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Bulleh Shah – A Punjabi Sufi Poet, Humanist and Philosopher

Bulleh Shah was an internationally acclaimed Punjabi Sufi poet, humanist, and philosopher who greatly advanced and practiced Sufi tradition of Punjabi poetry. His kalam is still immensely popular around the globe.

His poetry expresses a yearning to return to God. Additionally, it condemns Hindu and Muslim bigotry and ritual practices.

1.Bulleh Shah Aao Saiyo Ral Deyo Ni Wadhai

Bulleh Shah was a legendary Punjabi Sufi poet, humanist, and philosopher born in 1680 to Uch village in Bahawalpur district (now part of Pakistan). His poetry epitomizes and advances Sufi tradition within Punjabi poetry kalam tradition – speaking about life, love and faith through its narrative style verse. He remains one of the greatest Punjabi kalam poets today with poetry that portrays all these aspects perfectly.

His poetry also explores the turbulent environment in Punjab while at the same time reflecting his search for God, while remaining accessible and simple enough for everyone to relate to. This simplicity is one reason for his immense popularity.

His poetry was highly revered among Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike and used in numerous Bollywood songs and musical pieces.

His poetry embodied his deep affection for both motherland and people, teaching us to appreciate the beauty and small pleasures in life, including forgiveness of others as he himself was subject to hatred and oppression at Aurangzeb’s hands. Banda Singh Bairagi (guru of Guru Gobind Singh) tried convincing him not to take revenge for Aurangzeb killing his two sons by campaigning for revenge on innocent Muslims as Aurangzeb had used similar techniques against innocent Sikhs in India too. He warned Banda Singh Bairagi of imminent Muslim massacre by Aurangzeb.

2. Lena Ki Sir Tupi Tar Ke Hoo?

Bulleh Shah was a Sufi poet, humanist, and philosopher living during the 17th century in Punjabi society. His life overlapped with other notable Punjabi Sufi poets such as Waris Shah and Sachal Sarmast; his poetry combined Islam, Sufism and Ishq elements; its theme being yearning to return back to God while simultaneously seeking spiritual enlightenment of soul; Kafi poetry was his main form but other genres included Bara-Maha and Siharfi poetry were written also.

He is widely revered among both Pakistanis and Indians alike for his poetry, which often makes its way into movies or music albums as soundtracks or song lyrics. Especially renowned is his romantic poetry which expresses emotion beautifully.

He is also an outspoken critic of Hindu and Muslim bigotry and rituals, using several verses from his poetry as tools of protest by both sides. Furthermore, his poetry has been rendered into various musical genres, from rock to fusion – including Pakistani rock band Junoon performing an interpretation of Bulle Shah Ki Jana in rock style; Ali Zafar later sang several of its verses under the moniker Chal Buleya on both Total Siyapaa and Pakistan Idol albums and also in 2014.

3. Hun Kis Theen

Bulleh Shah’s poetry has been used in popular songs in both India and Pakistan. A housing community in Kasur, Pakistan was named after him, while one important road in Lahore is known as Bulleh Shah Road. A Punjab government minister also frequently mentioned him when speaking of him during speeches while the slogan of Pakistan Peoples Party (“Roti Kapra aur Makan”) is taken from one of his poems.

Baba Bulleh Shah used poetry as a powerful weapon against religious fanaticism and bigotry at his time, as well as casteism. His poem Dama Dam Mast Qalandar became a famous Sufi song sung by such artists as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, and Laal (band).

Syed Abdullah Shah Qadri, more popularly known as Bulleh Shah or Baba Bullhe Shah was a Muslim Punjabi philosopher, reformer, poet who lived during the 17th century in Punjab (present-day Pakistan). Known as an mystic and considered as one of the forebearers of Punjabi Enlightenment; his philosophy promoted humanism, equality and tolerance while criticizing replications beliefs as well as Ulama authorities; furthermore he defied powerful religious, political and social institutions on his journey towards finding God.

4. Bandeya Ho

Bulleh Shah’s philosophy and poetry are widely popular across India, Pakistan and beyond. His verses often address social issues with an appeal for peace, love and forgiveness; typically using four stages of Sufism: Shariat (Path), Tariqat (Observance), Haqiqat (Truth) and Marfat (Union). Bulleh Shah is best-known for offering counsel to Banda Singh Bairagi regarding Aurangzeb’s death wherein he tried convincing him that what fell upon Guru Gobind Singh’s sons also hit innocent Muslims too – an approach which helped prevent the inevitable slaughtering of innocent Muslim lives from going unpunished. Bulleh Shah was well respected throughout all religions spanning Hinduism Muslims Sikhs alike he offered wise counsel that the same sword fell upon all.

Bulleh Shah maintained an extraordinary connection to the people of Punjab throughout his life. A legend in Sufism, his poetry captured beautifully how people search for God. Living during an age in transition between 18th and 19th century Punjabi Sufism reached its zenith, Bulleh Shah served as a prime example.

Farah Zala’s rendition of Bandeya Ho, taken from one of Bulleh Shah’s poems, has become one of the most beloved and heart-rending tunes to be featured in films and television shows, including Wedding Pullav (2015). This emotionally moving tune highlights the strength of spoken language.

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