The just ended events of the 198th urs great sufi saint Sachal Sarmast at Daraza Sharif hit a controversy when a group of literati and singers alleged foul play on the part of the auqaf department and Sachal Yadgar Committee (SYC) with regard to one of the main features — mushaira.
Writers and poets, as well as singers of mystic verses of Sachal Sarmast, raised the issue from the platform of the Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS).
They noted with concern that no mushaira was included by the organisers in the urs celebrations in deviation of the tradition.
Speaking to local reporters, SAS leaders along with the disappointed literati said they were eager to take part in a mushaira while singers said they had come to Daraza Sharif to perform by reciting mystic verses of Sachal Sarmast but failed to get an opportunity.
The SAS, however, had to hold a mushaira on its own, at a place away from Daraza Sharif, and paid poetic homage to the great sufi saint, they added. They apprehended that some sort of split in the SYC was felt due to the unexpected skipping of mushaira from the urs celebration.
Singers of Sachal’s verses asserted their role in disseminating the saint’s message before thousands of people attending the urs.
They said they used to perform at various other programmes held frequently at different places in the province and, as such, significantly contributing to the spread of mysticism and sufi saints.
“We felt neglected and discriminated against,” the singers said, claiming that hefty amounts of money were paid to the artists invited to perform at the urs programmes while singers of mystic poetry were mostly ignored. “A few of us indeed given a chance to perform but a negligible amount was paid against their performance,” they said.
The literati and singers held both the auqaf department and SYC responsible for the disappointment and frustration caused to them due to the discriminatory attitude adopted by the organisers of the urs events this year.
They also expressed their concern and dismay over neglect of ailing literati and singers of mystic poetry, saying that no attention was being paid to their medical treatment. They demanded fixing of a reasonable stipend or all such people who were significantly contributing to performing art, literature and mysticism.
Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2019