The Omnipresent Baba, January 22nd 2010

At Baba Farid's shrine, Faridkot, The Punjab

Baba Farid’s reputation and influence spreads from the regions of Punjab all the way down to the Southern tips of Tamil Nadu.

I visited his main shrine in Pakpattan in what is now Pakistan while pursuing the story of one of the Mumbai attackers Ajmal Kasab

Kasab ironically comes from the land of the people of the Baba, a land known for its deep devotion to this saint, his anti-clerical teachings, his message of universal love and his insistence on the necessity of tolerance as a means to the search for the divine. In fact, Kasab’s home town is called Faridkot – Baba Farid’s town.

There is another Faridkot right across the border in India, and I was there in 2008. Here, Baba Farid’s followers and devotees are almost exclusively Sikh. So much so that Baba Farid has even made it into their most holiest of their books.

Now, in Kanjiramatton, I stand in front of yet another shrine to the saint that Professor Anne Bigelow once called ‘Everybody’s Baba’ for the diversity of people who followed his teachings and came to seek his blessings.
View The Idea Of India: The Kerala Journeys Progress Map in a larger map

Baba Farid is the third piece of the Sabarimala story, one that I will elaborate in the future. For the moment I am simply amazed that this simple man not only traveled the length and breadth of this land, but left so many, Muslims, Hindus, Sikh, Christians and others, enamored by his teachings and despite the passing of centuries, continue to come to him with love, humility and affection.

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