- The Election Commission of India (ECI) postponed polling for the Punjab Assembly election from February 14 to 20 after the State government and political parties raised concern that many devotees would be in Varanasi to celebrate Guru Ravidas’s birth anniversary on February 16 and miss out on voting.
- Representations to the ECI said devotees started going to Varanasi a week before the celebrations, and holding polling on February 14 would deprive them of the chance to vote. In a press statement, the ECI said it had decided to reschedule the poll. Counting would, however, take place on March 10, as in the schedule announced on January 08.
About Guru Ravidas:
- Guru Ravidas was an Indian mystic poet-Sant of the Bhakti movement and founder of Ravidassia religion during the 15th to 16th century CE.
- Venerated as a guru (teacher) in the region of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and mainly Punjab and Haryana. He was a poet-saint, social reformer and a spiritual figure.
- Ravidas’s devotional Verses were included in the Sikh scriptures known as Guru Granth Sahib.
- The Panch Vani text of the Dadupanthi tradition within Hinduism also includes numerous poems of Guru Ravidas.
- He taught removal of social divisions of caste and gender, and promoted unity in the pursuit of personal spiritual freedom.
- Medieval era texts, such as the Bhaktamal suggest that Guru Ravidas was the disciple of the Brahmin bhakti-poet Ramananda.
- He is traditionally considered as Kabir’s younger contemporary.
- His ideas and fame grew over his lifetime, and texts suggest Brahmins (members of priestly upper caste) used to bow before him.
- He travelled extensively, visiting Hindu pilgrimage sites in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and those in the Himalayas.
- He abandoned saguna (with attributes, image) forms of supreme beings, and focused on the nirguna (without attributes, abstract) form of supreme beings.
- As his poetic hymns in regional languages inspired others, people from various background sought his teachings and guidance.
- Most scholars believe that Guru Ravidas met Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.
- He is revered in the Sikh scripture, and 41 of Guru Ravidas’ poems are included in the Adi Granth.
Source: THE HINDU.