4th Int’l Sufi Conference | Speakers Ask for Sufi Influenced Curricula

KARACHI: Theming ‘Sufi Heritage: Counterculture Narrative and Peace building in the Era of Globalisation’ Department of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Government of Sindh organized 4th International Sufi Conferenceat Hotel Beach Luxury, Karachi last week.

 The two-day conference brings forth the scholars from 13 countries to engage with the cultural heritage narratives and prospects of peacebuilding in the global era.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) women-wing President Faryal Talpur, the Chief Guest on the occasion, said that the critical transformative potential of the conference would greatly benefit scholars and participants especially the young students.

“I must congratulate the Department of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Government of Sindh for organising this august international conference, which is a great way of learning, exchanging research, knowledge and values,” she said, while expressing the hope that the conference would be able to conclude with a clear counter-narrative and conducive recommendations for the policymakers.

Faryal added “Let’s reiterate our profound ambitions for the promotion of values such as tolerance, peace and brotherhood in order to crush the rising extremism and intolerance”

Provincial Minister for Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Syed Sardar Ali Shah said the conference is aimed at furthering the message of peace. “It is the fourth year that we are hosting the conference where both international and national experts enlighten us,” said the minister, adding that you may find Sufi traditions and practices worldwide but the Sufi heritage in South Asia and more specifically in Sindh is much significant.

The minister also thanked researchers who come from their homelands to exchange knowledge and their experiences with the participants of the conference.

The conference concluded on Saturday with a number of recommendations to the concerned departments to portray Sufi thought and its universal, tolerant values at all levels and use it as a strongest cultural narrative against the extremist ideology.

The conference unanimously gave many recommendations and asked that the Sufi cultural heritage should be promoted to counter the extremist and intolerant tendencies in society, and to create interfaith harmony and pluralism.

The relevant department to work for the inclusion of the Sufi Cultural heritage of Sindh on the UNESCO heritage list.

Sufism should be studied with diverse theoretical and methodological inter-disciplinary approaches.

An Endowment Fund should be established and Efforts should be made for holding regular seminars, workshops, symposia and conferences at local, national, and international levels.Sufi museums should be established to showcase the Sufi cultural heritage of Sindh and Sufi cultural heritage should be promoted through various creative cultural expressions like music, literature, drama, theater and films.

They also recommended that he national counter terrorism policy should incorporate and use the pluralist, tolerant, universal values of Sufi thought and philosophy.

During academic sessions many scholars presented their papers on the subject.Dr. Sarfraz Khan of Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad presented the case study of district Gujrat in his research paper on the role of Sufi shrines in the migration process.

Muhammad Abrar Zahoor of University of Sarghoda presented his paper on Bhakti Movement and religious identities in Pre-Modern North India. He analysed the Bhakti movement and interpreted in context of pre-modern conception of religious identities which were fluid in nature and historical conditioning that produced this assimilationist culture.

Harvard PhD student Pei-ling Huang presented her research paper on Shah Latif’s Danburo: a nexus of Sufi devotional practices and ambivalent identities. She told that during her field research in Bhit Shah, the Danburo was the foundational instrument for learning Shah Latif’s musical repertoire and a material nexus of several strands of faith and practice. She thoroughly discussed the meanings that ragifaqirs, the practitioners of Shah Latif’sraag, invoke when talking about the Danburo, from its material construction to techniques of playing the instrument.

 The scholars Dr. Ali Caksu of Turkey, Dr. Sjjad Abro of Jamshoro, Dr. Cyrus Goldrick of Turkey, Dr. Des. Djouroukoro Diallo of Switzerland and Dr. Abdul Qadir of Paris France respectively presented their papers.

After the academic session of the Sufi Conference, a music session was organised presenting different aspects of Sufi Sindhi Folk Music and some Turkish Sufi dance performances till late evening.

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