New Delhi : After a full year of waiting, Mahindra Kabira Festival 2021 will once again open its arms to a small and select audience of double-vaccinated people and on the banks of a timeless river, in the city that is sentinel to history, we will celebrate the wisdom of the 15th century mystic & poet Kabir with music, literature and discourse.
This year, more than ever before, we will come together to remember that the universe is infinite and our existence has a larger goal, and even though human life on Earth is evanescent, our faith is constant and leads us to an omniscient God. Never before have Kabir’s ideals of kindness, simplicity, compassion, equality and inclusiveness held more meaning than now and Mahindra Kabira 2021 will be an affirmation of all of these.
The festival, to be held between 26th and 28th November 2021, will have a limited guest list of fully vaccinated delegates & crew and will follow all Covid-19 protocols. The programme will include a plethora of classical and folk music, talks, live-art demonstrations, the characteristic Kabira boat rides, a delectable local food journey and the quintessential Ganga Arati experience. Forays into the city will be done only if safe but we will bring the joys and sights of the city to our delegates as much as we can.
A brainchild of the Mahindra Group and pioneering performing arts and entertainment company, Teamwork Arts, the Mahindra Kabira Festival celebrates Kabir and the inherent wisdom of his verses through its varied programme offerings.
Talking about the festival, Jay Shah, Vice President, Head – Cultural Outreach, Mahindra Group, said, “Mahindra Kabira Festival 2021 returns with the promise of hope and optimism. It signifies new beginnings in a changed world, a world we can never again take for granted. A world that values compassion & empathy – qualities that Kabir held dear. Our return emphasises resilience and the spirit of Rise, both intrinsic to us at the Mahindra Group. We are delighted to bring back the joy of live performances to Varanasi – a city that is known for its artistry & ancient wisdom – the customary home of Mahindra Kabira. We welcome our delegates & performers and look towards a great festival amidst all safety protocols.”
Says Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts, said, “Kabir’s teachings are all about inclusiveness and common-sense! Each year, Mahindra Kabira Festival celebrates the inclusive philosophy and syncretic traditions of Kabir bringing to music-lovers and those in search of truth an unforgettable experience with a line-up that includes Kashmiri folk to Carnatic music with some of the most interesting artists of our county. We welcome you to be a part of our initiative in bringing back the festival to the ghats of Varanasi.”
The festival will showcase an exclusive line-up with eminent artists namely acclaimed folk singer Malini Awasthi; one of the finest of Indian classical vocalists Kalapini Komkali; eminent classical vocalist Nirali Kartik; Indian sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee; Malayalam playback singer Gayatri Asokan; Carnatic vocal and violin duo Ranjani Gayatri; one of the most distinguished folk poets of India Jumma Khan; accomplished Dastango and the only artist of his kind to introduce the art forms of Muharram (Soz-Khwani) Askari Naqvi; well-known Hindustani classical musician from the Benares Gharana Pandit Anoop Misra. The festival will also feature a modern version of well-known theatre personality, actor and cultural activist M K Raina’s all-time hit play “Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein”, written by Bhisham Sahni, which ran for more than a decade. Produced by Anirban Ghosh (Baan G) and performed by Dastaan LIVE, the musical piece will showcase songs from the masterpiece by M.K. Raina and create modern reinterpretations based on Kabir’s poetry.
Kalapini Komkali said, “This November will be very special indeed as almost after two years, the Mahindra Kabira Festival is back. I am thrilled to be in front of a LIVE audience and that too in Varanasi!”
“Live performances are opening after a long time and to be on the river Ganga to perform and to mark the comeback of live performances is truly special. This year’s Mahindra Kabira Festival would feel like rains on a parched land. People will come back to life and celebrations through music,” said Nirali Kartik.
The list also includes musician-storyteller-author-filmmaker Raman Iyer and educator, spiritual mentor & researcher of theology Umesh Kabir. Artists from The Aahvaan Project will present collaborative fusions following Kabir’s ideas. The festival will also present some young and talented artists such as Santoor-player Divyansh Srivastava; musician and singer Chinmayi Tripathi; multi-instrumentalist, composer-producer Joell Mukherjii; Delhi-based pianist, composer & producer Anirudh Varma and many more.
Anirudh Varma said, “We have been following the Mahindra Kabira Festival since its inception, and are absolutely delighted that we are part of the festival this year. What has always fascinated us is the diverse line-up that is curated for the festival, which brings out a multi-cultural experience and various perspectives to Kabir Das’ work and expressions.”
Music sessions by leading artistes on the historic ghats of Varanasi, walks down mysterious city alleys, talks and discourses, ethereal boat rides on a timeless river, and food that is linked with Varanasi’s ancient culinary traditions, are all on the anvil.
While attendance to certain events like Morning and Evening Music across the two days is free and open to all, the festival has in store customised Delegate Packages which offer a curated experience. These meticulously planned one and two-day packages are an opportunity to live out the history of one of the world’s oldest cities and its powerful character while coming close to understanding Kabir’s essentially syncretic path of life. Delegates also have an option to choose from a range of designated Festival Hotels to stay at during their visit.
The detailed artiste line-up and programme will be announced soon. For more information please visit http://mahindrakabira.com/.
Date: 26th – 28th November 2021
General Entry: Free registration for the Morning and Evening Musical Performances
Delegate Entry: One and a half days (INR 12,500) and two and half days (INR 22,500)
Accommodation Package: Hotel packages offer a wide range of choices.