The Knower of Secrets
Director: Priya Sen
Duration: 00:41:12; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 34.686; Saturation: 0.110; Lightness: 0.323; Volume: 0.233; Cuts per Minute: 14.296; Words per Minute: 60.340
Summary: "The Knower of Secrets" was my MFA thesis film from Temple University, Philadelphia. I decided to revisit this film, because the film, and the experience of making it had become two very separate things. The way I had shot the film, the process of knowing the people who it is about, and the anxieties and ambiguities that are a part of entering people's lives and leaving it, had no part to play in the construction of the film. Neither did the many stories, anecdotes, wanderings, tangents and moments of connection and disconnects that are so much a part of that journey.
I have tried to add a layer of annotation that brings to this film, some of what I wished it had. Much of the above. The annotations consist of journal entries, interview excerpts, anecdotes, poetry, references, and reflecting on some of the ways I had been, six years ago - making a film because I loved the idea of it, but not realizing the profound ways in which it was changing me. That is the experience I tried to recollect, when I decided to add to this film, the layers it was missing.
Winter, 2003. Meraj in ICCR / intro of qawwali on stage
ICCR Auditorium, New Delhi
meraj ahmed nizami
The question of exposition, of the way the film starts, can be a meaningful one in documentaries too! I had hoped for a mysterious, feathery, slightly puzzling one, that would waft in an other-worldly fashion and have the viewer transfixed nevertheless. My advisor Eran, a lovely and slightly anxious man, who looked like he hadn't slept much in his career, had once warned me that too much subtlety has to be avoided at all costs, especially because he recognized in me, my tendency to veer naturally towards it.
When Eran saw the rough cut, he said - I don't understand who these people are.
If he had said that to me now, I would consider (the exposition) to have been a grand success.
Meraj in iccr
Intro of qawwali on stage:
Meraj: Tan Ras Khan Sahib was a descendent of the Qawwals who sang during Nizamuddin Auliya's time, and I am his grandson.
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, we now present Qawwali, by Janaab Meraj Ahmed and party. Qawwali is a form of group singing which represents a fusion of spiritual and classical music. The text of Qawwali songs is in Arabic, Persian, Hindi or Urdu. The tradition has been handed down from generation to generation.
Urs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
qawwali in dargah
VO: Qawwali is more than 700 years old. Every Thursday evening the saint would gather assemblies of music. These assemblies were attended by the Sufis. The goal was to achieve a state of sama or spiritual ecstasy as a way to become one with God through music. This practice created an order of singers, whose descendants continue to sing in the presence of the saint even today.
A film by Priya Sen: The Knower of Secrets
For the things that are lost and changing....in Delhi
Eri Sakhi - lyrics
If you come home, I will take your troubles upon myself,
I will run to fall at your feet,
And clinging to your shirt, I will say:
Oh dear friend, my Beloved has come home.
...And with that, this courtyard has been blessed.
The inspiration for the film and its title came from the song "Chashm-e-maste-ajabe". A ghazal by Amir Khusrau, and one of the most famous Qawwali classics in the repertoire of the Qawwal Bachche.
O wondrous ecstatic eyes, o wondrous long
O wondrous wine worshipper, o wondrous
As he draws the sword, I bow my head in
prostration so as to be killed,
O wondrous is his beneficence, o wondrous my
In the spasm of being killed my eyes beheld your
O wondrous benevolence, o wondrous guidance
O wondrous amorous teasing, o wondrous
O wondrous tilted cap (symbol of beauty), o
Do not reveal the Truth; in this world blasphemy
O wondrous Source of mystery, o wondrous
Knower of secrets
Eri Sakhi, the song that is heard was composed by Amir Khusrau and performed by Humsar Hayyat in this version
Sheikh Nizamuddin Auliya's shrine, New Delhi.
Meraj Ahmed Nizami: To utter the word. Now if you understood some Urdu or Farsi (Persian) you would know that Qaul means anything that has been said. It could mean anything. Anything from the past that is being spoken. This is Urdu. Urdu and Farsi mixed. And he who says the word, who speaks, who repeats, is a Qawwal.
