THE NEW RENAISSANCE MOVEMENT
The New Renaissance Movement will consist of a series of global events architectured to bring together and unite humanity on a global scale through music, art and documentaries.
The first of these bodies of work shall be:
LOVE CAN REIGN!
(SUFI MEANS PURE; MARFAT MEANS UNION WITH THE DIVINE)
AN ELECTRO-SUFI-ROCK OPERA
Written By HSDM Imran Raza
In an era when the Spanish Inquisition was burning heretics at stake and the British Colonies enslaved people of color, the region that is now Pakistan was home to that period’s most advanced humanist movement worldwide. Just as Rumi revolutionized the Persian Empire with Sufi poetry that resonates yet to this day, Ibn Arabi is widely acclaimed to have originated the concept of Wahdat al-Wujud (Unity of Being) in the early 13th Century. During the early to mid 18th Century in the area that is now Pakistan, a transformational movement lead by Punjabi and Sindhi Sufi mystic poets spread humanist values throughout South Asia centered on the metaphysical concept that all human Souls are interconnected particles of the Divine. From this Sufi perspective, each and every human being is a unique contribution to the collective tapestry of humanity. To this day, the five Sufi mystic poets and writers that lead this movement, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (Sindh), Bulleh Shah (Punjab), Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (Sindh), Waris Shah (Punjab), and Sachal Sarmast (Sindh) remain revered by people from all social, sectarian and economic strata of Pakistan. It is for this reason along with the positive values of liberty, plurality and human rights in which Sufis naturally advocate that the Smithsonian Magazine wrote: “Sufis represent the strongest indigenous force against Islamic fundamentalism; Sufis are particularly significant in Pakistan where Taliban-inspired gangs threaten the prevailing social, political and religious order.”
The performance, Sufi Marfat - Love Can Reign! , will consist of various western acts intermingling with Qawwali masters performing songs. Improvisation is natural to the Qawwali masters, yet when they practice to the tracks of the songs to be played they will fuse in a manner that will be ecstatic and hypnotic, resulting in a live record of classics unlike anything heard on Earth as of yet. That combined with the singular cultural diplomatic value this touring event will create assures this to be a global phenomenon, as western musical icons converge with the mystic Sufi sounds of the greatest Qawwalli masters in the World. A documentary will be created and the world will witness the fact that a nation, Pakistan, notorious for it’s association with terrorism is home to the most pluralistic faith on the planet: One in which performing and dancing to Qawwali music, a tradition that stretches back for over 700 years, is the most sacred act of devotion with the ultimate goal of achieving the state of Haal (dissolving the Ego and entering into a state of Divine Ecstasy.)
The significance of this event lies in creating a body of work reflecting an organic synthesis of rock and electronic music from the Western World with Sufi Qawwali set to a story told through interpretive dance. The best of both worlds in choreography - Sufi and Western interpretive dancers , will tell the story as they spin like the planets around the Sun, with the Sun being the musicians, and the planets the dancers.
“The poetry is implicitly understood to be spiritual in its meaning, even though the lyrics can sometimes sound wildly secular, or outright hedonistic. The central themes of Qawwali are love, devotion and longing of man for Divine Ecstasy" - states Wikipedia. This Eastern tradition is in parallel with the Western tradition of the Masonic Order of Dionysus.
Thus the story will be the Awakening of Dionysus as he rises like a phoenix from the dark ventricles of Bacchanalian chaos and debauchery into the pure humanistic heartbeat of Dionysian Divine Ecstasy. The show will explore the art and spirituality of Sufism and what it represents. In doing so we predominantly take the perspective of our central protagonist Dionysus as he seeks Marfat (Union with the Divine). We will also follow several other central characters, including Dionysus’ head of devotees, or Queen of the Maenads, who herself has a myriad of intimate and interesting relations with the rest of the characters, or Maenads, on stage. It is the story of Dionysus and the Maenads. We watch dancers and musicians reveal the clandestine story of King and Queen, the lives of a Royal family unfurl, their complex relationships to one another and their inner-most conflicts, thoughts and desires. Our cast overcomes the trivialities of Court life to alchemize into a unique family in which love reigns over personal interactions. In this way, this story becomes a parable of Sufi enlightenment relevant to all families whatever their diversity may be.
The core of the show, the Sun, being the musicians; will consist of modern English and Urdu elements written primarily by HSDM Imran Raza combined with Qawwali pieces written by these four classic Sufi Poet-Saints:
Baba Bulleh Shah was a beacon of hope and peace for the citizens of Punjab in his time, and remains so to this day. Bulleh Shah’s writings represent him as a humanist, providing solutions to the sociological problems of the world around him, describing the turbulence his motherland of Punjab is passing through, while concurrently searching for God. His poetry highlights his mystical spiritual voyage through the four stages of Sufism: Shariat (Path), Tariqat (Observance), Haqiqat (Truth) and Marfat (Union). Marfat, the final stage of the Sufi quest, is believed to bring one’s soul into union with the Divine, entering Wahdat al-Wujud (Unity of Being). The simplicity with which Bulleh Shah has been able to address the complex fundamental issues of life and humanity is a large part of his appeal.
Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai emerged as an extremely popular figure during his lifetime. The major themes of his poetry include Unity of Being, love for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), religious tolerance, women’s rights, and humanistic values. His Urs commences every year for three days and is attended widely by people from all provinces of Pakistan. Along with other features, like food fairs, open-air markets, entertainment and competitive sports, a literary gathering is held discussing the life, poetry and message of Bhittai.
Waris Shah is called the Shakespeare of the Punjabi language because of his great poetic love story, Heer Ranjha. Through this story of romantic love, he portrayed the love of man for the Divine. He was a consummate artiste, deeply learned in Sufi and domestic cultural lore. His verse is a treasure-trove of Punjabi phrases, idioms and sayings. His minute and realistic depiction of each detail of Punjabi life and the political situation in the 18th century, remains unique.
Sachal Sarmast‘s real name was Abdul Wahab Farouqi and "Sachal" was his nickname. He also used it in his own poetry. Sachu means truthful in Sindhi while Sarmast means mystic in Sindhi and Urdu. Sachal Sarmast literally means 'truthful mystic'. He is regarded as 'Shair-e-Haft Zaban' (Poet of Seven Languages) due to his poetical works in Arabic, Sindhi, Saraiki, Punjabi, Urdu, Persian and Balochi to address a wider audience through these languages. He spread the message of love for humanity through poetry.
DIPLOMATIC VALUE TO THE UNITED STATES AND THE WESTERN WORLD
The documentary will provide the people and youth of the Western World a deeper knowledge of the spiritual, musical and liberated dance culture of the real Pakistan. The documentary will foster closer relations between Pakistanis living in Western countries and the general populations of those nations. By diminishing the alienation of these Pakistani ex-patriots living in foreign lands, the radicalization of these Pakistani individuals living in the West will be diminished which will save lives.
At this critical juncture in the history of Humanity, a unique special relationship between the United States of America and Pakistan must be forged in order to first stem then eradicate the continued rise of extremist ideologies utilizing dogma to create the dark falsehood hope of a future mired in the totalitarian grip of a single, all powerful fascist dictator called the Caliph implementing barbaric Shariah law upon the entire World. The future envisioned by these violent extremists will be a World void of music, art and the rational of science; of most certainly the basic freedoms the West generally takes for granted.
The Bridges of Harmony Foundation stands as a multi-faceted blitzkrieg bringing significant forces of hard and soft power into a united front to ensure the dark dream described above never sees the light of day upon our planet.