The land of Sufis: Sindh must preserve its culture, says author Pannke

Pannke was inspired by Sufi culture when he walked from Karachi to Sehwan in 1969.

Our Correspondent December 03, 2013
Pannke was inspired by Sufi culture when he walked from Karachi to Sehwan in 1969.

KARACHI: The Indus Valley’s unique culture is considered to be one of the richest and most distinctive across the world. “You must take care of it,” stressed German author Peter Pannke.

He was speaking at a talk regarding his latest book titled ‘Saints and Singers: Sufi Music in the Indus Valley’, arranged by the Oxford University Press (OUP) on Monday.

Pannke’s book deals with his memories of the days he spent with Sufis and the people of Sindh.

“It is not a scientific account but is based on the recollections of my own experiences,” he explained. “Things were completely different when I visited Sindh’s shrines this time around in 2011 and 2012. This book is about the fresh look of the shrines.”

Paying tribute to the friendships forged during his travels in Sindh, Pannke said, “People like Sohrab Fakeer became my friend. This book is dedicated to such friends.”

In reply to a question regarding his views on the cultural heritage of the Indus Valley, Pannke said, “Who am I to tell you about the Indus Valley?”

He added, however, that he could vouch for the hospitality, wamth, love and the great poetry of Sindh.

The German author had visited Sindh at a young age in 1969, when he had walked from Karachi to Sehwan. On his return to Germany, he was enrolled in a comparative religious studies programme as he was very much inspired by the religious attachment of the Sindhi people.

Pannke has authored several books, including Troubadours of Allah - Sufi Music in the Indus Valley, Mali - Journey through a Magic Country, Singers Die Twice and Dreamtalker.

“He is presenting a wonderful image of Pakistan,” said Ameena Saiyid, the managing director of OUP. “Thanks for being a friend to Pakistan,” she smiled warmly.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2013.


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