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Lord Jhulelal – Symbol of Secularism

Author : Rtn. Gangaram Shamdas Purswani(P.H.F)

India is a land of different religions. People of different religions worship God in different ways. We offer prayers to God to thank him for his blessings. Our glorious Hindu Pantheon is full of instances of “Avatars” (Incarnations) of Parmatma (God) that have place from age to age. 

Jhulelal is the patron Avatar of Sindhis. From time to time different mighty nations had an evil eye on Sindh province. After the conquest by Arabs, the Sindh remained under the suzerainty of a Muslim ruler named “Murk” of the same clan. In the year 950s A.D., he ruled with cruelty. Hindus were not happy under his rule. He treated them very cruelly. In those days, Kafan Kot (Thatta) was the capital of Sindh. The fanatical “Maulvis” with malicious motives instigated Badshah Murkh to issue a proclamation for the forcible conversion of Hindus. The hard hearted chief minister Kasi Yusuf Yahia took great pleasure in the persecution of the forcible conversion of Hindus. As a matter of fact the harassment of Hindus was unprecedented and posed a challenge of the times. Numerous Hindus sacrificed their precious lives to save their ‘Tilak’ (vermillion mark on the forehead) ‘Janeau” (the sacred thread) and “Choti” (knot of hair on the brahmradhar) besides, saving the honour of their teenage girls from falling into hands of Muslim oppressors. However, all the entreaties of Hindus fell on the deaf ears of the rulers. The god-fearing and peace-loving Hindus found themselves absolutely helpless. They prayed to God for deliverance.

One day, Sindhi Hindus decided to assemble at the Sindhu river delta, near Thatta. For three days continuously they observed reverences, anxiously seeking divine help of Jal Jyoti $waroop God Varun in their hour of trial. The Suprerne Lord, as is well known is ever compassionate to his aspirants. He responded to the solemn appeals of Sindhi Hindus. In ethereal voice, which the scriptures call ‘Akhashvani’, He communicated to the worshipers with the assurance that after seven days Lord Vishnu shall emerge as Varun in human form, as their protector. Sindhis worshipped him and returned radiant back to their homes. At last, the auspicious hour arrived. True to the prophecy, the Divine saviour of the Sindhi Hindus saw light on the Friday evening of new moon of the month of Chaitra (corresponding to April), in year 1007 A.D., in the family of a Rajput Thakur  Ratan Rai Lohana and mother Devki, in the village of Khanpur which later on became famous as Nasarpur Sindh (now in Pakistan). It was infactl a memorable day of great rejoicing and jubilations. The new born was named “Uday Chandra” by the family Brahmin. Out of love and affection, he was also called “Uderolal”. Swinging the cradle with the child laying therein, the ladies Bang melodies lullabies “Jhulelal Muhinjo Hindolan mein Jhule” (my dearest son swings in cradle). Thereafter, the word “Jhulelal” became not only a household pet name, but also a customary symbol slogan of Sindhis greeting one another. Yusuf Yahia, continued to harbour ulterior intentions of taking Varun as a prisoner by hook or by crook. But he failed in his sinister designs.

Once, when Shah Murkh ordered his sentries to bring Jhulelal in hand cuffs; in front of him, he, not only disappeared mysteriously but whole royal palace got speedily gushing waters and engulfed with scorching fire. Consequently, several lives were lost. Even then, the Shah remained adamant on taking revenge from Varun. A little while after, Shah witnessed Varun, coming out of glittering waters, mounted on a blue horse, in accompaniment of a mammoth of army rapidly advancing towards Shah, who started trembling like a leaf. Jhulelal was of two years of age at that time. His army personnel were addressed as “Jhaties”, which means those who could shake their foes. With folded hands, the Shah along with all his ministers and Mullahs fell down at the feet of Shri Amar Lal Sain (Jhulelal) and prayed to save them. All of them became faithful disciples of Varun. The doctrine of triumph of truth over falsehood was firmly established, once for all.

