Young and old indulge in ecstatic dhamal at Sindh University campus

Presence of fakirs and percussionists from Qalandar’s shrine create aura characteristic of Sehwan dargah


Z Ali March 03, 2017
Malangs performing dhamal at the urs. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ/EXPRESS

HYDERABAD: Expressing affinity with Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and his spiritual dance known as dhamal, Sindh University’s (SU) teachers, students, officials and staff members gave a free rein to themselves while performing the ecstatic dance at the campus on Friday.

From SU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat and Jamshoro Deputy Commissioner Munawar Mahesar to the SU's teaching faculty and students, everyone indulged in the rapturous dance.

The event took place in the campus at Zero Point on Friday. The presence of fakirs and percussionists from Qalandar's shrine in Sehwan, where a terrorist attack killed 90 people and injured around 350 others on February 16, created an aura typical of the shrine. As percussionists beat drums and naqqara and clarinettists played shahnai [clarinet], the varsity members danced.

Karachi performs dhamal in solidarity with Sehwan blast victims

"Today's message will go to whole Sindh, Pakistan and indeed to the world that we stand by our centuries old values," said VC Burfat, speaking in the backdrop of the drumbeat. "… our weapon is peace [and] our weapon is Sufism. We tolerate sadness and grief." He urged upon the people of the province to contribute their part in making Sindh peaceful again.

According to Deputy Commissioner Mahesar, terrorists thought they will make the people hopeless by attacking Qalandar's shrine. “Today's Qalandari dhamal is a message for them that they may keep killing us, we will keep praying to God," he said.

Upholding the culture of dhamal

Earlier, in a show of solidarity and a sign of protest against the deadly bombing on Qalandar’s shrine in Sehwan Sharif, a number of civil society activists had also performed dhamal.

Nobody can stop dance and music: Sheema Kermani

On February 18, members of Karachi’s civil society had gathered outside Karachi Press Club. They performed dhamal to express solidarity with the Sufi culture. Talking to The Express Tribune, Asad Iqbal Butt, the vice-chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, had asserted that they won’t allow terrorists to deprive them of happiness. He added that the people of this country are strong and their resolve to uphold their culture will never lessen.

Similarly, classical dancer and social activist Sheema Kermani took to Sehwan to perform dhamal on February 19.

Displaying imperturbability and a determination to stand by the values of harmony, tolerance and freedom of expression, civil society representatives from different parts of Sindh gathered at the shrine to stage a protest walk from Jahaz Chowk to the shrine, at the end of which, Kermani gave a passionate performance.

Shock, grief in Kamber-Shahdadkot after family loses 8 members in Sehwan blast

Clad in an orange-coloured dress that symbolises the attire of the Sufis, Kermani danced in the shrine’s compound while a group of folk singers from Badin, Nanga Fakir, sang praises of Qalandar.

“The idea was to tell the perpetrators of terrorism that nobody can stop dance and music. These are part of our heritage, our culture,” Kermani said while speaking to The Express Tribune. “We also wanted to convey resistance to extremism, fanaticism and terrorism.”

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