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Of Sufism & Hinduism

I READ the book review by Pran Nevile entitled, “Sufism and politics” (May 2). Sufism believes that human soul is emanation from God himself and could find its highest aim in achieving union with God. In this regard, Sufism is nearer to Hindu philosophy.

Sufism considers poetry as the principal vehicle for expression of mystical thought and feeling and its musical rendering as a means of turning this into an emotional and spiritual experience.

Though in the Holy Quran there is no mention of music as halal (lawful) or haram (unlawful), the legal system of Islam forbids it. The liberal Sufi orders, i.e. Chisti and Qadri, accept music as a means of attaining union with God. They approve of “Majlis-i- Sama” for spiritual upliftment and reject “Majlis-i-Tarab” which is for entertainment.

Sama which literally means listening, in Sufi parlance, denotes hearing of music in a ritualistic way. Sama being devotional in intent and content helps induce “vajd” (emotional transport/state of grace), a mystical spiritual stage.

Qawali is sama in practice. The mystical poetry (qaul) is set to music and enhanced by rhythm as well as repetition so as to suggest “zikr” (remembrance of God’s name). It was patronised by Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, whose disciple Amir Khusrau developed it to a definite shape and made it popular. Qawali is performed in Sufi dargahs on ceremonial occasions like “urs” of the Sufi saints.

V. K. RANGRA, Delhi

Parents shouldn’t put undue pressure on children for higher scores

Spare the Rod, Improve the Child” (Saturday Extra, April 30) by Shobita Shiv Shankar pertinently brings out the traumas heaped on the child at home, school or college. Various examples are quoted to bring out the treatment meted out to the children on trivial matters like not wearing proper uniform, talking or not doing homework. This brings out the barbarity of the teachers. At home, some parents practice psychological aggression while others deliver physical punishment.

In fact, teachers and parents follow the adage ‘might is right’. They vent their personal frustration on vulnerable children. Heads of schools and colleges are also to blame, for they put the fear of the devil to maintain discipline in the institution. The unmanageable number of children in schools contributes to this brutal repression by the teachers. To give a balanced upbringing to the children we should resort to love, kindness and learning.

Parents put undue pressure for higher scores on their children in this competitive era and if they lag behind, they have to face the music at home as well as school. The need of the hour is not only academics, but also all-round development of the child to help him become a balanced personality. I close with this limerick:

A small verse for all teachers

Who aim to be good preachers

Emphasise the joy and bliss of learning

Without tension and worrying about earning




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