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Current Affairs

Ravidassias of Punjab

Date: 20 January 2022 Tags: Religions

Issue

The Election Commission has postponed the Punjab elections by a few days on the request of Ravidassia community members.

 

Background

The elections were set to start on the Guru Ravidas jayanti in the state. During this period of time, many people from the community go on a pilgrimage.

 

Details

  • Ravidassias belong to dalit community and are followers of Guru Ravidas, a mystic saint of the Bhakti movement of 15th and 16th centuries.

  • Guru Ravidas was not one among the ten Sikh Gurus but his hymns are part of holy Guru Granth Sahib too.

  • During the birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas, the Ravidassias travel to Varanasi in large numbers, on a train organized by Dera Sachkhand Ballan.

 

 

Political clout

  • The Ravidassias are influential in Doaba region of the state of Punjab. They constitute about 37% of the population.

  • Doaba region consists of Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr and Kapurthala districts. All political parties are making efforts to woo the community.

  • Dera Sachkhand Ballan is the most influential religious congregation of the community eventhough there are other deras.

 

Religious development

  • The Ravidassias were initially followers of Sikhism. In 2010, they severed ties with Sikhism and announced a separate religion called “Ravidassia religion”.

  • The Guru Granth Sahib was replaced with their own new Granth “Amritbani” carrying 200 hymns of Guru Ravidas in Ravidassia temples and gurudwaras.

 

Separation demands

  • The community has demanded that a separate column be created for their religion in the 2021 Census.

  • They have also composed new songs centered on their caste and religion so that people of the community could play them at their events.