If you look at it like that, then everyone in the world is a Qawwal. And this Qawwali started by Amir Khusro and Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya was meant for prayer. Now this traditional Qawwali belonging to the shrine has very few listeners in today's world - who listen for spiritual purposes and there are very few Qawwals left who sing devotional Qawwali. Qawwali is their livelihood now and they want to earn as much money from it as possible. So in this way, the face of Qawwali has changed.
(From a journal entry while shooting - June 4th, 2003)
.. so I went to see Meraj Sa'ab. He was alone. The door was slightly ajar - he was on his bed as usual - hidden partly by the cooler and partly by the curtain. Small against the light from the window. The room has red floors and is cool. The cooler sound drowns out the stillness of the outside heat sounds. He said to come in. Moved to wear his kurta but then decided not to. He looked to see if Shabnam was coming down the stairs to keep him company in asking me to go in. I took off my big slippers - big in that room and big in general. It was evening. Maghrib. And the tubelight above him was on. That light is always on. It takes on the light from outside and becomes the colour of things. Meraj sa'ab looks sad these days ever since his wife passed away. "Khairiyat?" he asked. As always my inability to speak makes me say something inadequate and usual. I asked him how he had been. He got up to light an agarbatti. He said his wife's spirit came into the house everyday around that time. During Maghrib. And would continue to for a year. He looked out of the window like he usually did, not necessarily at anything in particular. There wasn't much to see from where he sat. Just the light that was fading, perhaps, to let his wife in. For him and no one else really. ..
Meraj Ahmed Nizami
I wanted to make a film about the guys who sit at the back and clap and join in the chorus.
I had imagined meeting the fictional Salim and Rahaab. I had written about them endlessly in Philadelphia. One day in Delhi, I went to listen to Qawwali at Sufinayat's dargah in Nizamuddin Basti, and there they were. Except there were three. And they were called Saqlain, Sohraab and Tahir. I spent the next 15 months with them and wrote about them endlessly.
(I am aghast at my journal entries.)
Sufinayat's dargah - 15th Nov. 2002.
"It's Friday and there's Qawwali here.. I heard them singing "Allah Hoo" from the stairs. I am the only other person here. So do they sing here here even when there's no one listening? But doesn't that go against what Qawwali is supposed to be? Gaanewale and Sunnewale?? But what do I know?! They're even a little off-key.. the pitch.. it's hard to tell tho at this pitch."
(Later in the week at Sohrab's house)
"Sat in the midst of people asleep because of Ramzaan. Think it was about 1pm. Got an invitation to treat it as my home, to treat the family as mine. Realized my jeans were torn and felt shady."
Wondered long and hard about shooting Iftaar on Friday. Why so much thinking? My first doc. I am told to establish relationship, wait, then shoot. Enjoy the access. Oh Please! I am only researcher no. 72 to pop into their lives.
I don't shoot. I journal instead. Only to cringe at it 7 years down. I have learnt never to journal again.
Atgah Khan's tomb
Saqlain: We haven't learnt anything as yet from our father. Things we ought to learn about Qawwali. We still have a lot to learn from him.
He is my father's sister's son, and he is also my father's sister's son,...
Saqlain, Sohrab and Tahir:
I am his mother's brother's son, and he is my mother's brother's son. Now you say..And we are all brothers (cousins) Brothers and at the same time we're also friends. I'm not their friend!
Saqlain: Everyone tells us young people - since we are the ones to carry it on, if we don't learn Qawwali then what's the point...of Qawwali.
Sohrab: Its our generation - the new generation, it has to keep up with the rest of the world, so even we feel like going along with the world. This is our family profession, we can learn it any time we want although learning it is not that easy.
