Thanks to A. R. Rehman. Sindhi Sufi song “Moonkhy Takht Chhadayo” in Bollywood movie “Highway”. Music: Yash Raj. – – Sindhi the language of love and universal peace.
Courtesy: YouTube » Highway
Thanks to A. R. Rehman. Sindhi Sufi song “Moonkhy Takht Chhadayo” in Bollywood movie “Highway”. Music: Yash Raj. – – Sindhi the language of love and universal peace.
Courtesy: YouTube » Highway
“As I grow older. I’m enjoying my Sindhiness more. Discovering that Sindhis aren’t really very worried about whether they are Hindus or Muslims came as a bonus (I wish we’d had some Christian and Zorastrian and Jewish Sindhi too). A community that values its cultural equity and treats religion as a personal affair has to be one of the most civilized communities on earth!” Rajiv Badlani in Sindhi Reflections, a book by Lata Jagtiani.
Courtesy: Via Facebook
Na maen momin vich maseet aan, Na maen vich kufar diyan reet aan, Na maen paakaan vich paleet aan
Na maen moosa na pharaun. Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun
Not a believer inside the mosque, am I, Nor a pagan disciple of false rites, Not the pure amongst the impure, Neither Moses, nor the Pharoh. Bulleh! to me, I am not known
Na maen andar ved kitaab aan, Na vich bhangaan na sharaab aan, Na vich rindaan masat kharaab aan, Na vich jaagan na vich saun. Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun.
Not in the holy Vedas, am I, Nor in opium, neither in wine, Not in the drunkard`s craze, Niether awake, nor in a sleeping daze. Bulleh! to me, I am not known
Na vich shaadi na ghamnaaki, Na maen vich paleeti paaki, Na maen aabi na maen khaki, Na maen aatish na maen paun. Bulleh!, ki jaana maen kaun
In happiness nor in sorrow, am I, Neither clean, nor a filthy mire, Not from water, nor from earth, Neither fire, nor from air, is my birth. Bulleh! to me, I am not known.
Na maen arabi na lahori, Na maen hindi shehar nagauri, Na hindu na turak peshawri, Na maen rehnda vich nadaun. Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun.
Not an Arab, nor Lahori, Neither Hindi, nor Nagauri, Hindu, Turk (Muslim), nor Peshawari, Nor do I live in Nadaun. Bulleh! to me, I am not known.
Na maen bheth mazhab da paaya, Ne maen aadam havva jaaya, Na maen apna naam dharaaya, Na vich baitthan na vich bhaun. Bulleh , ki jaana maen kaun
Secrets of religion, I have not known, From Adam and Eve, I am not born, I am not the name I assume, Not in stillness, nor on the move. Bulleh! to me, I am not known.
Avval aakhir aap nu jaana, Na koi dooja hor pehchaana, Maethon hor na koi siyaana, Bulla! ooh khadda hai kaun. Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun.
I am the first, I am the last, None other, have I ever known, I am the wisest of them all, Bulleh! do I stand alone? Bulleh! to me, I am not known
Courtesy: YouTube + Geo News
Hindu-Muslim union is a marvellous phenomenon of Sindh. The mystic thought of two great civilisations, the Indian and the Arabic-Iranian, is seen in so beautiful a union as in Sindh
By: Professor Jethmal Parsram Gulrajani
” “In fact there is hardly a country in the whole of Asia, including India, in which the mystic thought of two great civilisations, the Indian and the Arabic-Iranian, is seen in so beautiful a union as in Sindh… Sindh being singularly free from religious orthodoxy has absorbed more of Sufism than Punjab where, on account of different political conditions, social and religious restrictions are more manifest than in Sindh. In Sindh at the moment, there are numerous Hindus and amongst them some of the best brains of Sindh, old and new, who are Sufis by religion. In fact, throughout Sindh, the Hindu Amils are attached to the chief centres of the Sufis, and are the main supporters and advisers of the holders of the Gadi [keeper of the shrine].
