Mianwali (Indo-Pak international border), March 14: Since ages various shrines devoted to Sufi saints have played a major role in promoting communal harmony regardless of their religion.
Pir Baba Sheikh Bramh's Dargah at the Indo-Pakistan international border near Mianwali Village in Khemkaran is one such Sufi shrine that has always brought Hindus and Muslims close to each other irrespective of their residence being on either side of the border. Villagers here say that Pir Baba Sheikh Bramh was a disciple of Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh Guru. Thousands of devotees from India and Pakistan converge here to offer their obeisance at Pir Baba Sheikh Bramh's Dargah on every Thursday, the day devoted to Gurus. But the sight evokes emotion when one looks at the deep reverence with which people wait for their turn.
Devotees belonging to the Indian side are frisked by the Border Security Force (BSF) Jawans before being allowed an entry in the "Dargah" through the fencing gates, which are kept open for devotees up to 5 o'clock in the evening.
The devotees from Pakistan, who cannot cross the international border, offer their obeisance by handing over their offerings to Border Security Force's jawans. These offerings are handed over to volunteers who take it inside the Dargarh and return them to be handed over to the devotees from Pakistan. .
It is believed all prayers are answered at this famous Dargah.
Officials of Baba Sheikh Bramh Memorial Trust, however, recall the time before 1984 when Pakistani nationals were also allowed to offer prayers at the Pir Baba Bramh's Dargah.
Following the increase in tension between India and Pakistan, the BSF jawans started keeping a tight vigil. People are not allowed to freely intermingle.
Shamsher Singh Sandhu, the Dargah's organiser says that during India-Pakistan conflict, the devotees from Pakistan were denied access to this sacred place.
But today the situation has changed, as both the countries are coming closer to each other. It is felt that devotees from Pakistan should be allowed to enter the Dargah.
Sant Kumar, a devotee from Abohar said that he had heard a lot about the Dargah which was an example of communal harmony.
Legend has it that Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh Guru, had visited Sheik Bramh on his way to Mecca. The latter was the eleventh successor to a Muslim holy man Sheikh Fareed.