A two-day international conference on 'Sufism and composite culture' got underway at the Punjabi University's Senate Hall here on Monday.
This is the second such meet organised by the Indian Council of Historical Research and Baba Farid Centre for Sufi Studies, in which 30 scholars from India, Pakistan and Iran presented their research papers on the theme 'Sufism and Punjabi culture'.
Speakers highlighted the contribution of various saints towards Sufism. Former union minister Aarif Mohammad Khan said that sufism couldn't be defined by any measures as the effort would tantamount to damage its essence. While lauding Punjabi University's effort of establishing the Sufi Centre on its campus, he said that one should be 'God-loving' and not 'God-fearing' as God was an epitome of love, care and compassion.
Vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh, in his presidential address, said that all the disturbances in the contemporary society prevailed due to the wrong interpretations of religion. Sufism, he said, was replete with values, which were oriented towards developing a composite and harmonious culture, away from any distinctions of caste, colour or creed. "It preaches such values as universal brotherhood, love, compassion and surrender to the existence. Sufism advocates the idea of how to purify one's self and build up one's outer and inner worlds to attain perpetual bliss," he said.
Former MP and chairperson of the minorities commission Tarlochan Singh said that only spirituality, which was the core value of Sufism, could bring peace in the world and tranquility of mind.
Executive director of Daily Ajit Satnam Manak said that political and economic forces were bent upon harming the core essence of Sufism, giving birth to religious intolerance and fanaticism. "Ritualism and stagnation in religious values were eating into the ethos that Sufism raised its edifice upon," he said.
Former DGP and chairperson of the Sufi Foundation of India AA Siddiqui and Chairman of Punjabi Department, Punjab University, Lahore, Ismatullah Zahid, also spoke on the occasion.
Earlier, director of the conference Nashir Naqvi welcomed the delegates and introduced the theme of the seminar, whereas additional director Dhanwant Kaur proposed the vote of thanks.
Jaspal Singh also released a new magazine, 'Ghanshaqr' launched by the Sufi Centre; a book 'Adbi Riwayat', edited by Naqvi and Dhanwant Kaur; 'Bibliography of Sufism', compiled by the chief librarian of the university and presented mementoes to the guests.