Bangla Qawwali: Sufi Tradition of West Bengal

in Module
Published on: 09 November 2018

Avishek Ghosh

Avishek Ghosh is a folk musician and independent researcher in the field of traditional folk music. He plays and teaches dotara (a Bengali folk instrument). He has research experience in folk music and mystic spiritual traditions, especially in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar and Punjab.

Qawwali is a form of devotional music of the Sufis, practiced in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is a fusion of the Persian musical tradition qawl and the tarana form of Indian dhrupad as well as dhamar. Besides traditional compositions in the Arabic, Persian and Hindvi, the use of regional languages like Punjabi, Purvi, Urdu, Hindi, Deccan Urdu and Bengali in qawwali evidences the role played by qawwali in the propagation of Islamic Sufi thought across India, building bridges across different cultural and linguistic regions. Qawwali performances are a regular feature in dargahs and Sufi shrines across Kolkata, Medinipur, Hooghly, Bardhaman and 24 Parganas districts. This module documents the performative and philosophical aspects of Bangla Qawwali.