Jaati hamari aatma, Pran humara naam, Akhal humara isht, Gagan humara Gram”

Jaipur- Jan 10,The January session of The Write Circle hosted Vipul Rikhi in conversation with Manjot Chawla at ITC Rajputana. The Write Circle is organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation, in association with Shree Cement, Siyahi, ITC Rajputana, Ehsaas Women of Jaipur and Spagia Foundation.

The session began with Urvi Bhuwania introducing Vipul and Manjot to the audience. Vipul Rikhi, a multifaceted artist deeply immersed in Kabir's oral traditions for over a decade, spoke about his latest book, Drunk on Love, a profound exploration of Kabir’s life and philosophy. Manjot Chawla, with fifteen years of diverse experience in event curation and management, guided the conversation with Vipul, delving into the intricate details of Kabir’s journey. 

The conversation began with Manjot asking Vipul about his introduction to the philosopher and poet Kabir to which Vipul shared the transformative moments that led him on this odyssey – from a school introduction to the powerful impact of Prahlad Ji's renditions during a Kabir workshop in Mussoorie back in 2008. The discussion transitioned into unraveling the enigma of Kabir’s life. Vipul, delved into the folklore surrounding Kabir's existence as a weaver residing by the Ganges in Varanasi. The audience was treated to a soul-stirring rendition of Kabir's verses, showcasing the profound impact of Kabir’s raw and evocative music, complemented by the sheer potency of his words. 

Manjot delved deeper, questioning the legends surrounding Kabir and sharing the fascinating story of Loi, an orphan girl prophesied to marry a man answering all her questions the same way. The dialogue transitioned to the importance of the guru in the Bhakti tradition, exploring Kabir's view on introspection and duality. The conversation continued, exploring Kabir’s stance on religious orthodoxy, the contemporary relevance of his philosophy, and his perspective on death and dichotomy. Vipul highlighted Kabir's call for a world without division and conflict, emphasising the need for internal contemplation and action. 

During the interactive session, the audience posed thought-provoking questions about Kabir's sects, his connection to Sufism, and the linguistic mysteries surrounding his couplets. Vipul elucidated Kabir's belief in oral traditions and the transformative power of his dialect, khadi boli, which has transcended into various languages. The Write Circle session of January concluded with Vaidehi Singh felicitating Vipul Rikhi and Manjot Chawla. The session was a literary and musical journey that transcended time, inviting audiences to explore the timeless wisdom and fragrance of Kabir’s teachings.

Vipul Rikhi is a writer, singer, poet, storyteller and translator immersed in the oral traditions of Kabir and other mystic poets for over a decade. He sings mystic poetry in the folk music traditions and performs widely. He has authored several books, including a novel, a collection of poems, and a book of translations from the Bhakti, Sufi and Baul traditions. His latest book is Drunk on Love, on Kabir's life and philosophy, with HarperCollins India.

 Ms Manjot Chawla brings along a decade and a half of diverse experience in the areas of research, conceptualisation, curating, planning, production and implementation in national and international events and festivals. She has single-handedly managed  most of the annual festivals for Seher in Delhi such as the Ananya Dance Festival, Bhakti Utsav, Gurbani Gaveh and SAARC Bands Festival and SAARC Artists’ Camps. Manjot has also spearheaded international projects under the aegis of Seher-Delhi Day in Dubai; Trafalgar Square Festival, London; Regent Street Festival, London; Fez Sacred Music Festival, Morocco; Black Arts Festival, Senegal to name a few. Currently, Manjot is based in Jaipur, and is involved with producing projects around Rajasthan, such as the Udaipur World Music Festival, Jaipur Jazz and Blues Festival amongst others. She has also been passionately involved with the miniature artistes in Jaipur working towards taking the art form to a larger audience through her brand JAIMINI (Jaipur Miniatures).