How Kashmir “Land of the Saints” revives the secular values ​​of Sufism

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Kashmir has a deep rooted connection with Sufism and the place is called the “Land of the Saints”. To showcase and propagate the teachings of Sufis and Rishis in Kashmir, a three-day Sufi festival has been held in the valley which is considered the first of its kind, starting June 10.

The festival was organized by the Department of Tourism in conjunction with the Department of Culture, Waqf Board, KVIB, Archives and Archaeology, J&K Academy of Arts, Culture and Languages, the Kashmir University and the Department of Higher Education.

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The three-day festival was held at three different locations including Chashma Shahi, Pahalgam and SKICC. The event highlighted calligraphy, painting, whirling dervishes, Qawaali and performances by young Kashmiri singers on Sufi chants. Bollywood singer Salman Ali also captivated the audience with his powerful performance.

Advisor to Lieutenant Governor J&K, RR Bhatnagar was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony.

Chairman, J&K Wakf Board, Dr Darakshan Andrabi, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, PK Pole, Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez, KVIC Vice Chairman Dr Hina Bhat, Kashmir Tourism Director, Dr GN Itoo, Registrar, University of Kashmir, Dr Mir Nisar, Secretary , J&KAACL, Bharat Singh Manhas, Prof. GN Khaki from Sheikh ul Alam Chair, University of Kashmir, Prof. Hameed Nasim Rafiabadi from IUST, Famous Broadcaster, Dr. Satish Vimal, Dr. Babar Afzal, Academics and students from various universities and colleges from all over also attended. occasionally.

Speakers highlighted that J&K has been blessed with a rich cultural treasure and said there is a need to understand the importance of valuing our heritage and incorporating it into everyday life. They also stressed the need to share the heritage of the saints with the rest of the world.

Sufism in Kashmir
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Advisor Bhatnagar said that Sufism is a means of inner self-realization and our Sufis and Rishis have shown us the way to this goal.

“Sufism propagates the doctrine of love, compassion, peace, development for humanity, regardless of all biases and prejudices,” he said.

He added, “We need to understand the essence of Sufism because it gives us an idea of ​​what is beneficial to humanity.”

Dr. Darakshan Andrabi also emphasized the need to propagate the teachings of Sufis and Rishis and said that more such events will be organized in the coming times.

Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez dwelt on the influence of saints and Rishis on the rich heritage of Kashmir. He said the tourism department strives to provide people with a holistic experience because tourism includes not only people and places, but also our culture, philosophy, heritage and cuisine.

He added: “We need to reconnect with our past and the Department of Tourism has largely succeeded in reintroducing us.”

Dr. Deebah Khalid Peer, deputy director of tourism in Kashmir, said India time that Jammu and Kashmir is endowed with a wonderful cultural heritage and mystical wisdom and that this heritage should be shared with the world.

“From Sheikh Noor Ud Din Noorani to Lal Ded, these Rishi and Sufi saints shaped the unique Shaivite-Sufi syncretic tradition of this land. Their beautiful verses are relevant today as they were centuries ago,” she said.

Dr Hina Bhat said Sufis played a crucial role in the economic upliftment of the people.

She said that the form and character of Sufism that eventually arose in Kashmir was totally native, which acts as a bridge for brotherhood, brotherhood among all sections of society.

She said that the essence of Sufism has been accommodation and tolerance which has spread in our country through the teachings of the saints.

“These teachings have been instrumental in the economic, social and philosophical development of India,” she added.

land of pure souls

Sufism in Kashmir
Idrees Bukhtiyar

Bollywood singer Salman Ali who performed in the Valley during the festival spoke to India time in an exclusive conversation after her performance and called the place – “The land of pure people”.

“Besides being the most beautiful place in the world, I think Kashmir is the place of pure people because so many Sufis have visited here and many were born in this beautiful country,” he said.

He said their teachings and moral lessons should be inculcated by all.

Regarding her performance, Salman said, “I have always wanted to perform in Kashmir and I thank the organizers who called me to perform here. It was an amazing experience”

Salman said he has been visiting the valley for a few years. “But every time I visit here, I feel like home. The people are so loving and welcoming. It’s my second home,” he said.

‘Alcove of the Sufis’

Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a Kashmiri poet, said the valley has remained a Pir Waer (alcove of Sufis and saints) due to the history of spirituality in the region.

Sufism in Kashmir
Idrees Bukhtiyar

“The three religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam) have had a great history in Kashmir. Islamic spirituality has also left a deep impact on the region since around the 9th and 10th centuries. The practice of visiting shrines is continuous in South Asia and it all came to Kashmir from Sufi saints,” he said.

Kashmiri filmmaker and festival director Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan said, “Kashmir, although known for its beauty and hospitality, is well known for its Sufism which includes the culture and tradition of the valley.

Connection to Kashmir

The spread of Islam in Kashmir is the result of the efforts of Sufi saints from Persia and Central Asia. The first prominent Sufi saint to enter Kashmir was Syed Sharaf-Ud-Din popularly known as Bulbul Shah. He came from Turkistan at the time of Sahadeva with a group of disciples. The shrine of Hazrat Syed Sharif-ud-Din, aka Bulbul Shah, the first Central Asian Muslim Sufi saint to arrive in Kashmir in 1324 AD.

Sufism in Kashmir
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Since Kashmir is known for its Sufi saints and shrines, the place has plenty of them including Khwaja Naqshband Sahib, shrine of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA) popularly known as Sheikh Ul Alam, Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (Ameer-e-Kabeer), Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA), also known as ‘Gous-e-Azam’ and Dastgeer Sahib, Hazrat Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah (Mehboobul Alam Sultanul Arifeen), Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah , Hazrat Baba Payam U Deen Reshi (RA) and many others.

Kashmir has been ruled by Hindus, Buddhists, Mughal kings, Afghans, Dogras and others. Their influence remained in different spheres in certain forms.

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