Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, His Life and His Poetry

Shah Abdul Latif's Shrine
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Since inception human being in spite of substantial scientific research, discoveries and knowledge, neither could know the secrets of the universe nor could identify himself. Man is indulged in ordinary knowledge and irresponsible attitude. Hence could not prove himself as a noble being. Nowadays science has proved that this universe had been created from single-particle, but mystics told centuries before that this universe had been created from one being and from single being to the expansion of the universe, there are number of beautiful galaxies which lead man to unseen and undiscovered aspects of the universe.

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Sindhi society has suffered since centuries. Sindh, the land of peace, which was turned in the battlefield, in such crisis, there happens the birth of great poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai whose poetic ideas created new trends and diverted the ways of thinking. Nations, countries and societies are known by their poets, and the Sindhi nation is known by Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

His everlasting poetry is the expression of noble values and principles of Sindhi society. A great man never happened to be born again and again; they proved themselves the pioneer of that era. They became committed with their period, and they, at that juncture of time, become representative of new and old and justify the vales for their nation. Such great poets having extraordinary qualities are very powerful and important in the sense that they pave for new trends for their nation on which that nation has to go forward for a long future because there happens no alternate to follow. Such great poets bring with themselves new dreams, new ideas, and new trends with which they guide the nation and let them know that how to prepare for the future so that the nation can face ups and downs of life and survive through the crisis and save the national identity.

A great mystic poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, was born in 1690A.D. (1102 Hijra) in the old historical village of Dero tribe Sui Kandar, and before his birth, his two elder brothers with the same name were born but could not survive. The graves of both of his brothers are there in historical Sui Kandar graveyard. A great mystic poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, was born in the period when Sindh was enslaved by the Mughal rulers of Dehli. That era was very difficult for Sindh and Sindhi people enmity of Kalhoras and the linguistic supremacy of Persian these all things are interconnected with each other in the same perspective and background.

During such a chaos and crisis Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai emerged as a revolutionary one and opposed the old traditional tribal and religious trends but Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai himself in his being was a different and rebellious character, a new person emerged with the idea of rebirthing of new nation who could inspire the people with fresh fervor and enthusiasm.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai sacrificed his whole life to bring change. Such a commitment, urge, and enthusiasm for his goals, are the symbols of his greatness. For such a laborious and revolutionary character, it has been written, “Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s poetry is the best expression of our national enthusiasm, it is the importance of our national existence and survival. In the sensitive mind of Shah Abdul Bhittai, there emerged a beautiful dream of freedom of Sindh as the independent country, religion, and culture of Sindh to be owned as own one. Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s is poetry is the true expression of that dream because the same was the real identity and enthusiasm of the then Sindh… and Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s whole age of 63 years was the era of the struggle for unity and independence of Sindh.”

“Yogis in this world, some are light, some fire kindling themselves to ignite others; without them, I cannot live.”

Either they talk of Past or exaggerate for the future, but those who live in prison fit the purpose without them I cannot live.”

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai not only had the knowledge of centuries-long of Sindh civilization, but he apprehended the dangers for Sindh in coming future Spread up to the present times. He was quite a different person and legend, having no example in history. When he witnesses the internal war between the Mughal rulers of the Dehli, topsy-turvy conditions of Sindh and approaching march of East India Company, he cries as under

“Heisman! sleep not till port’s danger are crossed,

Water near the port churns like curd in earthen pot;

For better not to sleep than such suffering come across.”

Since the end of the Samma dynasty in 1520 A.D., Sindh and sorrows go hand in hand till today. Argons, Turkhans, and Mughals enslaved Sindh and 40 years of his age Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai himself suffered that slavery. When he was 28 years old, the tragedy of Jhoke took place (1718 A.D.) and then he was 43 years old another tragic incident of Khuhra happened (1730A.D.) with such a tragic background Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai got deeply disturbed. Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, since his childhood, used to sit and pray in isolation and used to go wherever he wished, and in solitude, he pondered over the secrets of the universe. Once upon a time, he sat in sandy land surrounded by trees for a few days and due to strong blowing winds the sand wrapped over his clothes and his father while watching for him reached there and looking at his tragic situation cried with grave grief as under:-

The continuous blowing of the wind, the body organs are wrapped over.”

