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July 21, 2004

Mid-Day Mumbai, India

If you have been treated to the enthusiastic chanting of bhajans every time you travel on a local train, get ready for a more varied fare. From August 15, the Mumbai branch of the Indian Union Muslim League will start qawwali sessions on local trains running along the Central, Western and Harbour lines of the railways. The reason behind this melodious move, says the League, is national integration.

President of the Greater Mumbai Muslim League, Abdul Hameed Sahil, said, “India is a country of saints and mystics. We are starting this programme to propagate the teachings of saints.” Sahil dismisses the suggestion that the qawwalis could create problems with the bhajan mandalis.

“There is no question of controversy. In fact, the programme is meant to promote national integration. But we will see to it that the bhajan singing group and the qawwali group are not in the same compartment. And if it does happen, we will sing songs of national integration,” he adds. Illustrating his argument, Sahil says that the first qawwali to be sung by the group would be one called Khwaja ka Hindustan.

Posted by acapnews at July 21, 2004 8:08 AM

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