KHAIRPUR: The three-day 198th urs celebrations of renowned Sufi saint and multilingual poet Sachal Sarmast began at his shrine in Daraza Sharif, 40 kilometres from here, on Monday.
Sindh Minister for Auqaf Faraz Hussain Dero inaugurated the urs by laying a wreath on the saint’s grave in the presence of Mian Abdul Haq Farooqui, custodian of the shrine, and officials concerned of different departments.
The minister said later at Sachal Award distribution ceremony that the government had curbed terrorism to a great extent and now there was need to spread Sachal’s message of peace, brotherhood and tolerance in order to eradicate the menace completely.
He said that despite the fact that Sindh was cash-strapped and it braced for a looming financial crisis because it did not receive its full share in National Finance Commission Award from the federal government, the provincial government had prepared security plan for all shrines after the unfortunate blast at Qalandar’s shrine in Sehwan.
He said that under the plan, Sachal’s shrine had been put in ‘A’ category which envisaged stricter security arrangements. No untoward incident had taken place at the shrine since the plan had been put into effect which showed its success, he said.
He announced that schemes worth Rs150 million had been included in the upcoming budget of 2019-20 for development work on Sachal’s shrine which would be approved with the budget and the work would start from next financial year. Besides, other problems of the shrine would also be resolved, he said.
The minister later distributed Eid gifts among the poor and the needy in the front yard of the shrine.
Mian Abdul Haq Farooqui, the shrine’s custodian, expressed concern over Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah’s absence from the inauguration ceremony of the urs and said that the chief minister excused himself on the pretext of busy schedule but he failed to understand as to what kept him so busy that he could not spare even a single day for the saint.
He said that Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Sachal Sarmast and other Sufi saints spread Islam in the region through their message of love, peace and social justice.
He said that some extremist elements carried out blasts at the Qalandar’s shrine and tombs of other saints just to scare away devotees but they failed in their nefarious design. These elements were actually afraid of dhamal culture at the shrines, he said.
He asked the minister to ensure development work was carried out at the shrine at the earliest as the structure had grown weak over the years and demanded that a Jamia Masjid with a capacity for 500 faithful be constructed at the shrine.
Earlier, chief administrator of Auqaf Munawwar Ali Mahesar said that Sufi shrines had remained the only sanctuary of peace which might help in curbing religious extremism. Sachal was a leader of mystic philosophy and “we can build peace not only in Sindh but also in the rest of the world by acting on his advice”, he said.
Sukkur Commissioner Rafique Ahmed Buriro said that Sachal’s message was part of the very existence of Sindh. Besides being a poet, Sachal was also a social activist and his message could be used to eliminate social evils, he said.
Khairpur Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Naeem Sindhu, who was also chairman of Sachal Yadgar Committee, said that the committee’s topmost priority was to spread the message of Sachal to eradicate hatred from society and spread love.
The minister on the occasion also inaugurated the committee’s publications brought out by information department. The ceremony concluded with a Sufi musical concert in which Sufi singers Rajib and Salamat Sohrab Faqeer, Ranjhan Bhatti, Ayaz Khokhar, Bhooral Bhatti, Mehdi Shah, Mehboob Motan Shah and others presented famous kalam of Sachal Sain Ghund khol deedar vikhao which mesmerised the audience.
Later, the minister conferred Sachal Award on Ghous Bux Abbasi (best paper), Hidayat Baloch (best poet), Mumtaz Kanwal (best singer), Rajib and Salamat Sohrab Faqeer, Bhooral Bhatti (best Sufi singers), Abdul Qadir Maitlo and Mohammad Siddique Bhatti (best malh pehalwan), Khalil Mahesar (best Sughar), Syed Sajid Husain Shah (best activist) and Dur Mohammad Sahito (lifetime achievement award).
Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2019