Kabir As Experience, Not Teaching

22 Jan

One of the fist things Shabnam said in the early afternoon where she had sat for satsang at Shishuvan School Matunga, was what someone had told her – “It will be a hard act to follow,” referring to kids swaying to Kabir rock performed by Delhi band, Makeshift before her. Could she do what the band had done i.e. be pied piper to the kids and make them dance to Kabirs words? Turns out, as the photos below will testify, Shabnam was being grossly underestimated.

For not only did the students sway to her rendition of Kabir, this time swaying to her music were teachers and other guests at the school.

Shabnam rendered Kabir in a variety of styles, from the way of singing Kabir she had learnt from Prahlad Tipaniya in Malwa – MP, to the Kutchi one she had learnt from Moora Lala to a Sindhi rendition of Kabir.

Her quaint little speech before the event was equally substantial. “Kabir is taught today in a very pedantic way. We have grown up listening to Kabir as a moralistic person telling us to do. We have no idea that Kabir is actually fun. Through the Kabir Project it is our endeavour to give Kabir not as a teaching, but as an experience,” she said.

And the experience enthralled everyone. Moora Lala, dressed in a grey half-sweater, who had come merely as a spectator, could not resist the temptation to take the stage. His spirited version of Kabir so mesmerized the audience that they asked for another and another, till in the end time ran out.

Thankfully, like Shabnam had elucidated, time may had run out, but this experience for those that were there, never will.

Two Mirabai's sing for their Kabir - Shabnam Virmani and behind Linda Hess

Kids and Adults alike swayed to Shabams music

Two devotees in the thores of ecstacy

Motion in devotion

A student recording Shabnam's Music

Moora Lala in the thores of ecstasy

– All Photos by Satyen K. Bordoloi

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