Nizamuddin dargah lane, going into Meraj's house
Meraj talking about how he introduced verse, watching iraq war:
By the grace of God, all the verses that are sung here now, all the songs that the children sing here, are the ones that I sang, and the texts I read, when I first came here. After Partition (1947), all those Qawwals from our brotherhood who used to sing in Farsi (persian) went away to Pakistan. Only a few remained here and they remembered a handful of the old verses..
TV voice: These were the latest pictures from Baghdad that show the American third infantry division slowly approaching Baghdad.
Meraj: Put on something else....next...next...
Interview transcript - translated and excerpted from an interview with Meraj Ahmed Nizami, 2003
Meraj Ahmed Nizami : I am engrossed in watching Iraq. It is causing me great pain. I am praying. People of all faiths are praying. Yes, they have strength (America), and these people have belief. They are weak. There was a song, "Nirbal ki ladai balvaan ki, yeh kahani hai diye ki aur toofan ki." [The war between the strong and the weak, is the story of a candle in the middle of a storm]
There is no humanity anyway. But this will change. The generations to come will not know there was ever such a place as America. God does justice. There used to be a land by the name of Yunaan. It had no bombs or armies or machines, but its people had the gift of intelligence and shrewdness. Allah-pak ordered his angels to go and capture the land of Yunaan. The angels protested. Allah said, "Vo humare raaz se vakif hona chahte hain! Hum apna raaz kisi ko dena nahi chahte hain.." [ They want to unravel the the mystery of the world and I do not want anyone to know it. "]
Now Allah-pak had sent his favourite angel, Jibreel, to three children in Yunaan. Jibreel in disguise, asked them, "Can you tell me where Jibreel is?". The children started looking. One went up to the skies but couldn't find him. The other went to the seven heavens. The third went to the depths of the earth. Jibreel was nowhere. Then one of them pointed his finger at Jibreel and said, "You! You are Jibreel! We have looked everywhere. So either you are Jibreel or I am Jibreel!"
So you see..He doesn't want to give his Raaz away. He has given you life, and death will come to you too. So enjoy your life, pray, and more will come after you and it will go on like this..
Meraj Ahmed Nizami
Nizamuddin basti lanes
old Qawwali verses
Meraj: In those days there was no structure here. Just a courtyard and a grave and one tree that is still here. His grandson asked me to sing here every Friday after the sunset prayer, that was in 1968 - how do you say that in English? ...'68. So since '68 I've been singing here.
A small lexicon of Qawwali, its conditions and effects
Auliya: Friend. Favourite of God. Sufi saints
Chilla: 40 days retreat spent in fasting and prayer. Also the location where a saint practiced Chilla
Dua: Intercessionary, non ritual prayer
Fateha: recitation of the opening chapter of he Koran (Sura-e-fateha), and prayer offered to the dead including Sufi saints.
Halki kaifiyat: 'light stage of ecstasy'
Hazrat: term of address denoting spiritual authority
Kaif: delight, pleasure, initial state of spirit, arousal
Maqaam: stage of spiritual attainment
Mashaikh: Sufi spiritual guides
Mushaira: poetic symposium
Nazr: offering to (spirit) superior as token of submission and allegiance
Nisbat: link, tie, with Sufi figure or symbol
Qawwal Bachche: the 'original qawwal offspring', claiming descent from Amir Khusro and identified by 4 towns of origin near Delhi
Qul: Death commemoration ritual
Riqqat: state of being moved to tears. Ecstatic weeping
Ruhaani: Spiritual; pertaining to the soul
Sadqa: propitiatory offering to avert evil
Sajda: prostration, bowing the head while kneeling as in ritual prayer
Shagird pesha: service professionals, menials
Ta'alluq: connection; spiritual bond
Tabarruk: blessed substance
Urs: 'Wedding', the celebration of a saint's final union with God on his death anniversary
Wajd: rapture, trance, ecstasy
Wisaal: union, a mystic's final union with God. Death in ecstasy
Meraj Ahmed Nizami & sons
Sufi Inayat Khan's dargah
Now I'm an old man. Every Friday I go and sing there and earlier they used to give me 5 rupees per week. Now they give me 40 rupees. In those days, 2 and a half kilos of wheat cost 1 rupee now 1 kilo costs 10 rupees. So these people should realise that 5 rupees then, would see us Qawwals through a day's expenses. Now 40 rupees doesn't even for 1 hour.
