Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Most members of Dalit sect don't follow Sikh tenets

Most members of Dalit sect don't follow Sikh tenets
27 May 2009, 0130 hrs IST

Was the fight inside a Sikh gurdwara?
The fight was inside a Guru Ravidass temple in Vienna and not a Sikh gurdwara. Although Ravidass temples house Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, their identity lies in the Ravidassia ideology, and with followers of Guru Ravidass, a Dalit saint of the 14th century Bhakti movement of India.

How are Ravidassias and Sikhs different?
While Ravidassias bow before Guru Granth Sahib, they are not necessarily Sikhs. Most members of the community do not follow Sikh tenets. They are a separate entity and most of them are Hindu SCs and clean shaven. Sikhs and Ravidassias, however, share some part of their religious philosophy with Sikhs treating the ‘bani’ (words) of Guru Ravidass with the same reverence as the rest of Sikh gurus.

What’s Dera Sachkhand Ballan?
It’s nearly a century old dera founded by Baba Pippal Dass who was from Ravidassia community. The dera preached philosophy of Guru Ravidass and principles from Guru Granth Sahib. It’s the biggest dera of the community.

How are the main Ravidassia and Sikh rituals different?
The respect and rendition of Guru Granth Sahib is common to both and even a good part of the ‘Ardaas’. But some of the rituals differ. In kirtans at Ravidass temples, the emphasis is mainly on compositions by Ravidass.

Why are Dalit deras growing?
Sikh Gurus criticized the caste system. In the 18th century, caste reared its head again in Punjab, influencing Sikhs. The latest conflict is an indication of Dalit awakening, aided to a large extent by increasing money power.

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