Multan sufi shrine
O' Bulleh Shah let's go there
Where everyone is blind
Where no one recognizes our caste (or race, or family name)
And where no one believes in us
The country we now call Pakistan is ancient and heavy with history. Like Aboriginal Australia the very earth seems to be burdened with a weighty spirituality. Yes, burdened is the right word because a burden is a nuisance and what could be a bigger nuisance and irritation in modern Pakistan than true matters of the spirit?
I recall once upon a time taking a road trip with a wagon full of friends through southern Punjab, the land that gave birth and sustenance and inspiration to one of the world’s most esteemed mystical poets, Baba Bulleh Shah. It was getting near to sundown. We’d been travelling all day and were tired and a bit cranky. Someone suggested we stop and take a dip in a slow moving wide river that slithered like a grey serpent into the darkness. The evening seemed to grow suddenly silent. A flock of birds swept in dense formation above our heads. The sky was pale and slightly purple. The water was strong and warm. You knew it could very easily sweep you away, draw you under and deal you some serious harm. But it also gripped you like a reassuring father. I felt safe and calm there.
We splashed and swam around for some time and then got back in the wagon and headed off into the night. Nothing remarkable. But in memory that swim that capped a long day which had begun in the holy ruins of Uch Sharif was like a baptism. I remember feeling refreshed in more than a physical way. And the sky seemed to sigh and encompass everything that could possibly be questioned. There was an aura, a rooh that hung in the trees and the cooling sky and especially the waves of the river.
A river runs through it. This about sums up Sindh, the land of the Indus, the ancient Harappa, the old Hindustan, the modern Pakistan. It is a land etched like an old person’s veined hand with holy and mighty rivers. And on the banks of those many rivers have over the centuries sat and danced poets and musicians made restless by the Spirits. The Indus Valley is spiritual zone richer than most others in the world.
If you doubt this simply listen to the music. It is music that catches the ear of 8 year olds and old folks equally. It cuts directly to the heart and springs straight from the ruins and the deserts and the muddy river banks of this sad knowing land. It is deep soul music.
Tonight’s post scrapes the surface of that soulful landscape. Folk songs of parting lovers, joyous qawwali, Baba’s poetry, gypsy tunes, truck driver favorites, calls to prayer and devotional hymns are on offer in this collection. Thanks to new friends Dr Ashfaq Khan sahib and Dewaani for sharing some of their own treasures with the Washerman’s Dog for tonight’s offering.
01 Allah Allah Karya Karo (Tahira Syed)
02 Shah Ranjha Albeila (Mohammad Jumman)
03 Ya Qurban Bailtoon Da (Kheyal Mohammad)
04 Rangi Rang (Musafir)
05 Oh Kesario Hazari Gul Ro Phool (Daoud Langa)
06 Taaran Pounda (Allan Faqir)
07 Sikandar Mein (Mai Bhaggi)
08 Mera Ranjhan Hun Koi (Pathana Khan)
09 Isa Khel Door te Nahin (Attaulah Khan Niazi)
10 Chambe Di Booti (Arif Lohar)
11 Ghar aae ni mera (Surraiya Multanikar)
12 Unki jataan pind khech jo (Manzoor Ali Khan)
13 Raba Mere Haal Da (Abida Parveen)
14 Charka Mera O Rangia (Hamid Ali Bela)
15 Kaput Ko Ko Kono Baya (Faiz Mohammad Baloch)
16 Ja Ve Vichhoria (Reshma)
17 Subhanallah (Mohammad Ibrahim)
18 Laakh jatan kar haari (Ali Baksh Zahoor)
19 Wich rohi de rehndian nazak nazak jattia'n (Taj Multani)
20 Sohnia we ik badli(Mohammad Tufail Niazi)
21 Ek Kudhi Jeda Naam Mohabat (K Deep)
22 Kaman Garo Kanhaji (Ghazi Khan Maghaniyar)
23 Sahib Teri Bandi (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)
24 Azaan (Murjan Ismail Sidi)