Artists Sunny Diwan, Aqeel Bhatti, Naeem Peter, Sheldon John and Patrick Bashir are shown with AAA volunteers.


Over 150 Qawwali lovers attended Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington D.C.’s 'Mehfil-e-Sama' event featuring artist Sunny Diwan among others at the Turkish Community Center’s auditorium in Lanham, Md., Oct. 3.

Attendees included members from diverse Indo-Pak organizations, such as the University of Karachi Alumni Association, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, Hindi Association of Washington, and American Muslim Institution.

Farzana Farooqi, AAA president, welcomed the audience and artists by updating them on the activities of the Association. She mentioned that AAA has been at the forefront of organizing high-quality literary and cultural activities for the last 40+ years. She also reminded the audience that it was AAA that started the tradition of an international 'mushaira' (poetic symposium) in North America.

Masood Farshori, coordinator of the program, explained that Qawwali is a special form of musical performance to praise revered ‘aulia’ (saints) for their good work. Next, he introduced the artists and mentioned that although Diwan and his orchestra have established a reputation as ghazal and light music singers, the artists were venturing into new territory with Qawwali.

Diwan was accompanied by Aqeel Bhatti (tabla), Naeem Peter (second tabla), Sheldon John (harmonium and background singer) and Patrick Bashir (keyboard and background singer). They entertained the audience for nearly five hours, singing a series of famous Qawwalis. The audience responded with enthusiasm and appreciation, showering the performers with money – an old South Asian tradition.   

The event concluded with brief remarks by Secretary-General Mohammad Akbar, who thanked the audience, artists and volunteers for the great success of the program.

In related news, AAA will host its 41st annual 'mushaira' featuring famous lyricist-poet Javed Akhtar along with other poets from India, Pakistan and other countries at Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, Md., Nov. 7.

For more information about AAA or its upcoming events, please visit:

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