City Culture – Subhan Nizami Qawwal at Pakistan Chowk

The Qawwali at Pakistan Chowk was a fantastic experience. Subhan Nizami is one of the finest Qawwals in the city and Pakistan Chowk has turned out to be a vibrant public space since its restoration. The combination guaranteed to entertain and engage the audience, a lot of which were from the area. It would not have been easy. Romanticizing public spaces is one thing but going out there, engaging residents of the area and tackling authorities to organize an event out in open requires courage, discipline and leadership. Pakistan Chowk Community Center met all the checks.

The show started half an hour late. There were very few people when it started. The sound system left an echo. The shopkeepers, sales staff and mechanics from nearby shops refused to sit inside, looking at the gathering with curiosity and suspicion. Marvi Mazhar, the force behind the initiative kicked off the session and Zaheer Alam Kidvai – dressed in a neat Kurta – introduced Subhan Nizami and his humnavas. Subhan Nizami also touched upon his lineage and legend of qawwal bachas. Subhan started the qawwali with naat, the famous ‘mere bane ki baat’. Half hour into qawwali, the chowk started getting crowded. People at the divide were asked to come and join and most of them obliged. It was late in the evening but the road connecting Pakistan Chowk with Shahrah-e-Liaquat was bustling with traffic. A lot of buses and motorbikes went by, slowing near the chowk and deciding to peek in. I could also see a lot of families in the balconies of nearby houses. The chowk could be seen illuminated from far off.

Pakistan Chowk Community Center has set the standards high for events held in the name of public and inclusivity.

Categories: City Culture

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