The 973rd annual Urs of Hazrat Ali Hajveri, famously known as Data Ganj Bakhsh, which concluded recently in Lahore, had the devotees of the 11th-century Persian Sufi saint swooning all the way. Each year, the Data Darbar is witness to entrancing images of the passion of the visitors who descend on the illuminated shrine from different parts of the country. This year was no different, albeit for the fact that the proceedings were conducted under strict vigilance of the Punjab Police and volunteers.
Not that it could deter the followers of Data Saheb from participating in the celebrations that included qawwali sessions, mehfil-e-samaa, qirat (recitations), congregations, and milk sabeels and, of course, the langar. Diyas (clay lamps) were lighted and the malangs danced to the beat of the dhol. The dance (‘dhamal’ in vernacular) basically involves fierce head-banging which gets fiercer as the dhol beat becomes faster. Some of them were seen wearing strings composed of metal bells of different sizes, while others were holding a conch that they would blow, and thus create a peculiar sound.