SUKKUR: A dialogue on Sufism and tasawwuf was the main feature of the four-day National Sufi Folk Festival on Friday and Saturday at the Shah Abdul Latif University (Salu), Khairpur.

The festival has been organised by the university in collaboration with Thespianz Theatre, Karachi.

Syed Waqar Hussain Shah and Dr Syed Mehdi Raza Shah, caretakers of the Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai shrine and Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine, respectively, discussed the subjects along with Syed Mohammad Javed Sadiq and Masood Lohar in the presence of a large number of audience members.

Waqar Shah described Sindh as the land of peace and said the great Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai was the first person who coined the concept of global village. “Sufism teaches us about pain for others through spirituality. Religion and Sufism uphold humanity. Sufism is also a source of inspiration and advocates a balanced life,” he said and called for promoting the Sufi school of thought.

Salu Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Parveen Shah presided over the event which was moderated by Masood Lohar.

Dr Syed Mehdi Raza Shah said the Qalandar shrine was a model for followers of Sufism and people from all religions and beliefs came and got solace and jointly performed dhamal as followers of the revered Sufi saint. They demonstrate exceptional interfaith harmony and without any consideration of caste, colour and creed as propagated by religions. He said it’s time to follow Sufism to effectively check the tendency of militancy.

Javed Sadiq said “Sufism is intimation of pain and a self-control ideology; it’s the doctrine of universality based on tolerance and interfaith harmony”.

In her presidential speech, Dr Shah said: “Sufism teaches tolerance and Sufis are the model preachers Islam”.

MPA Munawwar Ali Wassan, who was the chief guest, appreciated Shah Abdul Latif University and its vice chancellor for promoting the essence of Sindhi culture and other diversified cultures of Pakistan.

After the session, folk artists from all four provinces presented their performance by playing traditional musical instruments and singing mystic verses. Their performance depicted various cultures of Pakistan.

Bhooral Faqeer, Bhatti, Waryal Faqeer and others sang kalam of Sachal Sarmast and performed traditional Sindhi dhamal along with others singing kalam of Shah Latif Bhitai, Sachal Sarmast, Bedil, Bulleh Shah and others.

The event concluded with a qawwali session with Jamshed Sabri, Naveed Sabri and their group.

International Peace Day seminar

Separately, a seminar to mark International Peace Day and centenary celebrations of the discipline of international relations was held on the campus on Saturday.

The event was organised by the Institute of International Relations and Calyx Foundation, Islamabad.

Prof Dr Mansoor Akbar Kundi, a former vice chancellor of Gomal University and former executive director of the Higher Education Commission, Islamabad, was the chief guest.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Parveen Shah presided over the seminar and highlighted significance of Sindh in relation with its diversity, inclusiveness and peace. She said teachings of great Sufi saints Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Sachal Sarmast and Abdullah Shah Ghazi played a key role in interfaith harmony, peace, unity, love as well as brotherhood and affection that prevailed in this region for centuries.

Other speakers included Shaikh Ayaz University, Shikarpur, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Ghulam Raza Bhatti, Asif Farooqui of the Calyx Foundation, Prof Sarfaraz Ali Korejo and Prof Ghulam Mustafa Buledi.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2019