Pappu Saeen beats the drum for Shah Jamal
* Sufi saint’s three-day anniversary begins
By Rana Kashif
LAHORE: About 300,000 devotees and drum enthusiasts from all over the country and abroad are expected to arrive in Lahore for the 366th annual Urs (anniversary) of prominent Sufi saint Baba Shah Jamal, inaugurated by the Punjab Religious Affairs Minister Sahibzada Saeedul Hassan with Chaadarposhi and Fateha.
The minister said Shah Jamal played an important role in promoting Islam in the subcontinent and was a source of guidance for many, and his shrine was a favourite spot with local and foreign music enthusiasts who came to dance to the drums played on the shrine every Thursday since hundreds of years ago.
Baba Shah Jamal is known to have used drums and dancing to preach his beliefs and following the tradition, popular drummer Pappu Saeen performs at the shrine every Thursday evening. The shrine is more than a historical site for many, who visit it for food, shelter or solace.
Pappu Saeen has performed in Germany, Switzerland, Britain and a number of Muslim countries, but is at his best only when he plays at the shrine. This year too, Pappu Saeen began the grand event with a spectacular performance as several devotees whirled to his dhol, and left the charas-smoking audience spellbound.
“This is my first time at the shrine and it’s breathtaking,” said Mahjabeen Akhtar, a student. “These drums are mesmerising.” Model Town resident Rukhsar said she came to the shrine to see Pappu Saeen every Thursday and had called her friends from Islamabad for the Urs. John Roberts, a westerner, said he had visited the shrine two years ago and was surprised to see such magnificent drum and dance performance at the shrine of a Muslim saint. “I could never forget the outstanding time I had and would not have missed this beautiful event,” he said. Stalls selling traditional food are also part of the three-day festival and the streets leading to the shrine were packed with pilgrims buying traditional food like Qatlama, Gulgulay, Jalebi, Indrassa and various other sweets. Shah Jamal was born in 1559 to renowned religious scholar Maulana Abdul Wahid from Qazi Jamaluddin Budshahi’s noble Kashmiri family. Shah Jamal belonged to the Qadri Soharwardi school and came to Lahore in 1588, during the time of Mogul emperor Jalaluddin Akbar, and began to live in eastern Ichhra. Shah Jamal disagreed with the emperor’s ‘Deen-e-Elahi’ and converted people back to Islam. He died in 1649.