'Aariash-e-Sukhan': Witness the grandeur of a haveli, beauty of our shared culture and heritage

A blend of shared culture and heritage of India can be witnessed at Shikwa Haveli near Baghpat, as Harfkaar Foundation initiates Aaraish-e-Sukhan, a day-long cultural festival, this Saturday

'Aariash-e-Sukhan': Witness the grandeur of a haveli, beauty of our shared culture and heritage
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Rana Siddiqui Zaman

Performing artistes were among the worst sufferers during the Covid-induced lockdown period. Events had come to a halt, and performances on the virtual medium were not every one’s cup of tea. An occasion before a live audience, therefore, was the need of the hour, while keeping Covid-precautions in mind.

They say, where there is a will, there is a way. Young Delhi-based Urdu poet Azhar Iqbal found one out. He gathered some good performing artistes and decided to hunt for a place where the audience would eagerly come, tired of a long halt in their outings during lockdown.

The venue decided was Shikwa – a 700-year-old haveli, owned by a retired Indian diplomat Kashif Raza, who has invested 15 years to restore, renovate and reconstruct his ancestral haveli and live there after his retirement. He has turned it into an art-deco museum of sorts, preserving age-old heritage and aesthetics.

Located at the mound of Village Katha, overlooking the banks of river Yamuna, Shikwa Haveli is just 30 kilometres from the Red Fort, Delhi. The picturesque marvel, haveli Shikwa is the venue of a day-long programme taking place on October 16.

Titled Aariash e Sukhan (meaning, a poetic luxury), it is a literary and musical affair presented by the Shikwa Haveli and Harfkar Foundation. The programmes have been designed in a way that the entire event celebrates the sanjhi virasat or shared culture of India’s Ganga-Jamni tehzeeb and is a celebration of ancient Indian art forms such as Dastangoi, classical dance, Sufi qalams, and Musharia.

So, against the backdrop of the grandeur of the haveli, these programmes that once the royals celebrated and patronised, would be launched.

'Aariash-e-Sukhan': Witness the grandeur of a haveli, beauty of our shared culture and heritage
'Aariash-e-Sukhan': Witness the grandeur of a haveli, beauty of our shared culture and heritage
'Aariash-e-Sukhan': Witness the grandeur of a haveli, beauty of our shared culture and heritage
'Aariash-e-Sukhan': Witness the grandeur of a haveli, beauty of our shared culture and heritage
'Aariash-e-Sukhan': Witness the grandeur of a haveli, beauty of our shared culture and heritage
'Aariash-e-Sukhan': Witness the grandeur of a haveli, beauty of our shared culture and heritage

Notably, marking the victory of good over evil, Dussherea, and the following festival of lights, Diwali, the Dastangoi will be on lord Rama, titled “Dastan-e-Ram” in Urdu, penned by Professor Danish Iqbal and performed by Fouzia Dastango, symbolising a unity of two religions and thoughts as a shared co-existence of India.

It would be followed by a stand-up comedy by Maheep Singh making the day, light. Mushaira would feature poets such as Dr. Asim Peerzada, Vikas Sharma ‘Raat”, Professor Tarkash Pradeep, Azhar Nawaz, Vipul Kumar, Azhar Iqbal and Aquib Sabir who will preside it.

The day-long programme would be concluded with classical and Sufi music performances by Fareed Hasan and Mehboob Hussain of the Dilli Gharana.

Notably, Aaraish e Sukhan is the first literary and musical affair at the Shikwa haveli.

Alka Raza, a writer, the haveli owner and wife of Kashif Raza, says, “Our undying dedication to art and culture of our country, is the main motive to do this show and not the promotion of the haveli. So, we have made a small beginning for the love of arts and artistes. We used to organise Jashne-e-Doab earlier but for the last two years of lockdown and pandemic, we have not been able to do anything of this sort. So, this time, in collaboration with Harfkaar, we have tried to cause some ripples again.”

Azhar Iqbal, a noted Urdu shayar and founder of Harfkaar, (meaning weaver of words) Foundation adds, “I feel heartbroken to witness that India does not treat its artistes well. I have seen immensely talented artistes rehearsing over just one cup of tea the whole day, with or without travel fare, for months. Hindustan main artists ki badi na-qadri hai. Post-Covid the artistes were in extremely bad shape as performances were their means of living. This initiative is aimed at starting a movement of such programmes, especially of shared cultures in current India. Most of the artistes are participating due to their passion, for a token remuneration.”

However, the duo feel that with such a show, a beginning to honour artistes while associating the haveli with programmes that speak of shared culture and heritage of India, can be a made.

Notably, six rooms of the Shikwa Haveli, spread in approximately 4000 square yards, have been converted into high-end home stay, for the select guests.

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