Viewing Alcoholism Through the Lens of Ghazals

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by Paras on Friday, January 3, 2014


Session type

Technical level


1) What is considered the reason/justification for alcoholism in Ghazals?
2) How this compares with actual research?
3) What are the stereotypes about alcoholism that get perpetuated when there is a mismatch between fact and poetry?


Musical renditions of ghazals account for a significant portion of the artistic legacies of India and Pakistan, with some of the most popular musicians from both countries being exponents of this genre. While unrequited love, longing, the pain of loss, and pleasure of this pain are all popular recurring themes, ghazals are most famously known for their association with sharaab (alcohol). I will be comparing theories for alcoholism expressed in Ghazals sung by artists such as Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hasan, Pankaj Udhas and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with what we know about alcoholism through research on addiction in the field of Psychology. Attend if you love Ghazal, Literary Critique, Psychology, Music or even Sharaab!


Nothing as such. Just be there

Speaker bio

A Masters in Counselling Psychology. Keenly interested in poetry and literature from the subcontinent. Currently working as the Programme Coordinator of iCALL - a Telephone-Based Psychosocial Counselling Helpline in Mumbai, run by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.


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