By Dharminder Balach
The Hindu saint, Sant Mahatma Alsaa Ram became a disciple of the Muslim saint Sufi Karam Ali Faqeer in Kundri Sharif, Sukkar, Sindh province of Pakistan. It was in 1937 when he travelled to Sukkar at the age of seven. Both saints enjoyed a rare spiritual bond despite coming from different religions: Hinduism and Islam.
Every year in September the festival of Sant Mahatma Alsaa Ram is held in Rahim Yar Khan to pay tribute to the great saint. The three-day festival just concluded today at his shrine in the city where people celebrated his message of peace, love and harmony among followers of diverse faiths.
The Hindu saint continued to seek guidance from the Sufi saint even after moving to the Cholistan desert in Rahim Yar Khan where he spent his life promoting the idea of purification of inner self.
In recent years, Muslims have been refused an entry to the shrine because of security concerns in the prevailing precarious security situation in the country.
One such Muslim Jam Ataf came to attend the festival along with his Hindu friend Darshan Mangi, told Pak Voices, “We should respect all religions as they preach coexistence,” adding, “I was excited to attend the festival but could not make it to the shrine as the security would not allow me in.”
During the festival, Alsaa Ram’s nephew Sant Berro Ram was present at the shrine, greeting the pilgrims.
Ashok Kumar, a Hindu pundit, told Pak Voices that the Sufi saint Karam Ali Faqeer mentored Sant Alsaa Ram for more than 12 years which earned him the title of Sant.
Pilgrims say they experience a unique spiritual and transcendent feeling at the shrine of Alsaa Ram who embraces everyone in trouble regardless of his or her faith.
Dharminder Balach is working with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Rahim Yar Khan.
All photos by the writer
Written by Hasan Khan