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Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, cities covered in the field trip were Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Atrauli, Bareily, Badayun, Rampur, Benares, Lucknow and Kakori.

The field trip programme started with visit to Agra and Fatehpur Sikri to identify and start the process of documenting performers with a repertoire related to poetic and musical creations attributed to Amir Khusrau. The major outcome of the field work was interview with the traditional families of qawwal associated with Dargah Hazrat Salim Chishti in Fatehpur Sikri, documenting women reciting milād-un-nabī and salām in the basement of Jahan Ara’s mosque/Jama Masjid in Agra.

The highlight of the Atrauli, Bareily, Badayun field trips were interviews conducted with Mahapara Begum, Shakeel Niazi Qawwal, Ustad Iftekhar Hussain Khan, Ustad Qamar Mohammad, Ustad Sakhawat Husain Khan. At Rampur interviews conducted with Mohammad Ahmad Warsi and Ustad Jameel Ahmad on the Qawwali tradition and Amir Khusrau. Raza Library at Rampur has great collection of the manuscripts of Amir Khusrau – an inventory of all the manuscripts from their collection was compiled.

The main purpose of the field trip to Benaras and Lucknow were to find remnants of the baijis in Benares and tawaifs in Lucknow with performed repertoires pertaining to the legacy of Amir Khusrau. But confessions of the tawaifs made it clear that they do not consider themselves to be artists anymore and make money by dancing at parties or being solicited. At benaras Dr.Manulal Yadav, Shashank Singh, Thumri – Dadra singer Saira Begum and Prof. Ritwik Sanyal, HoD, Faculty of Music, Benaras Hindu University.

In Lucknow, Bhatkhande Music Institute and Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Academy and were visited for contact details of local musicians for further research. Research and documentation work were carried out Amir Ud Daula library, Darul Ulm Nadwat library, Lucknow University library, Qitab khana nasiriya sahib abqat, Raja Memmoodabad library. Manuscripts related to Khusrau were catalogued. Relevant folios were digitized and relevant manuscripts of which digitized copies were available for sale were purchased.

Detailed interview was conducted with Ustad Banneh Khan, senior most exponent of Agra gharana of khayal gayaki at Kakori who sang bandishes in Ragas Bhairav, Bahar, Basant, Barwa, Gauri Basant, Shree and Shahana Kanhra reflecting a sustained period of khandani ta’lim. In Mirasi Mohalla Talat Khan and Tanzim Khan were recorded and their first ever public performance was organised at UP State Archives where they sang bidai and sawan songs. Qawwal Nurul Hasan, Qawwal Hyder Baksh were recorded while scholars like Dr. Khan Mohammad Atif and Dr.Mohammad Taqi Ali were interviewed on Amir Khusrau’s contribution in Persian prose and poetry.


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