Monday, May 25, 2015

Remembering Sant Ramanand of Dera Sachkhand Balan

At our home at Kalkaji, New Delhi

On May 25, 2009, Sant Ramanand of Dera Sachkhand Balan was martyred in the wake of a shootout at a Gurudwara in Vienna (Austria). It was an unfortunate incident involving the innocent and peace loving followers of Guru Ravidassji and some ill advised fanatics. Sant Ramanand, an ardent preacher of Gurbani, who was visiting Vienna and conducting Satsang at the Gurudwara was injured and later succumbed to his injuries in Vienna itself. He was a great soul. It was my good fortune to know him closely. I feel duty bound to remember him, like past years, on his Shaheedi Diwas today.

Sant Ramanand, a young follower of Sant Sarwan Dass of Balan
Sant Hari Dass at our home at Bootan Mandi, Jalandhar
Dera, visited our home in Jalandhar along with Sant Hari Dass in February, 1977 who came with the Barat (marriage congregation) of my brother-in-law D.C. Kumar of Balan to marry my sister Kamla (Paramjit). I met him many a times subsequently but some of the meetings are itched in my memory quite vividly. My father died in April, 1986. Sant Ramanand accompanied Sant Garib Dass to the Bhog ceremony (Antim Ardas) and performed the kirtan of Gurbani at our home at Bootan Mandi, Jalandhar. I vividly remember the Shabad of Guru Ravidass – “Jal ki bheet pawan ka thamba; rakt boond ka gara“ which he rendered. It made me weep bitterly as I got filled with emotion.  Sant Garib Dass was hospitalized in Delhi for a few days in 1990. I went to meet him with D.C. Kumar. We were living in a newly acquired flat of Kamla and Kumar at Maurya Enclave (Pitampura). We invited the Sant to visit us in the flat and have lunch with us. Sant Garib Dass blessed us, along with Sant Ramanand at our flat. We were extremely happy. Sant Ramanand again honoured us in March/April, 1999 along with Sant Niranjan Dass at our small home at Kalkaji in Delhi. Frankly. Kamla and Kumar, who are one of the close followers of the Dera Balan, enjoyed an excellent rapport with Sant Ramanand and they were instrumental in bringing the revered Sants to our humble abode several times. The next and the last time I met Sant Ramanand and Sant Niranjan Dass was sometime in 2007 in Vienna itself where Santa Ramanand was ultimately assassinated. I was stationed in the nearby capital city of Prague of Czech Republic and was on a private visit to Vienna. I came to know the revered Sants were also there. I approached Sant Ramanand and requested that I would like to come and meet them. He was such a simple soul that rather than my going to meet them they desired to come to my place of stay. It was pleasure. Many things of mutual interest came up during the meeting. One thing, I recall, was security. I said that, in view of the deteriorating security situation all around, they should be a little more careful. It is more so,  in view of the fact that they were engaged in awakening the poor and down-trodden masses and status and prestige of the Dera Balan, were on the rise. There could be many vested interests and opponents of their mission who may not like their activities. Sant Ramanand dismissed my humble submission with a smile. Fate intervened subsequently and he was killed incidentally in Vienna itself by the fundamentalists.  That was my last meeting with the great Sant.

I write this in memory of Sant Ramanand as my humble tribute. It is a matter of concern and regret that his mission of awakening and empowering the poor and neglected sections of the society remains unfulfilled. In the wake of his Shaheedi, there was a great turmoil in the community. But, it appears, Dera Sachkhand Balan could not own the legacy of Shaheed Ramanand and motivate their followers to follow the right direction in their struggle. It is time to think and act to carry forward the mission of Sant Ramanand. It will be the only befitting tribute to Sant Ramanandji.

Tail Piece: - Today May 25 is the birthday of my daughter Vaishali. She was born on Buddha Purnima Day. May God bless her.  Vaishali is with us in Jalandhar on vacation with her two lovely daughters. Her husband JP sent her a bouquet of 40 red roses at past 12’O clock mid-night. It was a pleasant surprise

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