Saturday, 12 February 2011

Incense At Mira Datar Dargah

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

I don't normally post my work so quickly, but having woken up early to follow the latest on Egypt's revolution on the BBC and with some time on my hands before breakfast, I thought of adding this photograph.

It was made at the Sufi shrine of Mira Datar in northern Gujarat. Mira Datar is considered to be an important martyr in India's Sufi lore, and it's said that he was decapitated in a battle with a regional king of the Bhils....possibly during Sultan Ahmed Shah's reign in Ahmedabad.

His status as a martyr gave his shrine an immense importance to Muslims (Sufis or not) and Hindus, as well as Sikhs. A truly syncretic environment. Mira Datar is reputed to cure various maladies, and I saw many pilgrims clearly afflicted with neurological issues, with chains around their ankles and hands to prevent them from causing harm to themselves and others...and others convulsed in the paroxysms of trances, supplicating the Sufi saint for deliverance from whatever ailed them.

In the above photograph, one of the pilgrims/devotees inhales the special incense deeply into his lungs to purge the evil spirits from his body.

In due time, I shall produce a multimedia photo-film of my photographs and audio made at the Dargah of Mira Datar.