By: Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom
With great sadness in my heart, tears in my eyes and pain in my soul, I read this posting on the Internet: “Shamaira Oad d/o Bachayo Oad, a 17 years old young girl residing near Halla, died on 28th April 2009. The parents & relatives of the young Shamaira wanted to bury her in a near-by graveyard in Khudabad near Halla, Sindh.”
After a formal permission, granted by the well-known, resourceful and rightful care-takers of the graveyard, Shamaira, a Hindu girl, was laid to eternal rest in the peaceful sanctuary of a graveyard, a Muslim graveyard – dust to dust.
It is indeed the greatest tragedy in the life of parents, relatives and near and dear ones to lose their sweet child at such a young age of 17 years. Also, those who are not even related or known to the bereaved family will certainly, surely, definitely shed a tear or two on hearing such heart-wrenching news.
Precisely, that is what happened to me when I read such tragic news. I felt as if I have lost my own daughter, my own child – because this child, Shamaira Oad, was a daughter of my Mother Sindh. How will my eyes resist the urge, control the temptation, withhold the wrenching going on inside me, to shed torrents of tears at her demise?
However, we do accept as mortal human beings, although with great difficulty and control, fortitude and forbearance, patience and calm, such tragic losses, because – ‘from Him we come and to Him is our ultimate return.’
In our beautiful, sacred and venerable motherland, Sindh, the remains of the departed souls are either burnt to ashes or buried in earth and dust – “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The ashes are then sprinkled, for the soul of the departed to be at complete rest, in the bosom of the divine and sacred Maataa (mother) Sindhu, the River Indus. Other Sindhis, present and preserve the mortal remains to the affectionate lap of mother earth and its dust – holy and divine, sacred and sanctified, godly and blessed, venerated and sacrosanct.
Yes, in Jeejal Sindh the mortal remains have always been cremated and buried in a manner a fore-mentioned and such events have been blessed by Sindhis of different schools of thoughts, creeds, religions and tribes. Sindh had always been a peaceful abode of the mortal bones of our ancestors. Mother Sindhu had been a blessed receptacle of the ashes of Sindhis – young and old, men and women, rich and poor alike. Jeejal Sindhu had never complained or grumbled or made choices, as to whose ashes are worthy of such an honour. Neither had the sacred soil of Sindh made any choices, options, selections and demands as to who is fit enough to be buried in it. The departed sons and daughters, like Marvi of Malir, had only demanded and asked, prayed and pleaded, begged and appealed that their body be sent to their motherland, their fatherland, their homeland:
“Waajhaaei watuna khei, saarei ddiyaan saaha,
Butu muhinjo banda mein, qeida ma kareijaha,
Parddeihiyaannee pireena reea, dhaara ma dhaareijaha,
Thhadhee wasaaijaaha tharan jee, mitteea muee mathaaha,
Jei poyon thiyei pasaahu, ta nijahi marrhu Malira ddei.”
“Longing for my homeland, my motherland,
Breathe my last yearning for my fatherland;
This body weak, these tired broken bones,
Imprison not in chains, shackles and thorns;
Lifeless body of this alien foreign maid I fear,
Prince! Keep not away from my Beloved dear;
Sprinkle over my dead limbs my home’s sand,
Coolest native soil of Thar, my ancestral land,
When the last moments of my life are at hand,
Please take my body to Malir, my motherland. “
(Malir=Homeland of Marvi, the heroine of epic ‘Umar Marvi’ of Shah Bhitai; Thar=the native land of Marvi)
….humbly translated by Ahmed Makhdoom
As I read further the story of sweet Shamaira Oad – sadness, tears and pain were replaced by distaste as I read further: “On the same day, evening of the 28th April her family received threats like. “to burn out their homes”…… along with serious threats, commanded the girl’s family to dig out the girl from the graveyard… ”
On my pilgrimage to my motherland Sindh, as I read these ugly happenings in glorious land of my ancestors – the brilliant land of the Sufees, Sages, Saints, Faqeers and Darveish, I was shattered and felt so lonely – lonely like the cactus of Thar! Lonely like Gorakh and Girnaar! Lonely like Keenjhar and Kaaruunjhar! Lonely like the grave of Shamaira Oad in a a Muslim Graveyard! Torn and broken, I travelled from Karachi to Bhit Shah to seek comfort and consolation, solace and sympathy. There, I stood in reverence – with head bowed, hands clasped, heart in pain, soul in turmoil – at the feet of murshid Saaeen Bhittai, weeping and complaining in silence:
ويا مور مري ھنج نَ رھيو ھيڪڙو
( وطن ٿيو وري ڪوڙن ڪانيارن جو (شاھؒ
“Wiyaa mora maree, hanju na rahyo heikrro,
Watanu thhiyo waree, kuurrani kaanyarani jo.”
