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Shambhu Soni’s Qawaalis add to spiritual ambience of Ajmer Sharif

Shambhu Soni who has been singing devotional Music at the dargah of Syed Moinuddin Sufi at Ajmer for 30 years

Manzoor Zahoor/New Delhi

Shambu Soni, the 60-year-old Sufi singer and duff player from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, has captivated the hearts of devotees at the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty in Ajmer, Rajasthan. Shambu is a Hindu and yet his immense devotion and love for the Sufi Saint has earned him the respect and admiration of devotees and the custodians of the revered shrine.

Born in Gwalior into a humble family, Shambu Soni was raised in a modest environment. His father was a shopkeeper, and despite the simple means, Shambu developed a passion for Sufi music at a young age. He chose to pursue his passion for singing and playing the duff, a traditional Sufi musical instrument.

Shambu told Awaz-the Voice that at the age of 30, he made a life-changing decision to move to Ajmer, the resting place of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty, one of the most revered Sufi saints of India.

“Since then, I have been performing qawwali at the Dargah every morning for two hours at the Payetri side. Over the years, he has become an integral part of the Dargah’s spiritual ambiance. His soulful performances have touched the hearts of countless devotees.

Shambu Soni with the author inside Ajmer Sharif Dargah

Shambu Soni’s devotion to Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz is profound. His faith transcends religious boundaries, and he sees the Dargah as a sacred place of spiritual unity and harmony.

Shambu’s devotion is not bound by religious differences; rather, it is a testament to the inclusive and universal nature of Sufism, which emphasizes the oneness of all humanity.

Through his soul-stirring musical performances, Shambu Soni has bridged the gap between religions, promoting a message of love, peace, and brotherhood. His rendition of Sufi qawwalis resonates with devotees of all faiths, fostering a sense of spiritual connectedness and understanding among people from diverse backgrounds.

Shambu Soni’s presence and performances at the Dargah have left a lasting impact on the devotees. His dedication to Sufi music and his heartfelt devotion to Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz have earned him the love and respect of those who frequent the shrine. Many devotees find solace and inspiration in his music, as it allows them to connect with their inner selves and experience a deeper sense of spirituality.

The custodians (Khudam) of the Dargah have also acknowledged and appreciated Shambu Soni’s contribution to the spiritual atmosphere of the shrine. They recognize the sincerity and authenticity of his devotion, transcending religious boundaries and exemplifying the essence of Sufism. Shambu’s dedication to his art and his reverence for Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz have made him a revered figure among the custodians.

Naushad Ali at the Ajmer Sharif

In addition to Shambu Soni, the story of Naushad Ali, a young Muslim singer from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, adds another dimension to the culture and tradition of inclusivity at the Dargah.

Naushad, a property dealer by profession, sings songs of patriotism and universal brotherhood at the Dargah’s Shahjehan Masjid ground. His music resonates with devotees, regardless of their faith, and he, too, emphasizes the message of peace and harmony.

Naushad’s act of distributing the ‘Nazrana’ (money) he receives from devotees among the needy further exemplifies the teachings of Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz, who emphasized compassion and service to humanity.The remarkable devotion of Hindu Sufi singer Shambu Soni and the inclusive spirit of Naushad Ali are shining examples of how spirituality can transcend religious boundaries and unite people in a shared journey toward peace and harmony.

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Their performances at the Dargah of Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz in Ajmer symbolize the essence of Sufism – a path that embraces love, compassion, and the oneness of all beings. These stories remind us that true devotion knows no bounds and that music has the power to create bridges of understanding and unity among diverse communities. In a world often divided by differences, the stories of Shambu Soni and Naushad Ali serve as beacons of hope and inspiration for a more harmoni

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