JollyGul.com will be releasing “Sayyed Imam Shah Ane Bai Budhai No Sanvaad” collection of ginans on its platform in the next few days. The ginans are a dialogue, a conversation (sanvaad) principally between Sayyed Imam Shah and Bai Budha – brother and sister, children of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin. This is a pre-release briefing to create awareness of the subject in the Jamat ahead of the launch.
“Sayyed Imam Shah Ane Bai Budhai No Sanvaad” is not a typical ginan – it is a collection consisting of 71 ginans. It has 3 composers (brother, sister and some contribution by the trusted servant of the family). It is a conversation about wide-ranging topics delivered in a series of ginans.
The dialogue is between Sayyed Imam Shah and Bai Budhai (brother and sister, children of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin). Sayyed Imam Shah exhorts his sister Bai Budhai to be regular in the practice of the faith and create a better balance between material and spiritual pursuits. The ginans also touch on their childhood, spiritual themes, as well as the death of their father Pir Hasan Kabiruddin. Bai Budhai expresses some regrets in her verses, appears to be convinced by her brother and promises to rectify her lifestyle and practice the faith even by invoking taqiya (deny the faith in public for fear of persecution). It appears she was married into a family that did not follow Ismailism.
From the 1st to 6th ginan, Sayyed Imam Shah makes his introductory address to his sister Bai Budhai, using the term “Jire Bai” (O Sister). Bai Budhai responds in the 7th ginan using the term “Jire Bhai” (O Brother) and then Sayyed Imam proceeds from the 8th ginan to respond to her. This discussion between the two continues to the 41st ginan where there is an interesting break in the pattern.
This part is very special and unique. The 42nd ginan is attributed to Hajar Beg or Hyder Beg, the servant of Sayyed Imam Shah, who also joins to give his views and makes an emotional pledge of loyalty, using the address term “Are Bettire” (O Daughter). Hajar Beg had a long term association with the family and had also served the father Pir Hasan Kabiruddin and was very loyal and treated like an “uncle” in the family. We do not want to spoil your enjoyment of the ginans, so we will not reveal what “chacha” actually said in his verses.
In the 43rd ginan, Bai Budhai turns to reply to Hajar Beg (the servant), using the respectful term “Are Baavaare” (O Elder). Bai Budai’s beautiful response to Hajar Beg (in the voice of Bano Mughal) will give you goosebumps. The dialogue between Sayyed Imam Shah and Bai Budhai resumes from the 44th to 71st ginan.
In totality, Bai Budhai addresses her brother in 32 ginans and once to Hajar Beg (the servant), that is 33 ginans to her credit out of 71 ginans, while Sayyed Imam Shah exhorted her in 37 ginans out of 71 ginans, and one 43rd ginan is attributed to Hajar Beg (the servant).
One of the important take-home lessons of this set of ginans is the amazing display of tolerance and humility throughout all the verses. The manner in which the whole dialogue proceeds reflects how the protagonists had a deep mutual respect for each other despite their very different situations and circumstances. And as we listen to this 500-year-old composition in the year 2019, it really makes us wonder if we are making any progress at all in understanding one another any better despite our massive technological feat as a human race. We have better tools to communicate today, but have our “soft skills” evolved much over the last 500 years to engage better with each other? Or are we in fact retrograding? You can make that judgment after watching some TV or spending some time on social media. Then listen to “Sayyed Imam Shah Ane Bai Budhai No Sanvaad”.
JollyGul.com presentation of “Sayyed Imam Shah Ane Bai Budhai No Sanvaad” has recitations by Alnoor Saleh and Bano Mughal. They make us feel like we are actually listening to Sayyed Imam Shaah and Bai Budhai. Our appreciation to Mumtaz Ali Tajddin and Ismaili.net for research and background information. This article has benefited substantially from their work as well as Prof Ali Asani’s book “Ecstacy and Enlightenment”. Exceptional quality transliterations and translations are provided by Platinum Rahemtulla. Karim Maheralli provided clarity on important matters. Arzina Merali painstakingly did the audio recording and production over an extended period of time. We are deeply grateful to them all.
JollyGul.com has a long term commitment to make all our ginans and granths easily and conveniently accessible to the Jamat with synchronized line by line lyrics and translations display. In this endeavor, we have great voluntary support from some of the most dedicated individuals in the community and we also have professionals on our team whose job is to develop the best user interface for the Jamat and deploy the best technology in this effort.
We are very fortunate as a community to have about 1,000 ginans and 60 granths as part of our rich cultural heritage, some of which are still in Khojki script and rarely recited. We have our work cut out for us!
Watch out for “Sayyed Imam Shah Ane Bai Budhai No Sanvaad” launch news in IsmailiMail in the next few days.