Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reality of Sufism - IV

Faiz wrote:

Dear Aamir Sahib,

The sufis may not be doing everything right but you know what---they don't kill and they don't hurt people. They love people just as they love themselves. If I had to pick for a friend between one of the Ahl Sunnah wal Jama'ah and a sufi , I would certainly go for the sufi. At least I know my life would be safer with a sufi rather than with a butcher.


Dear Irfan Sahab,

As you wish but let me put some light on the Peaceful Teaching and Practices of Sufis and Sufism:

Attributed to Islam the Concocted blessings of Sufism are in quite abundance in Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq therefore instead of living in Pro Apostate-Homosexual-Lesbian United Kingdom, Sufis should move back to the countries from where this Obnoxious Innovation [Qabeeh Bida'at] was generated and practiced.

I am a resident of Rural Sindh and I know what goes on these Places which are erected in the name of Sufism. One Shirne in Sewhwan Dadu Sindh i.e. Lal Shabaz Qalandar was given a huge door made of Gold by Shah of Iran in 70s whereas in the very same area people are living below poverty line and when the disciples celebrate the annual gathering you just cannot imagine as to what goes on. I say I would rather prefer Strip Joint instead of Sufi Shrine. Prostitutes from all over Pakistan come and do roaring 'business' courtesy Sufi's Miracle.

Shrine of Pir Shah Daula, Gujrat [Punjab Pakistan]

A saint of Suhrawardi School, during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb, Shah Daula in Gujrat, is said to have the power to punish disobedient parents in the shape of children with small heads (Microencephalic Children). These children, who then; serve at the shrine, are called “Rats of Shah Daula”.

Thousands of worshippers, specially barren women who supplicate for children, come to the saint invoking his blessings for the fulfillment of their wishes. The first born, usually with a very small head, is called the "mouse of Shah Daula" and is offered to work as a servant at the shrine. Subsequent births produce normal children.

According to a centuries-old tradition, barren women who worship at the shrine of the Sufi saint Shah Daula, will become fertile. But unless they donate their first-born child to the shrine as an oblate, all their subsequent children will be born disabled.

Claims are made that the tradition has been used as the foundation for a trade in the donated children, who are deliberately disfigured and sold to professional beggars by the shrine's guardians, although the shrine is now controlled by the government of Pakistan. It has been claimed that the disfigurements are caused by a genetic abnormality, but studies show that the children are unrelated to each other.

There may be as many as 10,000 of these people, most in the Punjab province & the city of Gujrat.

References: Galpin, Richard. "The Rat-Children of Pakistan: Blessed by a Sufi Saint but Disfigured for Profit," The Guardian [London], 20 June 1998

One such example of gross human rights violation perpetrated in the name of religion on ignorant people who have gotten so much superstitious that upon fulfillment of their wishes they leave their kids on premises of a tomb. The heads of these innocent children are donned with steel helmets to restrict their growth!

They are just tools for the people who are running the begging business to earn some more money from people. No one even knows what else they make people do in the name of religion!

Read and ownload the report in the link provided by BBC.

The rat children of Pakistan

Richard Galpin reports from Pakistan where, according to human rights groups, hundreds of young children are being exploited because of an ancient fertility tradition that leaves many children deformed and sold into begging.

Watch Richard Galpin's report

On an ordinary weekday at the shrine of Shah Dola in the Punjabi city of Gujrat, hundreds of worshippers come to celebrate the life of one of Pakistan's most revered Sufi saints.

Some choose to show their respect by dancing wildly - in a state of ecstasy.

Women unable to conceive come to pray at the temple By the tomb itself dozens of women pray intensely. By doing so, they believe, they will be blessed with a child.

According to a legend dating back hundreds of years a woman who's unable to conceive will become fertile by offering prayers here. But at a price.

The couple can expect their first-born to be handicapped - a rat child with a tiny head. And it must be handed over to the shrine.

The legend is very much alive. One woman, who had come to pray for a son, said God would punish anyone who did not honour their commitment.

Deliberately deformed

"Rat children" grow up with mental and physical handicaps

Experts say they are being deliberately deformed by criminal gangs operating around the shrine who then use them for begging.

Many of the children handed over to the shrine or those claiming to represent it end up on the streets.

At the main bus-stand in Gujrat we quickly came across a group of several rat-children with their owners.

They all have the distinctive shrunken heads; they're severely handicapped and can't even speak.

With their owners close behind, they approach passengers sitting in their minibuses waiting to leave. They demand money and they get it.

High value beggars

It is widely believed that the handicapped are closer to god

It is widely believed that the handicapped are closer to God and must not be ignored. Their value as beggars is therefore enormous.