“This Hindu-Muslim union is a marvellous phenomenon in Sindh. This does not mean that there are no political dissensions in Sindh between Hindu and Muslim, and that religious bigotry is altogether absent in Hindus and Muslims. As a matter of fact there has been enough of it, and it still exists in many forms and is bound to exist in some form or another while the present [British] political policy, that divides race from race, religion from religion, caste from caste, Hindu from Hindu, Muslim from Muslim, exists. Of course, these conditions are not due ONLY to the present political policy; it is in a good measure due to other, deeper, causes that exist in human nature; and also to the the very fact of the variety of religions and sects. But in Sind, owing to its history and other causes, there is less of religious bigotry; and the experiment of the union of religions is to some degree successful and can be witnessed with the physical eye, not merely with the imagination. If one goes around to the various important centres of the Sufis, especially on the chief days of celebrations, he will be agreeably be surprised to see the marriage of Islam with the older Religion.
It is a fundamental basis of Sufism that the Truth is one… Sufism found a congenial soil in Sindh, and seems to have spread into every nook and corner.”
Courtesy:– Saein Professor Jethmal Parsram Gulrajani, “Sindh and Its Sufis”, 1924
Via – Facebook
When the world was still to be born
When Adam was still to receive his form
Then my relationship began
When I heard the Lord’s Voice
A voice sweet and clear
I said “Yes” with all my heart
And Formed a bond with the land (Sindh) I love
When all of us were one, My bond then began.
– Secular Sufi (mystic) poet of peace, Shah Abdul Latif ( 1689 – 1752 )
Comment by: Manzoor Chandio
Bulleh Shah, the great Seraiki poet, was a contemporary of Sindhi Sufi poet Shah Lateef … Bulleh Shah was born in Uch Sharif in Bahalwapur and is buried in Kasur where he had moved with his father … though he was a contemporary of Shah Latif, his thoughts could be compared with Sufi Secular poet Sachal Sarmast … both Bulleh Shah and Sachal Saieen openly opposed orthodoxy … Secular Sufi poet Sachal was a direct descendent of Caliph Umer Farooq, but he never took pride in his ancestry …. his forefathers had moved to Sindh with Mohammed bin Qasim…. Bulleh Shah’s family “claimed to be direct descent from Prophet Muhammad” (peace be upon him)…. in this video Sarangi Maestro and Sufi Fakir Lakho Manganhar of Rajasthan, India, is singing Bulleh Shah ….
Courtesy: adopted from facebook
One of the media and academia’s axiomatic constructions about Pashtun is that Taliban are Pashtun nationalists. This construction is based on distorted one-sided information and selective references to the Pashtun history that too are misrepresented to concur with the notion that Taliban are Pashtun nationalists. Drawing upon the current Pashtun ground realities and history, I will argue that Taliban, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, are mere proxies of the Pakistani state to wipe out forces of entho-nationalism among the Pashtun as well as temper with Pashtun cultural identity on both sides of the Durand line in the state pursuit of the foreign and domestic policy objectives set and controlled by the military establishment of Pakistan.
Let me say on the outset that the Pashtun experience of having been assaulted with state proxies in garb of religion is not new. In the past the Mughal and the British states have done the same in order to force the Pashtun to behave in line with the states’ strategic interests. There are basically three big pan Pashtun nationalist movements in the Pashtun history. All the three movements were perceived as clashing with the contemporary states’ interests. Thus all the three were assaulted with states’ proxies and propaganda skillfully camouflaged with religion.
The first movement was initiated by mystic, Bayazeed Ansari, from Kaniguram, South Waziristan. He was called ‘Pir-Rooshan’ (the saint of light) by his followers. He lived during the reign of the Mughal Indian Emperor Jalaludin Akbar (1542-1605). The Mughal emperor imposed a ban on him and his followers. Above all the supposedly secular Mughal ruler, Akbar, tasked mullahs to launch a politically-motivated religious campaign against the teachings of Pir-Rooshan. Prominent among the those mullahs are Akhund Darveza (a mullah of Tajik origin) and another Pir Ali Tirmizi (of Uzbek origin). These two state sponsored mullahs declared him Peer-Tareek (the saint of darkness) and assaulted his movement with a sustained malicious propaganda apparently rooted in Islam.
