Advertisement

HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

At Sufi shrine, Pak PM gets Mughal-era salutation

Zia Haq, Hindustan Times  Ajmer, March 09, 2013
First Published: 23:23 IST(9/3/2013) | Last Updated: 10:58 IST(10/3/2013)

When Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf stepped into Ajmer Sharif on Saturday, he witnessed a spectacle of rituals which hasn't changed much since the days of Mughal emperor Akbar, who had come here wishing for a son.

A pair of 16th-century drums placed atop the shrine's ramparts, known as "shaaziyane nakkare", was sounded as part of a Mughal-era salutation reserved for heads of states and royalty. "I had the good fortune of kissing the holy shrine. I wish peace for the world and progress for Pakistan and well-being of my family," Ashraf wrote in the visitor's book.

The shrine's management buried protests from a member -  over the beheading of Indian soldiers by Pakistan army - to warmly welcome the Pakistani premier, his wife Nusrat Ashraf and their close family.  A group of "khadims", as the shrine's caretakers are known, ushered the guests into a world of olden solemnities.

Among them, 53-year-old Sufi priest, Bilal Chisti, stood out as the Pakistani PM's "family representative" at the shrine.  The Pakistani premier, a Sufi follower, had hosted Chisti in August last year, when he had led an Indian Sufi delegation to Pakistan's Sufi shrine, Baba Farid. By all accounts, it was a deeply spiritual affair for Ashraf. Chisti, the priest, told HT: "Anyone who comes here becomes a Sufi. I told the PM that Sufis should work for peace." As sought by the Pakistani visitors, a special "ziyarat" (supplication of prayers) was made. Ashraf completed all customary rituals, which includes presenting a 42-metre-long chadar.


Advertisement
more from India

With Afzal Guru suicide squads, JeM attempts revival in Kashmir

Security agencies in Kashmir are looking into the role of militant squads named after the hanged Parliament attack-convict, Afzal Guru, in the deadly attack on an army camp in Uri on December 5.
Advertisement
Most Popular
Advertisement
Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved