Bootan Mandi in Jalandhar, my native place, is a non-descript locality on Nakodar Road (Ambedkar Marg). The Mandi once was a thriving business centre for raw and tanned leather. Most of the residents belong to dalit community of Chamar (Ad-dharmi) extraction and as such are the followers of Guru Ravidass. The birthday anniversary of Guru Ravidass is celebrated at the Mandi with great devotion and gaiety traditionally for about a century. The celebrations culminate into the Shoba Yatra or Nagar Kirtan (previously called Jaloos) one day before the Prakash Utsav or Gurpurab (previously called Janam Din) and the religious Congregation in the day time and grand reverential song and poetic Darbar on the day of Gurupurab. With the increasing political and socio-economic profile of Bootan Mandi, the occasion became an important event in the socio-cultural life of Jalandhar over the years. Traditionally it was a sober and solemn occasion and was observed under spiritual norms. Later on, with the changing times, it has tended to become a common Mela type event with all fun and frolic around. The entire area, in and around Bootan Mandi, is cordoned off for the event. Each and every building and even the private houses are decked and illuminated for a week or so. The Prabhat Pheris (street recital and singing of Gurbani in the moorings) start about two weeks in advance. The community kitchens (langars) are set up and served on both the days at several places. The entire area becomes a gallery of large hoardings of congratulations on the Gurupurab of the great Guru.
|Singer Surinder Shinda at Bootan Mandi|
|Singers Sardool Shikander and Noorie at Bootan Mandi|
The legendary Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans remained one of the regulars for many years to perform at Bootan Mandi. He sang with élan:
‘Sohne Punjab Da Shehar Jalandhar;
Bootan Mandi Jisde Andar !’
In a lighter vein, he devised his own folklore called Mahia:
‘Do Pattar Anaraan De, Jehne Sanu Milna Hove Vehde Aajo Chamara De”
Another famous Punjabi singer Kaler Kanth beautifully sang:
‘Bootan Mandi Aajo; Jene Dekhna Nazara e”
This song became the tune of spontaneous bhangra in the Shoba Yatras for many years.
‘Aawo Sangate Ajj Nachiye Ta Gaayiye Appan,
Bootan Mandi Janam Dihada Khusiyan Naal Maniye Appan’
Babbu Jalandhria referred to the Mela at Bootan Mandi:
‘Bootan Mandi Mela Lagda Ravidas Piare Da’
Nooran Sisters last year stole the show at Bootan Mandi with with their rendition in the Qawwali style:
‘Bootan Mandi Lag Janda Dil Bhagto”
It may be added that Nooran Sisters are the grand-daughters of the famous folk singer Bibi Nooran who was a resident of Bootan Mandi.
Appreciating the illuminations and fire work at Bootan Mandi on the Gurupurab, the famous singer K.S. Makhan sang in his imitable style:
‘Sajavat Karke Karti Jhandi, Lishkaan Maare Bootan Mandi’
|Satgurr Ravidass Dham at Bootan Mandi|
Greetings and Congratulations on the Gurpurab of Guru Ravidassji on February 3.