Activities – Seminars & Symposiums

The Foundation has initiated a one-of-its-kind symposium series titled ‘Understanding Qawwali’ which seeks to discuss, debate and understand Qawwali as a traditional art form of Indian sub-continent and further enlighten the masses about the same. Each year a symposium is planned to create interest and awareness about Qawwali and other related art forms belonging to the Indian sub-continent. The symposium features experts, musicologists, film makers, students and traditional performers.

The Foundation has organized three such seminars in the series which began in the year 2013.

Understanding Qawwali-2013- A Symposium on the Traditional Art form of Qawwali 

The first in its series of symposiums on Qawwali was organized to focus on this intangible performing heritage on 2nd March, 2013 at IIC, New Delhi in association with India International Centre, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust. The one day symposium was a grand success as it was attended by over a 1000 people, and covered by mainstream newspapers, numerous magazines and multiple online platforms.

The Speakers and experts who were part of the discussions during the seminar of 2013 were:
(i) Dr. Madan Gopal Singh, Musician and Scholar
(ii) Shri Dhruv Sangari, Sufi Vocalist
(iii) Padamshri Ustad F. Wasifuddin Dagar, Dhrupad Exponent
(iv) Prof. Najma Perveen Ahmad, University of Delhi
(v) “Sufi Sama” by Shri Yousuf Saeed – Documentary Film Maker
(vi) “The Qawwals” by Mr. Amit Mehra – Documentary Film Maker
(vii) Shri Yousuf Khan Nizami, representing the Qawwal Bachhe Gharana
(viii) Shri Muazzam, Nephew of Legendary Qawwali Performer Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
(ix) Performances by Wajahat Hussain Badayuni, India
(x) Performances by Rizwan – Muazzam, Pakistan

Understanding Qawwali-2014 – A Symposium Exploring the plurality of the unified art form

In its second year, the symposium focused on Qawwali as a unified art form of the Indian sub-continent. The Symposium was held on 8th and 9th March 2014 at India International Centre, New Delhi in association with ‘Sir Ratan Tata Trust’ and ‘Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust’, India International Centre and National Foundation for Communal Harmony. The two day symposium was a grand success, attended by more than 500 people and covered by mainstream newspapers, magazines and online platforms.

The panel of experts and speakers comprised of:
(i) Dr. Kumkum Srivastava, Professor, Delhi University
(ii) Syed Zia Alvi, Urdu Poet & Scholar
(iii) Shri Pran Nevile, Indian Author
(iv) Prof. Kuljit Shellie, Professor, Delhi University
(v) Dr. Gurinder Harnam, Professor, Delhi University
(vi) Dr. Vinay Srivastava, Professor Delhi University
(vii) Mr. Dinesh Khanna, Photographer – A Photo-Project on Qawwali.
(viii) Mr. Amit Mehra – Documentary Film-maker
(ix) Ms. Shazia Khan – Documentary Film-maker
(x) Ms. Trisha Das – Documentary Film-maker
(xi) Ms. Manya Patil – Documentary Film-maker
(xii) Shri Vikram Lall, Founder of The Society for Art Appreciation and Research (SAAR)
(xiii) Ustad Meraj Ahmed Khan Nijami and Janab Saqlain Nijami,
(xiv) Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan, custodian of the Delhi Gharana
(xv) Shree Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi, representing the Qawwali traditions of Deccan region
(xvi) Performances by Qawwal Janaab Nurul Hasan from Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, India
(xvii) Qawwal Janaab Naseer-Nazeer Ahmed Khan Warsi from Hyderabad, India.

