Culture & Society

Finland Ambassador Ritva Kokku – Ronde Emphasises Unconditional Love, Service at 15th International Sufi Rang Festival in Ajmer Sharif

Celebrating Divine Love with Global Sacred Arts, Calligraphic Inscriptions, Spiritual Music, Poetry, Talks, and National Seminar, the 15th International Sufi Rang Festival (ISRF) was held at the 800-year-old majestic Sufi Courtyard of the Mausoleum of Sultan ul Hind Hadhrat Gharib Nawaz Khaja Moinuddin Chisti at Ajmer Sharif recently. The Finland Ambassador to India, Ritva Kokku – Ronde emphasized unconditional love and service to a galaxy of stalwarts from different fields which included academicians, scholars, writers, well-known Sufi artists, calligraphers, top police officers, and Bollywood artists. The participating artists included curators, calligraphers, and painters from Vadodara, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Tonk, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Srinagar, Bikaner, Udaipur, Bharuch, and Bidar. Participants from 32 countries were present at the grand event. Ritva Kokku – Ronde was applauded by the audience for her thoughts on promoting peace and harmony. She was felicitated with the traditional sacred scarf used for prayers and meditation by the Gaddi Nashin of Ajmer Sharif Dargah and the Founder of the ISRF Haji Syed Salman Chisti on behalf of the Chisti Foundation.

Finland Ambassador Ritva Kokku – Ronde honoured by Chishti Foundation Head Haji Syed Salman Chisti.

The distinguished guests of honor and dignitaries at the opening ceremony of the 15th edition of ISRF included Rupender Singh, IPS, IGP, Ajmer, District Collector Anshdeep, IAS, and others who were conferred the World Peace Awards. In his address, Rupender Singh, the top police officer, widely respected for his commitment to peace and harmony, highlighted the significance of the Sufi festival in strengthening national integration, and socio-religious and communal harmony. ‘We need to make concerted efforts to keep alive the collective spirit of the nation through the great art exhibitions such as the ISRF’ observed the IGP – Ajmer Police Range.

A Quran Recital competition among the children of the Khuddam –e- Khaja Gharib Nawaz (RA) was held in which 55 children, both boys, and girls, participated. A trophy and the 1st prize award went to Syed Kazim Ali Chisti, son of Syed Adil Hussain Chisti, the 2nd prize trophy and award was bagged by Syeda Sakeena Bibi, daughter of Qazi Syed Gulfaam Chisti and the 3rd prize award was given to Syeda Mannat Chisti, daughter of Faqar Chisti.

Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah, the former vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, was the chief guest at the concluding session of the 7-day festival. He praised the initiative of Haji Salman Chisti in holding the Sufi festival. He termed it as a fantastic attempt to bolster the social fabric of our country. He asserted that the person who actively participates in social and humanitarian service with unwavering dedication is a true Sufi. He declared that ‘A Chisti is the one who embraces one and all irrespective of caste, creed, and culture.’

A little girl participant at the Holy Quran Competition

Renowned filmmaker, poet, and cultural revivalist Muzaffar Ali of Umraojaan fame, spoke eloquently about sacred arts and aesthetics. He referred to Islamic spirituality as it is revealed in the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Prophet, including the well-known Hadith:

.إن الله جميل يحب الجمال.

  ‘Allah is the Most Beautiful and (therefore) He loves Beauty.’ In this brief but insightful discourse, he discussed different facets of the Sufi perspective on beauty and aesthetics.

Padma Shri Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar, a well-known classical Dhrupad singer praised the Sufi Rang Festival. He underlined the necessity for ongoing efforts to promote the significance of cultural festivity and plurality through the holy arts, particularly the heartfelt Sufi music. The audience was mesmerized by the 20th-generation modern Dhrupad vocal master Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar. Blending patient phrases with fine rhythmic control and an effortless vocal elasticity Ustad Dagar left the audience spellbound, reminding them of his father, Ustad Nasir Fayazuddin Dagar. Dhrupad, one of the oldest classical traditions still in existence today may be traced back to the 15th century when a Dagar served as a court musician for the Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Akbar.

Finland Ambassador Ritva Kokku – Ronde addressing the audience at the 15th International Sufi Rang Festival in Ajmer

Among the guests of honor at the festival was Vijay Jawaharlal Darda, chairman of the Lokmat Media Group, a renowned journalist and politician. Darda inspired the event organizers, curators, and volunteers as a philanthropist. He lauded the Chisti Foundation’s ‘heroic efforts’ for peace-making and nation-building.

The Global Peace Awards were presented to the dignitaries in appreciation of their many years of visionary leadership and impeccable direction in serving the country and the entire human race. Those honored and services recalled included the famous Oxygen man  Pyare Khan,  a Nagpur-based businessman, who shot to fame for his incredible relief work for the patients during the 2nd Covid wave, Taj Ahmed Raja, chairman, Hazrat Tajuddin Baba (RA) Trust, businesswoman Saira Haleem Shah and Fatima Farah Chisti, daughter of Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah. Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, senior journalist Rishi Suri of the Daily Urdu Milap News organization, prominent singer Mohit Chauhan, Anshdeep, IAS, Collector Ajmer district, Ricky Kej, world music composer and Grammy Award winner and the Sarv Dharm Maitria Sanstha were felicitated.

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