3 comments on “Why Didn’t Anybody Tell Me Two Weeks Ago that It Was the Urs of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar?

  1. SR (Stimulus-Response) theory demands that there must be something towards which a behaviour is directed. I am at a loss to understand the behaviour of these dhamalees, may be to achieve peace within..? but do they? The jihadees are selfish as they seek jannah, the devotees (Muslim or any other) seek the pleasure of the Almighty when they pray, where is the pure devotion.

  2. Thank you for the interesting comment, Shakilakhtar. I don’t really think of jihadees (or jihadists?) when I think of the celebration of Urs Lal Shabaz Qalandar. Maybe it’s because I have gotten the impression that the sufis who are most likely to join in this sort of celebration are among the people whom jihadists in Pakistan would be most happy to blow up. Certainly, these people are not popular among fundamentalists (and it must be double trouble for them since they are mainly Shias, too, no?)… Regarding the devotees in general… I see the behavior as being directed toward achieving a form of euphoria that they connect to becoming closer with God. Of course, I like this festival and subject most of all for the music that it has inspired and the people who sing it: Noor Jehan, Runa Laila, Abida Parveen, etc., and now I’m getting a crush on Shazia Khushk! (No, haven’t been noticing the men as much – though Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan certainly did good work from this, too. And I like the take on this by the British “Asian Underground” band Fun-da-Mental!) And then there is the dancing, with the women wildly shaking their heads in a way that westerners might associate most with thrash-metal bands (though I know where those bands got it – obviously!).

    Anyway to me, it’s enough of a good purpose for people to get involved in this festival for the music, dancing, and general euphoric abandon or trances, etc. I don’t know if that fits in with SR or with the kind of religious devotion that perhaps some people think I should have in order to appreciate all of this properly. But it’s all enough to make this possibly my own favorite religious holiday, at least for aesthetic reasons/affinities. (Of course, all Bollywood fans like the Hindi holidays Diwali, Holi, etc. But I find the Urs of Lal Shabaz Qalandar to be more riveting and compelling. Though if I were stuck getting crushed in a crowd celebrating this in real life, I might end up finding it a sort of hell. But no need to speculate about that.)

  3. Oh, that was very informative, Richard. Thanks.
    I’d always wondered what the word Qalandar meant. Didn’t realise it would have a holy connection.
    Then, your POV regarding the celebration were interesting and I feel I agree with what you have written. It does look quite a mesmerising affair.

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