Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai
A commemorative postage stamp on the 245th Annual Urs and 300th Year of the Birth of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai – 1989 :
Issued by Pakistan
Issued on Sep 16, 1989
Issued for : To commemorate this august occasion Pakistan Post Office is issuing one commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 2/- denomination on 14 Safar 1410 AH (corresponding to September 16, 1989 AD).
This is the third set of stamp issued by Pakistan Post Office on Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. The first set in this series was issued on June 25, 1964 and consisted of one stamp of 50 Paisa; while the second set was released on October 8, 1987 and comprised of one stamp of 80 Paisa value.
Designer : Adil Salahuddin
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Denomination : Rs. 2/-
Colour : Multicolour
Size of stamp : 32.50 x 44.50 mm
Size of print : 28.50 x 40.50 mm
Perforation : 13C
Quantity : 2 Million
Number of stamp in a sheet : 32 (thirty two) stamps (8×4) rows
Process of printing : Litho Offset
Printer : Pakistan Security Printing Corporation
- Shah Abdul Latif, the most popular and versatile poet of Sindhi language and the greatest exponent of Sindhi Sufi thought and Sindhi traditions, was born in 1689 AD in Hala Haveli, presently a township in Hyderabad District. By descent he belonged to an already well-known and highly esteemed Jararpota Sayyad family of Sind which also had a traditional reputation as having produced poets. Shah Karim was one of his ancestors.
- The themes and the contents of his poetry show the great dimensions of his genius for Sindhi poetry and overshadow the formal education of his times he must received which at that time included the study of Quran and Theology and learning of Arabic and Persian languages.
- His sufistic longings took him to Lasbela, and parts of Makran in Balochistan, which brought him in contact with all sections of the people, the poor villagers, artisans, farmers, the sons of the desert in the South-East of Sindh, and the mountains in its west, where he discovered the life and traditions, worries and sorrows, the hopes and aspirations of the people : thus also he came to explore the spiritual side of other modes of life, particularly Hinduism, and associated himself with the sadhus of various Hindu sects, and visited the Ganja Mount in Sindh, Mount Girnar in Kathiawar, and Nani in Makran. The variety of his experiences made him acutely aware of the ‘Essence’ beyond the veil of the ceremonials : the ‘Essence’, according to him, consists of Love for the Creator and the fellow human beings. He retired to lonely prayers and long solitudes to experience the truth at the higher spiritual levels : from these he emerged imbued with love for humanity. He imparted his experiences to others through his verses which eventually reached every hut and hamlet in the country; he built a new abode for himself and his associates on Sand-dune called ‘Bhit’ in Sindhi and thereby came to be known to the people all around as Bhitai i.e. of the Bhit.
- The years of his life marked the turning point in the history of the Indo-Pak Subcontinent and also that of Sindh. By the time he was 18 years old, Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir died in 1707 and his death marked the disintegration of the Mughal Empire and Sindh, which was a part of the Mughal Dominions, gained independence under the dynastic rule of the Kalhoras which through their religious leadership and influence now gained the temporal power. Latif was 50 years old when Nadir Shah sacked and devastated Delhi and over-ran Sindh, and Latif was 58 when Ahmed Shah Abdali invaded India and annexed Sindh. Shah Abdul Latif, who had already been moved by the pitiful conditions of the masses of the areas now further attached himself to the common folk whose ideals and ways of life he proceeded to uphold and advocate through his poetry.
- His father Shah Habib died in 1742 A.D. and Shah Abdul Latif became the head of his house but more so as a reverend ‘Saint of Bhit’ aged 53. For the next 10 years Bhit was the reverend sanctuary of the Saint and his associates, an abode for the faqirs, and the place of pilgrimage for his followers. During these years he, in all probability composed the bulk of his poems containing his social and spiritual experiences. He died in 1752 A.D., but by that time the echo of his sweet melodies from Bhit resounded all over Sind and had already endeared the Soul-touching verses of the poet to all sections of the people, the Muslims and the Hindus, the poor and the rich alike.
- If hundreds of suns were to arise,
And eighty four moons were to surprise,
By Allah, without the Beloved’s face,
Darkness there would be, without a ray’s trace.Who knows before dying to be annihilated,
They will not be conquered, but resurrected,
Such ones, indeed, will live through Eternity,
Who have learnt, in this life, the secret of immorality.
The gallows are indeed an ornament,
And for the lovers a final fulfilment,
To falter or flee would be a disgrace,
For those that are bent to tribulations face,
To boldly welcome and great annihilation
is, indeed a lover’s eternal destination.
If yourself you a moth call,
Let the flame in extinction fall,
The fire has burnt many a one,
You with yourself the fire burn,
Learn the art of fire-extinguishing,
Let not the world know its reckoning.
(Contributed by: The Secretary, The Culture & Tourism, Government of Sindh).
- The 300th year of the birth and the 245th Urs celebrations (14-16 Safar 1410 A.H.) of Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai are being inaugurated at Bhit by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
- Issued by The Director General, Pakistan Post Office Department, Islamabad.