HYDERABAD: Thousands of devotees gathered in the small Bhit Shah town to pay homage to Sindh’s iconic Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai on his 270th annual Urs celebrations that commenced on Wednesday.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit the town during the three-day Urs celebrations which feature a range of entertainment, literary, sports and commercial activities.
Sindh acting governor Agha Siraj Durrani inaugurated the Urs in the morning by laying a chaddar on the tomb of Bhitai. The chief minister’s adviser on culture, Sharmila Farooqi, accompanied Durrani on the occasion.
Durrani, while describing Bhitai with splendid attributes, shed light on the diverse aspects of his poetic contributions and life. “It is the pacifist influence of Bhitai which has kept extremism at bay in Sindh,” he observed. “There is a need to globalise his message.” The acting governor informed that the provincial government will soon initiate the shrine’s beautification and expansion projects.
The inauguration of a cultural village portraying various models of rural life and Sughar Katchehri (folk conference) followed the Urs commencement. A musical show featuring traditional, folk and Sufi singers and musicians will start at night. In addition to an international literature conference, Malakhra (traditional Sindhi wrestling), horse and cattle shows will also be organised on the second day which will conclude with a musical night. Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah will perform the closing ceremony on the third day.
A delegation of Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Rabita Committee comprising its members Khalid Sultan, Ashfaq Mangi, Shakir Ali, MNAs and MPAs from Hyderabad also laid the chaddar on the grave. The delegations of other political parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional and Sindhi nationalist parties also paid homage.
At last year’s Urs, the then culture minister Sassui Palijo had announced that Bhit Shah would be converted into an international cultural city with an art gallery, comprising Bhitai’s seven ‘surs’ (themes) along the National Highway. The government had also planned on establishing the Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai Institute of Research and Music Academy. A year on, her hopes are far from being fulfilled.
The celebrations last year also included the Sughar Conference, wrestling competitions, horse and bull races.
The conference, also called sughar kachehry, focused on Sindhi literature, and also involved poetry and “riddle solving” sessions.
Source: The Express Tribune