Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s Message to Serve Humanity by Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani

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Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s Message to Serve Humanity
by Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
MNA (PML-N), Patron Pakistan Hindu Council

Recent suicidal attack at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar located at Sehwan Sharif not only saddened the whole nation but also disturbed the Hindu community due to emotional attachment with the great Qalandar. Three Hindu devotees sacrificed their lives on the occasion and in response to the emergency appeal of blood donation made by Pakistan Hindu Council, local Hindu residents come forward for rescue activities to save the lives of their injured brothers.

Land of Sindh is considered as the land of Sufis, Sadhus, Saints who devoted their entire life for the welfare and humanity.  They conquered the hearts and minds of people through love, humanity, equality, and brotherhood and thus, after the demise, their shrine becomes the center of peace, love and tolerance for all. It is very unfortunate that some hate-monger elements are trying to create a panic atmosphere by attacking these centers of love.

From the last decade, the trend of suicidal attacks has shaken the whole country and holy places like Shrines, Monasteries are also on their hit list. After attacking Pir Rakhail Shah, Shah Norani, Sakhi Sarwar, Data Darbar, Bari Imam, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, and Baba Fareed Ganj Shakar shrines they recently targeted the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Jhooley Laal whose devotees are not from a particular religion or sect but belonging to all including Hindu and Muslims.
Shahbaz Laal Qalandar was a noble and divine person who choose message of love as a tool to deal with others. He is ranked among the most dignified saints. Many miracles are associated with him on which both Hindu and Muslim have faith.

In my views, Sufi culture has left a positive impact on Indo-Pak sub-continent in an effort to spread the message of love, tolerance and peace for all. Sufis like Shahbaz Qalandar had introduced social contract aimed at mutual cooperation for living a peaceful life and that is the reason we could observe high qualities like tolerance, patience, endurance, equality being practiced in Indus Valley. People of Sindh feel honor to associate themselves with Lal Shahbaz Qalandar as a great Sufi of Indus Valley. Lal Shahbaz Qalandar personality was so attractive that people could not stand without being influenced by him. Wherever he went for preaching, people gathered around him and his soft and pleasing personality attracted masses including sick, poor, and needy people who were very much disturbed. He loved to provide sigh of relief to people by wiping their tears and giving them courage to face the cruel realities of the life. Whenever some sick person came to him, Lal Qalandar deeply looked at the patient and prayed to God and then within few minutes, the patient started to show healthy signs. Similarly, it is said once there was a very severe drought in the Sindh that people requested him to pray to God.  Very shortly, after he started to pray, God send clouds for raining which made people so much happy.

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar devotees also include a large number of Hindus. Even today, two Hindu families are also among the Sajada Nasheen of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar at his shrine and on the occasion of annual Urs festival, Hindu devotees arrange Heena ceremony. Indus valley culture and traditions are considered among the oldest civilizations of the world and Sindhi people are very much attached emotionally to the Indus River. When holy Vedas were written 1500-2000 BC, Sindh River was also mentioned in that and local Muslims and Hindus both recalled Sindh River with different names including Mehran, Indus, Sindhu, Sindhu River, Khawaja Khizer, Jhoole Laal, Mata.

It is very interesting to note that Khawaja Khizer and Odero Lal are two different names but to call a same saint which is also referred as Saints of Do Dariya in different folk legends and folk poetries. He is equally popular in both Hindu and Muslim population. Hindu and Muslims children cook sweet bread together and throw in the river and used to sing sweet songs as “do not be angry with us, do not drown us, and keep on flowing with your routine smooth flow.” Just as Indus River come out from Northern areas and irrigates the thirsty dry land of Sindh with a roar, similarly the spiritual personality of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar has fulfilled the emptiness of Sindhi people. Because of his presence, a small fountain flows near Sehwan Sharif from the mountains and people come to it with healing purpose and a perfect example of interfaith harmony could be seen there.

Whenever we talk about Dargah, we usually get the concept of a Muslims Saint (Pir Faqeer) buried there but in Odero Lal a Hindu shrine is dedicated to Jholey Laal which is open for both Hindu and Muslims. He is portrayed either by riding a horse or sitting on a fish and it is believed generally that the tomb of saint is present at that place where both saint and his horse disappeared in a wall. Interestingly, the Odero Lal shrine is having both a temple and a Muslim style tomb whereas its disciples include both Hindus and Muslims. At evening, Hindus perform their rituals while Muslims offer their prayer.

In Thana Ahmed Khan, Hindu devotees of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar made a replica of the Shrine of Sehwan Sharif with the purpose to pay a tribute to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s teachings of love to all. By displaying Muslim calligraphy and Hindu manuscripts both at the same place, a message of religious interfaith harmony was given in a very attractive manner. Along the pictures of Shiv, Ram, Krishan, Radha, and Gurunanak, the poetry of Allama Iqbal, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and Bhagat Kabeer in different languages like Urdu, Sindhi, and Persian is also prominent there.

The purpose of terrorists to target the Dargah Sehwan Sharif is, no doubt, to target the symbol of love and peace but I believe that Love cannot be defeated at any cost. Message of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is going to echo around the world with more intensity. The peace loving citizens in East and West are trying to understand what was so special about that Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar that has been recently targeted in a suicidal attack. I want to let them know that Sehwan Sharif Shrine is actually the second name of Love, Peace, Tolerance and Equality which bring human beings closer. It urges to understand the rights and duties towards each other. The shrine provides a platform for social networking to the devotees across the globe from centuries. It strengthen our belief that the struggle of man to find happiness is the source of peace and that take us to an advance stage of spiritual growth as well.

The moral values of every religion of the world resemble with each other; such as no religion teaches to shed the blood of innocent people, all religions forbid the consumption of alcohol, all religions teach to help poor and to stand against tyranny. To ensure the sanctity of human life, respect of all religions is mandatory part of all faiths. In the materialistic world of today, “Give and Take” is the currency which is damaging our souls spiritually. Before helping someone, we used to think that what benefit I will get in return and we neither realize others problems, nor our hearts bend towards positivity until we do not know what I am going to get in return immediately. These are the factors that are rendering society restless.

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar introduced golden principles by spending a life above personal gains for the welfare of humanity as a whole which will result in peaceful society. According to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s teachings, there is no deed is greater than to serve human and no sin is greater than to harm human, wealth and social status have no value,  and we can observe that all are equal in his shrine. A good human always takes positive and creative steps to achieve the goals. Instead of only criticizing, ordering or advising others, he deals other fellows with acts of kindness and thus spread message of love. Beyond the greed and without expecting any reward, man should serve every creature of God, with a strong faith and determination that if we love God, then we must help others while following God’s path in the journey. We must practically demonstrate that worship could be delayed but service to humanity cannot be delayed.

Today’s we need to publicize the noble message of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar to curb the extremist ideologies in our society.

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Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
MNA & Patron Pakistan Hindu Council
0333 2277370

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