No Urs for a Sufi poet in grieving Kashmir

Management of Wahab Khar’s shrine fears anti-government protests

ABID BASHIR
Shaar-e-Shaali (Pampore), Publish Date: Apr 16 2018 11:56PM | Updated Date: Apr 17 2018 3:38PM
No Urs for a Sufi poet in grieving KashmirFile Photo

Every April, for more than a century, devotees of the mystic poet WahabKhar have travelled from all corners of the Kashmir valley to his mausoleum on a hill, in a village, in Pampore. For the first time though they couldn’t make the pilgrimage because the shrine management took the drastic step of cancelling the annual spiritual event, fearing there would an outbreak of protest against army in the area. 

A few hundred meters from the tomb of the great mystic poet is a huge fortified camp of the army and every year whether one likes it or not they would set up a stall doling out refreshment to the devotees. This year though given the high anti-army sentiment the management felt the presence of army men at the stall might provoke people to protest against the army and thus rather than asking the army not to set up the stall the management took the measure to completely terminate the Urs celebrations.

Not far away from the tomb, the people of Pulwama, Kulgam, and Shopian, and many other areas of Kashmir are still mourning the loss of civilians in the last few weeks, and the shrine management calculated to play it safe by calling off the annual Urs celebration on April 12 and 13. 

“Situation was not feasible for mega celebrations this year due to the volatile situation,” said Abdul Hameed Bhat, a senior care taker at the shrine.  “There were apprehensions of law and order problem on the occasion as army would set up free food, drinking water and other refreshment stalls for the devotees.”

Another care taker at the shrine said that the shrine management thought the youth may resort to stone pelting on the army men and the “situation may deteriorate.” “We thought better to call off the celebrations this year. We know sentiments of hundreds of people including female stand hurt,” he said.

Those who make the pilgrimage every so often were taken aback by the decision and sorely missed being there to observe the annual event and pray and contemplate at the tomb of the mystic. Every April the sound of music and poetry bring the area alive as folk singers from all part of Kashmir assemble at the tomb to sing the poems of the mystic saint. 

Apart from the congregational prayers on the Urs days, the care takers of the shrine would display the lute like musical instrument called Rabab, used by the saint throughout his life.  Rabab has originated from Central Afghanistan and is one of the national musical instruments of the country.

For Fatima Begum, a resident of the Khanyar area of the old city, not being able to visit the tomb filled her with deep sorrow.  “Whenever I went to the shrine, I did not only find solace there, but my wishes got always fulfilled. I have a great faith with the shrine,” she said. Begum, who claims to be 59-year-old, said saints like WahabKhar are alive. “They are the ones who plead on behalf of us before the Almighty Allah. My all wishes that I made at the shrine were answered.” Though Begum visits the shrine every week, she believes spending the time there on the eve of Urs has its own significance.

Muhammad Mukaram, who is an admirer of the saint, said the shrine management should not have cancelled the celebrations of Urs. “Displaying the sacred things attributed to saint has its own spiritual effect,” he said. “They could have cancelled the folk musical program but not the overall celebrations.”

Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Muhammad Dar, however, downplayed the development saying there was no pressure on the shrine management to cancel the annual Urs celebrations. “We didn’t ask them not to observe the Urs,” he said.  

 

Latest News

  1. Budgam gunfight ends, three militants killed
  2. Budgam gunfight ends, three militants killed
  1. Heavy rain, snow likely in next 24 hours in Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Heavy rain, snow likely in next 24 hours in Jammu and Kashmir
  1. Rohingyas fleeing India stranded in no man's land on Bangladesh border
  2. Rohingyas fleeing India stranded in no man's land on Bangladesh border
  1. School building damaged in Doda landslide
  2. School building damaged in Doda landslide
  1. Budgam gunfight: Militant killed, fresh exchange of fire reported
  2. Budgam gunfight: Militant killed, fresh exchange of fire reported
  1. Seven gamblers arrested in north Kashmir along with stake money: Police
  2. Seven gamblers arrested in north Kashmir along with stake money: Police
  1. Was attacked by corporators backed by RSS, BJP: SMC deputy Mayor
  2. Was attacked by corporators backed by RSS, BJP: SMC deputy Mayor
  1. 4 flights cancelled, 11 delayed due to bad weather in Kashmir
  2. 4 flights cancelled, 11 delayed due to bad weather in Kashmir
  1. Budgam gunfight triggers shutdown, clashes in Pulwama
  2. Budgam gunfight triggers shutdown, clashes in Pulwama
  1. Another PDP functionary from Srinagar resigns from party
  2. Another PDP functionary from Srinagar resigns from party
  1. Unfortunate killings of Kashmiri Pandits dubbed as genocide, but no word on Gaw Kadal massacre: Er Rasheed
  2. Unfortunate killings of Kashmiri Pandits dubbed as genocide, but no word on Gaw Kadal massacre: Er Rasheed
  1. Budgam gunfight: Nothing clear yet, says DIG central Kashmir
  2. Budgam gunfight: Nothing clear yet, says DIG central Kashmir
  1. Gaw Kadal massacre painful reminder of huge human cost Kashmiris pay under forcible control: Mirwaiz
  2. Gaw Kadal massacre painful reminder of huge human cost Kashmiris pay under forcible control: Mirwaiz
  1. PDP Amira Kadal zone committee members resign
  2. PDP Amira Kadal zone committee members resign
  1. 9/11 attack derailed Indian army’s 'operation Kabbadi' to capture Pakistani posts along LoC: Book
  2. 9/11 attack derailed Indian army’s 'operation Kabbadi' to capture Pakistani posts along LoC: Book
  1. Lal Chowk, adjoining areas shut on 29th anniversary of Gaw Kadal massacre
  2. Lal Chowk, adjoining areas shut on 29th anniversary of Gaw Kadal massacre
  1. Jammu and Kashmir Police launches special drive against child labour in Katra, rescues 7 children
  2. Jammu and Kashmir Police launches special drive against child labour in Katra, rescues 7 children
  1. SMC deputy mayor assaulted during councillor meet
  2. SMC deputy mayor assaulted during councillor meet
  1. PDD employee electrocuted to death in north Kashmir’s Baramulla
  2. PDD employee electrocuted to death in north Kashmir’s Baramulla
  1. NHM employees protest in Bandipora to press for regularization of services
  2. NHM employees protest in Bandipora to press for regularization of services
  1. Moderate to heavy snow, rain forecast for Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Moderate to heavy snow, rain forecast for Jammu and Kashmir
  1. Jammu and Kashmir: Vaishno Devi pilgrim dies in Reasi
  2. Jammu and Kashmir: Vaishno Devi pilgrim dies in Reasi
  1. Filipino Muslims vote in referendum on autonomous region
  2. Filipino Muslims vote in referendum on autonomous region
  1. World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%: Oxfam
  2. World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%: Oxfam
  1. Jammu-Srinagar highway closed after fresh snowfall
  2. Jammu-Srinagar highway closed after fresh snowfall
  1. Gaw Kadal massacre anniversary: JKLF chief Yasin Malik arrested
  2. Gaw Kadal massacre anniversary: JKLF chief Yasin Malik arrested
  1. Charar-e-Sharif gunfight fallout: Internet snapped in Budgam
  2. Charar-e-Sharif gunfight fallout: Internet snapped in Budgam
  1. Gunfight breaks out in Charar-e-Sharif woods in central Kashmir's Budgam
  2. Gunfight breaks out in Charar-e-Sharif woods in central Kashmir's Budgam
x
This site uses cookies to deliver our services and to show you relevant news and ads. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service.That's Fine