Monday, February 9, 2009
Karachi: The Sindh Culture department has finalised all the arrangements to celebrate the 265th Urs of national poet and Sufi saint Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai on Tuesday February 10.
Thousands of Bhittai’s devotees and the readers of his marvellous poetry will leave for Bhitt Shah where his shrine is located. The celebrations will be go on for three days during which, millions of his devotees, not just from different the districts of Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and NWFP but also from other countries, will visit the shrine of their beloved Sufi poet.
Like other parts of Sindh, thousands of followers of Shah Latif leave from Karachi every year to visit his shrine.
Bhittai was born in Hala in 1689 AD. He preached Sufism and the notion of love and humanity in his powerful poetry. The collection of his poetry is known as Shah-Jo-Risalo in which he describes several subjects including folk Sindhi stories. His poetry reveals that he was an observer, journalist and a historian.
He was also a musician and had invented Tanbooro, a single string musical instrument which was mostly played by his ‘Faqeer’ while singing his poetry.
After travelling all over Sindh, Bhittai came to a place that is now known as Bhitt Shah. In Sindhi, Bhitt means a mound and the phrase Bhitt Shah means the mound of Shah; it was named after Bhittai as he settled and died here on 14 Safar, 1752.
The Sindh governer will commence the Urs by laying a chaddar on Bhittai’s mazar while offering Fateha on Tuesday morning. According to Culture Department Secretary Shams Jaffrani, the main events of the celebrations will include the National Adabi Conference, Agro Industries Exhibition, a cattle show, Malakhro (local wrestling), Sugharan-Ji-Katchery and a concert.
He said that a new event called the ‘Sindhi Cultural Village’ will also be introduced this year in which artisans of Sindh will show and display their works.
During the three-day long celebrations, special markets will also be set up so that visitors can buy different items. The market is being set up to advertise and promote Sindhi arts and handicrafts while at the same time it is providing a place for artisans to earn money. The folk artists will stage a live performance in this village and traditional Sindhi food will also be made for the visitors.
During the National Adabi Conference, on the second day of the Urs celebration, scholars of Punjab, NWFP and Baluchistan will read their papers on the life and message of Bhittai.
During the Urs celebrations, six books will be launched including Shah-Jo-Risalo compiled by scholar Dr NA Baloch which is based on the comparative study of 49 manuscripts and 16 printed editions of Shah-Jo-Risalo, Melodies of Shah Volume-IV Sur Aasa and Bait-Na-Par Aayatoon, selected verses by Shah translated in Arabic.
The new edition of Shah-Jo-Risalo by Dr Earnest Trump is also be inaugurated on the occasion, the significance of this book is that its first edition was printed in German in 1866.
The concert based on the poetry of Bhittai will be held on all three days of the celebrations and famous artists will perform in the concert. FM Radio Bhitshah will give a live coverage of the concert.
The concluding ceremony of the Urs celebrations on Thursday will have Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah as the chief guest. During the ceremony Shah will distribute Latif Awards to those who had the best performance in the ceremony.
[Pictures from http://wikimapia.org/3462331/Shrine-of-Saint-Shah-Abdul-Latif-Bhitai].