Varsha Vidya Vilas, Jyoti Badekar, Shabana Ansari and Nasreen Contractor lead the press conference of Haji Ali Sab ke Liye (HASKL) at the Marathi Patrakar Sangh at Azad Maidan, today. A documentary was released of the group’s visit to Ajmer Sharif dargah on May 16 which shows the entry of women into the mazaar of Sufi saint Chisti.
Haji Ali Sab ke Liye (HASKL) members talk about their experience at Ajmer dargah. Pic/Bipin Kokate
"We have not yet received a reply to our 14 questions from last week. Now after going toAjmerwe know how thousands who come in faith are welcomed irrespective of gender or religion. That is true Sufism. The National Muslim Women’s Welfare Society, Chisti foundation and People'sUnionfor Civil Liberties (PUCL) are supporting us. Many more organizations will extend their support soon," said Vilas.
The crowds were huge, but Badekar says there was no pushing and the women felt safe and had a divine experience. “Haji Ali is spoiling the name of Islam by propagating a patriarchical mindset. The Sufi tradition is kept alive with families coming together and worshipping. This documentary brings it all out clearly.”
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Stating that many people share their problems with the saints, Shabana Ansari said, “At Ajmer it was great to see women entering the mazaar and feeling that peace from Chisti baba, at Haji Ali too till 2011 that was possible for women. Mumbai is said to be a forward city, but when it comes to this aspect we are still backward.”
Nasreen Contractor from the group who lived near Haji Ali for many years till she shifted recently shared, “The Sufi tradition always calls out to the human spirit and there is no distinction. More people need to go toAjmerand see what it is all about, and then they will truly know what Haji Ali trustees are stopping women from experiencing.”
The six minute documentary had Dr Syed Liaqat Hussain Moini sharing his views on Sufism and how Haji Ali should allow women into the mazaar. The equal rights activists said that they had speed posted their questions to Haji Ali’s trustees after they refused to accept the letter at the dargah office. They said that they would share the documentary also with the trustees and also upload it on YouTube so that the common people can see how women are allowed into the mazaar atAjmerdargah.