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Published on 18 Feb 2011 | over 6 years ago

The real name of "Lal Shahbaz Qalandar" was Syed Muhammad Usman who was born in 1177 AD in Marwand, Iran. His father, Syed Ibrahim Kabiruddin, was a virtuous and pious dervish, and his mother was a high-ranking princess.

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is an overwhelmingly popular patron saint cherished and adored alike by Hindus and Muslims of Sind. He was a great missionary, mystic, scholar, philologist and poet. Several books in Persian and Arabic on philology and poetry are attributed to him. He was "Lal" (red) because of his red attire, "Shahbaz" due to his noble and divine spirit that soared like a falcon higher and higher in the boundless heavens and "Qalandar" since he belonged to Qalandria order of Sufism and was saintly, exalted and intoxicated with love for eternal being of God.

The shrine around his tomb, built in 1356, gives a dazzling look with its Sindhi kashi tiles, mirror work and two gold-plated doors - one donated by the late Shah of Iran, the other by the late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The inner sanctum is about 100 yards square with the silver canopied grave in the middle. On one side of the marble floor is a row of about 12 inch high folding wooden stands on which are set copies of Quran for devotees to read. On the other side, beside a bundle of burning agarbattis (joss sticks), are rows of diyas (small oil lamps) lighted by Hindu devotees. The Hindus regarded him as the incarnation of Bhartihari, the saintly brother of King Vikramaditya, who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at the venue where Lal Shahbaz's shrine is situated with all its grandeur and glory.
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