Anusheh Hussain, head of Sahil, an organisation fighting against child exploitation in Pakistan says the rat-children can be sold for large sums of money:

"One has heard that these children are sold from anywhere between 40,000 - which is approximately 10 dollars - to 80,000 rupees per child" she says. "On average they will be able to make, through begging, around 400 to 500 rupees a day, which makes it a very lucrative business considering that's twice the amount a civil servant makes."

Healthy babies

There is suspicion that healthy babies are deformed and sold for begging Because of this there is deep suspicion that the legend of Shah Dola has in fact been fabricated to trick ordinary people into handing over perfectly healthy babies. It's believed these are then deliberately deformed so that they can then be sold for begging.

Pirzada Imtiaz Syed, a trade union leader based in Gujrat, he says he has heard of many cases of abuse:

"I have not seen this myself but I have heard from many people that they use iron rings which are placed on the baby's head to stop it growing. I believe there are about 10,000 rat children in Pakistan controlled by a mafia of beggars who are all over the country. These children are also physically and sexually abused."

Medieval contraptions

The allegation that the children are being deformed using medieval contraptions is of course denied by those associated with the shrine in Gujrat. They say the rat-children are suffering from a genetic disease.

Dr Qasim Mehdi: theories of genetic disease are medically impossible

But Pakistan's top genetic scientist, Dr Qasim Mehdi, who investigated this for three years, says this is medically impossible.

"In order for a disease to be genetically inherited you have to have a disease running in the family" he says.

"The point is that these children are not related to one another by any stretch of the imagination. Our investigation shows that they come from very different backgrounds, from very different families. So if there is no blood relationship between any two individuals and between even an incident where a father or son or uncle was involved, it cannot be a genetically inherited disease."

'Crime against humanity'

The government says it is very concerned but claims that, following action by the authorities in the 1980s, the gangs operating at the shrine were removed and there are now no children being deliberately deformed in this way.

The government says children are no longer being deliberately deformed But we found otherwise. At the bus-stand in Gujrat there was one rat-child being used for begging who looked at most seven or eight years-old. The minister responsible, Raja Zafar-ul-Haq promised further government action.

"We will certainly go after these people" he says, "they are criminals and if you can give me any idea as to their whereabouts then we can ask the police to investigate. It's a crime against humanity."

But what is really required is a full-blown investigation into this long-running mystery. Many experts believe the time has come to push religious sensitivities aside and for the government to take
decisive action.

Some of you might find the video disturbing. Viewer discretion is adviced.

Pakistan: The 'Rat' Children Duration: 09'10" Producer: Martin Adler

How can a mere myth ruin the lives of thousands of children? In Pakistan, microcephalics - babies born with abnormally small heads - are known as 'rats' and credited with god-like powers. Believers will give them money in the hope of blessings, but unscrupulous gangs of beggars are now exploiting this ancient tradition for their own ends. They kidnap young 'rat' children - or frighten parents into handing them over - and then force them into a lifetime of begging on the streets. They are lucrative - so much so that some people allege that normal babies are being deliberately deformed to look like microcephalics. Why else, they ask, are there so many such children in Pakistan? And until something is done to combat the myth, the helpless 'rat' children will be condemned to a life of abuse.

NOTE: This feature was short-listed for the UNICEF UK Award for the Advancement of Children's Rights in the One World 2000 Media Awards.

Now read this demise of Common Sense where people need Social Justice, Health Care, Education, Employment, Social Security and Peace!

Mystic crocodiles draw thousands of devotees in Karachi

Saturday, November 27, 2004

KARACHI: Crocodiles with huge teeth-filled mouths lie in the sand and slap their snouts on the edge of sulphur springs, greeting worshippers who journey to the Mango Pir shrine on the outskirts of Karachi.

It is one of thousands of Sufi shrines where millions of devotees come from all corners of the country to pray, chant, dance, sing, occasionally smoke hashish, and seek healing. The 700-year old Mango Pir shrine, 25 kilometres southwest of the city centre, is believed to be the resting place of a Hindu bandit who tried to rob the caravan of Baba Farid Shakar Ganj, a 13th century Sufi saint.

According to local legend, Mango Pir converted from Hinduism to Islam when he realised his sin, and in reward Ganj gave him lice which grew into crocodiles.

The compound surrounding his shrine swarms with some 150 crocodiles. Devotees regard the deadly reptiles as sacred, and potential fulfillers of their most fervent wishes. Devotees journeying to Mango Pir make offerings not to the buried there, but to the scaly creatures. “We have been serving these crocodiles for seven centuries and many generations. My forefathers were the followers of Mango Pir, who assigned them this task,” said Mohammad Sajjad Barfat, caretaker of the crocodile’s sanctuary.