The second Pashtun nationalist movement was launched and led by Khushal Khan Khattak, well-known Pashtun poet, political leader and warrior. The nationalist movement led by him was fully supported by two other influential Pashtun tribal leaders, Darya Khan in Khyber agency and Aimal Khan in Mohmand agency. Arguably, Khushal Khan can be regarded as the founder of modern Pashtun nationalism. For the ethno-nationalist inspiration of future generations of Pashtun, Khushal Khan, also known as lord of pen, has left volumes of his Pashto poetry that is full of Pashtun nationalistic motivation, aim and expression. In one of his well-known couplets, he says this: ‘Drast Pashtun la Kandahara tar Attoca sara yo da nang pa kar pat ao ashkar, pa yowa zhaba wail sara Pashto kro walay nashoo la yo bal khabardar’ ( All Pashtun from Qandahar to Attock speak Pashto language (and) are (socio-culturally) one and the same, but are (politically) oblivion to one another). Khushal Khan’s movement was suppressed by the most bigoted Mughal ruler of India, Aurangzeb Alamgir (1618-1707). One of the Khushal Khan’s couplets in which he condemns the Mugahl ruler’s atrocities is this in. ‘Che pa noom Pakhtanay ghuseegi pray khawkheegi, Aurangzeb dasay badshah de da Islam’ (He (Aurangzeb) derives pleasure from massacre of Pashtun, such is Aurangzeb’s kingdom of Islam).
The third great Pashtun nationalist movement was launched by Khan Ghafar Khan, popularly known as Bacha Khan. A prominent difference between Khushal Khan and Bacha Khan is that the former ran his movement with sword in form of armed struggle against the Mugahl army led by a fanatic Muslim ruler and the latter’s movement was non-violent. Essentially, Bacha Khan’s movement was for mass-scale social reformations in the Pashtun society in order to cleanse it from socio-cultural practices that hindered wide spread human development in the society, such as revenge or the inhibition towards modern education.
The British-Indian and the successor Pakistan states used religious proxies to oppress Bacha Khan’s movement. Wali Khan’s book, Facts are Facts, contains interesting research about the role of mullahs against the Pashtun nationalist movement under the British Raj. Both the British-Indian and the Pakistani states never allowed Bacha Khan to enter the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) although despite all the states’ opposition, his movement did inspire countless people across FATA, including many parents who sent their children to the schools established by Bacha Khan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa areas on the border with FATA.
Linked with Bacha Khan’s movement was the mass scale social reform and state building agendas of Amanullah Khan, the great Pashtun King of Afghanistan (1919-1929). The king made arrangements for compulsory education for all Afghans and gave right to vote to women. Pashto was declared the official language of Afghanistan. He began to build a strong Afghan armed force, including the air force with help of the Russians, and initiated a process of industrialization. He tasked the Russians to build a road linking Tashkand with Kabul and Khyber agency in FATA. The king regularly used to read Pakhtun, a Pashto language magazine launched by Bacha Khan, and used to advise other people in Afghanistan to do so. The Pashtun, although divided by the British drawn artificial Durand Line, had turned their faces towards progress, development and ethno-national unity.
