Man Of Good Many Letters

  • Zia Shakir
  • Publish Date: Feb 13 2018 2:22AM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Feb 13 2018 2:22AM
Man Of Good Many Letters

Ghulam Qadir Bedar has written 85 books in under 20 years, and didn’t even finish high school

 

To call Ghulam Qadir Bedar a prolific writer would be a gross understatement. How many writers, after all, can claim to have published 85 books in under 20 years. If that wasn’t impressive enough, take this: Bedar didn’t even go to high school.

He dropped out of school after Class 8, he says, because his family was too poor to afford his education. To earn a living, he set up a shop selling newspapers near the shrine of Sheikh-ul-Alam in Charar-i-Sharief, his hometown. He later also started selling books, mostly on religion and spirituality.

In his spare time, Bedar took to studying the life and teachings of the saint. The effort culminated in Kalami Sheikh-ul-Alam, published by Sheikh Mohammad Usmani in 1998. Bedar, who also goes by Abu Nayeem, was 21 years old.

The voluminous book – the current edition runs into 636 pages – was well received, encouraging him to continue writing. The same year, he wrote a 48-page booklet Karamati Sheikh-ul-Alam anda biography of the saint. The following year he published short biographies of Zainul Abideen, Shahi Hamdan, Baba Payamuddin, Syed Ali Balki as well as the booklet Manqabati Sheikh-ul-Alam, a collection of the saint’s verses. Bedar’s latest offering is titled Irfani Haq, which he describes as the “complete life story of Sheikh-ul-Alam”. It’s expected in bookstores this April.

“I read 300 pages a day,” he says when asked how he has been so prolific for so long, “and I cannot sleep without writing at least 10 pages.”

How did it all begin, though? Was Bedar attracted to studying the life and works of Sheikh-ul-Alam because he worked in the shadow of his shrine day in and day out?

“I was a disciple of Abdul Gafar Qubrawi of Rainawari. He was a fanatical lover of Sheikh-ul-Alam. He would often ask me to recite ‘Sheikh Shruke’, the saint’s verses. It was his encouragement that got me to learn about Sheikh-ul-Alam and then spread that knowledge,” Bedar says.

The quest for knowledge took him far and wide. “I have been to almost all the important places associated with Sheikh-ul-Alam –Budul, Rajuri, Rajnagar, Sarhan Sharif, Machhil, Madwa, Indhome, Kulgam, Debjan, Palamad,” he says. “It was my love of this great saint that made me visit all these places. I want his teachings to reach everyone.”

His work has earned Bedar accolades. It is because Abu Nayeem went searching for old manuscripts and elders of the Rishi Order that we now have such much knowledge about Sheikh-ul-Alam’s life, followers and his teachings, writes Inayat Gul, secretary general of Markazi Adab Wa Saqafat, Charar-i-Sharief, which gave Bedar the first of his many awards and commendations in 2004.

Many of Bedar’s books on Sheikh-ul-Alam and Sufism have been translated into English. “The main aim of English translations is to disseminate knowledge about Sheikh-ul-Alam to a wider audience, especially foreigner researchers,” Bedar says.

It’s a life-long mission he has undertaken. “Until I am alive, I will do research and work to make more people aware of the teachings of the saint,” he says. “My pen will never rest.”