Beyond borders

Print edition : April 04, 2014

THE Tehzeeb Foundation was set up by a dedicated couple, the Awans; Malahat is its president and her husband, Sharif, Commissioner Inland Revenue, is its general secretary. Assisting in the enterprise is Saleem Hussain, managing director of Liberty Books, one of Pakistan’s largest booksellers, which provides an outlet for Tehzeeb’s CDs. His roots go back to Lakhani Book Shop in Girgaum in the Bombay of old to which this writer would often repair in search of good books.

The foundation works for the advancement and promotion of music, literature and fine arts in Pakistan, and the preservation and archiving of classical music of the subcontinent. It is a non-profit organisation that aims to bring the finesse of fine arts and classical music to society. It holds annual festivals and periodic music recitals at which eminent artists of India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and elsewhere perform; produces music; and brings out publications. So far, 30 audio CDs of original music have been published. DVDs are in the pipeline. (Email:,, Facebook: Tehzeeb Foundation of Pakistan (Group).)

The foundation’s Indus Raag project, in particular, deserves wide recognition in India. The first CD in the series has Raag Yeman sung by Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. Vidya Shah has also sung at one such festival. As the foundation explains: “Indus Raag has been created to develop, archive and promote classical tradition of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. The project explores the universality of our music, its relevance and commonality among South Asian countries, including India and Pakistan. We strongly believe that music is a highly exportable commodity in the realm of world heritage; it is ‘Music Beyond Borders’.

“‘Indus Raag’ gives you a host of master performers playing a variety of raag-based genres— kheyal, tarana, thumri, dadra and kafi. It also includes highly creative and sensational ‘jugalbundis’ among musicians from both India and Pakistan.... Presence of old and young performers shows the tradition transcending down from the older to the younger generation. ‘Indus Raag’ has been produced in the shape of an artistically designed box containing 12 high-quality audio CDs and a booklet about the music and the performers creating it.” Music lovers in India should respond and participate in the next festival in Pakistan to be followed by one in India.

A.G. Noorani