Malangs and devotees at Data Darbar have appeared unanimous in reasoning, “Data Sahib must not have been in his grave last night, otherwise he would have sensed the bomber’s intention and turned him to stone.”
Retreating to their preferred sections of the darbar after the Friday prayers, the devotees sat in their routine, weekly dairas (circles) and took account of the damage to the shrine. The absence of some of the regulars was a sombre reminder of last night’s desecration of the final resting place of the man, popularly believed to be the guardian saint of the city. “I can’t see Baba Kali Chaadar Wala,” noticed one malang.
“Maybe he was killed. He never misses the Friday prayer. Something must be wrong otherwise he would have been here for his daira,” said another.
The rattled followers, scrambled for an explanation, “The terrorist attack must be a divine punishment for our misdeeds. Data Sahib must be really upset with us.” Devotees of Ali Hajveri, remembered as Data Sahib, trickled back to his shrine and formed a large congregation both for Fajr and Friday prayers despite the death and destruction of Thursday night’s suicide bombing. They said that they felt more secure in the shrine than outside.
“These blasts can not keep us away from the darbar. The police and the government may not be able to catch the ones responsible, but our Data Sahib will not let them go unpunished,” one of them enthused.
“The darbar is a sacred place. The attack would not have been possible in Data Sahib’s presence. He must have been elsewhere last night,” chanted Muhammad Sadiq Dervish.
Baba Khaki Kurtay Wala chose silence as his response. Standing in the courtyard of the shrine, he turned his gaze skywards and recited a muffled prayer.
Suddenly he clenched something out of the air, trapped it in his tightened fist and threw it outside the shrine. Baba then fished out a piece of stale chapatti (bread) from his pocket, recited a prayer and offered it to the heavens by slinging it into the air.
Someone explained on his behalf, “This is a spiritual practice. He is cleansing the shrine.” Talzer Chishti, who became a devotee nine years ago, piped in with his words of wisdom, “There were several evil mongering munafiqeen (hypocrites) during the time of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) as well. Data Sahib’s shrine is a very safe place. The bomber was able to strike it only because Data Sahib allowed him to do so. This was a lesson for humanity. The end is near. But God Almighty will avenge this attack.”
Amin Butt, a security duty volunteer at the shrine, said, “You think the government protects the shrine? I have been coming here for 70 years now. Only Data Sahib protects his darbar.” “Do you see any weapons on me? We have nothing with us to protect the shrine. It is because of our corrupt rulers and our immoral actions that the attack happened yesterday,” he concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