Posts Tagged ‘Batmaloo sahab’

 

Urs of Sheikh Dawood (RA), an annual event of significance falls in the month of Rajab in Hijri lunar calendar. It is highly placed in the chain of events that mark the reverence in which Kashmiris hold their Sufi saints. Known as Resh-we’r (abode of Rishis) Kashmir from north to south is dotted with mausoleums of imminent Sufi saints. Their Urs—annual commemoration dots the calendar and is remembered by high and low, literate and illiterate, even house wives otherwise busy in daily chores keep track.

 

At the very top is Urs-e-Nabi (pbuh) in Rabi-ul-Awal followed by Urs Dastageer Saab, Urs Makhdoom Saab, Urs Naqshbandi Saab, and the Urs of the patron of Kashmir Sufi saints—Sheikh Noor-un-Din Noorani (RA). There are others in various corridors—Baba Shukur-ud-Din Saab atop a hillock overlooking Wular Lake, Baba Reshi Saab uphill on the road to Gulmarg, Hussain Mantaki Saab on national highway, Zain Shah Saab on the way to picturesque Phalgam. The name—Resh we’r is thus well earned.

In Resh-we’r, Rishis had spiritual guides (Murshid) following the tradition; Sheikh Dawood (RA) was guided by Hazrat Ad’Rishi (RA) as recorded in Tarikh-e-Kabir.  However initially he sought a teacher—Kh. Yusuf Katju, who ultimately led him to his spiritual guide. Murshid of Ad’Rishi (RA) was Hazrat Baba Hardh’e Reshi (Resh-e-mool of Islamabad) whose Murshid was Hazrat Hamza Makhdoom (RA). Makhdoom Saab carries the distinction of being guided by Hazrat Jamal-ud-Din Bukhari (RA). In the Sufi realm, the belief holds that Hazrat Jamal-ud-Din Bukhari (RA) was appointed to train Sultan-al-Arifeen by the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Sheikh Dawood (RA) thus followed a significant Sufi trail.

In an outer locality of capital city, Srinagar, is the mausoleum of Sheikh Dawood (RA). The locality is named after the saint—Batmaloo, a combine of inner settlements (Mohallas’ in vernacular). Before the advent of the saint the locality was called Wud’yar’wun, a part of Ramalna Pargana (agricultural division). The revered saint-Sheikh Dawood (RA) earned his alias Bat’e’mool/Bat’h’mool on two varied counts. One, he was believed to have been a great protector of Battas’ (Kashmiri Pundits) hence was called Bat’e’mool (father or patron of Battas’). Two, he was from a family of agriculturists and would distribute Bat’h (rice) to every passer-by, and as nature would have it, never ever was shortage encountered. Hence, he earned the alias Bat’h’mool ( provider of rice).

It is recorded in Tarikh-e-Kabir that Sheikh Dawood (RA) belonged to a family of agriculturists. He was son of Sheikh Shingl’e Bhat. Originally a pandit, Shingl’e Bhat embraced Islam. He was a rich agriculturist; Sheikh Dawood (RA) inherited agricultural holdings.  Besides pursuit of spiritual knowledge remained his forte. It is related that even though he was Ummi (illiterate) as far as worldly knowledge goes, he was otherwise well-versed in spiritual knowledge. Called Ilm-e-Ludni (inner knowledge) it reveals secrets of the self, a realm of knowledge, rishi’s of Kashmir and Sufi saints were well versed with. And acquiring the knowledge and providing guidance to masses led to spiritual richness of Kashmir. Sheikh Dawood (RA) holds a significant contribution in spiritual enlightening of Kashmir.

Vis-e-vis the alias–Bat’h’mool, Tarikh-e-Hasan, a Persian chronicle of Kashmir’s history records (volume: 3, page: 358) that Bat’h’mool would prepare soft form of rice (Wugr’e in Kashmiri) in what in vernacular is called (Daigh—a big utensil). He would keep it on the bridge in the locality he lived in, and ask every hungry passer-by to take it. It would be served with (Saag: Green leafy vegetable) and (Lassi: butter-milk). For his endearing endeavour, he was called Bat’h’mool. And, this is the name, he is remembered with. Tarikh-e-Kabir records that he served meals to hungry during famine.

Tarikh-e-Hasan also records his patronage of Kashmiri pandits. As Bat’e’mool (patron of pandits) he is revered for his  cosmopolitan approach and inter-faith understanding. He shared the much needed trait with other Sufi saints of Kashmir. High degree of tolerance and inter-faith understanding has been a common vein of Sufi saints. Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA) and Lal Ded institutionalized it; their poetic notes censor religious bigotry. Bat’e’mool took it to extremes by standing-up as their protector.

Historical narratives concur that he left for his heavenly abode on 21st of Rajab as per Hijri calendar, the year being 1070 A.H. It coincides with Baisakh, which heralds the spring, harbinger of agricultural season. While the Urs is dated on 24th of lunar month, prayer starts three days before on 21st of Rajab, and continue three days after the date of Urs. During these days devotees refrain from touching meat products in deference to the saint, who lived on frugal vegetarian diet. It is related that Urs became a routine after Governor Abdullah Khan issued instructions.

Sheikh Dawood (RA) lies buried in the dwelling; he lived in, with his family and disciples.  In the dwelling, he had constructed a mosque, a khanqah (Sufi dwelling—a place of prayer) and a pond in his lifetime. His name and fame spread and ultimately the locality he lived in, and where his mausoleum is located bore his name.  The name survives over last four centuries.

Tarik-e-Kabir carries the poetic note of his death:

Saal Tarikh Wafatesh Hatfi

Daad’h Ilhami Mara Az Bahr’Unn

Sheikh Momin Ba’Sur Ikhlas Guft,

Bat’h’mool Kard Mawe Dur Jinan

The narrator conveyed on his death

What an inner-voice revealed about him

Said the sacred Sheikh said with reverence

Bat’h’mool’s chosen abode is paradise!

Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]

(Author is doctor in medicine, a social activist, and a senior columnist)y

Advertisements