All this was too much for the British rulers of India to bear because it was happening in the area that the British had assumed their buffer zones vis-a-vis Russia. Their first buffer zone, Afghanistan, and their second buffer zone, FATA, along with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formally NWFP) seemed going out of the British control coupled with a possible tilt towards the Russians. The British had to act to eliminate the reforms undertaken on both sides of the Durand Line. The British knew they could not do it militarily. It could have brought the British face to face with the Russians that the British never wanted. Secondly, the harsh experiences of the three Afghan wars had taught them that military intervention in Afghanistan is pointless. Thus they unleashed mullahs on Bacha Khan and King Amanullah Khan to rob their reform agendas of religious legitimacy. In case of the king the British lowered themselves to such an extent they made fake photos of his wife, Queen Soraya, showing her half naked. The photos were distributed in Afghanistan with the malicious propaganda that the king is not a Muslim in his personal and political life and hence cannot be king of the Pashtun, who are Muslim. Deadly chaos was created in Afghanistan in which Bacha Saqa took power who did with Afghanistan what the ISI backed Taliban did during their reign (1996-2001). Girls’ schools were closed down, Afghan Shias were massacred, the state building agenda was rolled backed and Kabul was ravaged. Similarly, mullahs were also unleashed by the British to discredit Bacha Khan’s movement as well.
King Amanullah Khan’s agenda for social reforms, imposed from above, was very vulnerable to conspiracies by anti-Pashtun forces, who exploited the vulnerability to the full. Contrary to this, Bacha Khan’s movement for social reforms was firmly rooted in people’s confidence that he and his followers had successfully won through direct interaction people in villages and towns. Thus his movement could be never rolled backed despite severe and prolonged oppression by the British-Indian and Pakistani states. Nevertheless, the implantation of the social reforms that both Bacha Khan wanted was thwarted by the successive states’ oppressions. Imagine where the Pashtun as nation would have been today if the reform agendas undertaken on both side of the Durand Line had been carried forward.
To be continued
Courtesy: The Friday Times
By: Asim Riaz Kaghzi, Calgary
… Now days Sindh is a part of the political boundaries of the state of Pakistan, if Sindh is not well and is suffering, then Pakistan is suffering as well or at least a considerable part of Pakistan. Sindh is predominantly inhabited by Muslim population and it is one of the few places where tolerance and religious harmony can be seen at its highest peak, such as, Sunnies take part in Moharram’s first ten days remembering Imam Hussain’s sacrifices with same respect as Shiites, you would hardly able to distinguish between two sects, another example is some saints are equally revered by Muslims and Hindus. Sindhis living in Sindh or any other part of the world, in essence they are very secular people and if any one wants to learn the spirit of secularism then he/she learns from Sindh and Sindhis.
Sindh and Sindhis as an entity are mature and they are fighting against all odds and still stands for universal peace and coexistence. Therefore, if Sindh looses its tolerant character then it will be a blow for the world, I believe Muslims around the world need to learn from Sindh and Sindhis, who value tolerance and mutual understanding.
Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 11 Feb, 2008.
– – – – – –
Sindh: Old Tolerances Under Pressure Amid State Inaction
The multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence between ethnic and religious communities that is traditional to Sindh is being tested as never before. However moves at the national and local level are being counted on to defuse a tense situation. ….
Read more » UNPO
By Tarek Fatah
Today, millions of Sikhs and their friends around the world are celebrating Gurpurab, but few outside India know the significance of this day or its history. It’s the 543rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith and one of the greatest symbols of pluralism and tolerance in the world.
The 5,000-year old Indian civilization, born on the banks of the Indus [Sindhu/ Sindh] and nurtured …
Read more » The Huffington Post
By Javed Qazi
Hardly a day of the great murder of the history of Sindh passed by, that 72 years back, Sindhi Sufi mystic singer, Bhaghat Kanwar Ram, was killed near Shikarpur, that we always remember him on his anniversary day, 1st Nov. We have got a blow due to another shock that three Hindu doctors have been killed by the Bhayo Tribe in Shikarpur. Prima Facie it is due to the fact that recently the persons of this tribe had kidnapped a Sindhi Hindu girl and wanted to convert her religion to escape from the crime of kidnapping. The Sindhi Hindu community, who was in majority in the area prior partition of India, is still living by about 50000 houses, in Shikarpur. They couldn’t let this happen and they got the girl back from the Bhayo tribe. In the tribal context it was shameful for Bhayos that the most weak community, forced Bhayos and got the girl back. In a ray of revenge on very Eid day, just to send a loud and clear message to the Sindhi Hindu community, three Hindu doctors in Shikarpur were killed while they were performing their routine professional work in their respective clinics.