“Peacocks in my land dance no more,
Swans in my lakes swim no more,
My beautiful motherland is ruled,
By lying tyrants, cruelly it is slewed.”
…..translate d by Ahmed Makhdoom
As I walked out of the shrine, lo and behold! I saw Saaeen Bhittai, sitting with hands around his head and head in his knees – lonely and forlorn, torn and broken! All around him were wild animals, hungry vultures running around, chasing each other, devouring the innocents, weak and helpless ones, munching and masticating the tiny buds even before they have blossomed into flowers, mauling and manhandling the souls of those departed – digging their graves and feasting on their bones and whatever else remaining! Haplessly, helplessly, hopelessly, I moved on to find someone in Sindh who can wipe away the tears from my eyes and put some balm on the wounds of my soul. Alas! There was none!
My loneliness turned into anger when I read the posting on the Net further: “…. they argued that it’s a religious matter & because Shamaira was a non Muslim girl which buried in the Muslim graveyard which could be the cause punishment (Azaab) for other Muslims dead bodies who are buried in the grave yard…..”
Muslim, non-Muslim, Hindu! After having categorised people into religions, now, they are saying that dhartee, earth, rivers, lakes, flowers, trees, plants, birds, animals, sun, moon, stars are also either Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and whatsoever, you name it.
Has Almighty, up in Heavens and all around us, everywhere made such distinctions? Did he say in any scripture brought to Light by any Messenger, Prophet, Avtaar, that He has Created His Beautiful Creation based on religions? Did any Sage, Sufee, Saint or any Guru, Swami, Teacher, Ustad had ever categorised and compartmentalised any of the Lord’s Beautiful Creation into religions and creeds? I wonder! I simply wonder with thunder inside me!
Sindh had been a beautiful receptacle of Peace and Love – a Faqeeree, Sufee, Darveishee system where each and every religion was part and parcel of the Society, equally respected and revered by adherents of a particular religion as well as of other religions and even those who had no religion.
In the Eternal abode of Saaeen Bhittai and countless other Sages and Saints of Sindh lie Muslims, Hindus and non-adherents of any religion, side-by-side, in Eternal Peace and Tranquility. The largest Necropolis near Thatta, the Chokhundi Tombs near Karachi and various other ancient graveyards are witness to this extraordinary phenomenon of love and respect for entire humanity, irrespective of their colour or creed, religion or race, noble birth or not-so-noble birth.
Thousands of Oads, Menghwars, Kolhis and Bheels, throughout centuries, have been laid to Eternal Rest next to Muslims and those of other religions or no religion at all in my motherland, my fatherland, Sindh. But, today we are witnessing the death of that noble culture of Sindh, polluted so viciously and ruthlessly by the godless, gutless, guiltless, guileless aliens from North and East – the scums with no civilisation of their own, without any culture or noble traditions from where-ever they had come.
In our own Dargah, graveyard of my ancestors, at Darbelo, lies the remains of my beloved father, Abdul Wali Makhdoom – a well-known Judge in Sindh and Balochistan, a Darveish, A Sufee, a True and Worthy Muslim – who never forgot his prayers throughout his life – a charitable and benevolent, kind and gracious human being born in a much revered Peer family of Sindh, with multitude of followers (mureeds) in almost every part of Sindh, a worthy son of Jeejal Sindh – who respected and love all religions, creeds and races alike.
He lies in Eternal Peace next to my maternal uncle, Peer Photal, a Faqeer and a Darveish, a worthy son of Mother Sindh, scion of Makhdooms of Darbelo, who too never forgot to prostrate before God in obedience and prayers, on one side.
