Baba Bulleh Shah – A Brief Biography
Undoubtedly, Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah is the “King of Sufi poetry”. A humanist, Sufi poet, philosopher, teacher, rebel, and internationalist, Baba Bulleh Shah was truly a legend.
Early life and background:
Bulleh Shah was born in 1680, in the small village of Uch, Bahawalpur, Pakistan. His ancestors had migrated from Bukhara in modern Uzbekistan. He relocated to Malakwal with his parents at a very early age. Bulleh Shah received his early education from Pandoke and later moved to Kasur for higher education. Maulana Mohiyuddin was his teacher. Eminent Sufi saint, Shah Inayat Qadiri was his spiritual teacher and he played a vital role in developing his love for Sufism. Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah and his family descend directly from the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.).
Poetry Style of Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah:
Bulleh Shah lived during the same period as of Sindhi Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. His lifetime also extended with the Punjabi poet Waris Shah of Heer Ranjha fame, and the Sindhi Sufi poet Sachal Sarmast.
Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah practiced the Sufism of Punjabi poetry established by poets like Shah Hussain, Sultan Bahu, and Shah Sharaf. Verses narrated by Bulleh Shah are popularly known as “Kafi”. This kind of poetry is popular in Siraiki and Sindhi poetry.
Baba Bulleh Shah’s work represented him as a humanist who wants to give workable solution to the social problems of his surroundings. Bulleh Shah’s poetry highlights his mystical spiritual voyage through the four stages of Sufism: Shariat, Tariqat, Haqiqat, and Marfat. Bulleh Shah’s poetry is in simple language that has been able to address the complex fundamental issues of life and humanity. Islamic orthodoxy is being criticized by Bulleh Shah’s poetry & philosophy.
In modern times, Bulleh Shah’s Kafi is modified to be used to music. Every genre of singer like street- singers, to legends like Abida Parveen, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sain Zahoor, and Waddali Brothers, UK based Asian artists, and Pakistani rock band Junoon, has sung Bulleh Shah’s Kafi in a beautiful manner.
Popular Poetry Collections:
Baba Bulleh Shah wrote and narrated many poetic verses. Some of the most renowned ones are: Makkeh Gaya, Gal Mukdee Naheen, Bulleya Ki Jana Main Kaun, Verhe Aa Varh Mere, Main Jana Jogi De Naal, Aa Mil Yaar, Uth Gaye Gawandon Yaar, Bas Karjee Hun Bas Karjee, Tere Ishq Nachaya, Ishq De Naween Naween Bahar, to name a few.