Raqs: dance, ecstacy
I'm trying to continue something that is very old.
But the children don't want it. They want to earn lots of money singing ordinary Qawwali - modern Qawwali that is being sung now. There are no listeners left, and no singers (of old Qawwali). Tea.
Qawwali dedicated to the Prophet
Meraj: Learning traditional Qawwali and Persian verses is difficult for them since their instruction has been in neither Urdu nor Persian. It is in Hindi here. But my environment and context was that of Urdu and Arabic. Its in Hindi here,so their pronunciation isn't right either. They say Qawwali with "K" instead of "Q" for example. They're trying though, the children. Let's see now,...its Allah's will.
Tahir: The Qawwali of today is very fast paced. There are lots of instruments and you keep playing, keep screaming, and people really start getting into it. But Sufiyana Qawwali, the old Qawwali, has a different effect, it claims the soul. Its the soul that becomes ecstatic.
Saqlain: Say Lata Mangeshkar (a famous Indian playback singer) is singing and you listen to Jennifer Lopez instead! Always jumping around, frivolous, that's Jennifer Lopez. And what Lata sings touches the heart. So will you listen to what touches the heart, or to the frivolous stuff? Now you tell me!
Everything depends upon the rewards one gets. I'm saying that Lata ji has changed according to the times. (gives eg of 2 songs sung by her, one old, one recent. The newer song suggests a more profane meaning of love.)
From an aphorism on Music, by Friedrich Nietzsche
Music - Music is, of and in itself, not so significant for our inner world, nor so profoundly exciting, that it can be said to count as the immediate language of feeling; but its primeval union with poetry has deposited so much symbolism into rhythmic movement, into the various strengths and volume of musical sounds, that we now suppose it to speak directly to the inner world and to come from the inner world. [...] In itself, no music is profound or significant, it does not speak of the 'will' or of the 'thing in itself'; the intellect could suppose such a thing only in an age which had conquered for musical symbolism the entire compass of the inner life. It was the intellect itself which first introduced this significance into sounds: just as, in the case of architecture, it likewise introduced a significance into the relations between lines and masses which is in itself quite unknown to the laws of mechanics.
Nietzsche on Art & Aesthetics. A Nietzsche Reader, p.128
Shabnam: If I was a boy then I'd sing every song with my father, I'd support him, write about him, take on all his anxieties.
Shabnam: Please eat something you both!.... Even if there were any good singers they never get any far with it, because from the start we're told that this is not meant for girls. Only men will sing.
Can't I make my own music album?
You didn't understand.
Shabnam: like do with something different with some classical elements...have my voice and show someone else singing? Some beautiful girl! I have no interest in Qawwali. If only my brothers trained in somethnig in addition to Qawwali, somethnig more popular like ghazals. Something more contemporary...People say that one should go along with ones environment. So now some people are interested in traditional Qawwali again but what guarantee is there that they will continue to be? And because Saqlain and the others accompanied father in his programs they didn't pay much attention to school. So their teachers would scold them. They were so young but they had to go for shows. So after a little while they started private study. But again they would have to go with father. So in this way they couldn't complete their education. Even now Saqlain feels he should try and finish school somehow, but it doesn't happen beause it clashes with a program and he has to always show up for Qawwali.
Journal Entry - 16th August 2003. [My various exchanges and interactions with various sisters; also a record of me negotiating, badly, my role as document-er! This was me 6 years ago and today I would see very different things.]