On the other side of my father’s grave lies Mubarak – a mureed, a servant – one who never entered a mosque in his entire life, who never even uttered the Kalima (declaration of Muslim Faith) as long as he lived. A murshid and mureed lying side by side, an employer and his servant lying side by side, a Muslim and a non-Muslim lying side by side!
ڏات نَ آھي زات تي جو وھي سو لھي
آريون اٻوجھن جيون سپڙ ڄام سھي
جو رآٸيِ وٽ رات رھي تَ جکي تان نَ ٿيي
“Ddaati na aahei zaati tei, jo wahei so lahei,
Aariyuun abmojani jiyuun, saparri cjaamu sahei,
Jo raai watti raati rahei, ta jukhee taan na thiyei.”
“Divine generosity is not dependent upon creed,
Serve Him and thee shall receive Gifts indeed.
Failings and weaknesses of simpletons galore,
Beneficent Master forgives when thee implore;
With Supreme Lord spend thee a night in prayer,
Never thee in sorrow be, never shall thee suffer..”
…. Humbly translated by Ahmed Makhdoom
This is the culture of Sindh, these are the values of Sindh! This is the glory of Sindh and Sindhiness that murshid Saaeen Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai exhorted us to abide! Gone are those luminaries who illuminated Sindh with their brilliance, spreading their fragrance of love in abundance! Yes, certainly, they lie in Eternal Peace!
Young lass, a cherubic sweet child, Shamira, who did not even reach the prime of her life, having died at such a young age, wanted her soul to be resting in ‘eternal peace.’ The adoring, loving, beloved parents and other loved ones of Shamira, also wanted the same ‘peace’ and eternal tranquility for their beloved child. But, the peace of the young departed soul was shattered by the scavenging animals of our society, in the garb of human beings. They gave a sermon and religious edict that a Hindu cannot be buried in the Muslim graveyard. Who says so, I ask? Where is it written – can anybody explain – I demand?
The tyrants and vultures, animals and devils are all around us in galore, as my child, daughter of my Jeejal Sindhrree, Shamira Oad, continues to cry, lament, and wail in pain:
“Ala! Eea ma hoi, jeena aauun maraan banda mein,
Juso zanjeeruni mein, raato ddenhaan roi,
Pahreen vancjaan loi, poi maru pucjanami ddeenharra.”
“Oh God! Let it never ever be in vain,
That this maid in bondage die in pain,
Weak and broken my body in chains,
All night and day shed tears like rain,
First and foremost let me my home go,
Then in death do may my days end so.”
….translated by Ahmed Makhdoom
Sindh, is my motherland, my fatherland – however – sadly, tragically, unfortunately – not my homeland.. My homeland is Singapore, where I had been living for last forty years. Oh Lord, in life it is this, my homeland! But, when I die, Oh Soomra of Singapore, send my body to my motherland:
واجھاٸي وطن کي آٸون جي ھت مياس
تَ گور منھنجي سومرا ڪج پنوھارن پاس
ڏج ڏاڏاڻين ڏيھ جي منجھان ولڙين واس
مُيا ٸي جياس تَ وڃي مڙھ ملير ڏي (شاھؒ)
“Waajhaayei watuna khei, aauun jei hiti muyaasi,
Gori munhjee, Suumraa!, kiju panwhaarani paasi,
Ddik ddaaddaannei ddeiha, jei, manjhaan walarriyani waasu,
Muyaa ee jiyaas, jei wancjei marrhu Maleera ddei.” (Shah)
Longing and yearning for my sweet motherland,
Hankering and craving if I die in thy forts grand,
Then my body and bones, Sir, to native land send,
Corpse of dead Marvi bring back to her homeland,
With the fragrant and sacred herbs of her fatherland,
Sanctify and purify the remains of this ill-fated maid,
Deceased Marvi, surely, shall exist and live again,
When laid to rest in the sacred soil of Malir’s plain.
……Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom
My darling Shamaira Oad, wherever you are – I am sure you are swinging on a cradle in the Garden up there in the Heavens of our Beloved. Your mortal remains here on this dhartee of Sindh will never be alone, wherever they bury your body, I will be there:
“Longing for my sweet motherland, Oh God!
Yearning for my beloved land, Oh Lord!
Craving for Sacred Soil of My Sindh, I die abroad,
And, when My Body Needs An Eternal Abode,
Bury Me Next To My Sindh’s Shamira Oad.”