BY DR.ABDUL AHAD
To be the Kustoor Piend after about one and a half decade’s time , was really a soul soothing experience for me. Truly a thrilling occurance which I had never chanced before and probably will not come across again. An air of childhood nostalgia besieged me fully pressing the rewind button of my memory card to take me back to early days when Azan for Fajer Nimaz , from the minarets of the Ziyarat-i- Mukhdoom Sabib, aligned with the buzzing of bells from the adjacent temple would wake me up -nay the entire population of Shahr-i-Khas, my birth place- from deep slumber and enthuse me, like others, to bow down my head before Allah and then prepare my daily lessons after breakfast. I could vividly recapture the feeling that would always burst out of me on hearing different sounds, almost in chorus, calling Muslims and Pandits for morning prayers. An incomparable happening that blended Azan with the rattle of ringing bells so subtly that there prevailed unflustered calm all-around which was finally broken only by the strident congregational sweet recitation of Khatmat, Naat, Darood and Awarad-e-fateha” group singing of Vedic chants and engagingly loud Gurbani from Chattipadshai (nearby Gurdwara) in the air. It presented a unique spectrum that provided succour to our individuality, simplified the most difficult task of grasping the essence of Kashmiri mysticism and Sufism and strengthened harmony and synchronization among communities till recently.Such a phenomenon now lays buried deep in the graveyard of history, hardly to flower again in its pristine form.
After having pepped up myself fully I entered the Ziarat-i-Sharif, offered prayers and went close to roza-i-sharif to pay my respects and fateh to the revered Shiekh Hamza. Being Thursday, the day of congregation, I had to try hard to make my way to his burial place amidst a long queue of faithful Zaireen. Even its outer fence was almost out of my reach. As usual it was jam packed with an unwieldy crowed of believers whose faith in the spirituality of the Sheikh is so entrenched that even touching it would make them believe that their troubles would vanish.
There is hardly a person who doesn’t have a purpose to achieve by visiting the shrine. This is why people, irrespective of caste, colour and religion, continue through the throng to be the foremost to catch a glimpse of the roza-i-Sharif ; the mainspring of their life that they believe fulfills their heart’s desire. A number of people are seen collecting the dust dotted on the floor to ward off evil spells. A platoon of Mukhdoom Babas is always present there to stretch their hands for alms that form a vital source of their income. It is said that a few of them receive commission for allotting to beggars spaces of their choice ; Spaces considered profitable enough to collect money and food. The most deprived and needy also make a beeline for filling up their pockets and tummies. Politicians also gather there in quest of their perpetuation at the helm for their personal benefit and aggrandizement.
But efforts are afoot to defile and vitiate the spiritual ambience of considerable historical reputation of the shrine. Volumes after volumes are pouring in to make people believe that the structure of the shrine was raised on top of the hill by superimposing it on the temple of Ganesha” either “during the despotic rule of the fanatical Muslim Kings” or “during the secular democracy that Kashmir is now supposed to be. The falconers of deceit and merchants of falsehood are bent upon fomenting communal divide and, thereby, pander to the wishes of Hindutva ideologues by propagating that the places of Hindu worship have been converted into Khankahas as was done centuries before with the abode of goddess Kali”. Indulging in crude distortion of facts they aren’t even ashamed of including Vicharnag in the list of “converted Khankahas;a blatant lie. These propagandists are on the award role of Cultural Academy. Their proximity with its anti-Kashmiri authorities have won them honours, favours and what not. The recommendations of so called noted historians which they reciprocate for looking after their interests at Dehli Darbar- living in infamy for having tormented their own sons, daughters-in-aw, betrayed their close friends, deserted reputed journalists and late parliamentarians have also facilitated their promotions and affluence.
Dr. Abdul Ahad is a well-known historian of Kashmir. He presents a perspective on the Kashmir issue and talks about Kashmir’s history and individuality and personality.