May 25, 2009

Undercurrent Causes of Violence in Jalandhar- The Clash of Great Social Tectonic Plates

Why is Jalandhar burning so savagely ? What are the smoldering causes to which the immediate detonator has been the sad and tragic attack on the Sants at Vienna ( Austria )

Sant Niranjan Dass and late Sant Ramanand who were attacked in Vienna were senior Chiefs of DERA SACHKHAND, Ballan ( Jalandhar ). This Dera is situated 10 km from Jalandhar on the main Jalandhar- Pathankot Highway.The Dera is dedicated to Guru Ravi Dass , a great social reformer of 15 century. He is revered like God by the Dalit Sect of those engaged in the industry of leather and shoe making ( charam-kaars ),Meera and the King of Benares were among Guru Ravi Dass's followers.The religious writings of the Guru were incorporated in Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs.So, Ravidasia sect held Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh religion in great esteem. Marriages among them were solemnised with " Anand Karaj" around the Holy Book.

But over a period of time many important and very significant undercurrent social developments took place among Ravidasia community.

They established themselves as very successful industrialists and businessmen, particularly, in the field of leather based around Boota Mandi,Jalandhar. There are thriving exports. They did well in education and politics as well.

Many Ravidasias migrated to foreign lands , particularly Europe. Due to their hard work they did very well there.

Caste system rigidities among Orthodox Hindus either vanished or were significantly diluted.

Due to these social and economic factors ( in play mainly in the last 25-30 years ) Ravidasias felt that time had come to take their due and equal social position. When they felt any difficulty in the orthodox Sikh religious organisations, they moved towards the cult of Deras, The Dera culture is not looked upon favourably by orthodox Sikhs who maintain that the only living Guru is Guru Granth Sahib. Ravidasias tended to move away from orthodox Sikh practices. Now, they were also not receiving the discrimination from Hindus to the extent as earlier.

Dera Sachkhand was established by Sant Sarwan Dass.Keeping in tandem with the upward social and economic mobility of its followers the Dera became a very strong institution. It runs a 150 bedded hospital Adda Kathar and a teaching block at ITI, Phagwara among other social and religious activities.The Dera organises annually on the occasion of Ravi Dass Jayanti, a special train of devotees to the Janam Asthan of the Guru at Kashi ( Benares ).This is a grand occasion in Jalandhar.

This confrontation of the social tectonic plates were earlier manifested in the control of Gurudwara at Talhan ( Jalandhar )where this economic, social , political and educational empowerment first came into play in Jalandhar. Doaba ( area between Sutlej and Beas rivers ) has the largest concentration of Ravidasia comminity.

Now, the stage has become bigger , more vicious and , indeed,international.

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