Today as Sehwan Sharif slowly drowns in the advancing Pakistan flood, I regret that I never had a chance to visit it. It was not a place where we were allowed to visit as “people lost control of their own selves and were unaware of what they were doing or what was happening to them” and that was totally disallowed in our household.
We were always held accountable for our actions if not to our mother 🙂 than in her absence to Allah Subhanawataala, so my exposure to Sehwan Sharif despite my curiosity remained limited to the song sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali.
Meanwhile in Sindh……………..
He toils all day at the fields in the relentless heat of over 110 degrees, all day for barely enough bread for himself, a serf for his Vadera master. In the evening he finds solace at the shrine of the Sufi. The Sufi who came as a Daee (missionary Saint) to teach Islam to the pagans & polytheist Hindus of India and brought the message of One God, simplicity, and sufficing with what Allah bestows.
He the laborer from the fields of Sindh has found a place to lay his wishes and desires at the feet of the Sufi Saint in his Shrine, enshrouded with stories of miracles and hoping that one day his bondage will break by one such miracle.
How over the years the shrine has gone from a mosque, a place of worship to a place to ask the Sufi buried there for things that only God Himself can give and no one else can is beyond my comprehension.
Music emanates from the soul of the farmer who finds solace from the heat and torment of the world in the peace of the mosque, where the Sufi is buried………and from it comes heart felt poetry spoken at first and then with the music of the Dhol.
Eventually people go stir crazy drowning their sorrows of the never ending toil for the miniscule crumbs of daily bread into music, clapping, singing, and whirling till the harsh world no longer matters. Sometimes this trance does not come with the Spiritually elevated state of mind and is then assisted with mind altering herbs……….and so it goes.
Today the Sehwan Sharif is drowning along with all familiar mileposts of history in Pakistan.
Along with it drowns the long history of the evolution of the complexity of faith, Islam, superstition and spirituality is mixed up in the persona of Saints and Sufis. All of it unravels in the monsoon floods, which are relentlessly covering all signs of poverty, injustice and cruelty with the same water as the one that once provided nourishment to their fields sown with food.
New things have no history. I cannot resist the nostalgia and sadness that overcomes me at the thought of Sehwan Sharif being covered with water, a relic for future archaeologist to discover and wonder.
Here is a view of Sufism all rolled into one perspective:
The excesses of adoration enticing people from all over the Indo Pakistan subcontinent: