They must have thought it was a no-brainer. If you attack a shrine, a crowded shrine, you will kill a lot of people. So it makes sense also to attack on a Thursday, when people turn up at the shrines in even larger numbers. What does not make sense is who was the attacker. Was it the Ahmadis, out to take revenge for the double attack a couple of weeks ago? Or was it again the militants, whose beliefs look upon those who revere Data Sahib as unbelievers. Whether those who revere him are unbelievers or not, the relation between Lahore and Data Sahib is not just close, but integral. Not for nothing is Lahore also known as 'Data di Nagri, with its sense of Lahore as not just a residence, but a pleasaunce, a place where Data Ganj Baksh (to give him his full title), or Ali Hajveri (to give him his name), used to wander freely. Born in Ghazni in 400 AH, he came to Lahore in 431 AH, and remained here (except for a trip back to Syria to meet his spiritual guide, Abul Fazal) till he died in 465 AH. He had built a mosque in Lahore, which was the site of the recent outrage. This was the place that Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti visited back in 561 AH. After his visit, he is supposed to have said the following verse in Persian: Ganj Bakhsh Faiz-e-Alam; Mazhar-e-Noor-e-Khuda Naqisan-ra Pir-e-Kamil; Kamilan-ra Rahnuma (Ganj Bakhsh (Bestower of Spiritual Treasures) is a grace to the world; a manifester of Gods light/ A perfect spiritual teacher for the beginners; a guide for perfected). Combined with the stories that abound about him, this verse tells us why he is supposed to be the one who converted the residents of Lahore to Islam. This was the time when this part of the world was won over to Islam by conversion, and Data Sahib is supposed to have converted the Gujjars of Lahore. Data Sahib is supposed to have had a special relationship with the Gujjars, and as a result, the annual three-day urs (of which the 966th was held this February) is supposed to begin with a bathing of the tomb with milk. Also, instead of the water at other urses, the sabeels (or water for the visitors to the urs) contain milk. The urs, as a matter of fact, is the only really local holiday that Lahore has. The DC of every district has a certain number of holidays at his disposal, and from the British era, the urs has seen one of these holidays reserved. Other districts have other holidays, but only Lahore has one devoted to Data Sahib. Over the years, Data Darbar has also become associated with the distribution of free food. The appellations Data Sahib and Darbar indicate that the Sikhs also venerated him, for these names mean that Sikhs, especially when they ruled Lahore probably, or at least some Sikhs, gave him as much respect as they gave their own holy places. Because of the free food, Data Sahib has moved beyond Lahore. And this is the place where weary travelers, with no resources of their own, come at least to feed themselves. There is the supposed incident of the Lahori who went for Haj. There, in Makkah, he caught a fever, and he phoned to his family back home to promise a deg to Data Sahib if he recovered. The relationship between the city and its saint is a deep one, though the saint was neither Amritsari nor Kashmiri, let alone both. Thus when the terrorists struck at the Darbar, they were not just hitting some saints tomb, but they were striking at the heart of Lahore. The outpourings of grief took place the next day, probably because the blasts occurred at night, and also because the next day was a Friday, and people would turn up at the Friday congregations. The militants have their origins in the schools of thought which are opposed to what they see as the worship of graves, in particular saints graves. Therefore they are natural suspects. But Lahore, Datas city, has not only been visited by these opponents of his, but also by Blackwater operatives, who actually came first. That the protests were anti-American is perhaps an indication that the American wish to use Brelvis, and other followers of Sufi practice, against those who believe in political Islam, is not going to work. Lahore is no longer the city Data Sahib knew. His city was centred around the Ravi, which is now dried up after a number of course changes, with some saying that Data Sahibs present tomb comes within the old course. But this is the historic site, and Data Ganj Bukhsh was not the only Sufi saint in Lahore, but he is probably the most senior. So an outrage against his shrine is one against the whole city. And that too makes Lahore a city that Data probably wouldnt recognize. Except for his shrine, which still stands.