Shabd Shaala is one of a kind of initiative under the aegis of “Project Kabir” to conserve and promote Sufi poetry, written in rich literature in vernacular language from the times of the “Bhakti movement” amongst the school children, in India through music. It also provides for a remarkable opportunity to immerse in the wisdom of saint-poets such as Kabir, Meerabai, Gorakhnath, Ravidas, and Sufis like Bulleh Shah and Ghulam Fareed. 

In the words of Shabnam Virmani, founder and conceptualizer of the project, “Mystics teach us to interrogate the world and simultaneously to interrogate ourselves; to question our impulse to ‘other’ certain categories of people based on religion, caste, gender or nationality; to recognize our place in nature and learn to be in consonance with it; to recognize the power of being content, rather than consumptive; to know the power of humility rather than self-aggrandisement; and so to cherish ourselves and each moment with an attitude of non-attachment and very importantly, to learn to quieten our monkey minds. The lessons our children could learn are so many!”

Though several generations of Indian school children have grown up learning ten Kabir couplets (dohe) as part of their Hindi syllabus, however Shabd Shaala believes song is the best possible pedagogy for sharing the power of this poetry and would bring diverse folk singers from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & Kutch into physical or digital classrooms as teachers for children. Additionally, learners would gain an appreciation for the tremendous diversity of folk music traditions, rural cultures, languages, and dialects in which oral pieces of literature thrive in our land.


The true spirit of the Kabir Project lies in the taana-baana (warp & weft) of social networks and friendships built over years between the singers, scholars, activists, artists, students, and the larger public through our work which continues to expand in new and surprising directions, such as teaching, exhibitions, workshops and curricula and the joy of singing itself.‘Kabir Project’ is currently working with a selection of 10 schools across the country to incubate this idea over 6 sessions, Prakriti being one.

Shabd Shaala team consisting of Shabnam Virmani, a renowned filmmaker, poetess, writer, and Director at Kabir Projects, and her colleague Sahamata made a short presentation to teachers/parents and students of Prakriti about the idea behind the initiative in the month of January 2022. Here are the excerpts for your viewing.