A SAINT FROM SINDH
BHAGAT KANWAR RAM
I received an email from my friend Asha Chand who informed me about a news item in Sindhi Daily Ibrat:
An estimated 5,000 people gathered in Ruku Railway Station to
commemorate the 65th anniversary of the martyrdom of Sant Bhagat
Kanwar Ram. Over 5,000 deeyas (earthen lamps) were lit…
The news item touched my heart and I decided to get some more information about this great Saint of Sindh:
I am about to share the saint’s ‘life’ with you.
Bhagat Kanwar Ram was born in small village called (Ddaherki) Jarvaran Taluka Mirpur Mathelo, District Sukkur, in 1885 A.D.
Sant Kanwar Ram was not only popular amongst the Sindhi Hindus but also with the Muslims.
His father, Tarachand,who had a shop of general merchandise, entrusted him to the care and tutelage of his Guru-Saint Satramdas.
Sometimes, Kanwar Ram would help his father and brother in the shop, and sometimes he would till the land.
However after Kanwar Ram’s Guru passed on in 1917 AD, young Kanwar moved and stayed in his guru’s place.
Bhagat Kanwar Ram recited ‘Gurbani’ i.e. Shlokas from Guru Granth Sahib (The Sacred book of the Sikhs). He was a humble, generous and compassionate man. He wore a long kurta and a red head gear. He sang and danced at Bhagats. Though he had not trained his voice, it was magical.
Sant Kanwar Ram was renowned for his rendition of the Sur Prabhati (generally sung early in the morning). The record company HMV made 10 records preserving 20 of the saint’s musical renditions. These became extremely popular in Sindh.
The money that Bahagat Kanwar Ram would collect would be distributed to the needy.
Let me tell you what a ‘Bhagat’ is.
Bhagat is what the lead singer is called…and the Bhagat is also what is considered as a very popular art form of ‘Sindhi song and dance.
It required at least two performers, as the performance was interactive. Some were good singers, the others peechhads or boliaraas (Back up singers).
The back up singers sometimes dressed up as women.
One of the important miracles connected with Sant Kanwar Ram was that he brought back a dead child to life. While the saint sang and danced, it was his habit to sing a (Lori) lullaby to the children. He used to pray to God to bless the child in his arms.
Mr Chand sent me the following information:
One day, Bhagat Sahib visited a small town for performing a bhagat in the evening. On the same day, the only child of a poor widow had died. She was totally shattered. She knew that the great saint bhagat Kanwaram would be performing in the evening. The Saint used to sing lullabies (loris) to the children. The mother wrapped the child in a cloth and went to the bhagat. She handed over the child into the hands of Bhagat Kanwaram. He blessed the child and started singing loris.
He realized that the child that he had just blessed was dead; The Saint cried out to God.
Bhagat said that people may blame him for the death of the child. He did not care for himself, but he had blessed the child in Gods name to live a hundred years & and his words could not possibly prove wrong (when he had blessed in Gods Name).
If the child did not revive people would lose faith in God’s Name!
As tears trickled down the cheeks of Saint Kanwar Ram the child came back to life.
The audience was enthralled!
Once seeing an old woman, carrying her load of firewood on her head, Sant Kanwar Ram escorted her home
At another time, robbers who had come to the village of Jarwar to steal from its inhabitants, left without harming anyone after listening to the melodious, devotional songs of Bhagat Kanwar Ram.
Sant Kanwar Ram’s popularity spread.
However as is often the case, the saint’s popularity created jealousy amongst some people.
While on his way from Bhagat to Bhagat, a crowd, gathered around him and bowed to him. The saint also bowed to them and offered them ‘parsaad’. Sant Kanwar Ram was shot fatally, by these same thugs, at RUK station.
As I mentioned earlier: An estimated 5,000 people gathered in Ruku Railway Station to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the martyrdom of Sant Bhagat…
To add to that report, (according to the email report that I received) it was resolved that a special campaign will be launched, that the name of Ruk Station be changed to ‘Bhagat Kanwar Ram Station’
I have been informed that in Raharki Saheb (small village), the Guru of Kanwar Ram Saaeen was born. His name is Saaeen Satram Das Sahib.In the above village saaeen Kanwar Ram served as Bhagat or Shewadaari.
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