Friday, October 12, 2007

Gareeb Nawaz

Today’s newspaper carried a little more bad news than it normally does. On the front page glared in bold fonts ‘Hit on Secular Symbol’. Yesterday, that is October 11, 2007; a bomb blasted in the ‘Gareeb Nawaz’ dargah premises in Ajmer, Rajasthan.

If you have been to Gareeb Nawaz, perhaps you will also share this feeling of sorrow and indignation with me. There’s some mysterious spiritual aura in the surroundings of this dargah. Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti was a 12th century Sufi saint. Believers still put faith in this man, fondly called as Gareeb Nawaz, the benefactor of the poor. To imagine a plot charged at harming the quiet and the sanctity of this place is saddening.

How is The Ajmer Dargah like? I have beautiful memories of the times I went there…

A narrow street leads you to the entrance. On both sides of this street are road-side peddlers, selling handkerchiefs, salwar suits, photo frames with dargah pictures, surma, shops of puja stuff- which sell flowers, beautifully embroidered chaddar and incense to be offered in the dargah. You will also be thronged by countless number of beggars urging you to give alms in the name of Gareeb Nawaz, and also a number of ‘Khadims’ who will make themselves available to assist you in your prayers at the dargah for a sum.

After you pass through all this bustle of life and business, after you have asked some khadim to accompany you inside and managed to survive the coaxing of flower and incense dealers, you pass through two large cooking bowls on each side of the entrance. The ‘Chhoti Daig’ is about four feet in diameter, the other; ‘Bari Daig’ is a slightly bigger. The Bari Daig and the Chhoti Daig remind one of the grandeur of old times, when the poor or hungry, visitors from far away places or old- anyone was fed food cooked in the huge bari and chhoti daigs.

In the courtyard are huge borsalli trees, beneath which believers sing sufiana songs in praise of Gareeb Nawaz. Just outside the Dargah building, inside the premises, you come across an 'uruz', a common area with water taps. It’s here that you are supposed to clean your hands with water before visiting the dargah.

The newspaper article rightly reports Gareeb Nawaz dargah to be ‘one of the most secular shrines in the country’. Let us all get together and condemn such acts of cowardice.

-Gauri Gharpure


Confusion Confounded said...

according to me the beauty or the secularity of a place does not matter (it does matter!! but taking terrorism as a common phenomenon) its ok if its a thru -n thru muslim or hindu dominated area.

whats saddening is that its a place of worship. people come here in faith with good thoughts. i'm quite sure that neither jehad or any other religion based war advocate such killing..

Sufi not Sukhi said...

though this post is followed by a saddening event thr in dargah...but the way u have described it..would love to go there once...

Malay Maniar said...

All such acts, whether at a dargah or at a bar, should be condemned. Nothing justifies demolishing an act of creation, except another act of creation itself.

On a lighter note, have you noticed how we feel so less quarrelsome after a nice tasty heavy meal? Maybe these miscreants are plain hungry :D haha. "Food" for thought maybe???????

free thinker said...

Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti and several other sufi and bhakti saints are the strongest bricks in the foundation of secular Indian society (which is, at the least, recognised in the country's constitution).
Attack on such secular symbols is worth condemnable and also challenges the values of every secular, tolerant and spiritual individual of the country.

I praise the spirit, which at least made Gauri write this.

But, let us just detach ourselves from this platform and undergo a brief introspection. Are we that politiclally aware? Do we care about certain political changes taking place inside and outside the country? Is it a simple matter of Jihad, triggered by the communal muslim right wing?

With these questions I find my expression strangulated. Probably answers of these questions may find solutions of these problems. Anyways, life does not stop. But I am confident that terrorism can not stop people from going to shrines.

I end my abstract comment with this poem:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought
and action--
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

-- Rabindranath Tagore

A good expression Gauri.

Gauri Gharpure said...

grateful for the comment, and the wonderful poem u posted here.. let's keep the secular spirit alive..