HYDERABAD, Dec 28: Sindh Minister for Culture Sassui Palijo has said that her ministry is planning to gradually convert Bhit Shah into an international cultural city.
Plans to establish the Institute of Research and Music Academy and an art gallery depicting seven ‘surs’ (themes) of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s poetry in the historical town were steps in that direction, she said.
She was speaking to journalists after visiting the shrine of the great Sufi poet during the saint’s 269th annual Urs celebrations at Bhit Shah on Friday.
She said that a cultural complex and an institute of ceramic (Kashi) would also be established at Bhit Shah to promote and preserve Sindhi handicrafts. The culture department had launched different development schemes in the town, which included beautification of Karar Lake, repair and renovation of Shah Latif auditorium, Shah Jo Bagh, Excellence Centre, Bhit Shah Rest House and Shah Abdul Latif Museum where six new statues representing six surs (themes) of Shah’s poetry had been put up, she said.
Ms Palijo said that work on the translation of Shah Jo Risalo into French, German, Spanish and other international languages would begin in 2013. It would greatly help promote Sufism, tolerance, love and affection among people of the country and international communities, she said.
“We can confront the present-day challenges of terrorism and extremism only through the teachings of Sufism as propagated by Shah’s poetry,” she said.
The objective behind holding an international literary conference on Shah Saheb was to project his message internationally. Scholars from America, India, Iran, Germany, England, Canada and other countries would participate in the conference and deliberate on Shah’s poetry, she said.
On this occasion, she said, 17 books published by the culture department would also be launched. Work on translation of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry into Sindhi was in progress and its book would be launched in 2013, she said.
She claimed that the department had broken all previous records in the field of research into, and publication of, Shah’s poetry and history.
Her department had also taken care all artists, writers, poets and artisans of Sindh and provided them financial help from the endowment fund, she said. Ms Palijo said the culture department had decided to establish Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto chair at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Mirza Qaleech Baig chair at the Sindh University, Jamshoro, and Dr N.A. Baloch chair at the Karachi University and work on the projects was in progress.
Sindh Assembly speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, MPA Farheen Mughal, Ameer Ali Shah Jamote, secretary culture Abdul Aziz Uqaili and other dignitaries accompanied Ms Palijo during her visit to the shrine.