Culture & Harmony
Shaheen enjoys its unique position by not only working for gender justice and livelihood problems but by going beyond the prescribed role.
Qawwali is a musical tradition belonging to the Sufi culture, wherein the soul of the singer and audience ecstatically becomes one with the Almighty. It was popularized during the Mughal era. It is mostly performed by men at dargahs or at places of sacred importance.
Shaheen has successfully adopted Qawwali for its activities for twin reasons – firstly, to break the stereotype of Qawwals (singers) to be only men, and secondly, to create awareness in the community through Qawwalis on women’s rights. The Qawwalis performed by the dedicated interventionists of the organisation are unique in nature, with their focus on gender issues. They include topics like the protection and education of the girl child, domestic violence, ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, discrimination against the girl child and child marriage, among a host of other women and child rights issues. The lyrics of the Qawwalis have been poignantly penned down by the Founder-Director of Shaheen, Ms. Jameela Nishat, who is an activist and poet herself. It is an exclusive effort on the part of Shaheen to promote cultural empowerment in society.
These Qawwalis portray the life story of girls suffering in the patriarchal society in such a way that one can visualise their agony. The performers often find the response from the audience to be overwhelming, and therefore feel this kind of a cultural activity to be an effective method of intervention to reach out to the masses.