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Swatii Chandak Introduces Sufism To Team JWB at SAARC Sufi Festival

  • IWB Post
  •  October 12, 2015


Jaipur city, our dearest pink city, has such an abundance of plush heritage and culture! Now, it may seem that I am reiterating a pretty obvious fact, but every time I witness the beautiful cultural and art blends in this city, I can’t help but express my fascination for them!

One of the examples of this rich folklore is the on-going 3-day SAARC Sufi Festival which is taking place at Hotel Diggi Palace. On day-1 of the fest, we, the JWB squad marched forward to absorb some Sufi inspiration and enlightenment.

We were walking around when we overheard a session which poignantly grabbed our attention. Yes, it was about Women in Sufism. And the talking was being done by speaker Swatii Chandak.

She talked about the evolution of women’s writing in Sufism, some of the greatest Sufi works, which include Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, Elif Shafak’s The Forty Rules of Love, etc; and about how Sufism forms a quintessential part of her.

All this was beguiling! And so we tried to meet her and know more after the session was over. Here’s what happened in our separate rendezvous with Swatii Chandak…

JWB: What is the essence of Sufism?

Swatii: Sufism means Dil ki safai (Cleaning of the heart).1

JWB: Can it also be called a religion?

Swatii: Sufism is not a religion. It is a way of living. It is a practice; a journey which leads one directly to its destination… and that destination is Divine Love.

JWB: We’re intrigued. Tell us more…2

Swatii: There are no short-cuts or intermediaries when you practice Sufism. For example, a donation or an indirect route will never lead you to your goal.

JWB: How does one practice Sufism?

Swatii: This may sound strange to you, but all of us are either consciously or unconsciously practicing Sufism at all times. Anything and everything that purifies your heart can be called practicing Sufism.

JWB: Wow! Let’s talk about you. How did you get into this?Untitled-2

Swatii: I am a part of a group called Jaipur Book Lovers. We meet every alternate Sunday and discuss some pre-defined subjects. Some time back, we talked about Sufism. And ever since, I’ve delved deep in it. And I don’t think I wish to or will be able to be away from it. The depth and beauty of Sufism is something that confounds me.

JWB: Tell me about your favorite work?

Swatii: Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam is definitely one of my favorites. You know, there’s thing about Sufi poets; they write quatrains (4-liners). And all these quatrains are different and yet connected. And the thread that ties them together is the Almighty.

On that note, we took our leave, allowing the new-found Sufi enlightenment resonate deep within us.

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