Articulated, acknowledged, and practiced as one of the paths to attain truth and reach God, Bhakti in Indian thought and spirituality came to occupy a centrality in the sub-continent about a millennium ago. Eminent Bhakti movements were carried across the sub-continent by Sufis, saints, minstrels, bards, and singers, providing solace, peace, and meditative moments to all who answered their call.
In current times Bhakti Utsav is not just celebrating the diverse faiths through devotional music but it’s also a sucker to the soul in times that are full of stress and divisive ways of thought. The string of Bhakti binds us all, whichever faith and religion we may be, it helps us meditate and give solace to the soul.
The thought of shared devotion and a peaceful congregation of people coming together from diverse faiths and backgrounds was the blueprint for the Bhakti Utsav, conceptualized, curated and produced by SEHER. It brought devotional music featuring artists from the entire subcontinent. Featuring rare artists from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the Utsav was set amidst the greenery in Nehru Park in Delhi where the boundary between the elite and commons was broken and truly democratized music. What began 15 years ago in 2003 became an annual event and featured eminent artists such as Pandit Jasraj, T.M. Krishna, Madhup Mudgal, Hariharan, and Manna Dey.
The Utsav featured diversity from the Sanskrit chants to bhajans in folk and Malwa tradition to popular bhajan from Hindi films to pure Sufiana Qawwali of Bulleh Shah, Baba Farid and Amir Khusrau from the dargahs of Pakistan to Hyderabad in India. From the saint poets of the north to Carnatic Krithis of Thyagraj dikshitiv. Even the people from North East and the Bengalis enjoyed the purest form of Abhang from the Maharashtrian tradition to Bhajans in Gujarati. All this diversity could be seen in parks of Delhi and Jaipur and people of all ages came in large numbers. All enjoyed Bhakti under the moonlit skies of Nehru Park.
“Our country has a rich legacy of celebrating Bhakti in diverse forms. Various faiths have stressed the importance of music in reaching the divine. The paths are different, but the destination is the same. The event was conceived to bring people of all faiths together from India and the subcontinent. Over the years, Bhakti Utsav has been established as one of India’s most prestigious music festivals.”