Showing The Sufi Face of Lahore
LAHORE - A mass media student has launched an online campaign to promote the peacefulness and Sufi culture of Pakistan’s cultural hub – Lahore.
‘The Sufi Face of Lahore’, which is aimed to introduce the city to international readers, is a final PR project of students of School of Media and Mass Communication, Beaconhouse National University. It is an effort towards projecting Lahore as a city of love, peace and inclusiveness. Shahbano Shahbaz, the brain behind the campaign, told The Nation that ‘Mehv-e-Ishq’ means “absorbed in Love”.
“The word is used as a metaphor for the city’s essence. Lahore is considered as the city of traditions, the city of history, the city of gardens. It is also known for its hospitality and love. The campaign highlights the traditions carried out in the Darbaars as a constant projection of love,” she explained.
She said that “the love that had been preached by the saints and is marked in the shape ofshrines, making sure the lessons are preserved within the city”.
“Having little or no connectivity with religion, yet still making a large compound part of Lahori tradition, makes shrine culture astonishing,” Shahbano shared. About the cultural legacy of the shrines, she said for over a thousand years, every Thursday these Darbaars become a hub of joy, expression, hope and unity. And if nothing else they bring hundreds of people together under one roof, eager to express their love.
She cited one of the great Sufi saints of the subcontinent, Data Ganj Baksh, who is an author of Kashaf-ul-Asrar, saying, “Upon my arrival in India, I found Lahore and its surrounding areas, like a heavenly abode. So for this reason I settled down here and started teaching and preaching work, with hopes of its expansion to other adjoining and distant territories.”
Sufi figure Baba Muhamad Yahya Khan described the structure of Lahore as a diverse land of contradictions. He described his favourite city as a place where one can experience love, death, life, destruction, prosperity and all the different aspects of life.
“Lahore is known as a city of love and tolerance,” Khan said while describing the provincial capital as the city of Sufism, art, kings and lovers. “There are two ideologies in one air here, however, none of them say terrorism; none of them spread hate or pain. Lahore is a city where love will be celebrated with great festivity, and shrine culture is an everlasting,” he added. The Dean of SMC, Prof Dr Taimurul Hassan appreciated the project and commented that the key to solve the concurrent issue of extremism can be traced in the mystic history of our land where diversity and coexistence prevail through peace, love and harmony.
Students associated with the project told The Nation that the project focuses on darbaars of the great Sufis here in Lahore; Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh, Hazrat Mian Mir Qadri, Hazrat Madho Lal Hussain, Hazrat Shah Jamal Qadri and Hazrat Shah Inayat Qadri to name just a few. They are currently running a successful Facebook page by the name of ‘Shrine Culture: The Sufi Face of Lahore’.
An international Qawal, Tahir, from the group Fanna-fi-Allah, also shared his view on the subject and supported the project. “Lahore gives love and asks for love just like the rest of Pakistan,” he said.