State Level Function

Birth Anniversary of Guru Ravi Das Ji

Birth Anniversary of Guru Ravi Das JiGuru Ravidass Ji is one of the most famous untouchable Sant-poets of the 15th century India. He is known as a leading star of the North Indian Bhakti movement, especially the nirguna sampradaya or sant parampara (sect or tradition of devotees of a formless God). He was a cobbler, Sant, poet, philosopher and social reformer all rolled into one. He expressed his spiritual and social philosophy in poetry, which is full of radical fervor and boundless love for the formless God. His poetry reflected his vision of the social and spiritual needs of the downtrodden and underlined the urgency of their emancipation. He, therefore, is regarded as a messiah of the downtrodden. His hymns were recited every morning and night, and his birthday was celebrated as a religious event.

Shri Guru Ravidass Ji was born in the year 1377 AD i.e. Bikrami Samvat 1433 (widely accepted by most scholars & institutions) to father Shri Santokh Dass Ji and Mother Kalsa Devi Ji in Chamar caste, also known as Kutbandhla, one of the Scheduled Castes in Uttar Pradesh. Scheduled Castes were oppressed and their touch and sight were considered polluting by the upper castes. Ravidass revolted against this inhuman system of untouchability. He adopted Bhakti as a mode of expression for his revolt. His Bhakti-based method of revolt was very novel and daring.

Guru Ravidass Ji gave a new meaning to Bhakti by projecting it as a method of social protest against the centuries-old entrenched structures of Brahminical domination. He rejected all forms of religious rituals and sectarian formalities. He also commented graphically on the cursed and abject living conditions of millions of fellow downtrodden. His Bhakti approach was a non-violent struggle for the emancipation and empowerment of the Shudras. Though he combined humility with Bhakti, his concept of formless God reflected an altogether different picture. God of Guru Ravidass Ji was not humble but graceful. He was kind to the downtrodden.

Guru Ravidass Ji envisioned an egalitarian model of state for ensuring human rights and civil liberties for all alike. He called his ideal state as Begumpura (free from sorrows). In his ideal state no one would be discriminated against on the basis of caste and religion and everyone would be free from the burden of taxes and worries of food. His ideal state would be free from the graded system of caste hierarchy. There would be no segregated colonies for the downtrodden and they would be free to move around without caste prejudice.

Guru Ravidass Ji firmly believed that God created all human beings and resided in all of them. If the same God pervaded the entire humanity, then it is foolish to divide the society on the basis of caste. He thus condemned the division of mankind on the basis of caste. He said Jo ham shehri so meet hamara [whoever is my fellow citizen, is my friend].

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