HYDERABAD: Formal celebrations to mark the 270th Urs of mystic poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai began on Wednesday after acting Sindh governor Agha Siraj Durrani laid a wreath on the shrine in Bhitshah – a small town located some 40km from Hyderabad in Matiari district.
He was accompanied by special assistant to Sindh chief minister for culture and provincial adviser Ziaul Hassan Lanjar.
Devotees had started thronging premises of the shrine from Tuesday, carving out space for themselves in the shrine’s courtyard.
A large number of devotees from different parts of the country and foreign countries turned up to pay homage to Abdul Latif Bhittai.
Bhittai’s Urs is a grand event in Sindh attended by people of different walks of life from almost every village and town of the province.
Devotees of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai believe that his soul hears their prayers and has the power to change their destiny. Therefore, they come to the shrine with different wishes and dreams.
Men, women, children and old people stay in the courtyard of the shrine decorated with colourful lights. They use Sindhi ‘Ralli’ (a quilt made of colourful cloth pieces sewn together) as bedding regardless of cold. For the past few years, the Urs falls in winter.
They cook their own food, get Langar from shrine’s kitchen or buy food from hotels. Bhitshah adorns a festive look for these three days every year.
The Urs of any spiritual personality is consdered a mega event. Although it otherwise marks the date of passing away, but devotees considered it a meeting between their Murshid and Allah Almigthy.
CM’s special assistant on culture Sharmila Frooqui inaugurated ‘Sindhi cultural village’ on the sidelines of the Urs.
The village depicts rural Sindh’s life with people having ‘katchhehries’ at a hotel and artisans busy in work. People were taking great interest in it.
“An international literary conference on Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai is being planned for Thursday in Bhitshah to be attended by intellectuals and scholars from different parts of the world,” she told reporters while visiting the village.
She said such conferences helped spread the message of Bhittai around the world.
She said PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zadari had announced organising Sindh Festival 2014, keeping in mind the fact that artisans of the province lacked opportunities to earn livelihood.
Different activities had been planned for the festival in different cities of Sindh to promote the culture and handicraft of the province.
“The festival will prove to be a global platform to help artisans of Sindh become self sufficient,” she said.
About delay in establishment of a Sufi university in Bhitshah, she said that it was due to natural calamities that many projects were delayed in Sindh, but that did not mean that they would be wound up.
She also inaugurated an agro-industrial exhibition on the occasion.
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