Many people living in the vicinity of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah in Delhi regularly visit the Sufi shrine to listen to qawwali. Similarly, disciples of Sufi guides attend spiritual gatherings for listening to qawwali, where the poetry connects them to God. In both cases, listeners experience strong emotions which are linked not only to the words of poetry, their state of mind, and the sound of qawwali, but also to the place in which they hear it and the company they keep. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these co-present listening practices were interrupted. Many qawwals at the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin ordinarily make their living from the money offerings given in person by devotees at the shrine. Similarly, the pandemic brought this to a temporary halt, bringing greater economic precarity than before. This paper sits at the juncture of these two phenomena. It explores how listeners to qawwali “brought the shrine home,” listening to recordings of qawwali in an attempt to recapture the emotional regulation of the shrine, in a time when mental healthcare was needed more than ever. It also explores how qawwals responded to the economic difficulties of the pandemic, performing online for patrons. It thus explores how different forms of mediation and publics interact both with the material worlds of qawwals and the emotional worlds of listeners


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Cite as

Graves, T. 2024, 'Mediated Publics and Emotion Regulation: Listening to Qawwali During the Pandemic', University College Cork. https://eprints.gla.ac.uk/324044/

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Last updated: 15 May 2024
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