By Rafique Ali
April 2016 will now stay in my memory forever. Its was a gloomy Saturday evening in Atlanta, usually people in my adopted city don’t like grey sky. Being a native of sunny Karachi, I will forever remain fond of the clouds and rain. Amjad Sabri was doing US tour and I was on my way to attend his concert. Clouds, light rain, Amjad Sabri and even my wife agreed to accompany me (as she mostly like new trend music, not Qawali); one couldn’t be more thankful.
My second time, seeing Amjad Sabri live. I questioned myself before buying the tickets. ‘Why going again as you watched him live three years ago, it would be a repeatation and he doesn’t have anything new to offer’. Then another inside voice said, ‘It doesn’t matter as you are going there to grab the moment, the chanting the trans is something worth repeating over and over’. Voice of emotion prevailed over voice of rationality and I was there.
It was a Desi banquet hall. Organizers did a good job of putting giant vertical banner with sketch of Dancing Dervaish, a universal symbol of language neutral Sufi or Mystical expression. Small gathering of about 150 people were ready to enjoy an evening with a son and nephew of two legends. Both occasions, watching him live; I always craved for his dad and uncle. Amjad Sabri do recognize audience’s love for his predecessors, therefore he make sure to sing some lines in the voice of his dad and uncle; which he did. The two and half hours were mesmerizing, Bhar De Jholi Meri Ya Mohammed, Tajdar e Haram, Dum Mast Qalandar, Man Kun To Mowla and few more. It was the night to collect all precious gems of Sabri Clan. Those who has experience of watching him live, knows about sense of humor and wittiness of Amjad Sabri.
People die (log Mar Jate Hein), some people leave impression with their work and some people are remembered due to Zinda Dili. Amjad Sabri was both, he does his work with conviction and a naughty smile on his face, never hesitated to crack a joke or throw a line.
He was a brave man too, with an open political affiliation and proponent of Sufi tradition of Islam. Despite knowing the dangers from violent opposing idealogy.
I don’t know who killed him, may be his murder will become another unsolved event just like thousands of other cold cases. I know for sure that he was a victim of Intolerance, the mindset accross the board which refuses to listen to opposing point of voice.
In his beautiful voice Amjad Sabri used to sing.
Jabar Key Andheroon Mein Zindagi Guzari Hay
Ab Sehar Jo Aiye Gi Wo Saher Hamari Hay.
(I spent my life under tyranny but there will come a morning soon when i will be free- Paraphrase)
Amjad Sabri won’t be able to see that Sehar (the morning), but he left a hope for all of us to strive and hope for that Sehar. Good Bye, Amjad Bhai.
The writer can be contacted @GoToMtns on Twitter.