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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

The Crocodile Guardians of Manghopir

Near Karachi, stands a legendary shrine known as Manghopir. It stands proudly, surrounded by palm trees and perched atop a hill. This shrine holds a secret—a secret that captivates the hearts of all who visit.

Long ago, during the 13th century, a wise and kind Sufi saint named Pir Mangho journeyed all the way from Iraq to this mystical land. He arrived when Iraq was under attack by the fearsome Mongols, seeking refuge and solace in the Sindh province. With each step, the saint gathered followers from the nearby fishing villages, spreading his teachings of love and peace.

Legend has it that Pir Mangho shared a unique bond with the creatures of the land. Among them were the most extraordinary companions—crocodiles! Yes, my dear children, these were no ordinary crocodiles. They were said to be the living embodiments of the saint himself, transformed from tiny lice into magnificent creatures through his divine miracles.

The saint chose to live alongside these gentle crocodiles, treating them as friends and sharing his food with them. The villagers marvelled at this extraordinary sight, for it was truly a miracle to behold. When the time came for Pir Mangho to depart this world, a small shrine was built in his honour at the very spot where he had lived among his crocodile companions.

Oh, the stories whispered through generations! The tomb of Pir Mangho, adorned with intricate artwork and inscriptions from the sacred Quran, stood as a testament to his enduring legacy. But the legends did not end there, dear children. The tombs of the Burfat community, who constructed this shrine, were shrouded in mystery and wonder.

Within the shrine's hallowed grounds, a tomb of great significance beckoned the curious. It was said to house the remains of Sardar Khan Burfat, a mighty chief who valiantly fought in a battle against the Jhokias. His tomb, adorned with beautiful carvings, held a tale of bravery and sacrifice.

But what about the crocodiles, you ask? Fear not, for despite their presence, these crocodiles were peaceful and kind. No attacks had been reported at the shrine, and the shrine keepers assured visitors of their gentle nature. These special crocodiles, unlike any others, had developed a taste for a variety of foods, from juicy meats to delectable sweetmeats. It was believed that the generations of offerings from the shrine's devoted followers had influenced their unusual appetites.

In the heart of Karachi, the shrine of Manghopir held a special place in the hearts of the Makrani/Sheedi community. Descendants of African slaves brought to the land by mighty invaders, they celebrated their African heritage with great joy and pride. Every year, a grand festival took place at the shrine, honouring their roots and the magical legacy of Pir Mangho.

Another legend also describes the nits from Pir Mangho's hair to have now taken the form of crocodiles!

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