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Singers Ghulam Hassan and Shivani Singh are looking forward to their fifth Eid together

Ghazal singer Shivani Singh and her husband, Ghulam Hassan Khan, on Eid-ul-Fitr, last year

Tripti Nath/New Delhi

Delhi based Ghazal singer Shivani Singh who is married into family of Muslim musicians from Rampur, Uttar pradesh, has won their hearts with her perfect preparation of Seviyan, a traditional Eid sweet dish. What is commendable is that her husband’s otherwise fastidious grandmother has given her a perfect 10 score for her dish, suprising other members of the family.

 

Shivani, her middle-aged Christian mother-in-law, Roma Abbas Khan and her Muslim husband, Ghulam Hasan Khan, divide kitchen divide work to prepare and serve choicest dishes to their guests on on Eid-ul-Fitr. Each of them has mastered how to prepare some dishes. It is with this exemplary unity that they ensure a memorable Eid feast for their guests in their home in Neb Sarai in South Delhi.

 

This is a truly extraordinary family that not only sings together but also celebrates Eid-ul-Fitr, Holi, Diwali, Christmas and Karva Chauth. Thanks to their daily riyaz, their  neighbours get a free dose of rejuvenating morning music and delicious treat on Eid.

 

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Shivani Singh celebrating Diwali last year with her husband and in-laws

 

This is the fifth Eid for Shivani Singh with her Hindustani vocalist husband, Ghulam Hasan and his mother. Over the years, Shivani has perfected the art of making the Eid delicacy, Seviyan, a creamy melt-in-the-mouth desert prepared with vermicili, milk, nuts and a few strands of saffron.

 

“I am not joking or just praising my wife but the Sewiyan that Shivani prepares has earned approval of my mother, my fastidious grand-mother and father. It is not easy to get an approval from my grandmother,’’ says Ghulam Hasan, an exponent of Khayal Gayaki from the 200-year Rampur Sahaswan Gharana.

 

Shivani who learnt music from Pandit Bhola Nath Mishra of the Benaras Gharana, finds time to cook and also teach music while pursuing a doctorate in Music. She leaned special dishes by observing her mother-in-law as she prepared dishes for the Eid feast even before her marriage, says, “I gradually became familiar with the family tradition. I was aware that I would also have to do this soon. People from Rampur are very fond of delicacies. They have royal taste. So, perfection is must. My mother-in-law makes Chicken Korma very well.’’

 

This family is looking forward to celebrating Eid-al-Fitr, a festival of sweets which marks the end of month long dawn-to-sunset fasting during the Ramadan. The ninth month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar, Ramadan holds special significance in Islamic tradition as this is the time Muslims seek a sense of austerity and spiritual peace.

 

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Shivani Singh enjoying the festival of lights in her matrimonial home

 

Eid-al-Fitr means “Festival of breaking the fast”. On this day, people wear new clothes, prepare delicacies, do charity and wish their family and friends.

 

Ghulam Hasan Khan who had a very busy Ramadan due to his performances and the illness of his mother said that he will go to Jama Masjid on Eid. He is relieved that his mother, Roma is fine and will, hopefully, be in a position to prepare Korma that their guests really relish.“You can ask me to make any dry-items. I am good with preparing starters. I make chicken lollipops, chicken fry, shammi kebabs, fish tikka and fish fry.’’

 

Roma learnt music in the early 80s from Ustad Hafeez Ahmed Khan of Rampur Sahaswan Gharana. She was active as a singer from 1983 to 2009. It has been a while that she stopped singing in public but her love for cooking continues. She loves preparing Korma and is happy to share the recipe. “Children in our family love Chicken Korma,” she says with a smile.

 

Ghulam adds, “We have a concept of ‘Sunnat’ where it is mandatory for a man to buy traditional wear (Eid ka joda) and bangles for his wife on every Eid-ul-fitr. The festival creates a 360 degree aura. “On this day, children come to seek Eidi. Now, (Prime Minister narendra) Modi ji has made everything cashless. So, PayTm also work and people ask, let’s give Rs 150.’’

 

Shivani says that her husband’s paternal aunt living in Hong Kong sent her Eidi through UPI.’ She says that they always keep chocolates and candies at home to present as Eidi to children. 

 

Talking of traditions in their house, Ghulam says, “In our house, the main focus on food and Zakat (charity). Last year, I went to Saidula Jab masjid close by to read Namaz and do Zakat. This can be done in any mosque. They give you tokens and ask you to fill coupons for Zakat. Then, it is notified that a person by this name has given Zakat of this value and then the mosque gives clothes and food of that value to the poor.’’

 

Recalling her first Eid in the family after marriage, Shivani says that she was familiarized with the Eid feast dishes. “I opted for traditional wear. People from Rampur are very fond of delicacies. They have royal taste. So, perfection is must. My mother-in-law makes Chicken Korma very well.’’

 

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Shivani Singh celebrating Holi with her husband 

 

Shivani says that she considers herself blessed to be married into a family that celebrates Hindu festivals of Holi and Diwali with as much enthusiasm as Eid. “I do Diwali pooja and Saraswati Pooja in which my husband and in-laws participate.’’

 

Shivani is very happy that her in-laws make her feel at home by dressing up in festive wear on Diwali. Her husband makes sure that Holi colours are around in the house for them to celebrate. Sometimes, Shivani’s mother also visits them on Eid-ul-Fitr.

 

Roma says, “For me, everybody is equal,.’ her son Ghulam says, “I observe all festivals not by merely greeting my friends on phone or social media platforms but by visiting the homes of friends and relatives. Since my mother is Christian, our relatives visit us on Christmas too.Ghulam says that visiting loved ones on festivals is good for lasting relationships.’’ Yeh kuch din asise hain jo Khuda ne hume diye hain. (Festivals are God gifted).

 

Shivani is of the view that each religion has its own unique appeal. She and her husband often go with their students to different religious places. ” Recently, we went with four students to Bangla Sahib Gurdwara in Delhi. We derived as much spiritual solace in the Gurdwara as we would in any other place of worship.”

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