Bijal Khan Mehar
The poetry of Sufi saints Bulleh Shah and Shah Latif comes alive in the vocals of Bijal Khan, a spiritual singer from the Meher community of Barmer. He renders Sufi Kalams in a mix of Sindhi, Urdu, and Punjabi alongside the sonorous sounds of Kamaycha, Khartal, Harmonium, and Dholak. A Sufi Kalam manifests the Islamic philosophy of Sufism through a communion with the Almighty and thereby attempts to interpret the nature of existence. The term ‘Kalam’ comes from the Arabic for conversation; the singer at all times addresses the divine authority which is referred to as the master, beloved or the truth at different instants across the piece. Extolling the virtues of justice, peace, unity, secularism and love the Sufi Kalam is the expression of an intense process of coming closer to the Almighty and ultimately becoming one with it. Bijal Khan is a practicing philosopher and conveys the themes of the supreme authority of Allah, the unity of being and existence and the significance of spirituality for human life, in his compositions. At times he sings of tragic love stories too. He sweeps through a dynamic range of notes in a single rendition, in his characteristic high-pitched, rustic voice.