21 January, 2011

Documentaries highlights Sufi poets' message of Peace

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: A society shrouded with chaos and conflicts can turn over a new life through meditation and by practicing the message of tolerance, love, brotherhood – which is the message of the Sufis. This message was communicated through the three documentaries on Pakistani Sufi Poets, Shah Hussain, Bulleh Shah and Mian Muhammad Bukhsh, screened at Pakistan National Council of Arts, on Thursday. The documentaries are a massive project of Pakistan Academy of Letters (PLA) and were presented by its chairman Fakhar Zaman.

In his welcome speech, Fakhar Zaman stated that “the purpose of the production of the documentaries is to promote the Sufi Poets’ message of humanity, love and peace in the society and to portray the Pakistani nation as a peace-loving nation.” He also informed that PLA aims to project the real essence of our religion at international level.
Produced by Afzaal Shahid and directed by Farrukh Zaman, these documentaries will be subtitled in major languages of the world such as, English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic in addition to Urdu and then will be distributed by the Ministry of Culture to different countries of the world, Zaman informed.

The enlightening as well as melodious documentaries in high resolution were rich in symbolism and re-interpreted the message of three Sufis of Pakistan namely Shah Hussain, Bulleh Shah and Mian Muhammad Bukhsh who are truly known as the envoys of peace. Sufi poetry has a special place in national music, which has helped in promoting the message of Sufis in every age. From humble street-singers to renowned singers like the Sain Zahoor, Abida Parveen and Pathanay Khan, and rock band Junoon have integrated sufi poetry in their music.
The first documentary screened was on Shah Hussain (1538–1599), a Punjabi Sufi poet. He is considered to be the pioneer of the Kafi form of Punjabi poetry who is famous for his notable verse ‘main nahin, sub tu’ (I am nothing, All is you) and has left behind 50 pearls of wisdom in the form of Kafi. Most of Hussain’s poetry revolves around spinning of wheel which he compared with the circle of life.
The documentary revealed an interesting fact that Shah Hussain who is also known as “Madho Lal Hussain” is called so because of his affection for his dedicated disciple, “Madho lal” a Hindu boy and Madho’s tomb lies next to Hussain’s in the shrine.
The next documentary on Sufi saint, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh enlightened that Baksh is known as the youngest saint the Sufi order of Punjab. His most famous work entitled ‘Safar-ul- Ishq’ (Journey of Love), is better known as Saiful Maluk. The verse which became Baksh’s identity was ‘Rab dilan vich rehnda’ (God lives in the heart) which gives the message to not to break anyone’s heart.

The third and the last documentary was on Bulleh Shah (1680–1757), the greatest Sufi poet of the Punjab who is still equally popular among all communities because of his pure life and high spiritual attainments. His admirers compare his writings and philosophy to those of Rumi and Shams Tabriz.

He is also known as a humanist and philosopher. As Bulleh Shah's time was marked with communal strife between Muslims and Sikhs, in that time Baba Bulleh Shah was a beacon of hope and peace for the citizens of Punjab. Sufi scholars hold Bulleh Shah in great esteem and gave him the title of "The Sheikh of Both the Worlds" and "The man of God". Bulleh Shah’s poetry and philosophy strongly criticizes Islamic religious orthodoxy of his day.