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The legend of Shah Ghazi of Karachi

By Aroosa Masroor (June 20, 2010)
While a good portion of the city’s residents felt compelled to move from the coastline, worried about the destruction Phet might bring, hundreds flocked to Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine with their binoculars as if to challenge the cyclone.
“This place was full of people,” says the shrine’s caretaker Sardar Ahmed, pointing towards the corridor outside the shrine that overlooks Clifton beach. Much to the amusement of these visitors, the cyclone eventually fizzled out, an act most people attribute to the saint’s blessings.
“We knew the cyclone would not strike Karachi. It never has. Only those who have faith in this saint firmly believe this,” says Ahmed, who now refers to the saint as Shehenshah.
He also rubbishes the claim that a wall of the shrine broke due to the high-pressure winds and heavy rainfall on June 5, a night […]
June 25th, 2010|India-Pakistan History, Religion, SouthAsia, Sufism|4 Comments

The sea, the sea – a holiday at the beach

I wasn’t sure if I had posted this old piece here. Just found it in my records and thought I should share it….

The end of year vacation is peculiar: it lets one sum up the changes -planetary and otherwise – of a year and muse on the year to come. This year’s finale had to be calm as the year was exhausting; and it had to be close to the sea since I had recently finished reading Iris Murdoch’s fabulous novel, The Sea, The Sea (not to be confused with John Banville’s Booker-winner The Sea, which, as the title suggests, is only half as impressive).

Murdoch’s writing and the right constellation led me to a relatively unknown beach resort at Luzon on the shores of the South China Sea. The area south of the Taiwan Strait all the way up to a point near the equator, including Hainan Island, comprises South China Sea. This was historically the beginning of the ‘oceanic silk route.’ Silk trade during the Han dynasty took place on this route that began at Southern China, crossed India and Ceylon, the Red Sea and finally, like all roads, led to Rome. I wasn’t going for the history, I must admit, I was inspired by Murdoch again, who wrote “All artists dream of a silence which they must enter, as some creatures return to the sea to spawn.” Apparently even non-artists can dream of silence, so forgive my pretensions. […]

July 20th, 2008|Personal, Published in The Friday Times, Travel|4 Comments