A prominent youth-oriented Kashmiri organization, Voice for Peace and Justice, organised a regional-level Sufi conference at Syed Qamar-ud-Din Bukhari RA in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal on Thursday.
The conference was organized with the aim of restoring peace, communal harmony, brotherhood, and tolerance in the valley. The event of the annual Urs (death anniversary) of the famous Sufi saint Syed Qamar-ud-Din Bukhari, which was observed this year after remaining suspended for more than 33 years, was attended by people from different corners of the Jammu and Kashmir valley.
The annual Urs of Syed Qamar-ud-Din Bukhari has a historical background and had to be suspended because of the stiff opposition from the followers of radical Islam.
Despite the Jamaat-e-Islami and Ahle Hadis schools of thought’s narrow interpretation of Islam, the iconic Urs at the Sufi shrine in Ganderbal stands out as proof that Sufism has deeper roots in Kashmir.
Until its suspension, the Urs at Ganderbal would attract thousands of devotees who would come to pay obeisance at the saint’s mausoleum.
Sweetmeat sellers, fruit sellers, garment stalls, and entertainment avenues for children would be the other highlights of the Urs.
“We had to restrict the Urs for the last 33 years because of the turmoil. We had, however, performed nightlong prayers at the shrine during all those years,” the shrine visitors averred.
“This year, the grandeur and gaiety for which Syed Qamar-Ud-Din Bukhari’s Urs is known throughout the Valley are again returning to Ganderbal,” said a member of the shrine’s management committee.
One significant highlight of this Urs in the past used to be the participation of Kashmiri Pandits alongside their Muslim brethren.