Mahindra Kabira Festival: Reminiscing Kabir in modern times

by Team ACF
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After a hiatus of a year due to Covid-19 outbreak, the two day Mahindra Kabira Festival was back with music sessions by leading artistes on the historic ghats of Varanasi, walks down mysterious city alleys, talks and discourses, ethereal boat rides on a timeless river, and food that is linked with Varanasi’s ancient culinary traditions.

 “Mahindra Kabira Festival 2021 signifies new beginnings in a changed world, a world we can never again take for granted. A world that values compassion & empathy – qualities that Kabir held dear. Our return emphasises resilience and the spirit of Rise, both intrinsic to us at the Mahindra Group. We are delighted to bring back the joy of live performances to Varanasi – a city that is known for its artistry & ancient wisdom – the customary home of Mahindra Kabira,” said Jay Shah, Vice President, Head – Cultural Outreach, Mahindra Group.

In its fifth edition, this meticulously planned festival offered an opportunity for the participants and audience to live out the history of one of the world’s oldest cities and its powerful character while coming close to understanding Kabir’s essentially syncretic path of life.

“Kabir’s teachings are all about inclusiveness and common-sense!  Each year, Mahindra Kabira Festival celebrates the inclusive philosophy and syncretic traditions of Kabir bringing to music-lovers and those in search of truth an unforgettable experience with a line-up that includes Kashmiri folk to Carnatic music with some of the most interesting artists of our county,” said Says Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts.

The highlights of the festival included line-up with eminent artists namely acclaimed folk singer Malini Awasthi; one of the finest of Indian classical vocalists Kalapini Komkali; eminent classical vocalist Nirali Kartik; Indian sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee; Malayalam playback singer Gayatri Asokan; Carnatic vocal and violin duo Ranjani Gayatri; one of the most distinguished folk poets of India Jumma Khan; accomplished Dastango and the only artist of his kind to introduce the art forms of Muharram (Soz-Khwani) Askari Naqvi; well-known Hindustani classical musician from the Benares Gharana Pandit Anoop Misra.

The festival also featured a modern version of well-known theatre personality, actor and cultural activist M K Raina’s all-time hit play “Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein”, written by Bhisham Sahni, which ran for more than a decade. Produced by Anirban Ghosh (Baan G) and performed by Dastaan LIVE, the musical piece will showcase songs from the masterpiece by M.K. Raina and create modern reinterpretations based on Kabir’s poetry.

Kabir vani resonated on the ghats of Benaras from morning till evening, setting the mood and instilling the calm – so very needed in these times.

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