Art and Culture Current Affairs - 2019

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J&K: Annual Chamliyal mela falls prey to Indo-Pak hostility

At the annual Chamliyal mela 2019, even as devotees thronged Chamliyal border shrine along International Border in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), there was no traditional exchange of ‘chadar’ or ‘shakkar’ (sacred clay) and ‘sharbat’ (water) between Pakistan rangers and Indian border guarding force for 2nd successive year (earlier in 2018).

Exchanging shakkar and sharbat is about 70-year-old practice betwenn India nad Pakistan. Since 1947 partition famous fair at Baba Chamliyal shrine was cancelled for first time in 2018  in wake of tension between India and Pakistan following snipping of four BSF soldiers including an Assistant Commandant by Pakistani Rangers in area a week before mela.

About Chamliyal Mela

It is a famous fair which takes place at shrine of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas, a saint popularly known as Baba Chamliyal, after whom the village on zero line in Samba district’s Ramgarh sector is named. He supposedly lived over 300 years ago and is revered by people of all faiths.

Mela is held for 3 days at shrine complex on Indian side and is also held for a week on opposite side of border in Saidanwali village of Sialkote district in Pakistan. This shrine is biggest example of communal harmony and people of both sides of international border offer their prayers together.

Fair has become popular since November 2003 after a ceasefire and parallel peace initiatives were undertaken by India and Pakistan.

Background

Earlier till 1971, Pakistani nationals were allowed to come to Indian side of border to pay obeisance at shrine but after 1971 India-Pakistan war, this practice was stopped. Since then, only a delegation of Pakistan rangers comes to offer chadar at shrine and in return carries shakkar (sacred clay) and sharbat (water), from shrine for devotees in Pakistan. Many devotees claimed to have healed of their skin ailments after visiting Baba’s shrine.

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 ‘Basava Jayanti’ 2019 observed on May 7

Basava Jayanthi was observed on birthday of Basavanna, a Hindu Kannada poet of 12th century. It was traditionally observed by the Lingayats (also called Virashaiva, are devotees of Shiva in southern India).

Basava Jayanti 2019

  • It was celebrated across states like Karnataka (a government holiday), Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
  • On occasion of Jayanthi people offers prayers to Lord Basaveshwar temples and Lingayat committees organise various events for celebration.
  • At Kudalasangama, Basava Jayanti is celebrated for six to seven day. It is visited by many followers of Basavanna.
  • In Basavanna temples several cultural and spiritual programs were also held.

About Basavanna ( Basava)

  • The 12th-century saint-philosopher rejected ritualistic worship and pre-eminence of Vedas. He is believed to be founding saint of Lingayat section.
  • He is also known as Bhaktibhandari (literally, the treasurer of devotion), or Basaveswara (Lord Basava).
  • He was a great Kannada poet and philosopher.
  • As a social reformer he spread awareness on social issues like gender and social prejudice. He also advocated that irrespective of castes all human beings are equal and all forms of manual labour were equally important.
  • Birth: According to scriptures, Basavanna was born on third day of Vaisakha month of Anandanama (Samvatsara) in year 1134 A.D. His followers believe that with birth of prophet Basavanna, a new era began. People refer to year as ‘Basava Era’ or ‘Basaveshwar Era’.
  • Life: He was born in Karnataka’s Ingaleshwar, Bagewadi town (20 km away from Hungund taluk). He grew up in Kudalasangama and married Gangambikel, who was daughter of Bijjala’s (famous Chalukya kings) prime minister.
  • He later became chief minister of Bijjal’s kingdom, and started Anubhava Mantapae. ‘First Parliament Concept of the World’, which later became a commonplace for people of all classes to discuss spiritual topics.
  • Literary Work: includes Vachana Sahitya. This includes various Vachana (meaning ‘that which is said’) like Kala-jnana-vachana (future forecast), Ghatachakra-vachana, Mantra-gopya, Shat-sthala-vachana (6 stages of salvation) and Raja-yoga-vachana.
  • He is also known for introducing Ishtalinga (a necklace with a pendant that contains a small Shiva Linga).

NOTE: On 14 November 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inaugurated statue of Basavanna along bank of river Thames at Lambeth in London, UK. Moreover, Basavanna is first Kannadiga in whose honour a commemorative coin has been minted in recognition of his social reforms.

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