This is same Shikarpur where the great leader of Sindh, Shaheed Allah Bux Soomro was murdered on same grounds, almost 68 years back. Shikarpur was Hub of trade and commerce, which even Karl Marx has acknowledged on his notes on India as colony of British Empire. Prior partition it was either Karachi or Shikarpur which had colleges and best education institutions and hospitals that even Hyderabad and Sukkur was far behind it. Shaheed Allah Bakhsh Soomro was the first premier of Sindh, who was against the formation of Pakistan, was from Shikarpur city. This was due to the fact that communal groups of Manzil Masjid Gah were spread. The symbol of religious harmony, Bhaghat Kanwar the great mystic singer was murdered at that time. Allah Bux soomro another symbol of religious harmony and secularism was murdered at that time.
Na mein Aabi
Na mein Khaki
Na vich Paleedi Paki,
Na mein Mosa
Bullah ki janaaan mein kaun?
Na mein Arbi
Sirf Apna Ap pachan, Doja koi hor na janaan
Methon na koi hor Sayana
Bullaya O khara hai kaun?
Bullah ki janaan mein kon
About → H.H Sant Shri Asaram ji Bapu preaches the existence of One Supreme Universal Conscious in every human being; be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Sikh or anyone else.
Bhit Shah: Ambassador Cameron Munter and his wife, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt visited the land of Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif and marveled at the beauty of Bit Shah shrine in Matiari district, along with U.S. Consul General William Martin and C.G. information officer, Ms. Andie, they laid a cloth at the tomb and listened to traditional music with mystic fragrance. They were so happy to experience the rich Sufi cultural heritage and to see the history and the peaceful traditions of Sindh.
People of Bhit Shah feel so glad to see honorable guests in their town and they appreciated Ambassador Cameron Munter’s visit to Bhit Shah Shrine.
Source – News adopted from facebook.
Shabnam Virmani is a filmmaker and artist in residence at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India. 7 years ago she started travelling with folk singers in Malwa, Rajasthan and Pakistan in a quest for the spiritual and socio-political resonances of the 15th century mystic poet Kabir in our contemporary worlds. Among the tangible outcomes of these journeys were a series of 4 musical documentary films, several music CDs and books of the poetry in translation (www.kabirproject.org). Inspired by the inclusive spirit of folk music, she has begun to play the tambura and sing folk songs of Kabir herself. Currently she is working on co-creating a web-museum of Kabir poetry & music with folk singer communities in India and developing ideas for taking mystic poetry and folk music to school classrooms. She continues to journey to new areas such as Kutch, Gujarat and draw inspiration not only from Kabir, but also other mystic poets of the sub-continent [such as Shah Abdul Latif] and the oral folk traditions that carry them to us. Her earlier work consisted of several video and radio programs created in close partnership with grassroots women’s groups in India.
– You Tube
wonderful lyrics! wonderful singing! finally a best & truly heart touching song!
“Dust of Their Earthly Remains, Abdul Latif affirms, Surely Esteemed”
By Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom
Today, Wednesday 14th Safar 1432, is that day in the glorious, glittering and grand history of the nation of Sindh, when her most illustrious, worthy and noble son, Shah Abdul Latif of Bhitt, breathed his last. His sanctified and sacred soul eternally resting in the Garden of his Beloved and his earthly remains interned permanently in lap of venerable andb blessed mother Sindh, Bhittai, till today, 267 years after his passage into Eternity, remains an iconic and saintly figure.
