Majzub, King and Queen

Publication Year : 2018

Tombs of Shah Ismail and Shah DeewanoShare on FacebookShare on TwitterSyed Sultan Abdul Mugees was a ruler of the Hashemite Dynasty of Yemen in the fourteenth century. He was 24 years old when his father Syed Hussain Shah died and Syed Sultan Mugees became the new king. He was born in the Salatin region of Yemen. It is believed that he left his kingdom and led a life of an ascetic. One day he had a vision of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) who asked him to leave the kingdom and to adopt a simple life. After having received this vision, Syed Sultan Mugees left Yemen for Madina where he stayed for six months. At Madina, he had a second vision of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who, this time, asked Syed Sultan Mugees to go to Sindh for spreading the message of peace and love.Accordingly, the Prince left Madina for Sindh. One of his advisers, Sakhi Ismail Shah, who later became his chief disciple, also accompanied him to Sindh. He settled in the present-day village of Thari Nizamai about 20 km east of Matli town in the district of Badin. Soon, he became known as “Shah Deewano” in Thari Nizamani due to his ascetic way of life. In true Sufi tradition, he was a ‘majzub’. He was also simply called “Deewano” (mad with Divine Love). It appears from the narrations of his devotees that Shah Deewano lived in the early days of the Sammas. When he first came to Thari, he liked a mango orchard in the village. He wanted to purchase it and asked the villagers about the orchard’s owner. On inquiry, Shah Deewano came to know that the owner of the land, Jam Juno, was imprisoned by the Sultan of Delhi. At once, Shah Deewano left for Delhi to set Jam Juno free from the clutches of the Sultan.Hindu devotees at the shrine of Shah DeewanoThe lore around what happened next is fascinating.Shah Deewano performed a miracle which surprised the Sultan of Delhi: he filled an ablution pot with water from the Jamuna River and the river itself became completely empty, which compelled Sultan Firuz Shah to release Jam Juno. Shah Deewano came back with Jam Juno to Thari and purchased the mango orchard. The local people believed that Jam Juno was a very avaricious person and after some time he demanded more money from Shah Deewano. The saint replied that if there would be thorns instead of mangoes, then it would be his orchard, otherwise he would pay more money as asked.Shah Deewano proceeded to turn all of the mangoes into thorns. When the people of the village went to look at the orchard, they were very surprised to see that the whole orchard had turned into thorns. Shah Deewano then allotted all of his land to the villagers.Grave of Sindh Rani near the shrine of Shah DewanoThe tomb of Sindh Rani lies in a pathetic condition. It is not renovated by the local people fearing that it may attract more devotees than her murshid Shah DeewanoThese narrations, fraught with miracles performed by the saint, show two things. Firstly, it highlights the socio-political events of medieval Sindh at the time when the saint came there from Madina. In particular, it illustrates the unfriendly relations that existed between the Sammas of Sindh and the Tughlaqs of Delhi. Secondly, it provides information regarding the intermediary roles played by the saints in medieval Sindh. It is an established fact that when the Samma King Taghi/Togachi revolted against the Tughlaqs of Delhi, Sultan Muhammad Shah came himself to Sindh to punish the rebel Samma king. He marched from Delhi to Girnar and entered Sindh. Then he took the route from Girnar to Nagarparkar, Mithi, Thari, Mulan Katiar and camped at Sonda. However, due to illness, the Sultan died at Sonda in Thatta. Moreover, the Suhrawardi saints of Uch played an intermediary role between the kings of Sindh and Delhi. It is possible that Shah Deewano might have played some role in bringing a truce between the Sammas of Sindh and the Sultans of Delhi.Maganhars at the shrine of Shah DeewanoJam Juno was the ruler of the Samma Kingdom of Sindh, having become ruler of Sindh twice (1352-1368 and 1371-1389). The miraculous ‘turning the mango orchard of Jam Juna into thorns’ by Shah Deewano is a metaphor which is used for the fall of Jam Juno’s rule. It came to an end when Jam Tamachi became the new ruler of the Samma Kingdom of Sindh. Moreover, present-day Thari was the main town during the Soomra Kingdom in the reign of Sanghar Soomro. After the fall of the Soomra dynasty, it also became the seat of power for Jam Juno Samma. Jam Juno and Jam Tamachi did not enjoy good relations. This is one of the reasons that the grave of Jam Tamachi is located on Makli Hill, whereas the grave of Jam Juno is found at Thari, 400 meters away from the shrine of Shah Deewano.Some historians of Sindh believe that Jam Tamachi and Jam Banbhino had also been taken to Delhi as prisoners and were released to return to Sindh when Firuz Shah Tughlaq died. In fact, Jam Banbhino died on his way back to Sindh.Today, the shrine of Shah Deewano dominates the landscape of the village. Actually, there are two main shrines here: one belongs to Shah Deewano and the other to Sakhi Shah Ismail, who was the Shah’s chief disciple. The present ‘mujawar’ of the shrine believes that he was a disciple of Ghaus Bahauddin II of Multan.Today, Shah Deewano’s shrine is frequented by the members of both the Muslim and Hindu tribes. The people of the Odhejas, Bhatti, Junejas, Maganhars – who play dhols (drums) at his shrine – and Khaskheli tribes visit the shrine on a number of occasions. Hindu Bhils and Meghwars also visit the shrine to receive the blessings of the saint. The annual ‘Urs’ of Shah Deewano is held on the 26th of Ramazan, with thousands of devotees thronging at his shrine. On this occasion, Iftari arrangements for the devotees are made by caretaker of the dargah. He has also renovated the tombs of Shah Deewano and Sakhi Shah Ismail.East of Shah Deewano’s shrine is the grave of Maryam, who was also known by her two titles ‘Sindh Rani’ and ‘Soneti Bai’, was also his disciple. She was a daughter of Chakar Odhejo. This Sindh Rani was the fiancee of the Kalhora ruler Mian Sarfaraz Kalhoro. After his martyrdom, she came back to her village near Thari and became a disciple of Shah Deewano. Today, the stone carved cenotaph of Sindh Rani lies in a deplorable condition. However, the shrine of her murshid Shah Deewano, is well looked after by his disciples and caretakers. Both Muslim and Hindu women visit her shrine and regard her as a saint. The tomb of Sindh Rani lies in a pathetic condition. It is not renovated by the local people fearing that it may attract more devotees than her murshid Shah Deewano

The author is an anthropologist and teaches at the Department of Development Studies, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE)

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