While listening the Sade voice of his father Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai responded in the same ecstic mood as under:-

Yet breathing and surviving, to seek union with beloved.”

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s such a response in the same ecstic mood is proof of the fact that in the age of 15 years, Shah Abdul Latif had high poetic sense and spiritual flight. Far better than that, it proves his mystic approach. His such a spiritual level was once expressed by a great mystic Sakhi Hashim Shah of Matyari.

“There are feel the fragrance of Latif in Habib.”

When Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai reached the age of 18 years, he once again happened to meet Sakhi Hashim Shah of Matyari, looked at him with love and said while praying for him:-

“Latif’s lamp (soul) will remain enlightened.”

When the intellectual light is spread during the darkness of ignorance and slavery, it enlightened the whole universe and embodied the truth and beauty, which became the theme of his mystic poetry and gave new trends to literature, language, society, and religion.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai Poetry

There is a variety of characters in his poetry, which is the treasure of Sindhi culture. Where there is a character of beautiful thinking, there is the character of ecstic mood, where there is a man of morality, there is the character of beauty, where there is character of sweet songs, there is the character of struggle, where there is a character of love and affection, there is a man of thinking. Where there are lovers, there are warriors, where there are kings, there are queens.

On the contrary, when we read the poetry of Shah Abdul Latif, we find a good number of artisans and labor. There are spinners and weavers, there are porters, there are goldsmith, there are desert dwellers watching for rain, there are expert sailors and navigators, While on the other side, wives are looking for their partners, there are ironsmith, there are warriors, there are ascetics, there are mystics, there are herdsmen, there are camel men, there are beggars, there are ascetics, there are mystics, where there are kings, there are queens, there are hungry and thirsty, there are saints, “neither all human being are beautiful nor all the birds are like swans but rare comes fragrance from anyone”.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai knew the meaning of sorrows and secrets of the creation of this universe. He also knew the history of how many tragic periods are preserved in history, telling about the cruelties and destruction and reconstruction of society. He knew that the survival of Sindh soil depends upon the Indus River. He experienced the difficult paths of the mountain and apprehended the dangers of the future.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s love was spiritual, hence, since his settlement at Kot Mughal (Kotri) till coming to get settle at Bhit (Bhit Shah). He suffered a lot of pangs of separation and ever yearned for lasting union with his Beloved. A period of 20 years of his age (1122-1142) is considered the periods of his continuous struggle for the search of heavenly love. During this period, he got an understanding of the people from every strata of life and put all his experience and observation in his poetry. He frequently visited his like-minded friends, shrines of past saints, his elders. He got an understanding with the people from every strata of life.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai character and his poetry is creative and progressive, in which unmatched struggle is expressed, which is a guideline for others. After settlement at Bhit (Bhit Shah), Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai well-organized the following institutions, which then function effectively and also remained functioning nowadays.

  1. After the death of his father (Habib Shah), he took charge of spiritual leadership.
  2. Well organized his follower’s team Bhit Shah and assigned them individual work
  3. Well organized his institution of Shah jo Rag (singing of his melodies).
  4. He looked after and got repaired and constructed the shrines of his elders.
  5. He continued his frequent visits of his friends, fellows, and followers to get Sindh rid of slavery.
  6. The whole life of Shah Abdul Latif is important and exemplary but the collection of his poetry (Shah jo Risalo) and the institution of singing (Shah jo Rag), both are the living facts of his life.

Shah jo Rag and Shah jo Risalo

The collection of his poetry consists of high intellectual and the spiritual thinking, mystic thoughts old culture and history of Sindh and daily life of the people of Sindh. His collection of poetry is living document of Sindhi language and literature. It is expression of Universal message of love and peace, fraternity and coexistence which is ever-recurring need of the people. It is high moral teachings of high profile person.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s Death and His Urs

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai expired in 1165 Hijra (1752 A.D.), and on every 14th day of second month of Islamic calendar his annual celebrations (Urs) are organized. It could be said that he lived his life with the comprehensive purpose and became immortal as he himself says:-

“Who died before death, they Never die”

“Those who lived a purposeful life,

they became immortal”

Shah Abdul Latif’s Shrine

Shah Abdul Latif’s Shrine is suited in Bhit Shah near Hala City. His Shrine was built by famous Kalhoro king “Ghulam Shah Kalhoro” in 1772.

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