"It was Rakhi day and ofcourse since it's always been an irrelevant fact, it didn't strike me to perhaps carry some rakhis with me - just in case I was feeling like being someone else for a bit. But I had thought of it earlier and didn't want to be fake and didn't necessarily want them to be my brothers because I'm not sure I really need that dynamic with them - and ofcourse it doesn't mean anything to me at all. And R said not do things that didn't come naturally.. BUT OFCOURSE - in Sohrab's house, his chachi (Chand's tyrranical wife) made me take one of her rakhis and tie it on Sohrab! Which I did. I don't protest ever and do whatever they say..
Sohrab showed me the camera and some footage he had shot on their way back from Surinam and Holland. And some other, which was of Tazim (his sister), wearing his clothes. A red and black silk shirt and beige pants, with her hair open and modelling for the camera with her hands behind her head, doing little choreographed numbers. Then she went to her parents room and sat between them and kissed her dad and they didn't bat an eyelid that she was dressed like that - then Shadaab, Sohrab and her on their roof which overlooks the dargah courtyard. Meanwhile Shahana was being weird. She has been ever since I gave her that black and white picture of herself. I figured she doesn't like black and white.."
Meraj: They say that qawwals help people achieve their spiritual goals, so give him enough for him not to worry about his home that his wife needs medicines, or his children are sick or there is no food...After that you can listen to his songs, and then the music will start transporting you.
Sheikh: First will be Meraj Qawwal and his sons. Delhi.
The Urs of Hazrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir, Baghdad Sharif was the first Qawwali assembly I saw, where there were clear demarcations between the sheikh, the audience and the performers. Each had a specific role in the assembly.
Of the performers it is written:
"They are peripheral to the setting of the assembly, principally because they stand in a service relationship with the leader. While their presence is obviously prerequisite to the performance of Qawwali, that presence is ensured by the assembly leader who also controls the appearance of a particular performing group. Thus, it is only as a category of service professionals that the performers are part of the Qawwali setting, not as individuals. Also, since their interest in the assembly is recognized as being professional rather than spiritual, the performers are not expected to have a devotee's disposition or training. Even those who are formally attached to the Sufi hierarchy by a discipleship bond, are not considered to be Sufis or devotees. "
The Structureof the Qawwali Assembly, Sufi Music of India and Pakistan, Sound, Context and Meaning in Qawwali - Regula Burckhardt Qureshi, p.112
Meraj Ahmed Nizami & sons
Seb ki Bazaar
Sohrab: We don't sing, we are made to sing. It depends on the audience's mood, their wishes and requests.
[Here's the new singer in town.
Saqlain (on camera): We have entered the world of Qawwali. We know that we have to sing Qawwali, but if only we could do something else as well...
Now is the season for Qawwali. It will last for about 6 months. The rest of the time, we sit empty handed. So we want to do something else in that time. Like it was my wish to be a doctor, or a policeman.
Respect! That was my wish. ...but now fate...lets see where fate takes us...
I wonder about this sequence. In fact I didn't have it in one version of the film. To me it felt like part of the process, that we would film and then watch the footage. I would film, and sometimes the guys would film something or the other. Ofcourse thoughts of what this 'other' image would be read as, crossed my mind once in a while.
The thing that gets written in stone in documentary is the question of who makes the image. The hierarchies and the assumptions that get created make it difficult to get to the heart of image-making. It is as though the image has already been made. And the same image will be made over and over again.
How does one learn to shoot? By learning the rules of a visual sequence? Of allowing "affect" and the experience of looking at something, formulate its own relationship to the image? To have a visual language emerge that has more to do with this relationship to seeing and listening, rather than the logic of a sequence?
I wanted to find ways to intervene. But ultimately the sequence, as I understood it then, made itself. With a certain kind of image that spoke of itself and nothing else.
Atgah Khan's tomb
Humsar Hayyat: In today's world it isn't about what you do, but who you are. Nobody cares about what you sing, what you do, or what you feel. People look at your appearance, and at who you know.
(Give me a card.
...Here...this is my card.)
Humsar Hayyat (Meraj's nephew):(on phone) You're saying its a Jagaran (Hindu religious musical gathering) For Jagarans I take Rs.20,000. ...Yes, sir. ...Okay, and you are?
