Skip to main content

Kabir Jayanti: A day to pledge, stand up against use of power to spread sectarianism

By Bharat Dogra* 

Kabir Jayanti (June 14) is being observed at a time when the message of the great saint for inter-faith harmony is really needed in very troubled times. Such a great saint would like to be remembered on his jayanti not in terms of any ceremonies but in terms of real commitment to his everlasting message of true spirituality, love, devotion and inter-faith harmony. In addition Sant Kabir also remains a great inspirational presence for all those who stand up against the false authority of arbitrary use of power to spread sectarianism and to oppress the weak.
Over five centuries after he confronted the most powerful pillars of establishment with truth and courage, Sant Kabir reigns in the hearts of millions as an compromising social reformer and people’s poet with perhaps the widest reach in India.
An additional reason for remembering the weaver poet today is that the community of weavers with whom he is identified so widely has been passing through extremely difficult times in recent years and several voices of distress from the communities of handloom weavers have been saying that if they are not helped on the basis of urgency their livelihoods may be lost forever.
Kabir was a relentless seeker of truth. He clearly saw false values pervading all around him in society, promoted by the more powerful people, and he exposed and criticized these all the time, while seeking the path of truth. He was a very free thinker and he protected this freedom all his life in the middle of many difficulties.
Kabir was one of the most courageous persons of all times, as seen in many episodes of his life. However a very important aspect of his great courage was that it was never used for violence against others but always for peace and for peaceful resistance against injustice and social ills.
The persecution and disaster he faced instead of distracting him took him towards even deeper realization of truth, as in pain and distress he had to engage in even deeper search for solace and support within him. He had an exceptional talent for going to the heart of the matter while ignoring the frivolous or less important aspects. Hence he was able to rise above all narrow and often frivolous debates of his times, based on sects and religions, and focus on the most basic issues.
He was a working class reformer and poet. He continued to earn his living from working as a weaver. Most of his colleagues, friends and followers, also from working and artisan class, continued to combine their daily toil along with spiritual and reformist pursuits.
Poetry came naturally to Kabir and he said his verse in the spoken dialect of his people, never introducing any artificiality in his language and style. Often his verse was in harmony with the tune of the loom on which he was weaving cloth. One of the reasons why it could become so popular and was remembered easily by people was that it came so easily to lips for singing and humming.
The essential message of Kabir is that the most essential task in human life is to devote oneself to the welfare of others and to be compassionate. Life should be simple and based on few needs. This saves our energy and time for pursuing the higher purpose of life.
Excessive pursuit of consumption and luxuries takes us away from the real purpose of life. Intoxicants (liquor, opium etc.) should be entirely avoided. The egoistic tendencies of a person are harmful and should be curbed. We should never be afraid to speak and act against injustice and wrong-doing. Rituals are not necessary at all and are often harmful or silly distractions on which time and effort should not be wasted. The greatness of God is present in all living beings and so one should serve God not by empty rituals but by reducing the distress of all living beings, particularly those who need our help.
To get the strength and courage of living the right life, one should seek to realize the God within us, the God in our hearts, the truth in our hearts, and this is where we get support and solace for our right living, no matter how many difficulties there may be in such a path. It is not at all necessary to renounce family or working life for this, one can realize this righteousness of life and closeness to God while continuing one’s livelihood and family life.
Kabir’s poetry is one of the greatest examples of stating the essential truths of life in down to earth ways. He exposed false values in such cutting-edge ways and by using such living symbols that even his opponents were left speechless. He was a great communicator who used verse that could be sung easily and naturally.
Today we are living in very difficult times in which inter-faith harmony is being disrupted and those who are weak are suffering further from arbitrary exercise of power. Hypocrisy and falsehoods are being used at several levels to suppress truth and justice. Those who stand up for truth and justice are threatened in several ways. In these troubling times the legacy of Sant Kabir is a source of strength for the weak and the oppressed and will always remain so. The earthy wisdom and sky-high courage of Kabir remain a great source of learning as well as education for us even today.
---
The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include ‘A Day in 2071’, ‘Navjeevan’, ‘Man over Machine' and ‘Earth beyond Borders'

Comments

TRENDING

Women for Water: WICCI resource council for empowering women entrepreneurs, leaders

