Daily Times reporting: Three-day annual Urs celebrations of one of the greatest Punjabi Sufi poets and dancing fakir of Lahore Hazrat Shah Hussain began at his shrine in Baghbanpura near the Shalimar Gardens on Saturday.
The celebrations are popularly known as Mela Chiraghan or the Festival of Lights.
Saturday was a local holiday. Thousands of devotees from the nook and corner of the country and abroad thronged the shrine of Shah Hussain on the first day of the celebrations.
The illustrious son of Lahore, Shah Hussain, was born in 1538 to a convert weavers’ family. He is known for his love for a Brahmin boy, Madho or Madho Lal, and they are often referred to as a single person with a composite name of Madho Lal Hussain. Madho’s grave lies next to the Shah Hussain’s in the shrine. Shah Hussain is the pioneer of Kafi form of Punjabi poetry.
During the three-day Urs celebrations, the whole of Baghbanpura and localities close to it buzz with different colourful activities and an atmosphere of ecstacy and joy prevails. Dhammal to beats of Dhol becomes a common sight. Devotees light candles for fulfillment of their prayers and wishes. They also distribute charity food and set up milk and sharbat sabeel. They also lay floral wreaths and chaddar at the graves of Shah Hussain and Madho Lal Hussain.
Women also perform dhammal as a ritual. One of the three-days is made exclusive for women who come in large numbers to the shrine.
A large number of foreigners also visit the shrine. Folk singers hailing from different parts of the country spend days and nights at the shrine and sing Kafis of Shah Hussain. In one of his Kafis Shah Hussain he says “I dance because the doubt has vanished; I’m full of faults and without any quality.”
Prominent among those who visited the shrine on Saturday included US Consulate Principal Officer Bryan D Hunt who visited the shrine to pay homage to Shah Hussain and laid floral wreath and chaddar at his grave. On the occasion, he said that the saints and sufis always taught and promoted peace, love,religious tolerance and brotherhood in the world. He said that teachings of Hazrat Madhu Lah should be promoted and practiced to bring peace and tolerance to society. Punjab Auqaf Secretary Raees Abbas Zaidi and Religious Affair Director-General Dr Tahir Raza formally inaugurated the three-day Urs by laying floral wreaths at the graves od Shah Hussian and Madho Lal Hussain shrine. The Aauqaf Deparment also organised a Mehfil-e-Samma and musical gatherings.