Dhamaal performed in London in support of Sehwan Sharif

LONDON: Pakistani activists performed Dhamaal here in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) to show solidarity with the Sufi culture and to pay tribute to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine in Sehwan Sharif which was bombed few days ago.
Hundreds of Pakistani activists – students, professionals, rights activists and concerned community members, including members of the Hindu and Sikh community – attended the Dhamaal and Qawaali event to express their devotion to the Sufi tradition of Dhamaal and to remember the 90 devotees who were martyred when the suicide bomber struck at the shrine while the Dhamaal was being performed. Insaan Culture Club organised the event which also raised funds for the victims who were injured during the attack. Drums and dhols created the sound that has long been associated with the shrines in the Sub-continent. Qawaali music was played out loud in the university as activists swirled around to show their spiritual liberation that the Sufi tradition of Dhamaal brings with it.
Activists who attended the event to perform Dhamaal wore red scarves in support of the spiritual centre and to pay and to celebrate the importance of the shrines to Pakistan’s history, cultures, spirituality and humanity. They performed Dhamaal to the tune of ‘Dama Dam Mast Qalandar’ for over three hours and vowed to continue the tradition at any cost. They said that terrorists want to deprive Pakistan of its vibrant Sufi Islamic culture but they will not be allowed to succeed in their extremist mission.
The activists chanted slogans and called on the government of Pakistan to take action against terrorists who have been frequently attacking shrines and moderate Muslims. They said that Pakistani authorities have a lot of explaining to do and must answer why terrorists attack continue. The activists said that some of the most well-known extremists and their banned organisations are allowed to operate, which is a disservice to the memory of martyrs who have given their lives while fighting the menace of terrorism.
Yasmin Whittaker-Khan, who organised the event with other activists, said its important to celebrate spirituality and the message of peace and love that shrines and traditions associated with it bring. “You may agree or disagree with whether or not to visit shrines but the fact remains that millions throng to these shrines every year and find solace in there. Those who attacked the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar want to deprive millions of Pakistanis and others of their happiness. We cannot allow terrorists to succeed. We are making a stand in London to send out support to those Pakistanis who are on the ground standing against extremism and for pluralism and humanity. Through this tribute, we want to tell them you are not alone.”


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