City Moment – The Homeless Person Sleeping Through Sufi Songs, Hazrat Sarmad Shahid’s Dargah
The memorable instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This is a concert without an audience.
One night The Delhi Walla is at the Sufi shrine of Hazrat Sarmad Shahid… sorry, a factual error.This is actually a shrine to two Sufi saints. Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah is buried next to Hazrat Sarmad.
It is very cold. The world outside is plunged in darkness. Even the dependable stars have abandoned the sky, not to speak of the inconstant moon. The dome of the shrine, however, is strung with fairy lights.
The four musicians inside are offering sacred qawwalis to the two lesser known Sufi mystics of Delhi. One man is playing the harmonium, another, rather youngish-looking, is in charge of the dholak.
The detail on the absence of the audience is true only up to a point. If you don’t count the flower seller in the corner, there are still three or four people, actually children, sitting beside the qawwals. They are looking sleepy.
As a qawwali comes to an end, the principal singer, cloaked in a shawl, gets up and retires to one side of the shrine. His place is taken over by another singer. A new qawwali begins.
It is getting very, very cold and it is now more than midnight. I leave. Outside, next to the shrine’s red wall, a homeless person is bundled up inside a thick blanket. It is both a beautiful and melancholic sight.
The dream within a dream