By Maliha Rao
Centuries ago, in the mystical land of Sindh, where legends intertwine with reality, a man named Mangho Wasa resided. Contrary to the initial perception of him being a simple and pious fisherman, he was, in fact, a notorious bandit, feared throughout the land for his audacious acts of looting caravans that dared to cross his path. Mangho Wasa’s name evoked terror among merchants and travellers, and tales of his dangerous exploits spread far and wide.
Meeting with a Saint
On a fateful day, the revered saint Baba Farid Ganj Shakar, began his journey towards Mecca to perform the sacred Hajj pilgrimage. His path led him near the present-day city of Karachi, and his presence in the area caught the attention of the infamous bandit, Mangho Wasa.
With a heart consumed by greed, Mangho Wasa saw an opportunity too enticing to pass up. He devised a plan and orchestrated an ambush, swiftly launching an attack on the saint and his entourage. Chaos ensued as the bandit’s gang looted and plundered.
Amidst the chaos, he found himself face-to-face with Baba Farid Ganj Shakar. As the looting unfolded, their eyes met, and something extraordinary happened. In that fleeting moment, Mangho Wasa was struck by the saint’s heartwarming aura, captivating his hardened soul. It was as if a divine light had pierced through the darkness that shrouded his heart, illuminating a path towards redemption.
A Change of Hearts
Overwhelmed by the encounter, Mangho Wasa’s heart underwent a profound transformation. He could no longer bear the weight of his sinful actions. He abandoned his life of crime and embraced a new path, Islam.
Determined to atone for his past, Mangho Wasa became a devoted disciple of Baba Farid Ganj Shakar, immersing himself in the teachings of Sufism. Baba Farid recognized the sincerity and profound change within Mangho and bestowed upon him the title of a saint, a Pir. From that day forward, Mangho Wasa became known as Pir Mangho.
The Crocodiles of Pir Mangho
During his life as a saint, Pir Mangho was known for his kindness towards all living beings. Once, while removing lice from his hair, he set them free in a spring nearby instead of crushing them. Unbeknownst to him, the spring was enchanted, and the lice transformed into crocodiles, becoming Pir Mangho’s loyal avatars.
As time passed, a humble shrine was erected around the enchanted spring, marking the birth of what would eventually be known as Manghopir. This sacred place became a destination for pilgrimage and a symbol of spiritual significance.
Even after Pir Mangho’s mortal journey ended, his legacy thrived. The shrine at Manghopir drew believers from far and wide who sought blessings and guidance from the holy presence in the hallowed grounds. The waters of the spring were believed to possess healing powers, and pilgrims would immerse themselves in its purifying depths, seeking spiritual and physical rejuvenation. The crocodiles, too, resided in the shrine, and many sought their blessings by offering them food.
Thus, the story of Pir Mangho and the birth of Manghopir remains deeply etched in the annals of Sindhi folklore, playing a vital role in the beliefs of the Sheedi community. It is a testament to the transformative power of divine encounters and the potential for redemption within every human heart.