Prince Diwan. Your good name.
Surbhi Lal: Its my good fortune that Humsar saheb made me his student. I've reached this stage after a lot of struggle. Its taken me 5 years. My name is Surbhi Lal...should I sing for you?...(sings)
Question: So will you also sing today?
Surbhi: Yes, he'll give me a chance....I sang for them!
Humsar: Really...what did you sing?
Surbhi: A song for the saint, Sai Baba....
I forgot to tell you, I got my Diaries with all the songs for this evening..
Humsar: See for the offering just one word is enough. Just one word. You could be screaming and singing all night, but just one sincere word if it touches the heart of the saint or guru, then you've passed.
Aunt to Humsar: May you earn lots of money and fame...
Surbhi: Bless me too!
The only thing I know about Humsar Hayyat right now is that he has become so big and so famous, that he has two bodyguards who move around with him. Saqlain told me this last week.
Sai Baba bhajan
Humsar: People think that Qawwals can only sing Qawwali. Basically Qawwals these days are being misunderstood. Qawwals these days are only so in name....
Poem: "...it is a rented house
you don't own it..
the ground below us has the blood of all people..
...Nobody's father owns this land!
Sajda: "And I continue to prostrate myself at your door..
..here's a mosque, there's a temple
Here a gurdwara (Sikh temple)..There a church..
('Girja' means 'church' as well as 'to fall')
you fall here...you fall there...
And if to pay homage is your goal
then you can fall anywhere at all!"
Meraj: The map of the Qawwali kept changing every 50 - 100 years. The Qawwali that is being sung now is more about the performance, the music, the show..This type of Qawwali...now this...
Now Humsar, Hasnain - our children - and other Qawwals, do this type of popular Qawwali, ordinary Qawwali so that people who are less educated can understand. Ofcourse people don't listen for prayer anymore, but for amusement and to pass time. "There's Qawwali at the shrine, let's go and listen..."
Humsar Hayyat & Party
The two things I always think about when I watch this sequence are, a friend of mine saying, "Priya, I do hate your subtitles", and the fact that I had the wrong microphone for all the performances - a highly directional Sennheiser, and a camera input that couldn't handle it. The peaks clipped in every performance I recorded. My friend and amazing sound recordist, Umashankar, tried to explain it to me on several occasions but I never got it right.
Umashankar is also a poet. This is a poem he wrote that I wish I had read before I started making this film:
This epic needs
This epic needs
The story gathers strength only in the third
Repetition, circularity, redress
Observe the pattern
Of heroic young and vengeful old
what happened in the middle?
And what happens to the third
When it has sung its song
Slayed the enemy?
The story (for them) ends midlife
September 18, 1993 (From a Previous Century, p.142)
Saqlain: Listen to a poem..
Yesterday he was strong because of wealth and fame
But today, not even a flame burns in his impoverished home...
Tahir: Flowers, they drown in dew
And wounds drown in medicine
And when there is nowhere else to turn
I drown myself in you!
Jumman: When you smile
Your face begins to light up
All the lovers in the world then turn to look at you!
Saqlain: When you recite these kind of verses, people think "oh how wonderful! How good we feel!"
Tahir: There's a poem on the songs being sung these days..
Just like music has become an industry today,
Those with neither tune nor rhythm have become popstars today!
Meraj: Thank you for being present in my sorrow, my friends
For in my fate, first and foremost is sorrow.
How foolish are they in this world
Whose eyes get wet with the slightest sadness,
Sadness is also a blessing from Allah
It requires great courage!
I am not saddened by the thought of my dying,
I am grieving at the state of mankind
The world laughs at my tears
But I am weeping for the sorrows of this world!
Shabnam: There isn't much income as there ought to be in Qawwali and my father earns less than any of the other Qawwals here but he believes that he has a lot. And that belief is very strong. He tells us to have faith too, in our God and our saint, and everything will be alright.
