The three-day celebrations marking the 191st Urs of Hazrat Sachal Sarmast were in full swing at the saint’s shrine in Daraza Sharif, Khairpur district, on Saturday, as shields and awards were distributed among talented Sufi singers and poets.
The Urs celebrations were inaugurated by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Friday. The Sufi Raag, Adabi Conference and Malakhra, meanwhile, are among most anticipated events that are spread over the three-day Urs.
While giving a detailed account of Hazrat Sachal Sarmast, Sakhi Qabool Mohammad Farooqui, the Gadi Nasheen of the Dargah, said that the saint belonged to the family of Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA), and was therefore called Farooqui. His real name was Hafiz Abdul Wahab, and he was given the alias Sachal Sarmast as Sachal means truthful, while Sarmast refers to someone who is lost in the love of truth.
The saint is also popularly known as Shair-e-Haft Zaban (poet of seven languages). He was born in 1739 in Daraza Sharif, and died in 1827. His father was Khawaja Salahuddin Farooqui, who died soon after the Sufi saint’s birth. Sachal Sarmast was brought up by his uncle, Khawaja Abdul Haq-I Farooqui, who ended up being his teacher, spiritual leader and father in law as well.
Sakhi Qabool Mohammad said that Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai had visited Daraza Sharif three times, and had met the young Sachal Sarmast and his uncle. Bhittai was impressed with Sarmast’s knowledge and predicted that he would become a Sufi saint one day. Sarmast wrote poetry in Sindhi, Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, Persian, Arabic and Hindi.
Organisation committee member resigns
In an indication that it was not smooth sailing for the organisers of the Urs, Sakhi Qabool Mohammad, the Gadi Nasheen of the Dargah, resigned from the Sachal Yadgar Committee. The committee, which is headed by Khairpur deputy commissioner Ghulam Abbas Baloch, is responsible for organising the annual celebrations and general upkeep of the shrine throughout the year.
While talking to The Express Tribune, the Gadi Nasheen claimed that some members of the committee were not interested in performing their duties.
He also criticised the Evacuee Trust, and said that while it was very interested in collecting money from the Dargah, it did not play its role in maintaining the shrine and looking after the devotees.
Sakhi Qabool Mohammad added that he was the 10th Gadi Nasheen of the Dargah, and that he had been looking after the shrine for the last 36 years.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.