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Purpose of posterity: Book on Baba Gundi’s life hits shelves

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GILGIT: A new book on the life and times of Sufi saint Baba Gundi has hit the shelves across Gilgit-Baltistan.

Hazrat Baba Gundi, written by Asmatullah, was launched in Gilgit on Saturday. The ceremony was attended by Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Secretary Tahir Hussain and many historians, researchers and literary figures attended the event.

According to Asmatullah, the 50-page book is his attempt to document the life of the Sufi mystic.

“When I received basic information about Baba Gundi for the first time in 1972, I knew I had to document his life and history,” he said.

While talking to The Express Tribune, Israruddin Israr, the editor of the book, said the book aims to put a spotlight on Baba Gundi and the times in which he lived. Hazrat Baba Gundi has been written for the purpose of posterity and seeks to inform future generations about the saint.

“G-B is a society where writing books is a rare practice,” said Israr, who is also a columnist.

According to Israr, he decided to help the author edit the book after he realised the life and teachings of the famous saint had not been preserved in written form.

“So far, whatever we hear or know has only been shared by word of mouth,” he said. “It is about time an attempt is made to keep [our] history intact for future generations.”

Preserving the past

Hundreds of people from various parts of G-B visit Baba Gundi’s shrine every year for spiritual benefaction and many functions are also held at the site every year to pray tribute to the saint.

The preacher left behind a plethora of stories that have been passed on from generation to generation. But they had not been documented until Asmatullah’s book was released.

Baba Gundi, whose real name was Muhammad Baqar, was a saint who migrated from Afghanistan to Gojal Valley in G-B to preach Islam centuries ago. His mission took him to many places and he finally settled in Chupurson – a village in Gojal Valley. He was buried in the village.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2016

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