New York : Please join Tri-State Sindhi Community in celebrating International Sindhi Cultural & Solidarity Day. On this day, Sindhi people cherish their multiculturalism, universalism, tolerance, peace and respect for all faiths. Please wear Sindhi Topi (Sindhi Cap) and Ajrak (Sindhi Shawl). Event includes Sindhi Soul Music concert, dinner, poetry and cultural demonstrations. Gop Chander and Saathi will Sing Sufi (mystic) Kalaams. Venue: Kabab King Mehal, 495 Hempstead Tpke W Hempstead, NY 11552. Saturday, December 4th, 2010, 7:00 pm – 1:00 am. Please RSVP: Ghulam Nabi Unar, Khalid Channa, Farhan Kaghzi and Dr Noor Rajpar.
by Jamil Hussain Junejo
Peace has been remaining most desired and higher value of human society throughout the Human history. All the humanist Religious leaders, philosophers, writers, Artists have been laboriously striving hard for establishing societies where the value of peace reigns supreme. Peace holds such high esteem and concern because it is prerequisite for establishing developed and advanced societies aswel states which could be marked with social and economic justice, equality, freedom and rule of law.
Ruk Station and Sufi Saint singer and musician of Sindh, martyr (Shaheed) Bhaggat Kanwarram are synonyms. Ruk station is the place where this legend and icon of religious harmony, Ahansa and peace was murdered in November 1-2, 1939. His voice was very melodious and ranged over a very wide scale. His recordings of devotional songs were famous all over Sindh. His songs broadcast regularly over radio Ceylon (Hindi Service) during 1950s & 60s. Sufi mystic Saint Bhaggat Kanwarram and master chander’s songs were also broadcast from Radio Hyderabad, Sindh but dictator Ayoub Khan put ban on both legend singers of Sindh. The songs of both singer were banned up to dictator Zia’s rule. Their songs came back again to Radio Pakistan Hyderabad, when Benazir Bhutto’s elected democratic government came in power after the long “Movement for Restoration of Democracy” (MRD – 1983 and 1986).
By Nicholas Schmidle
… I stopped taking notes, closed my eyes and began nodding my head. As the drummer built toward a feverish peak, I drifted unconsciously closer to him. Before long, I found myself standing in the middle of the circle, dancing beside the man with the exuberant earlobes.
“Mast Qalandar!” someone called out. The voice came from right behind me, but it sounded distant. Anything but the drumbeat and the effervescence surging through my body seemed remote. From the corner of my eye, I noticed photographer Aaron Huey high-stepping his way into the circle. He passed his camera to Kristin. In moments, his head was swirling as he whipped his long hair around in circles.
“Mast Qalandar!” another voice screamed.
If only for a few minutes, it didn’t matter whether I was a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or atheist. I had entered another realm. I couldn’t deny the ecstasy of Qalandar. And in that moment, I understood why pilgrims braved great distances and the heat and the crowds just to come to the shrine. While spun into a trance, I even forgot about the danger, the phone calls, the reports of my disappearance and the police escort.
Published by Karachi’s Sindhica Academy, the book is just a reminder that Sufi poetry is a voice against extremism
What makes the book more adorable for the readers of Urdu is the Urdu translation of Shah’s selected poetry along with the original Sindhi verses.
Though much has been written on Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and his Sufi poetry, there are some misconceptions about him and his poetry. One of the reasons for this misunderstanding is that due to a dearth of good books on him in Urdu and English those who do not know Shah’s native Sindhi cannot reach the heart and soul of his poetic works.
His poetry, truly a great piece of literary heritage,
“Sachal, Thy friend, suffers in painful afflictions aplenty”
By Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom
In the beautiful land of Sindh, there is a beautiful goothu ( a village), Daraazaa. Here in this calm, sanguine, sanctuary of peace and tranquillity stand a monument, a Dargaah, an earthly monument, to that Heavenly Immortal soul, my murshid, my guide Saaeen Sachal Sarmast. The love for the Suufees, Faqeers and Darveishes of this remarkable land of Sindh that is enshrined in every son and daughter of this glorious land of Sindh is really heart-warming, inspiring and touching, indeed.
This paak, pavitar, pure dhartee of Sindh, the Cradle of Civilisations, had given birth to countless Suufees, Saints, Sages, Auliyaas, Avtaars. It is in this glorious land of Sindh that humanity learnt to breathe and take its first step towards emancipation, enlightenment and Eternal Peace, Prosperity and Progress.