Meraj: My teacher had once given me his blessing, saying ...
..What did he say?...
"Eat and feed others. Be happy! Give, and make others give. Be happy!" That blessing was so powerful, that it changed my personality! So now i cook, eat very little of it but love to feed people. That's the first part of the blessing. Eat, feed others, be happy! And when I'm in a position to, I also give. My teacher's words have been really true for me. He had told me in good faith, Eat, feed others and be happy...This was my hazrat's blessing for me.
Saqlain:They are fortunate ones who the saint keeps close to him.
In his protective shadow.
He keeps us close to him because he understands us so well.
Saqlain, Sohrab, Athar:
He (the saint) is our father.
Yes, I was just about to say that! He is our father and one has more right to ask from one's father than from anybody else. So make him your father and ask from him. How will he not give!
Yes, become his father...sorry sorry....Becomes his father, I mean make him your father. And ask like its your right to ask!
Now 3 people went to the saint to ask for wishes.
First Sohrab bhai went. He said, "Mehboob-Pak (another name for the saint) You have to give me!
I mean, just look at his manner of asking! So he received.
Then Athar bhai went to ask "Mehboob-Pak! Please give me." He asked...he also received. And when our Saqlain bhai went, his manner of asking was altogether different. See how he asked. He asked, he received, he even went away. So these are the ways of asking. The saint tells us to ask from him.
"Ask from me", he says, "And you will receive what you ask for".
But we're the ones who don't know how to. Not because there is anything lacking in his assembly.
Interview Transcripts: Translated and excerpted
Meraj Ahmed Nizami:
Seven emperors came to meet him (Nizamuddin Auliya). But He didn't meet them. He said he was there to give hope to people who didn't have much. Once there was a Sahib. He was very educated, very capable, but was unable to make a living. He had been to several Sufis and elders, who had told him that he was not destined for a life of comfort and ease. One day someone sent him to Mehboob Pak (Nizamuddin Auliya). Mehboob Pak recognized the man's fate. He gave the man a goat. Now the man worried that he would have to feed and take care of the goat, while he could barely feed his family. He would take the goat to graze in the jungle. This was at the time of Alauddin Khilji. One day, his procession was passing through the jungle. People lined up to see it. Suddenly the Emperor's Wazir stopped and went to this Sahib, and recognized him as his childhood friend. He exclaimed, "What has happened to you?! You a capable, strong, educated man.." and told him to go to the darbar the next day. That day new clothes arrived for him, and he went to the Darbar. The Wazir then told Alauddin Khilji of the Sahib's capabilities and suggested that he be made the Kotwal. Now you see, the man's situation entirely changed! Inspite of what everyone said was fated for him. So the Sahib went to one of the Sufis and said, "You had told me that this was not my destiny. Now look at me!". The Sufi told him, "This is still not your destiny, brother! This is how Nizamuddin Auliya tinkers with things! He has attached the goat's destiny to yours! As long as that goat is alive, you will have all this. But as soon as it dies, you will go back to how you used to be. " ... : So you see, this was Sarkar Mehboob Pak..
Kamaal: Its the people of the shrine who participate in these rituals. You won't find anyone from this place here. The Islamic Center.
Tahir: Everything has its time. Everything has its time, big brother. Today you are young, it is your time. Tomorrow you'll be old, it will also be your time. They say, what has passed will not return, and new people will come along. The older ones will not. What's gone is gone!
Kamaal: Marsiyas will be read now. Poems...in remembrance of Imam Husain, what he was doing in Karbala. Sohrab, its started.
Ali rested on the Prophet of Allah's bed. To show how the descendants of the Prophet are.
(Dum Dum, symbolizing a rythm, also means life, breath, or a moment)
Ali Dum Dum
Ali in every breath
Q: You don't do too many public performances?
Meraj: No ...I do my own traditional, shrine Qawwali. The children sing..but when I do, it's songs that i choose, in my style... The children sing "Dum Dum" and songs like that...