The Garden of Bedil Music Concert
The Program in South Asian Studies is organizing a three-day festival, “The Garden of Bedil: The Indo-Persian Literary and Cultural Landscape” to be held at Princeton University on September 22-24, 2022. The festival includes a student-focused poetry reading workshop on September 22, a multi-disciplinary in-person conference on September 23, with a virtual session on September 24, and a musical concert on the evening of September 24.
A music concert by Humayun Khan Ensemble, blending Bedil’s Persian poetry with Indian classical ragas will be one of the main highlights of our festival. Humayun Khan is an Afghan singer and composer who is known for his brilliant performances as a virtuosic vocalist and harmonium player. Humayun’s style of singing which blends Farsi poetry of the great masters with Indian classical Ragas will lend itself well to the theme of the festival. Humayun is formally trained, both in the Indian classical music, as well as the Sarahangi tradition of singing Bedil’s poetry in Afghanistan. Humayun Khan is proud of his musical, spiritual, and personal connection with Hazrat Bedil and his poetry and music traditions. Humayun’s father, Ehsanullah Farzad, the architect of Zahir Shah, the former king of Afghanistan, had trained in music under the legendary Afghan maestro, Ustad Mohammad Hussain Sarahang (of the Patiala Gharana). Ustad Sarahang played a significant role in popularizing Hazrat Bedil’s poetry in Afghanistan. Through his compositions, Ustad Sarahang beautifully weaved Indian classical Ragas with Farsi poetry (mainly of Bedil) and educated Afghan audiences in both. It is mainly from this repertoire and tradition that Humayun will draw upon for this concert. The compositions Humayun will perform will be in various musical genres, such as Ghazal, Khayal, Tarana, and Hamd. To draw connections between Bedil’s poetry and the poetry of some of the greatest poets of the Indo-Persian world, Humayun will also present some pieces by Hazrat Amir Khusro, Maulana Rumi, and Mirza Ghalib.
Co-sponsored by the Chadha Center for Global India, the Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, the Humanities Council, the Departments of Comparative Literature, Music, and Near Eastern Studies, and the Program in Near Eastern Studies.