Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why do popular images thrive in the Muslim world despite…?

Cover of the book
"Why Do Popular Images Thrive in the Muslim World Despite…?"
Readings from Muslim Devotional Art in India by Yousuf Saeed

Date: 31st March, 2012
Time: 3 PM-5 PM
Place: Sarai-CSDS, 29, Rajpur Road, Civil Lines, Delhi-110054

Join us for an afternoon with Yousuf Saeed in conversation with Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Shail Mayaram about his new illustrated book, Muslim Devotional Art in India,
at 3 PM, Saturday, 31st March, 2012.

The book is an illustrated volume on the history of Islamic popular devotional art and visual culture in India with an emphasis on religious pluralism as part of the iconography.

Independent filmmaker and researcher Yousuf Saeed has been working on India's popular Islamic visual culture since over a decade. He was also a Sarai Fellow in 2004 where he studied the syncretic elements of popular Muslim poster art. This discussion focuses on a few important issues dealt with in Yousuf's latest book, concerning
the pluralism of popular Islam practiced in India.

Read more about the book: 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Master takes
Yousuf Saeed on Film
We all enjoy those Antarctica programmes with penguins and floating icebergs on television. But do they evoke anything other than awe? I couldn’t imagine such an unusually poetic film experience being created out of Antarctica as in Encounters at the End of the World, a documentary by Werner Herzog that showcases the frozen continent from the eyes of a few scientists who “could not fit anywhere on the globe and naturally fell down” into South Pole. What adds to the film’s idiosyncrasy is the dry humour and a very German accent of the director’s voiceover.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Understanding Bulleh Shah and Amir Khusrau

An Intensive Workshop on Sufi Music and Qawwali

6-14 February, 2010, New Delhi

After two successful workshops in 2009 on the appreciation of Sufi music and Qawwali, Ektara India (a collective of art and media professionals) invites applications for an advanced workshop on understanding the poetry and music of medieval poet-composers Amir Khusrau (1253-1325) and Bulleh Shah (1680-1757), to be held in New Delhi from 6th to 14th February 2010.

Ektara India has been involved in varied activities of culture, arts, research and peacemaking, having produced documentary films, music albums, and multimedia, besides managing cultural events, academic symposia, and exhibitions. In October and December 2009, Ektara organized two introductory workshops on the appreciation of Sufi music and Qawwali in Delhi, which were attended and well-appreciated by people from cross section of professions and backgrounds. Some details about our previous workshops and events are available on the website

Our next workshop (in Feb. 2010) hopes to take the participants to a more advanced level of understanding the poetry, music and historical context of legends like Amir Khusrau and Bulleh Shah. The verse of these two poets is probably the most performed Sufi poetry in north India and Pakistan. Although there is gap of almost 4 centuries between the lives of two poet-composers, these 400 years were also probably the most productive in the cultural history of south Asia. This workshop hopes to explore the development of Sufi poetry and music over these 4 centuries and beyond and what relevance they hold for us today.

The workshop will take place for 4 full-day sessions on weekends at a convenient location in south Delhi. It will include illustrated lectures by eminent scholars of history, literature and music, besides many sessions of audio and video screenings. There would also be a heritage walk and on-location performances of music. Lunch, tea and snacks will be served during the workshop. Handouts including reading material as well as multimedia on CDs would also be provided during the workshop.

The registration for the workshop is open for anyone with an interest in Sufi literature, music and cultural history. Although it is not a requirement, but those who attended any of Ektara’s previous basic workshops (Oct/Dec 09) might appreciate this advanced workshop better. The registration fee is Rs.4000 (inclusive of lunch, tea and handouts). There is an early bird discount of 25% if you register before 15th January, 2010. Couples or two or more friends together can still get this discount after the deadline. Students (who are not working as professionals) get a 40% discount if they register before 15th Jan. Those who have attended our previous 2 workshops (Oct./Dec.'09) also get a 40% discount if they register before 15th Jan.

To register, kindly download the application form at the link below, and send it to us along with your registration fee. Currently, you could either pay the full amount or only an advance of Rs.1000 (and the rest at the start of the workshop in February). The payment should be made by a Delhi cheque or DD in favour of EKTARA INDIA. Kindly note that our previous postal address has changed. Please get our latest address from one us when sending the forms.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Workshop on Appreciating Qawwali and Sufi Music

Ektara invites applications to participate in a 2-week practical workshop on the appreciation of Qawwali and Sufi music, to be held in Delhi from December 5 to 13, 2009.

This workshop is open for anyone interested in learning to appreciate Sufi poetry, music and Qawwali better. The participants do not have to have a prior knowledge or training of music, nor is there an age-bar. The course would comprise of about 12 sessions of 2 hours each (mostly in English, but with some Hindustani) to be conducted at a central location of Delhi (in an around the region of Nizamuddin dargah) with a couple of heritage walks around the historical monuments. The course would also focus on the poetic and musical heritage of the city of Delhi, especially the repertoire of poets such as Amir Khusrau. The sessions would be conducted by practicing musicians, well known scholars, and members of Ektara group, and would comprise of illustrated lectures, live music demos, video screenings, guided visits to the dargah, listening sessions and more. By the end of 2 weeks, the participants would hopefully be able to better appreciate the nuances of Sufi music, poetry, and Qawwali and its historical context. Ektara would also provide a certificate of participation, besides various printed or multimedia materials related to the content of the course.

For registration and further details, please visit or contact us via email or phone. For those registering early (before 15th Nov. 2009) there will be a concession in the registration fees.

Kindly forward this message to others who may be interested. Thanks

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Amir Khusrau's Poetry in a Visual Gallery

In November 2006, Yousuf Saeed and Sanjog Sharan conceptualized and designed a visual installation of Amir Khusrau's poetry in centemporary context, for the India Social Forum held at Delhi. While some images from that exhibit are given here, more can be seen at

This is a travelling exhibition comprising of about 15 panels or posters (of 6 ft x 3 ft size each) which can be installed any where required. Kindly enquire us if you would like to have this exhibition at a suitable venue.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Khayal Darpan review in ET, Delhi

Manoj Nair writes a review on the film Khayal Darpan in Economic Times, Delhi (26 Nov.2006)
Cracks in the mirror of imagination


"Khayal Darpan" Review in Economic Times, Delhi
Culture Cauldron: Cracks in the mirror of imagination