THE LAST SONG OF AWADH (YEAR 2014) – A symposium and performance exploring the music and dance of Awadh featuring Zarina Begum – a unique symposium dedicated to the Music and Dance of Awadh in the era of Nawabs

The symposium relived the courtesan and featured the Last Living Court Singer of Awadh along with the researchers, scholars, film maker, and intrigued connoisseurs of music and traditional performers and practitioners associated with music form of Ghazal and thumri gayaki.. The Symposium “The Last Song of Awadh”, seeks to discuss and understand the traditional ghazal, thumri, dadra as sung at the opulent Darbars of the erstwhile Awadh and its representation by Zarina Begam, the last living singer of the Awadh court.

The following were the eminent speakers who presented their valuable views on ‘Music and dance of Awadh’ during the symposium:
(i) Ms. Dipali Khanna, Member Secretary, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts.
(ii) Ms. Kumud Diwan, Classical Singer.
(iii) Shri Vikram Lall, music enthusiast and scholar.
(iv) Shri Pran Nevile, Author
(v) Shri Aamir Raza Husain, Indian Theatre Personality.
(vi) Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Classical Vocalist.
(vii) Ms. Saba Dewan, Film-maker.
(viii) Kumari Selja, Honorable Member of Parliament.
(ix) Shri Chinmaya R. Gharekhan, President, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts.
(x)Ms. Manjari Chaturvedi,Kathak Dancer
(xi)Jareena Begum,Singer

Understanding Qawwali-2015 –The anthropology and social impact of the art-form of Qawwali 

The symposium was organized on 8th  March 2015 at India International Centre, Delhi, in association with ‘Sir Ratan Tata Trust’ and ‘Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust’. The 1 day symposium focused on revival of the oral tradition of Qawwali with a strong emphasis on the livelihoods of performing artists. The Symposium was of grand success and has received the great response from audience as well as the print and online media.

During 2015, the Speakers/ Experts were from diverse backgrounds including:
(i) Prof Saiyid Zaheer Husain Jafri, Professor, Delhi University
(ii) Dr. Vinay Srivastava, Professor Delhi University
(iii) Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil, writer, critic and literary historian
(iv) Shri Vijai Vardhan, Secretary, Department of cultural affairs, Govt. of Haryana
(v) Prof. Gopi Chand Narang, Professor Delhi University
(vi) Mr. Vicky Roy, Photographer
(vii) Mr. Swarat Ghosh, Photographer
(viii) Ms. Saumya Khandelwal
(ix) Mr. Zorawar Shukla, Documentary Filmmaker
(x) Performances by Qawwal Janab Ahsaan Hussain and Adil Hussain from Hyderabad


Seminar-2017-The 4th Symposium of the series “Understanding Qawwali” was held on 28th October, 2017 at the India International Centre, New Delhi in partnership with India International Centre and Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT)

The theme of the 4th edition was “Understanding Qawwali – the Poetic Content and its Social Impact, with Regional Sensibilities”. The day-long seminar was held with active participation from scholars and experts including professors of different universities and diverse faculties in Delhi namely Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia. It was an opportunity for the students also in understanding the finer aspects of music and poetry. In addition, other experts were renowned scholars, educationists, authors, poets and eminent film makers. All the experts deliberated upon the steps required to be taken to safeguard the gradually lost poetic traditions with the regional language influence in art form of Qawwali and how this art form can play an inevitable role in bringing different communities together.

During the symposium, the panelists were renowned scholars, educationists, authors, poets, eminent film maker etc. and included the following names:
(i) Dr. Balram Shukla, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit, University of Delhi
(ii) Shri Vikramjit Singh Rooprai, Heritage Activist and Educationist
(iii) Shri M K Raina, Filmmaker and Actor
(iv) Dr. Saif Mahmood, Author of Urdu Literature and Culture Expert
(v) Professor Danish Iqbal, Professor and Deputy Director, AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia.
(vi) Janab Syed Jia Alvi, Urdu Poet, Writer and Sufi Scholar.
(vii) Sibtain Nizami – Qawwal Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.
(viii) Saqlain Nizami – Qawwal Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.
(ix) Jamaluddin Nizami – Qawwal Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.
(x) Shahnawaz Nizami – Qawwal Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.