VISAKHAPATNAM: It is said that festivities are the key to the heart of people and the Urs-e-Mubarak (death anniversary) of Baba Paharwale Aulia of the popular Taaj Bagh Dargah at Akkayyapalem is scripting a story of incredible love and communal harmony in Port City. Cultivating an attitude of concern for fellow human beings, the dargah is creating an atmosphere of religious harmony and universal brotherhood, making Vizag that much lovelier to live in.
Decorated in bright fairy lights and laser beams on Friday evening, the Taaj Bagh dargah at Akkayyapalem looked most welcoming. A closer look revealed people, elegantly dressed adults and children praying together, heads bowed in reverence. Amidst the fragrance of the incense sticks and flowers, and the general aura of peace, GV Krishna, executive member of Baba Tajuddin Trust committee explains how the dargah has been organising the ‘Urs’ since 33 years.
The president of the trust, Rama Krishna, is a Hindu, with other members being a mixture of Muslims, Hindus and Christians.
“This dargah is a secular place. Our Baba was a Muslim, but he treated everyone alike. We’re a mixture here and religion does not matter. This is a spiritual hospital, a place of peace devoted to the service to humanity,” Rama Krishna explains.
Baba Paharwale Aulia was born in 1900 in Kerala and was a disciple of Baba Tajuddin Aulia from Nagpur, the ‘Holy Wali Allah’ (Saint of God) who was known for his curative powers. It is claimed that Mahatma Gandhi also received the blessings of Holy Wali Allah.
Baba Paharwale takes on from where Baba Tajuddin left off, coming to Visakhapatnam in 1950, and eventually settling down in the then hilly slopes of what is now called Akkayyapalem, in 1954. Having devoted his life to the service of people, Baba Paharwale breathed his last in 1983, with the dargah housing his tomb. To this day, his legacy lives on, through the 40-year-old committee.
“This is more of a Sufist culture where the death anniversary is celebrated as it means our Baba is now with God. We have been celebrating it for the last 33 years,” says MM Khan, a member of the committee. He adds: “We’ve got Hindus, Muslims and Christians coming to the dargah. It’s like ‘Raste alag alag hai, hamari manzil ek hai,’ (The paths are different, but the destination is the same).”
Proving the adage in every sense is the eclectic mix of devotees who thronged the dargah, praying at the tomb of the Baba, and later getting together for dinner after the prayers.