SUFISM FOR PEACE

The three-day international Conference on ‘Sufism : Sufi Traditions, Poetry and Philosophy’ was held at India International Centre, New Delhi, on March 18, 19, 20, 2006.

The International Conference was followed by visits to the holy shrines of Gharib Nawaz Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti and other Sufi saints at Ajmer Shareef, and also to shrines in and around Delhi – the holy shrines of Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, Hazrat Khwaja Bakhtiar Kaki and Hazrat Pir Nasiruddin Chirag Dehlavi – on March 21, 22 and 23.

This International Sufi Conference witnessed the participation of about 200 eminent Sufi scholars and experts from 14 countries. It also had soul-stirring performance by eminent vocalist Shanti Hiranand, Gulfam Sabri’s group from Delhi, Baul singers from West Bengal, and Sufi singers Mr. Iqbal Bahu and Dr. Azhar Mehmood Choudhury from Pakistan.

This Conference was the first-ever of its kind held with the objective of reviving the glorious tradition of the subcontinent’s cultural fabric of secularism, inclusiveness, tolerance and pluralism by invoking the Sufi tradition and revisiting its literary-poetic heritage which is a unique civilisational link between India, Pakistan, Bangladesh as also Middle Eastern countries and Central Asia. The aim of the conference was to build understanding among writers, scholars, poets, thinkers, spiritual leaders and social activists about the occasional turmoils in the national and regional life of the people brought about by violence and terrorism due to social, political and religious differences and rivalry.

The Conference deliberations were enriched with intellectual inputs from well-known dignitaries including Mr. V.P. Singh, Dr. Abid Hussain, Dr. Karan Singh, Ms. Ambika Soni, Mr. Pavan K. Varma, Dr. Namwar Singh, Mr. Lalit Mansingh, Dr. Shahid Mehdi, Mr. Kamleshwar and Khwaja Hasan Sani Nizami.

Eminent participants in the Conference included : Mr. M. Afsar Rahbeen, Cultural Attache, Afghanistan Embassy and Mr. Abbas Basiri (from Afghanistan);

Sufi Abu Syed Golam Dastgir, Mr. Mustafa Zaman Abbasi, Mr. Viquar Choudhary, Ms. Asma Abbasi, Mr. Syed Rezaul Karim (from Bangladesh); Prof. Abdullah Alvi, Dr. Mehdi Khawje Piri, Dr. Farrukhzad, Mr. Shafiri Shakaib, Prof. Abdullah Atai (from Iran);

Dr. Maria (from Poland); Dr. Jaswinder Singh (from Germany); Dr. Mahmud Erol Kilic (from Turkey); Mr. Omar Khalidi, Ms. Robin Diallo (from USA); Mr. Gary Dyck (from Canada); Prof. Aazam Abidov, Dr. Nurboy Jabbarov, and H.E. Mr. Sadriddin Suyarov (from Uzbekistan); Dr. Syed Akhtar Hussain Akhtar, Mr. Sibtul Hasan Zaigham, Dr. Shahzad Qaiser, Mrs. Shahida Shahzad, Ms. Bushra Rahman, Prof. M. Siddiq Kalim, Dr. Azhar Mehmood Chowdhry, Mr. Qazi Javed, Prof. Miss Afzal Tauseef, Mr. Mohammad Iqbal Bahoo, Dr. Aslam Farrukhi, Mr. Hamid Mir, Mr. Awais Sheikh, Prof. Ehsan Akbar, Mr. Ghulam Moin-ud-Din, Mr. Haroon-ur-Rashid Haroon Adeem, Mr. Shah Ahmad Saeed Hamadani, Ms. Nusrat Batool, Ms. Iffat Batool, Ms. Qurat-ul-Ain, Mr. Shoaib Ahmad, Dr. Khawaja Muhammad Saeed, Mr. Mohammad Syed, Ms. Bushra Ejaz, Mr. Mohammad Zaman Khan (from Pakistan);

Prof. A. Q. Jaffery, Dr. Abid Hussain, Dr. Afzal Hussain, Dr. Alauddin Ahmad, Prof. Amrik Singh, Dr. Ashok Vajpeyi, Prof. Azizuddin, Mr. Dinesh Misra, Ms. Geetanjali Dey, Dr. H. S. Rissam, Dr. Iqbal Sabir, Prof. Iqtidar Hussain Siddiqui, Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmad Zilli, Dr. Jigar Mohammad, Dr. K.L. Zakir, Dr. Karan Singh, Dr. Lalit Mansingh, Prof. M.P Sharma, Dr. Madhu Trivedi, Prof. Mohammad Amin, Dr. Mohammad Tazeem, Dr. Mirza Mohammad Khizar, Mr. Kamleshwar, Dr. Maqsood Ali Khan, Dr. Maroof Ahmad, Dr. Masud Anwar Alavi, Dr. Meenakshi Khanna, Dr. Mohd. Ishaque, Dr. Monica Mohta, Prof. Namwar Singh, Rev. Dr. Paul Jackson, Mr. Pavan K. Varma, Dr. R. Bahaguna, Prof. Riyaz Punjabi, Ms. Ruqiya Zainuddin, Dr. S. MashkoorA. Chishti, Prof. S. Shahid Mehdi, Prof. S.A.H. Abidi, Dr. S. H. Quasmi, Prof. S.N. Jafri, Prof. S. S. Noor, Dr. Saeed Naqvi, Prof. Shahabuddin Iraqi, Prof. Shaikh Abdul Latif, Dr. S. S. Singh,

Smt.Shanti Hiranand, an eminent disciple of Begum Akhtar, with her troupe, singing devotional songs at the Inaugural Session of the International Conference on Sufism organised by FOSWAL

Mr. Hamid Mir, eminent journalist of Pakistan, moderating a session

The eclectic audience included representation from more than 30 countries

Mr. I. D. Gaur, Dr. Syeda S. Hameed, Ms. Tarannum Riyaz, Dr. Wahajuddin Alvi, Prof. Zaheer Hussain Jafri, and several others (from India