17. Imam's Farman on Amir Pir Mela
In the Mehmani of Itmadi Ghulam Hussain Alinani, the President of the Council of Tando Muhammad Khan, Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah said in Karachi on April 18, 1920, â€œ You have taken much trouble to build a Majalis Hall on the (hill of) Amir Pir, an excellent work you have done. It is now hot season; therefore, I cannot come there, but will come on next trip in winter. Now you and the members of the Council visit in winter season to perform its opening ceremony. This is the territory of Sind, having such good mela, but its untimely celebration is not good. It is not better when the epidemic of cholera breaks out in such season, and sometimes (potable) water is also not available, causing many hardships. For example, the majalis in Poona was recently organized. I myself have established the majalis, but due to the hardships faced by the followers, I wound up the majalis in Poona. In Sind, the place for the mela is an ideal, therefore, I do not close it. I order that the mela should be celebrated in cool and moderate weather. The mela of Pir Amir should start on 15th November, when the climate is neither hot nor cold. The mela of Pir Amir should be performed on that time. The mela of Pir Amir was celebrated on 15th Shaban (Shabâ€™i Bharat), it should be now on 15th November. Consider 15th November as the Bharatâ€™s date, and perform your vows and pledges relating to the Bharat on that occasion. I order to all that if you want to have a trip of Amir Pir, you must go on 15th November.â€
a) The Imam admired the services of Itmadi Ghulam Hussain Alinani for constructing a Majalis Hall in the barren site of Amir Pir. The Imam did not like that the mela should be confined to reverence in its entirety, therefore, the permission for the Majalis Hall was granted to summon the visitors close to their religious precepts as well.
b) The Imam retained the tradition of the mela in Amir Pir in 1920 provided it was celebrated in winter season to mitigate sufferings of the visitors, who wished to attend it.
c) The Imam cited an example of the annual majalis of Poona, which he established in 1903 and wound up after few years because of the hardships of the visitors. It was however merged with other annual majalis. In sum, the annual majalis were established, wound up, merged or substituted according to the circumstances. On the other hand, the condition in Amir Pir Mela was quite different. It executed role of a fertile site for socialization. It was not closed in 1920 because in its very nature, it could not be substituted or merged.
It is also probable that the winding up of the Amir Pir Mela was not ordered on April 18, 1920 because the Imam was to extirpate the growing plant of the veneration in the Hyder Shahâ€™ji Kothi in Karachi on May 3, 1920. Its drastic action was necessary more than Amir Pir Mela. Reversely, the mela in Amir Pir provided a venue to solve social and religious problems of the Ismailis, therefore, no measure against it was taken in 1920.
d) The Ismailis, rather Islam have no concept of Shabâ€™i Bharat on 15th Shaban â€“ the lunar date falling in summer and winter. In order to celebrate the mela regularly in winter, the Imam fixed the date of 15th November â€“ a solar date.
e) The Imam emphasized to perform henceforward the vows on 15th November by considering it the vows of Shabâ€™i Bharat. Be focused a point in mind that the Imam indirectly initiated to relieve the Ismailis from the bondage of the culture of Shabâ€™i Bharat.
The tendency of making vows was the causative factor of the gathering in Amir Pir. In the first phase, the Imam tactfully shifted the vows from Shabâ€™i Bharat to Amir Pir mela. When the time matured in next phase, he made several farmans against the vows. One can glean from the procedure the Imam had followed that the vows and reverences apart from the socialization in Amir Pir Mela were immaterial practices.
f) In the above farman, the Imam did not make a slight reference of the cave and the legend thereof. Besides, the farman clearly refers to the mela on the hill, where the Majalis Hall exists, but not down the Soneri lake, where the cave exists. The Imam also did not approve the fantastic legends associated therewith.