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Sindh: A cynosure of mysticism

Every corner of the world is blessed and bestowed with towering personalities, who have always contributed and spread the message of peace and harmony for the betterment of the society.
Sindh being the hub of sufism and mysticism, is not exception in this regard. There is no denying the fact that personalities like Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar coupled with Hazrat Sachal Sarmast and Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai made untiring endeavours for promoting peace and tranquility through their poetry in order to root out extremism and fanaticism from the society.
It would be right to say that Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai challenged the traditional and conservative norms of the society by empowering women throughout his poetry. He transformed the notion that claims women as a frail and vulnerable creature.
Moreover, the seven soormies of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai including: Sassi, Suhni, Noori, Marvi, Moomal, Laila and Sorath; in other words, the character of seven women in his poetry clearly illustrates the fact that they are the symbol of strength rather than weakness.
Bhittai has remarkably portrayed the characters of women by making them more dominant and most revered than that of his male character in the poetry. Which is testament to the fact that he has challenged the male dominant and patriarchal norms and notions of the society of that time.
For instance, the character of Sassi is the symbol of hope and strength rather than a vulnerability. Especially in such societies, where women are ruthlessly killed and shamelessly humiliated for going after and longing for her beloved Punnu.
Similarly, the character of Marvi is another indicator of Strength and patriotism. Being captured by the powerful ruler namely Umar, she did not get impressed by his offers and his lavish life style, however, she tended to make Umar realize that she had sacrificed her entire life for the impoverished and poor people of her home town.
Apart from that, Bhittai has also highlighted the importance of consent in his poetry. Umar being so powerful, did not touch Marvi even after knowing that she is poor and hapless.
Without any iota of doubt, the character of Suhni is not exception in this regard to shed light on the importance of sincerity, strength and the power of a woman. She did unconventional things for her beloved in the form of diving into the river without taking heed of a harsh weather. In spring usually everyone can take bath in the river, but diving through it in a winter is a challenging task.
But she did all the unconventional things in order to face and challenge the cult of traditional things which makes her as a frail, fragile and vulnerable creature. Ironically, Shah Bhittai has highlighted the importance of woman in those days, who not only goes against the tides of traditional things which leaves no room for woman to take a decision in her life, but it also conveys a message that although she apparently was doing immoral things in the form of meeting her lover, yet society did not mark and label her as a filthy and a sense of humiliation.
Which more or less bears a message of tolerance, forbearance, harmony and peaceful coexistence. It would be amiss to deny the fact that Bhittai has empowered his character of woman in every form.
Last but not least, the character of Moomal is also the most notable highlighting the importance of patience and sincerity for a man namely Rano. There were so many Rano’s waiting for her but she gave her heart to the very Rano by whom she was initially impressed. So, it is also testament to the fact that once falling in love is far better than falling in love time and again.
Apart from that, in this story the character of Rano ironically overtakes the character of Moomal. In simple words, the character of Rano is more significant than that of Moomal in this story. It is because Rano maintains endurance and tolerance even after seeing his beloved sleeping with other man, which was however the sister of Moomal. But without knowing the fact that it was Soomal to whom he was considering a man sleeping with her beloved, he did not take harsh action against her beloved in the form of killings. Which clearly depicts the true essence of tolerance of man that how they used to treat their woman.
To sum up the discussion, Bhittai’s towering legacy stands etched into the literary and cultural landscape of Sindh. His poetry, imbibed with exalted Islamic teachings, rich historical traditions, and inspired by the everyday lives of its people, has become an inseparable part of Sindh’s identity for many reasons.
Furthermore, far from the cultural specificity of Sindh, Bhittai’s poems resonate with universal themes of love, longing, spirituality and the human condition. Through his poetry, he illuminates the profound teachings of Islam, guiding individuals toward a life characterised by introspection, enduring love, perpetual peace and harmonious coexistence, which without any iota of doubt makes Sindh a homeland of Sufism and mysticism.