Tributes paid to Sufi poet Faqir Qadir Bakhsh Bedil

July 10, 2020

Marking the 148th anniversary of the renowned Sindhi Sufi poet Faqir Qadir Bakhsh Bedil at a two-day online global conference, writers, intellectuals and poets paid rich tributes to the poet.They...

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Marking the 148th anniversary of the renowned Sindhi Sufi poet Faqir Qadir Bakhsh Bedil at a two-day online global conference, writers, intellectuals and poets paid rich tributes to the poet.

They maintained that the poet had a profound influence on Sufism with command over several languages. The event was part of a series of webinar discussions during the coronavirus pandemic organised by civil society activist Ramesh Raja and Manzoor Ujjan. Bedil is a significant name in the classical poetry of Sindh and more than two dozen books are credited to his name on poetry, religion and history in five languages – Urdu, Sindhi, Arabic, Persian and Saraiki. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bedil’s annual Urs in Rohri, Sukker, on 14,15 and 16 Zilqad could not be held this year.

Speakers at the conference said Bedil was a fearless public poet and preacher of co-existence and unity. Raja, who moderated the session, said the two-day online tribute to Bedil was actually for the awareness of the young generation connected to the Internet. “Bedil's ideology of equality and tolerance is an old identity of Sindh which needs to be maintained and popularised”.

Akhtar Dargahi, a scholar and musicologist, in his keynote address on Bedil's art and thought said he was a prominent Sufi thinker, scholar and fearless poet of the region. “Apart from regional languages, he was also fluent in Arabic and Persian. Research is still needed on his books.”

He added: “Bedil was the last poet of the classical period of Sindh after Shah Latif, Sachal, Sami and Rohal Fakir. He was a preacher of the revolutionary and Mansoori tradition of Sufism. He was not an ascetic or loneliness-lover but was a very sociable, loving man and a common man who travelled all over the Sindh.” Zafar Bhutto, a young intellectual from the United States, shared his memories of living near Bedil’s tomb in Rohri. He said there was an atmosphere of tolerance and tranquillity and it was a fun moment to cook and eat together with Hindus, Christians and Muslims. “But the long quarrel over the claim of heirs or ownership of the tomb between cousins was a non-noble act”.

He said the coronavirus pandemic had stopped the crowd to mark the festival but TV programmes and newspapers should spread his messages and poetry. Neetu Wadhwani, a civil society activist, said peace, equality and tolerance with which people were living two hundred years ago in the Bedil’s era had become extinct in the age of so-called and fake modern education of technology and science.

“All caretakers of saints are worried about their stomachs, contrary to the restlessness about the spreading of the message of saints. In the current situation, the Hindus of this land need a place in the heart, not a temple.”

Ujjan said that according to “public history, Bedil was a devoted public poet” who promoted the genre of Sindhi and Saraiki Kafee. “There is a great need to promote and highlight this classical literature of the past and we are doing our part and will continue to do so”. Rukhsana Ali, Dr Khushal, Danish Parmar, Dr Zeeshan, Manzoor Sethar, Dodo Khatian and other writers and civil society activists also participated in the discussion and paid tributes to Bedil by presenting their papers and poetry on him.



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