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The Water Resources Council of the Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry is formed for 2022-24. A National Business Chamber for Women, the Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry ( WICCI ) is a premier association empowering women entrepreneurs and leaders in all walks of life through advocacy, pro-active representations to government, implementing projects for women via funds allocated by various government agencies and corporates, plus bringing awareness on all issues that concern women. WICCI boosts and builds women’s entrepreneurship and businesses through greater engagement with government, institutions, global trade and networks. WICCI enables fundamental changes in governmental policies, laws, incentives and sanctions through proper channel, with a view to robustly encourage and empower women in business, industry and commerce across all sectors. WICCI is supported by the massive global networks of ALL Ladies League (ALL), Women Eco

75 yrs of water in India: whither decentralised governance to sustain the precious resource?

By Shubhangi Rai, Megha Gupta, Fawzia Tarannum, Mansee Bal Bhargava Looking into the last century, water resources management have come a long way from the living with water in the villages to the nimbyism and capitalism in the cities to coming full cycle with room for water in the villages. With the climate change induced water crisis, the focus on conservation and management of water resources if furthered in both national and local agenda. The Water management 2021 report by NITI Aayog acknowledges that water and sustainability are of immense importance for the sustenance of life on earth. Water is intricately linked to the health, food security and livelihood. With business as usual, India’s water availability will only be enough to meet 50% of its total demand and 40% of the population in India will have no access to drinking water and sanitation by 2030 . Its Composite Water Management Index 2021 states that ‘India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and mil

CAG’s audit report creates a case for dismantling of UIDAI, scrapping Aadhaar

By Gopal Krishna  The total estimated budget of the biometric UID/Aadhaar number project and its cost: benefit analysis has not been disclosed till date. Unless the total estimated budget of the project is revealed, all claims of benefits are suspect and untrustworthy. How can one know about total savings unless the total cost is disclosed? Can limited audit of continuing expenditure of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), an instrumentality of Union of India be deemed a substitute for total estimated budget of the biometric UID/Aadhaar number project of UIDAI? It has been admitted by CAG that the audit of functioning of the UIDAI is partial because of non-transparency. The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India arising from performance audit of functioning of the UIDAI for the period from 2014-15 to 2018-19 is incomplete because it is based on statistical information “to the extent as furnished by UIDAI” upto March 2021. There is also a need to compa

Grassroot innovations in water management: Policy challenges amidst climate change

By Shubhangi Rai[1], Megha Gupta[2], Mansee Bal Bhargava[3] India despite of having a vast traditional water management history continue to struggle with water crisis from disasters like floods and droughts but more with social distress leading to asymmetric access to water goods and services. The rising water crisis in a country that is abundant in water resources and wisdom is worth questioning and resolving. The knowledge that was passed on by our ancestors who used a diverse range of structures that helped harvest rainwater locally besides replenish and recharge the groundwater along the way. Formal and informal rules were locally crafted by the community on who to use the water, how much to use, when to use, how to penalise for misuse, how to resolve conflicts and many more. As a nation, we need to revive our dying wisdom of the traditional water management systems and as water commons, enable the governing mechanisms towards sustainability. In the session on ‘ Grassroot Innovatio

Need to destroy dowry, annihilate greed and toxic patriarchy in India

By IMPRI Team Talking about an evil ever-persistent in our society and highlighting the presence of toxic patriarchy, #IMPRI Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organized a panel discussion on Destroy Dowry: Annihilation of Greed and Toxic Patriarchy in India under the series The State of Gender Equality – #GenderGaps on May 4, 2022. The chair for the event was Prof Vibhuti Patel, Former Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai and a Visiting Professor, IMPRI. The distinguished panel included – Asha Kulkarni, General Secretary at Anti Dowry Movement, Mumbai ; Kamal Thakar, Sahiyar Stree Sangathan ; Adv Celin Thomas, Advocate at Celin Thomas and Associates, Bengaluru; Shalini Mathur, Honorary Secretary, Suraksha Dahej Maang Virodhi Sanstha Tatha Parivar Paraamarsh Kendra, Lucknow and Secretary, Nav Kalyani Foundation, Gender Resource and Training Centre; and Dr Bharti Sharma, Honorary Secretary, Shakti Shalini