Sindhis would be glad to send peace delegations everywhere to sing songs of love and unite people of the world
By: Prof. Gul Agha
Sindhis are worried about water, food, environmental protection, wildlife protection, pollution, language erosion, cultural destruction, etc . They wish to .., everyone well (kafir momin jo bhalo). But now they have their own basic survival to worry about.
Last week at the University of Illinois, USA, we had a sufi ttolo of mangarnhaara who sang Shah Latif’s raarno, Hamalu fakiiru kaafii, played chungu, biinuun, Sindhi saraangii. The audience was black, white, Asian; Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Christian.. Everyone was relaxed and thought peaceful thoughts. This is the positive energy Sindhis can contribute. Sindhis would be glad to send peace delegations with sufi fakirs everywhere to sing songs of love and unite people. That is the best we can do.
What they call “public opinion” is what.. who control Pakistani media think, not what the poor haarii (peasant) in Sindh thinks. The elite minds are agitated by fasaadii jihadi mentality and show a total lack of concern for poverty, contempt for indigenous languages and cultures, and obsession with imperialist colonialist era of caliphs and kings. The less President Zardari pays attention to this, the more he can focus on real problems (not that he has much de facto control or power, otherwise we could say good-bye to the … and are destroying Sindhi language and culture by imposing foreign language .. and alien militant ideology).
October 08, 2010
By Declan Walsh
(Women dance outside the ‘golden gate’ at the central Shrine of the Sehwan Sharif festival. Around 1 million people attend the three day event that combines partying and prayer to mark the death of the Sufi mystic Lal Shahbaz Qalander, who died 755 years ago. Photograph Declan Walsh.)
Pakistan’s tourism ministry designated 2007 as “Destination Pakistan”, the year when tourists were urged to discover the country’s sights and delights. Their timing couldn’t have been worse. A military ruler clinging to power, al-Qaida fanatics hiding in the mountains, suicide bombings booming across the cities – in 2007, Pakistan has become a byword for peril and turmoil.
But there is another Pakistan, one the majority of its 165 million people are more familiar with. It is the thrusting software entrepreneurs and brash new television stations. It is the kite flyers and partygoers and the strangers who insist you sit for a cup of tea. And it is Sehwan Sharif.
A sleepy town on the Indus river, Sehwan Sharif is on the heroin smuggling route that runs through Sindh from Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea. In summer it is a sauna – stepping from my air-conditioned car last month, the heat carried a five-knuckle wallop.
I joined about 1 million people who come to Sehwan Sharif for three days every year, to mark the death of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, an ancient Sufi mystic. It is one of south Asia’s greatest parties.
A giant, infectious drumbeat fills the night air. Red-clad women spin like dervishes and old men dance like teenagers. Men kiss the railings of the shrine; some burst into tears. A conga line of worshippers pushes into a glittering shrine at the heart of festival. The soft aroma of hashish and cooked bread wafts through the tiny alleyways; old men with watery eyes suck on clay pipes; barefoot families doze on the rooftops.
A million people – it’s enough to give an embassy security officer a heart attack. Yet I’ve rarely felt so secure. Impromptu singing sessions erupt by the roadside. People offer strangers a bed, a meal, or a drag from their joint. Smiles and handshakes are everywhere. Qalandar, a sort of medieval hippy, would have approved. Wandering through this area almost 800 years ago, he preached tolerance between Hindus and Muslims and peace to all men. Legend had it that he could transform himself into a falcon.
One night I met Muhammad Fiaz, a burly bus driver from Gujrat with glitter on his cheeks. He had taken his annual holiday to come and sit at the feet of a pir, or holy man. He brushed off any talk of politics. “Musharraf and his lot are one thing,” he said. “This is entirely another”.
Thursday October 4, 2007
Courtesy: The Guardian
Source – http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,2183119,00.html