THE most striking landmark of Sehwan Sharif is undoubtedly the golden dome of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine that shines over the horizon of the city. During the Urs over a million pilgrims pay tribute to the saint annually from across the country. This time they gathered to celebrate 767th Urs of the saint.
Qalandar chose to settle in Sehwan because of the miseries that had befallen its people. Before his arrival, Sehwan was centre to countless sins, bad practices, and bad governance of King Charbat.
Qalandar was born 40 miles away from the famous city of Tabraiz in 538 AH. He was a great scholar, poet, and social reformer.
According to British scholar Richard Burton Lal Shahbaz Qalandar was a poet, philologist, and expert of grammar. The most famous Arabic grammar books authored by him are Meezan al-Sarf and Sarf-i-Sagheer. These books were taught in different madressahs and institutions as part of their curriculum. But it is ironical that these books are hard to read or find in libraries.
Despite Qalandar’s global appeal, the city of Sehwan Sharif needs development in many areas. Libraries, education centers, research centers, universities, science parks, and technology parks, and entrepreneurship centers need to be developed, while a better communications system which connects Sehwan Sharif with the rest of the world.
Thus developed, Qalandar’s teachings — as reflected in his poetry — can become a tool of spreading the virtues of sustainable peace. After all, Qalandar is the saint of all.
Furqan Hyder Shaikh
Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2019