BHIT SHAH, Jan 10: Scholars explored poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai through their papers presented at the international literary conference at the Centre of Excellence here on Tuesday, the second day of the 268th annual Urs of the Sufi poet.

They discussed the concept of Wahdatul Wujood (unity of being) as well as pain and miseries of people presented in his poetry.

Noted intellectual Ibrahim Joyo was in chair. Speakers from Canada, Pennsylvania and India and from across the country addressed the conference. Six books were also launched.

It appears that young Shumaila Hemani, a scholar from Canada who presented her research paper on musical narratives of Shah Latif, was the star of the day.

Shumaila, whose family migrated to Karachi after partition from India's Gujarat, dwelt at length on the tradition of the singing of Bhital's verses at his shrine in the way he had developed.

She said the Faqirs sing the most difficult of the Raags with different pitches of voices.

She said concept of voice in this singing style was entirely different and demonstrated how the singers took different pitches while reciting Bhitai's verses.

Indian writer Vimi Sardaangani discussed Bhitai from the translation point of view of his poetry. Bhital is counted among top seven Sufi poets in the world, she said.Indian author Hero Thakur presented his paper on two editions of Shah jo Risalo (anthology of Bhital's poetry) by Dr Gurbkhsani and Mirza Qaleech Baig.

Had Bhitai been born in Europe, the scholars would have devoted their entire life in rediscovering him, he said.

He said that although he had left Sindh, but he could not forget it. 'We have resisted repeated attempts to delete word of 'Sindh' from our national anthem in India and we will keep doing it whenever such attempt is made,' he said.

Noted writer Fahmida Riaz discussed Rumi and Bhitai, saying that the latter could not find any Shams Tabrez while the former did. She said that Bhitai's religion was love and he held Hindu Jogis in high esteem.

Peshawar's Dr Salma Shaheen said that Sufi poets always focused loyalty and sincerity in their poetry.

Quoting Rehman Baba, she said they all loved humanity.

Noted write Amar Jaleel talked about degeneration of Sindhi society. 'Sufi thinking and approach to life has departed from Sindh with migration of genuine Sindhis during partition in 1947,' he said.

Every religion had Sufis and some like Mansoor Hilaj rebelled openly, he said.

He said in a lighter vein that had Sohni (a female character of Bhitai who is in love with Mehar despite being married) been present today, she would have fallen prey to karo-kari.Dr Fatima Hassan said that Bhital's love transcended all biases and added that a Sufi always braved miseries of Ishq (love).

Jam Chandio said that every character of Bhitai depicted commitment and bravery. 'One thing that is common in his poetry and characters is unconditional love,' he said.

He said that the society would have to find recourse to his poetry and people should demonstrate enlightened love with Shah instead of blind respect.

Prof Shazia Babar and Saadullah Jan Burk from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dr Shah Mohammad Mari from Balochistan, Prof Javed Chandio from Bahawalpur, Maryam Majeedi from Peshawar and Dr.Fahmida Hussain also spoke on the occasion.

Sindh Minister for Culture Sassui Palejo said that visa regime should be relaxed by Pakistan and India. She said that her ministry was trying to seek partnership with those countries where research was being conducted on Sufism.

The books that were launched included Adyon Aaoon Ajjan by Dr Fahmida Hussain, Shah Abdul Latif: Mudabbir, Muallim Aeen Meherban by Dr Abdul Jabbar Junejo, Shah, Sachal Aeen Khalifo Qasim by Dr Mohammad Hussain Kashif, Jehry Soonh Sandyaas by Dr Mohammad Ali Manjhi; Dahshhat, Wujood Ki Musaafat by Agha Salim and Anecdotes of Watayo Fageer by Saleem Noor Hussain.

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