Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai
Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai was born in the House of Shah Habib ( his father) on 18 November 1689 in the village of Hala Haveli, a few miles to the east of the present town of Bhit Shah (named after him). Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai was raised during the golden age of Sindhi culture. His first teacher was Akhund Noor Muhammad Bhatti, although he was largely self-educated.
Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai was a Sindhi Sufi Scholar, mystic, Saint, and a Poet. Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is yet widely considered to be the greatest Muslim Poets of Sindh. The pieces of the poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai are assembled in the Compilation of Shah Jo Risalo. which exists in numerous versions and has been translated into English, Urdu, and many other languages. The great poet, mystic, Philosopher and Sufi scholar named Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai died on 1st January 1752. The Shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is in BhitShah.
Translations of the book, “Shah jo Risalo”
Shah jo Risalo was first translated into German scholar in 1866 named Earnest Trump. In the 1860s, Earnest Trump got awestruck by Sindhi language, culture, the Jogis, and singers who used to sang Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s poetry from Shah jo Risalo. With the help of Sindhi scholars, he compiled a selection of the original verses and called it “SHAH JO RISALO” (the message of shah).
It was later translated in the English language by Elsa Kazi, a german lady, the wife of Allama I.I Kazi, who translated selections of SHAH Jo RISALO in English prose. Later in 1940, Dr H.T Sorely, an English scholar learnt the Sindhi language, and published selections from the Shah jo Risalo through Oxford university press entitled “Shah Abdul Latif of Bhit – his poetry Life and times”.
The most recent work (1994) of translation of Shah jo Risalo into English is that of Amena Khamisani, a professor in English Literature at the University of Sindh. Shaikh Ayaz, the famous Sindhi poet, translated Risalo into Urdu language. Risalo is also translated in Punjabi language and more recently French translation was also undertaken by the Cultural Department of Sindh. Part of Risalo is also translated in the Arabic language. There is one more translation of Shah Abdul Latif by the name “Seeking The Beloved” translated by Hari Daryani ‘Dilgir’ a noted Sindhi poet and Anju Makhija. This book was honoured with the Sahitya Academy Award for translation in the year 2012.
Surs, the chapters of Shah jo Risalo
The oldest Publications of Shah Jo Risalo Contained 36 SURS, but later most of the linguists discarded 6 Surs, as their language and content did not match the Shah’s Style. Recently, Dr NABI BUX BALOUCH, a renowned linguist of the Sindhi language, has compiled and printed a new addition after 32 years of research into folk Culture, language and the history of Sindhi language. In which he has modified the Risalo and limited it to 30 Surs.
The Word “SUR” is from Sanskrit word Svara, which means a mode of singing. The Surs are sung as Ragas in Indian classical music. Its ” Ragas” and ” Ragins” are sung at different times of day and night. In Risalo the Surs are named according to their subject matter. The underlying theme is how the individual is to cultivate the godly attributes, negate his ego so as to evolve to a better human being.
The 30 Surs/Chapters included in Shah Jo Risalo are:
- Sur Kalyaan
- Sur Yaman Kalyaan
- Sur Khanbhaat
- Sur Suri Rang
- Sur Samundi
- Sur Sohni
- Sur Sassui Aburi
- Sur Maazuri
- Sur Desi
- Sur Kohyari
- Sur Hussaini
- Sur Lilan Chanesar
- Sur Momal Rano
- Sur Marui
- Sur Kaamod
- Sur Ghattu
- Sur Sorath
- Sur Kedaro
- Sur Sarang
- Sur Assa
- Sur Rippa
- Sur Khahori
- Sur Ramkali
- Sur Kapati
- Sur Purab
- Sur Karayal
- Sur Pirbhati
- Sur Dahar
- Sur Bilawal
- Sur Kamod
These Surs contain Baits Which Shah Latif sang in state of ecstasy. These Baits in the Surs concerning the life stories of his heroines, including; Suhni, Sassui, Lila, Momal, Marui, Nuri and Sorath. They are not in chronological sequences, for the Sufi poet in his state of “Wajd” ecstasy, was concerned with the moments of denouncement in life stories. In which he used allegories to express his mystical experiences.
Heroines in Shah jo Risalo
The heroines of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s Poetry are known as The Eight queen of Sindhi folklore. These eight heroines have been given the status of royalty in Shah Jo Risalo. These eight queens were celebrated throughout Sindh for their positive qualities, honesty, integrity, piety and loyalty towards their beloveds. They are also valued for their bravery and their willingness to risk their lives in the name of love.
The Eight queens mentioned in Shah Jo Risalo are as follows:
- Sorath and
In the poetry of Shah, he has alluded in an elaborate way to these characters of Sindhi folktales and used them as metaphors for high spiritual life.
The Message of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai
Peace, Torrence, Love, and affection is the message of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.
Note: The author was supervised By Mr Farhan Ali Soomro (PhD Scholar) & Teaching Assistant Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management Sciences, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur.
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