Bangladeshi writer and human rights activist Shahriar Kabir is tracing in a documentary the legacy of the Sufi movement and Bhakti cult through five countries to drive home the message of secular humanism and amity across religions.
"The Sufi trail began in Turkey and continued through Iran, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Along the way it picked up a lot of influence from Hinduism, Buddhism and local traditions and became bigger," the veteran war crimes researcher told IANS from West Bengal's Murshidabad where he is shooting a part of the hour-long documentary.
"I want to highlight secular humanism. Religious extremism has reared its head all over the world. Although we are fighting religious extremism politically and culturally, we have to address it theologically. No religion teaches one to kill," he explained.
Kabir has already shot relevant portions in Pakistan.
"Hinglaj is an important Hindu pilgrimage place in Balochistan and I was surprised to see Muslims worshipping there. I intend to capture this amity and highlight the tolerance which has been in existence since ages," Kabir said.
In Murshidabad, Kabir is set to meet the bauls, the wandering minstrels of Bengal, to underscore the significance of their faith: a synthesis of unorthodox Sufi strain in Islam and the idea of Bhakti or devotion.
This apart, on Kabir's itinerary are north India, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, south India.
"It will take at least a year to complete the project," he added.
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