When Hindu and Muslim brothers play the unique Holi of Gulab and Gulal together at the shrine of Dewa Sharif in the Barabanki area of Uttar Pradesh, the magnificence of the Mazar multiplies. This Mazar is owned by Sufi saint Haji Waris Ali Saheb, and the Holi celebrations here are well-known around the globe. Holi is celebrated here by people of many religions from all over the world.
Haji Waris Ali Shah used to think that all religions are built on feelings of love and dedication, according to Sufi saint Ghani Shah, who lives at the Dargah. “In Barabanki, Sarkar initiated this practice of playing Holi with members from various groups, and it has continued ever since.”
During the procession, people of various faiths hurl colours and flower petals at each other, culminating in the Dargah of Haji Waris Ali Shah, a 26th generation descendent of the Prophet Mohammed.
Thousands of people, including Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs, congregated to celebrate Holi on the white campus of the Dewa Sharif shrine, which turned yellow, green, and pink. Although the actual date of the first Holi celebration at Dewa Sharif is unknown, the festival’s vibrant colours still rain on this shrine every year.
Hindus and Muslims equally admire Waris Ali Shah. People of various faiths come here to seek blessings, and on any given day, there are as many Hindus and Sikhs, as there are Muslims. Haji Waris Ali Shah was born into a family of Hussaini Syeds in Dewa in the early 1800s. Qurban Ali Shah, Waris Ali Shah’s father, was also a Sufi saint. The Warsi order of Sufism was founded by Waris Ali Shah. He travelled extensively and welcomed new members into his spiritual Warsi order.
Millions of individuals of various faiths were welcomed into Waris Ali’s community. Thousands of Hindus, including Sadhus and Fakirs from various sects, paid their respects to him and his order. “You and I are the same,” he usually said when they arrived. He did not counsel non-Muslims to abandon their faith; rather, he encouraged them to pursue it with more enthusiasm and commitment.
Haji Waris Ali Shah paid pilgrimages to Mecca on multiple occasions throughout his life, and during his general travels in Europe, he paid visits to the Sultan of Turkey and Bismarck of Berlin. When he visited England, he was granted an audience with Queen Victoria.
“Jo Rab hain, wo Ram hain,” (Allah and Ram are one). For generations, thousands of Hindus and Muslims have celebrated Holi together at Saint’s holy shrine.
Unlike Shahjahanpur, where 43 mosques were covered with tarpaulin to promote peace and religious harmony, it is maybe the only dargah in the country where Hindus and Muslims celebrate Holi with tremendous enthusiasm every year.
To celebrate Holi, people go from all over the nation, including Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Delhi, Kolkata, and others, to Dewa village in Barabanki, about 52 kilometres from Lucknow. The event begins with a procession from Qaumi Ekta Gate, as is customary.
Thousands of Muslims and Hindus from all across the country then congregate at the Holy Shrine complex to play Holi with Gulal and flower petals. Women and children sprinkle Gulab and kewra attar water on the followers to commemorate this unique community peace tie.
When riots of colour flood the air at the dargah complex, security personnel are scarcely visible, and people forget about the Covid-19 regulation. “There has never been an unsavoury incident at the Dargah. Here, brothers do not quarrel but hug each other” a member of the dargah’s staff beamed.
Hindu devotees from all across the country exchange ‘Gujhiyas’ and embrace one another to strengthen their bonds even further. “I’ve been coming here for the last 30 years to celebrate Holi,” Manjeet Singh from Haryana said.
Dargah Dewa Sharif is one of the holy destinations that ‘jayareens’ (Muslim pilgrims) visiting Khwaza Ajmer Sharief always include in their religious itineraries. “Urs” is held every year, with Hindus outnumbering Muslims to pay respect to Saint Haji Wari Ali Shah.
Also Checkout: Indian Couple Who Celebrated a Blockchain Wedding