New Delhi, 18th January 2024: The Konya Turkish Sufi Music Ensemble performed the ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes, also known as “Sema”, on 15th January 2024, at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The ceremony, famed across the globe, started as a form of meditation by Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, the famous Sufi Muslim mystic and poet, in the 13th century.
The visiting delegation consisted of Konya Turkish Sufi Music Ensemble (of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism), as well as the representatives of Metropolitan Municipality of Konya. As a part of the activities to celebrate the centenary of the proclamation of the Republic of Türkiye, the event was organized with the collaboration of the Embassy of the Republic of Türkiye and the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR).
The event was attended by officials, diplomats, members of the press, and representatives of cultural institutions. It was inaugurated with the lighting of the lamp by the Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye, H.E. Fırat Sunel, and ICCR Director General, H.E. Ambassador Kumar Tuhin. On behalf of the Konya Metropolitan Municipality, His Excellencies were presented with “ney,” a reed flute of symbolic importance to the Sufi culture.
Talking about the event, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye, H.E. Fırat Sunel said, “With his profound wisdom that comes to life through poetic expressions, Rumi continues to enrich humanity, fostering a legacy of love, spirituality, and universal understandings. As a part of the Turkish Embassy’s activities in celebration of the Centenary of the Republic of Türkiye, the Konya Sufi Music Ensemble performed the ceremony of the whirling dervishes, also known as “sema,” on 15th January, at the India Habitat Centre, to introduce the life and practices of Rumi to Indian audiences. I take this opportunity to thank the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Metropolitan Municipality of Konya, and our partner for this event, Indian Council for Cultural Relations.”
Following a brief presentation of Sufism with its philosophy and practices evolving around respect, tolerance, love, and humbleness, the spiritual ceremony of “Sema” took place, with 6 whirling dervishes on the stage. To accompany the spiritual dance, the musicians of the Ensemble performed a Sufi musical composition that dates back to the 18th century.
In the foyer, the attendees had the opportunity to view two exhibitions, which featured 18 handmade works of calligraphy, considered a sacred practice in the Sufi tradition, as well as infographics on the traditional daily duties of Sufis in Mevlevi lodges. The cultural event was significant in presenting a deep understanding of Rumi, Sufism, and the Mevlevi Order to the Indian audiences.