its relevance in your lifestyle turns out to be an important thing. Jashn is here to give way to the Sufi artists and uplift the concept of Ganga – Jamuni Tahjeeb. AAMAD Dance Center is working towards the interests of such artists and helps them get the right exposure and artistic streak.”

Though, many studies have been done on Indian, Islamic and Persian’s history however he Indo Persian synthesis has not been study deeply. Aamir Khusrau’s royal association as a prolific classical poet with more than seven rulers of the Delhi Sultanate and Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Awadh, gifted brilliance and committed ethical way of living, both have had pervading effect on the arts, music, dance, the language, architecture and other manifestations of culture of that period.

They form parts of our rich and imported heritage, which tell us of our past and of what we are made of in the present. They need to be honored and preserved for the generations to come – not just for us, but for the entire world.