Sunday, April 28, 2013


Its the annual urs of shah hussain and Lahore is flooded with dancing malangs in color red, high on dope and celebrating one of the most intriguing of Punjabi sufi's.

While I hate to pick, this is one of y favorite sufi shrines to visit because it’s just so scandalous. My grandmother always laments that she cannot visit Shah Husain’s shrines because of the presence of stoned malangs and prostitutes.
Shah Hussain was a rockstar among sufi's of his age: An iconoclast who revelled in breaking taboos and societal boundries. Yet he found time to write the most intimate of sufi poems.
I always consider him to be a rather enigmatic figure, you cant really decide whether he was poet seer or a sufi because unlike more mainstream sufi’s, there are no tales of his piety or asceticism rather there are whispers of his abandoned dances and forbidden love’s.
He took to Malamatiya practices and shaved his head, moustaches and beard. He used to take bhang and roam in the bazars in intoxication. It is believed that he indulged in all this erratic and anti-social behavior to attract people’s ire which is one of the was of a mystic.

He was the most defiant intellectual of Punjab even by contemporary standards. Through his family he had personal experience of the fact that no organized religion can emancipates a common human being. Obviously only the sufi’s could claim hi as one of their own.

To hell with your white sheet (that mullah wraps around), the blanket of God's men is better

He fell in love with a Brahman boy, Madhoo, and that became his lifelong love and also a part of his name. Their love was so strong that Shah Hussain's name was changed to Madhoo Lal Hussain forever. Madhoo became the leader after Shah Hussain's death and was buried next to his lover-Guru:Whichever way we interpret the relationship between Shah Hussain and Madhoo one thing is clear: they were openly in love and the society accepted it. Personally I dont find it odd, homosexuality has always been accepted within sufi circles after all gender like ethnicity is also an illusion-a man made construct, so  it doesn’t really matters what disguise the beloved dons to meet you.
 Common folks were obviously ore discriminating that that and shah hussain’s forbidden love is still considered pretty scandalous.

O ni Hussaino is a weaver
He is a principal that earns no interest, neither is he a devout Muslim nor a pagan
Neither was he engaged nor married, neither were his wedding messages sent or received
He is what he was (or has been).

Shah Hussain, the Imam of Malamti (self-deprecation) sect, is said to have more than a hundred thousand followers with 20 Khalifa. One historian of Sufism, Sarhandi, writes that if someone came to Shah Hussain to be initiated he would say, "muna ke aa apne aap noon te tothi pee" which meant "shave your head and drink an earthen cup of wine with me.

Once a Mullah came for initiation and Shah Hussain refused him by saying, "My magic does not work for people like you, why do you want me dishonored?" Despite a mammoth following and thousands of devotees who used to remain in his attendance, Shah Hussain disliked the title of 'peer' (spiritual guide). That is why he says in a kafi:

Shah Hussain is a faqir (God's man with no possessions) and do not call him a peer
He cannot withstand this lie. He only seeks the Lord's name.

But my favorite kafi by him is this;

O mother O mother, who do I tell,
this pain of separation
My Maste’rs fire smoulders,
If I poke, its red hot
Driven mad with spikes,
Pain of separation fills my thoughts
Bread of sadness, sauce of spikes,
Make a fire of laments
Wandered jungles and deserts,
But not found the ruby
wander looking for Ranjhan Ranjhan,
But Ranjhan is with me
Says Hussain the poor faqeer,
Meeting God would be ecstasy 
There is intense sadness in these lines, sometimes when I really miss my mommy I listen to them.

Shah Hussain was buried in Shadhra on River Ravi but 13 years after his death-it claimed that Shah Hussain had forecasted it before dying-his grave was arranged in Mughalpura. People still sing his poetry, light candles  and dance to forget themselves in his name.
May he rest in peace with Madhu!!!!!


  1. Skull and bones.

    See the skull and bones fly
    On your righteous ship
    See the charging bull
    Use media, gun and whip.

    Jump, and learn to swim.
    Cast the golden bond;
    The upright opposition.
    Trust One and go beyond.

    Still, no state survives
    The ravages of time.
    Snuffed from existence
    While being in its prime.

    Patience then my angel,
    Be careful not to hate.
    The “hated” have their purpose:
    Swim and follow fate.


  2. My Fellow Salik

    I beg to kindly differ...Sufism that is rooted in Quran has never accepted or promoted homosexuality and the practices of the Melami are a discourse to check the rampant ego. Sufi history is littered with examples of same-sex platonic love - Shams and Rumi...but ultimately the aim is the source of love namely Allah / Hu / God / Brahman. Best. Faisal Sheikh

  3. great blog aapa! khuda ka shukr hai jo is blog se rubaroo hone ka mauka mila