HYDERABAD: A few yards away from ‘Sihr-e-Baatil’ Kaman (the arch of magic breaker) near Gulzar Houz, an event on January 22 evening will enthral every Hyderabadi who loves Sufi music interspersed with mysticism and stands for the universal brotherhood of mankind..
The Basant Sufi festival at the dargah of Shah Muhammad Qasim, popularly known as Hazrat Shaik Ji Hali, stands as the testimony of the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb (Hindu-Muslim unity) of Hyderabad.
The Basant Sufi festival is a revival of the grand old tradition initiated by the Qutub Shahis about five centuries ago and followed in toto by the Asaf Jahi rulers till their downfall in 1948.
Basant festival has been held at the dargah for the last three years. This year’s celebrations will witness singing of qawwalis dedicated to Basant by saint-poet Amir Khusro. The Sufis may trace the celebrations of the festival of spring (Basant) to Amir Khusro eight centuries ago. However, as far as Hyderabad is concerned, the tradition was introduced by the Qutub Shahis during the regime of Ibrahim Qutub Shah IV, where the rulers would join the Hindus in celebrating Basant Panchami, when Sri Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and knowledge, is worshipped.
Historical records show that Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah and his son Mohammad Quli, who founded Hyderabad and constructed Charminar, joined the Basant celebrations.
Yellow was the norm and the participants would wear yellow clothes. Garlands made of yellow marigold were used to decorate the royal palaces and streets. Later Qutub Shahi rulers as also the Asaf Jahis continued the tradition as it upheld Hindu-Muslim unity for which Sufi saints in India had stood for.