In 2006, Ashery undertook a Triangle Arts Trust Gasworks residency at Khoj International Artists Association, the Sarmad the Saint performance is based on Ashery’s visit to Sarmad’s tomb in Deli. Sarmad was a Jewish traveller who converted to Sufism. His relationship with his Indian lover Habichand was controversial but long-lasting. Sarmad was beheaded because he refused, according to his Sufi beliefs, to announce the existence of one God only – Allah. Sarmad had an enigmatic and eccentric personality that granted him a sustained following.
Rubaiyat of Sarmad
My beloved is whimsical
Sometimes he reveals his mercy and his love
at other times utter cruelty.
At times which enchanting movement
he reveals himself,
and displays a hundred hues changing every second.
But oh, no he, but I am whimsical.