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Monday, August 23, 2010

Salvation: holy men ‘protected’ by flood

KARACHI: Divinity triumphed over disaster, claimed the people of Ghouspur after seeing what they termed a miracle. One temple and one mosque were completely unaffected, pristine per se, amid the ravaging flood that hit Ghouspur the hardest.
The town in Kashmore district is completely submerged, however, local residents report that floodwater could not ‘touch’ the temple and the mosque constructed by two saints, Baba Gharib Das and Ghous Shah, respectively.
Some sceptics did not agree: these places were constructed on a higher surface than the rest of the houses. But devotees claimed that four to five feet of water has filled up other houses adjacent to the mosque and the temple constructed at the same level.
The temple, built around three hundred years ago, is the central point of worship for Hindus living in Kashmore, Kandhkot, Shikarpur and Jacobabad. According to Hindu prayer leaders, many followers of Baba Gharib Das have made small temples in his name in different provinces of India and they visit his shrine annually.
“Every corner of the city is filled with eight feet deep of standing water, which did not even reach their gates,” said Mukhi Sarvanad, chieftain of the area’s Hindu community.
Dr Suresh Kumar of Civil Hospital Karachi, who hails from Ghouspur, was not surprised either. “This is not myth, but a reality,” he claimed. When he travelled from Karachi to his hometown, the whole area seemed like it was “in the sea”. “There was no place to walk and I had to hire a boat to examine my belongings. But the mandir and masjid remained safe from the calamity,” Dr Kumar said.
“When houses started inundating many Hindu families took shelter in the mandir. Now people have been moved to other places, but the army, engaged in rescue operations, is still there.
Meanwhile, Ali Gul Sanjrani, a Ghouspur resident, told The Express Tribune that Ghous Shah lived in the area and was a contemporary of Baba Gharib Das. The town of Ghouspur was named after him, Sanjrani revealed.
He was famous in the area because of his generosity and the stories of his miracles were passed down from one generation to another. Water has not touched the shrine of Ghous Shah and his son, Ghulam Hussain Shah, he reported.
Dr Kumar narrated a story regarding Ghous Shah. “The saint asked our forefathers to leave their village of Gawal Mal and live in Ghouspur, but our forefathers refused,” he went on say. After they returned to Gawal Mal, there was a cholera outbreak in the village. “My forefathers were forced to leave and move to Ghouspur, after which they asked for forgiveness from Ghous Shah.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2010.

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