Wildlife experts are unsure how the crocodiles came to be there. Some believe they may be traced back to a time when the area was a swamp. “The area may have been a wetland some time in history and that could be the only explanation of their presence at such an isolated place,” said World Conservation Union (IUCN) researcher Tahir Qureshi. “Earlier, their natural habitat was available to them. But now they are confined to ponds and their subsistence largely relies on artificial food.” Devotees, including many from neighbouring India just 400 kilometres away, give beef, mutton or chicken to the crocodiles as offerings in the hope they will make their wishes come true.

Acceptance of the meat offerings by the ‘king’ of the crocodiles, known as More Sawab, is taken as a sign that a wish will be granted. “If More Sawab accepts the offering, that means the wish of the devotee is fulfilled,” said caretaker Barfat. Despite being the largest of the crocodiles, More Sawab is reputed to be friendly towards humans, although such tall tales are legion in South Asia. “I cannot forget the incident when a child of 10 years tumbled into the pond and everyone including his mother were sure of child’s ill fate,” recalled the caretaker. “But More Sawab nudged the child with his snout to help him reach the bank of the pond. It was amazing to witness.” The Mango Pir draws leprosy patients and those suffering from chronic skin diseases, seeking to bathe in the lukewarm waters gushing outside the shrine.

Scientists say the water may contain sulphur, which has therapeutic value in healing scabies, a common disease among people living in crowded areas in unhygienic conditions. However it can aggravate other diseases.“This is a general misconception about the Mango Pir stream, which could be good for scabies because of sulphur in the water but disastrous for leprosy patients,” said dermatologist Sharaf Ali Shah. afp

If the children [flowers] are not safe in Madressahs, Church then they aren't safe in Sufiism either.

What about HIV/AIDS and above all Child Abuse of worst kind in the garb of Sufiism.

Dancing boys By G H Khwaja October 07, 2007

Courtesy Dawn Magazine

THE progress of Sindh has been hampered by two factors mainly. The ruthless control of feudal lords over socio-economic factors in the region and illiteracy. Superstition has also affected the intellectual growth of the people of Sindh to some extent. However, alongside all of this, certain things provide a strange kind of enjoyment to the general public. I am referring to the melas held annually at the shrines of different pirs and Sufis.

These melas are held on sites where in the past, the Sindhi topi-wearing villagers used to behead their dear ones in the name of karo-kari (honour killing). But now vulgar dances performed by eunuchs and teenage boys can be seen instead.

In lower Sindh, the harvesting time of major crops like sugar cane and rice heralds the beginning of the melas such as Melo Meher Shah Jo, Melo Jando Pir, Mo Ibrahim Shah Wari Waro and Melo Saman Sarkar. Teenage boys’ dances have always remained a major attraction for those who throng these melas. Wearing anklets and dancing to the rhythm of the dhol and chimta and swaying to the melody of harmonium, sarood and sarangi, these boys have the ability to grab the audiences’ attention. They are often attired in female dress to invite the attention of the people and never hesitate to openly kiss the villagers. This results in getting more money for the boys.

"I am in this profession because my elders were in it too. My father and older brother earned a lot of money through dancing, but when they grew up, they became hoteliers,” said Nabi Bux, 14, hailing from Tando Adam. He had travelled all the way from Tando Adam to Melo Ibrahim Shah Wari Waro located on an island in Thatta’s coastal belt.

He said, his elder brother Shakeel taught him how to attract and entertain the misery-stricken villagers through dancing -- the villagers who never hesitate showering money on entertainers.

Another dancer Waseh Ali said, “During the melas, police officials and some waderas get hold of us. The drunken policemen and influential waders often drag us to their autaqs and sexually abuse us.”

A little educated sarangi player, Ustad Khamiso Khan, while discussing the issue said that trying to educate these boys would be an exercise in futility. What could education do for them? One dancer earns on average Rs4,000 to Rs7,000 per night, not to mention some other valuables that they may get from their admirers.

Ustad Khamiso said, “The intricacies involved in the dance can be seen in the fact that despite being individually performed, there is a sense of collectiveness that goes along with the rhythm of the dhol and the chimta.”

Initially, some of the teenagers remain unaware of the various important dance moves like the moves that indicate the process of sowing, harvesting, the Bhangra moves, the snake charmer’s moves etc. But such moves don’t sell that much.

“Boys between the ages of seven and 12 are supposed to be the better ones in the business. Once they start getting older, they lose their charm, and business,” said Ustad Khamiso.

Seeking Miracles in a Place of Cruelty and Beauty By RICK BRAGG Published: October 28, 2001

Surrounded by caged birds and blessings, touched in reverence by throngs of people who believe that she is touched by God, the young woman with the startling deformity sat at the door of a place of miracles and pawed clumsily at the women and babies who bowed for her favor. The gatekeeper of a shrine to health and fertility, she has a shrunken head that is too small for her body, her words are nonsense and screams, and even her face, with its pointed forehead and wide, round jaws, is in the shape of a tear.

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