In the Darbar of Sain Sachal Sarmast

Lovers of the land of Sindh are present all over the world. Our love for this land has deep roots, nurtured from our childhood. Three revered Sufi poets, Hazrat Shahbaz Qalandar, Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, and Sarkar Sachal Sarmast, have left an indelible mark on this land with their profound thoughts, which continue to illuminate our minds.

Our journey into mysticism and Sufism began in our formative years, influenced by our late father, Dr. Bashir Ahmed Guraya, a psychologist with a passion for Sufism. He not only earned a master’s degree in psychology but also delved into Punjabi literature, completing both his MA and PhD. Growing up amidst his friends—poets and writers—imbued in us a rich understanding of literature and culture.

We consider the wisdom passed down from our father and his contemporaries as the greatest treasure of our time. As I ventured into the field of education, I had the privilege of visiting various universities across the country and abroad. During a recent visit to universities in South Punjab and Sindh, I had the chance to explore Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai University in Khairpur. The significance of this visit was amplified as it provided an opportunity to visit the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif.

Upon expressing my interest to the university administration, I learned that while Shah Abdul Latif’s mausoleum might not be a popular destination, Sarkar Sachal Sarmast’s shrine was nearby. After the university program, we decided to engage in prayer, pay our respects, and partake in a Sufi Night organized at the Jamia.

Two groups presented enlightening speeches on Sachal Sarmast, with the second group comprising university students. The recitation of Sufi kalam, accompanied by regional music, created a unique and culturally rich atmosphere. The night concluded with a harmonious blend of speech, music, and a well-arranged dinner.

The following morning, we convened in the university syndicate room for a meeting. Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Khalil Ahmed Abupoto provided a brief history of the university, emphasizing its foundation in 1979. Since assuming leadership, he highlighted three key initiatives: the inclusion of Peace and Religious Tolerance as a compulsory subject, the establishment of a research institute focusing on biotechnology and tissue culture, and the development of student societies contributing to various social causes.

Dr. Abupoto expressed pride in the university’s growth, evolving from a campus under Sindh University in 1976 to an independent institution in 1987. Today, it stands as the largest university in Northern Sindh, benefiting 25 thousand students, including 10 thousand from affiliated colleges.

The Vice-Chancellor emphasized the success of the biotechnology project, showcasing powerful laboratories dedicated to palm research. He commended the university’s 41 student societies, particularly those focused on cultural heritage preservation, interfaith harmony, and awareness campaigns.

Notably, the university’s commitment to peace and order is evident through the Young Peace Development Corps and committees addressing issues such as Palestine and Kashmir. The first student development center in Pakistan, built with the support of USAID, stands as a testament to the positive activities fostered by these societies. The present Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Khalil Ahmed Abupoto, continues to leave a lasting impact on the university, overseeing its growth and commitment to excellence.

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