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Implications for India and emerging geopolitics

By IMPRI Team In the backdrop of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, #IMPRI Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi hosted a panel discussion on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Implications for India and Emerging Geopolitics. The event was chaired by Ambassador Anil Trigunayat (IFS Retd.), Former Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Libya, and Malta; Former Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Moscow. The panelists of the event were Prof Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, Clinical Professor, Center for Global Affairs, New York University; H.E. Freddy Svane, Ambassador, Royal Danish Embassy, New Delhi; Maj. Gen. (Dr) P. K. Chakravorty, Strategic Thinker on Security Issues; and T. K. Arun, Senior Journalist, and Columnist. Ambassador Anil Trigunayat commenced the discussion by stating the fact that wars are evil. He opines that no war has ever brought peace and prosperity to any country and

Making Indian cities disaster, climate resilient: Towards actionable urban planning

By IMPRI Team  Three-Day Online Certificate Training Programme on “Making Indian Cities Disaster and Climate Change Resilient: Towards Responsive and Actionable Urban Planning, Policy and Development”: Day 1 A three day Online Certificate Training Programme on the theme “Making Indian Cities Disaster and Climate Change Resilient: Towards Responsive and Actionable Urban Planning, Policy and Development”, a joint initiative of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) , Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, was held at the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies at IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi. Inaugurating the session Ms. Karnika Arun, Researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panellists. Day 1 of the program included Prof Anil K Gupta, Head ECDRM, NIDM, New Delhi and Mr Tikender Singh Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI as conveners, an

Gender gap: Women face disproportionate barriers in accessing finance

By IMPRI Team Women worldwide disproportionately face barriers to financial access that prevents them from participating in the economy and improving their lives. Providing access to finance for women is crucial for financial inclusion and, consequently, inclusive growth. To deliberate and encourage dialogue and discussion for growth, the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC) of IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, organized a web policy talk by Mr S. S. Bhat, Chief Executive Officer Friends of Women’s World Banking India, Ahmedabad on ‘Access to Finance for Women’ as a part of its series The State of Gender Equality – #GenderGaps. The session was started by the moderator, Chavi Jain, by introducing the speaker and the discussants and inviting Prof. Vibhuti Patel to start the deliberation. Importance of access to finance for women Prof. Vibhuti Patel, Visiting Professor, IMPRI, New Delhi; Former Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, began by expre

Impact of climate change on Gujarat pastoralists' traditional livelihood

By Varsha Bhagat-Ganguly, Karen Pinerio* We are sharing a study[1] based learning on climate resilience and adaptation strategies of pastoralists of Kachchh district, Gujarat. There are two objectives of the study: (i) to examine the impact of climate on traditional livelihood of pastoralists of Gujarat state; and (ii) to explore and document the adaptation strategies of pastoralists in mitigating climate adversities, with a focus on the role of women in it. In order to meet these objectives, the research inquiries focused on how pastoralists perceive climate change, how climate change has impacted their traditional livelihood, i.e., pastoralism in drylands (Krätli 2015), and how these pastoral families have evolved adaptation strategies that address climate change (CC)/ variabilities, i.e., traditional livelihood of pastoralists of Kachchh district, Gujarat state. Pastoralism is more than 5,000 years old land-use strategy in India; it is practised by nomadic (their entire livelihood r

How India, Bangladesh perceive, manage Sunderbans amidst climate change

By IMRPI Team The effects of climate change have been evident, and there have been a lot of debates around the changes to be made locally to help and save the earth. In this light, the nations met at the COP 26 conference recently. To discuss this further, the Center for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (CECCSD) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi , organized a panel discussion on “COP 26 and Locally Led Adaptations in India and Bangladesh Sunderbans” under the #WebPolicyTalk series- The State of the Environment – #PlanetTalks . The talk was chaired by Dr Jayanta Basu, Director, Non-profit EnGIO, Faculty at Calcutta University and an Environmental Journalist, The Telegraph , ABP . The Moderator of the event, Dr Simi Mehta, CEO and Editorial Director, IMPRI , started the discussion by stressing the talk on the living conditions of people living in the Sunderbans Delta from both the countries, i.e. India and Bangladesh. According to the report