“Uderolal” came to stay in a village of Sindh called ” Jhijhan”. With his blessings and guidance a Lal Sain Mandir was constructed there. A well popularly known as “Balambho Sahib” was also dug in its precincts. It is said that the well water  contained medical properties and cured all ailing persons irrespective of creedor community.  Many Muslims became his worshipers and used to address Varun as “Kwaja Khizir Zindahpir” and lit a “Akhand Jyot” at a spot where Varun that is Darya Shah, seated on a Golden “Pala Fish” which saved the cargo boat of a merchant Parmanand and a fisherman Tahir in a wink of an eye, when the boat bumped against a rock, near Sukkar, in Sindh. On bright 14th day of the month of Bhadaon of the year 1020 A.D., at the tender age of 13 our benevolent savior merged into Jal Jyoti, in the presence of his devotees. From that day, we Sindhis commemorate with respect Varun’s Birthday as “Cheti Chand” and also the 14 day termed “Chaleho”.

In the year 1835 and later in 1869, on opening of Suez Canal, many Khudabadi Sonaras (Sindhwarkis) started travelling overseas (sindhwork). At that time, the voyages were by sea and the Khudabadi Sonara Community started praying Jhulelal, the god of waters, for the safety of their Sindhwarki children. They go to river or lake (Phuleli or Giddu Bandar in Hyderabad) and immerse Bahrano Saheb in the water along with rice and sugar Prasad called “Akho”, sing Lal Sain’s Panjrars and Palav to seek his grace, on every Chand, the last day of the month. In the homes of Khudabadi Sanaras, deities of Jhulelal, Guru Nanik and Lord Shiva are kept along with that of Goddess Durga in their temples and are being prayed in reverence religiously.

After partition, on advice of Dr. Choitram Gidwani, the Sindhis celebrate this occasion throughout India as a symbol of “Sindhi Unity”. With the slogan “Aayo Lal-Jhulelal- Bera i Par”, a mammoth procession is taken in which, the chief center of attraction is a exquisitely decorated van carrying the idol of “Varun Kunari” (a Kalash containing holy water) and “Bahrana Sahib” (kneed flour bearing the shape of a cone, like Shiva Ling) adorned with cloves, cardamoms, betel nuts and sugar candy with turmeric colour. The garlands of Red Roses and Marigold flowers enhance the beauty considerably. The fragrance is spread by burning scented “Dhop” and “Aggarbaties”, Candle flames as well as sparkling earthen “Deepaks”, tinkling like tiny stars give a celestial touch of the decorations. It is hearting to say that other communities watch the procession with great eagerness and awe. It also affords an opportunity to all to observe the religious fervour, art and social “Ekta among Sindhis”. Many tableaus are carried in the procession, indicating many burning problems of the society and the country. Throughout the route “Prasad” is distributed to all without distinction. The highlights of this festival are “Jhimar” and “Chhej” to the melodious tunes of “Shahnai” and “Bagpie” and the rhythmical beats of “Dholaks”, coupled with the coloured pieces of sticks called “Dholkas”. There is a marvelous display of dances exactly like Garba of Gujaratis. In the traditional dresses of Sindhi, the young dancers swirl sound with all the exuberance and gusto and the increase the tempo of their movements to the amazement of spectators. The whole atmosphere gets surcharged with funs, frolic and gaiety and gay. The procession terminates at the local river or at Amarlal temple. 

Water is very important for life of every body,  for all living things and also non living things. Nobody can live without water. Water is basic need of everyone and Jhulelal is the God of Water.

During 2004 celebration of Cheti ChAnd’ Mela in Jaipur, Puj Khudabadi Sonara Panchayat under the presidentship of Shri Gagaram Shamdas Purswani for the first time aggressively took part in the celebrations and got first award in displaying live creation of {Otak (office) of Sindhi Business Man (on a van) in the “Julus” (procession)}.


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