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Venue: Sambodhi Sabhagar, Banaras Hindu University
Singing to the Glory of God is a common practice across different faiths. India has a long tradition of sacred songs praising various Gods, Goddesses, and Saints. When Indians got introduced to the new faith of Islam, gradually, that also got incorporated into this tradition. Songs addressed to Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, are sung with no less passion than a song sung to Shri Krishna or Shri Rama. Innumerable Nat, Salam, and Bhajan. Kirtan songs have been giving solace to the devotees of different faiths. Bhajans and Kirtans are inseparable from the Indian identity, may it be a Hindu or a Muslim. The spiritual appeal of these songs is beyond the mundane sectarian boundaries. They have the transcendental power of lifting a devotee from gross physicality to a subtle level of consciousness. These songs are the companions of the humans striving for an experience of inner peace. The imagery and philosophy of the devotional songs are good testimony to the universality of humans. Most importantly, these are pieces of good literature, literature that is appreciated and enjoyed by the learned and the illiterate alike. A scholar may write essays on a Bhajan, and an illiterate may simply sing it and experience the joy of being one with his/her object of worship, but in essence, both are swinging on the same rhythm of emotion. The proposed seminar is an attempt towards understanding the poetry, music, and spiritual transcendence
intended through these devotional songs.

Papers are invited on the following topics:
1. The tradition of Shaiva/ Shakta and Vaishnav devotional songs, the tradition of Nat, Salam, Marsia, devotional Qawwali’s, the tradition of Christian songs, the tradition of Sikh Shabad Kirtans in India.
2. A poetic appreciation of the Indian devotional songs.
3. Devotional songs as sites of composite culture.
4. Nuances of the performance: Devotional songs of different faiths.
5. Any other topic related to the theme will be accepted.
There will be sessions of performances by the artists of Nat, Bhajans, and other genres of singing.

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