Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the baisakhi - april 13

the baisakhi or vaisakhi is a vibrant festival of north india, the states of punjab, haryana and the neighbours, which falls on april 13. it is an important festival both for joy and solemnity for the punjab and the neighbouring region, the baisakhi, traditionally, is a harvest festival. the crop, particularly wheat, gets ready for harvesting. the Farmer is happy. he celebrates it with dance and music-gidda and bhangra- जट्टा आई बैसाखी। there are a few other aspects of the baisakhi:

i) the khalsa panth was founded by guru gobind singh, the tenth guru of the sikhs, in 1699 on the baisakhi day at anandpur sahib in punjab. it was an historic development with important implications and far reaching consequences for the society. the khalsa panth was an amalgamation of the high and low castes of the stratified indian society. it was an important step towards establishing a casteless society. the five choosen ones - पंज प्यारा belonged to different castes, low and high. the guru baptised them to the khalsa panth and got himself baptised by them to usher the unique concept that the guru and the follower are the same - आपे गुरु आपे चेला । unfortunately, these days, the lofty ideals of the khalsa panth established by the great guru gobind singh, are being eroded and negated by some narrow minded religious bigots. the caste less society, as visualised by the great gurus, is still a far cry. the mission of the guru remains unfulfilled. the khalsa panth and all of us need to look at the ground realities.

ii) the arya samaj was established by swami dayanand in 1875 on the day of baisakhi. the arya samaj is a reform movement of the hindus.

iii) the gautam budhda attainted enlightenment on the baisakhi day. it is an important and auspicious day not only for the budhists but also for the entire humanity.

iv) the baisakhi, april 13, is in important day in freedom movement of india. the massacre of jallianwala bagh in amritsar on this day in 1919 was a turning point in the struggle for independence. we remember and salute the martyrs of the jallianwala bagh on this day.

v) the baisakhi also an important day for the ravidasia community, the followers of guru ravidas. i have read recently in the vernacular weekly 'begumpura shehar' being published from jalandhar that guru ravidas, to demonstrate to the brahmins, the so called high caste of the society that even a low caste could attain and obtain blessings of the almighty god by good actions and meditation, made the stones sail/float in the ganga at haridwar - हर की पौड़ी on the baisakhi day. guru ravidas did so to demolish the false and unfounded pride of the high castes and give a message of equality.

lets us celebrate baisakhi in its true spirit by living in harmony and peace not only with ourselves but also with all our fellow beings. i wish you all happy baisakhi with a couplet of dr. iqbal:

आ गैर्रिअत के परदे इक बार फिर उठा दें ,
बिस्ड़ों को फिर मिला दें , नक्से दुई मिटा दें !

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