We are the mirror as well as the face in it (Rumi)
The need to be understood has always remained integral to human existence. It is through the expression of humanness and the commonality of the existential experience that we truly relate to each other. The visible revival of the Sufi idiom in Pakistan expressed through an unlikely medium – pop music – is not an unexpected event. It is a reaction to the mainstream orthodoxy and realization of enhanced cultural space in contemporary Pakistan. Above all, it also reinforces the continued relevance of the Sufi message centered on humanistic values and attainment of divine love through self-knowledge and loving other human beings.
In 2002, when I returned to Pakistan after a sojourn abroad the first image to hit me at the Karachi airport was a Supreme Ishq number (Bulleh Shah’s Teray ishq Nachaya kar thaya thaya – or your love makes me dance with abandon) produced by Shoaib Mansoor. It was a soulful composition, visually delightful, and definitely catchy as I saw many a passerby mesmerized by the images. I almost thanked God for Shoaib Mansoor to have changed tracks. His previous discovery – Junaid Jamshed has joined the tableegh-merchant brigade and almost disowned his music in public interviews. However, this ‘conversion’ is not an isolated incident.
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