Misaq-e-Ishq – A Musical Evening, January 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) in collaboration with LUMS School of Education and Harvard South Asia Institute organised an exclusive music and poetry evening, where upcoming musician Ali Sethi and Harvard University Professor, Ali Asani expressed their love for poetry.

Entitled ‘Misaq-e-ishq’ (The Covenant of Love) this poetry recital evening, held at the Ali Institute of Education, highlighted the work of regional masters and Sufi visionaries including Amir Khusraw, Bulleh Shah, Abdul Latif Bhatti and many more. Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion & Cultures at Harvard University, recited from the works and biographies of the aforementioned poets, showcasing recurring motifs of “birha” (separation) and “wasl” (union with the beloved).

Throughout the evening, Professor Asani’s readings and recitations were interspersed with musical performances of the poems from classically-trained vocalist and Coke Studio sensation, Ali Sethi and his six-member band.

Expressing his love for poetry, Ali Sethi commented, “I first met Professor Ali Asani in 2002. This was post-9/11 country, a time of alienation and radicalisation, and Professor Asani's emphasis on humanism and empathy, appealed to me. I can now see that my early exposure to the study of Sufism in Professor Asani's courses led me into the study of classical music after I graduated and returned to Pakistan. 'Misaq-e-Ishq' is a synthesis of those ideas and experiences: an exploration, through poetry and music, of the dialogue between humanity and divinity."

Supported by Institute for Policy Reforms, this event also featured an introduction to the inaugural Lahore Biennale by Rashid Rana the Artistic Director for Lahore Biennale 01 who is also one of Pakistan’s foremost contemporary artists. This event was open to public and was followed by a brief talk by Country Director Harvard South Asia Institute and Associate Director LUMS School of Education, Dr. Mariam Chughtai who spoke about the work Harvard SAI and LUMS School of Education are doing in Pakistan.