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Dream grapevine sways Kashmiris towards shrines

Bilal Ahmad

Srinagar, April 24, 2008:

Hundreds of people, especially women, thronged shrines after rumours of looming doom over valley youth traversed Kashmir.

Grapevine had it that an ascetic Peer Ahad Sahib of Sopore popularly known as Ahad Bub had dreamt that an impending doom loomed over young men who did not have any brothers.

The panacea, again a rumour, was to collect seven fistfuls or cups of rice and seven rupees from seven different homes and offer it at any of the many shrines of Shiekh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani aka Dastigeer Sahib, to ward off the “danger” posed to single sons.

However, nobody confirmed that Ahad Sahib had dreamt such a dream or he had actually told anybody to visit a shrine.

Ahad Sahib has not spoken for the last around four decades when he shunned everything from his job to the clothes on his body including the thong.

But lack of confirmation seemed to least bother the people who made beelines to these shrines jamming traffic on the routes around them.

A young women, who gave only her one name, Razia, carrying a three month old claimed to be not that superstitious but “why take a chance with my first born when it is a question of a few ounces of rice,” she said.

The few ounces of rice, people were offering at the Dastigeer Sahibs shrine at Khanyar in old town Srinagar accumulated to tonnes as large heaps of the cereal continued to mount and had to be removed to warehouses.

The rumours were accompanied by other “details” such as, Ahad Sahib was sitting in some river and was refusing to come out while others said that he had sequestered himself in the cave shrine at Ashmuqam in south Kashmir.

Ahad Sahib has been in his home at Sopore for the past more than four days, say his devotees.

The people on the other hand, refused to listen.

Even the plea by the Grand Mufti of Kashmir Moluana Bashir-u-din failed to dissuade people from taking the rumours seriously.

After all it is the question of your only son.

People in the subcontinent go to any limits to get a son.

They believe only a male child continues the family as he is the carrier of family name.

Ahad Sahib’s son, Mushtaq Ahmed is a vet who usually keeps away from the “spiritual affairs” of his father also issued an appeal requesting people not to believe these rumours.

“He (Ahad Sahib) has not spoken a full sentence for years and nobody has heard him say anything about the alleged dream or about visiting any shrine,” Dr Ahmed said.



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