Shakun introduces you to Jhulelal – The Patron Saint of the Sindhis
Many rulers from neighboring countries were attracted to the abundant material wealth and rich culture of Sindh. Therefore the invaders came in hordes to plunder and to loot. Initially they returned to their countries, after killing, abducting women and leaving scores of dead people in their trail. Later, these frequent invaders conquered the land watered by the Indus, and remained to rule with a barbaric hand.
During the 10th Century AD, Sindh came under the rule of the Samras who were direct descendants of converts from Hinduism to Islam. Under their rule Hindus generally felt safe and secure. However Thatta, a township in Southern Sindh had fallen in the hands of a tyrant who called himself Mirkshah. Mirkshah threatened the Hindus to either embrace Islam or die. The terrified people of Thatta asked their Sindhi brethren from outside Thatta for help. However the frightened Hindu Sindhis of other parts, afraid for their own life, offered no aid. The Sindhi Hindu asked Mirkshah for time. Mirkshah was amused at the Hindus request for time, as he wondered what could possibly be accomplished by their idiotic request. The frustrated, frightened and helpless Hindu, in desperation, took to prayers and penance on the banks of the Sindhu river. They turned to Varuna, The Water God as their last resort. They fasted, prayed, offered rice, fruits, coconuts called “akho” to the Water God and implored for an Incarnation to redeem them from heir miseries. It is believed that on the 40th day, the River God spoke to them. It said, that the Incarnation of God would take birth in Nasarpur to save them from the atrocities of Mirkshah.
So on Cheti-chand was the Divine child born to Devaki and Rattanchand of Nasarpur.
Upon opening the baby’s mouth, the parents of the divine child saw the River Sindhu flowing, and an old man with a white beard sitting on a “pala” fish, whose peculiarity is that it swims against the tide. One astrologer called the child “Amarlal” and claimed that his memory would be immortal as this name suggested. Once while the baby Amarlal lay on his cradle, it started to swing of its own accord, hence the child was also called “Jhulelal” which means one who swings to and fro.
Mirkshah got alarmed on hearing of the strange occurrences connected with the divine child. He decided to do away with him, and hence sent his trusted minister, Ahirio by name to Nasarpur. Ahirio tried to poison the child by bringing a poisoned rose close to him, but the rose flew out of Ahirio’s hand as if by providence. Suddenly Ahirio saw in front of his eyes an old man with a white beard rising from the river, he saw him change into a handsome youth on horseback with a sword in his hand. Thus though Ahirio had come to kill the child, he bowed in reverence ( convinced that he had witnessed divinity ) and became a faithful disciple.
Ahirio implored Mirkshah to stop persecuting the divine child. Mirkshah may have conceded to Ahirio’s prayer, but he was torn between his fears and beliefs.
When Mirkshah finally confronted Jhulelal, he heard a sermon which proclaimed that the whole of creation was propagated by one and only God, who Muslims call “Allah” and Hindus “Ishwar”.
The Muslim priests were angry on hearing the above. They believed that there was no other God but Allah. Therefore they set out to arrest Jhulelal. As they moved towards Jhulelal, ferocious waves encircled Mirkshah and his companions. Once they realized that there was no escape for them, they cried out for forgiveness.
Jhulelal also known as Uderolal repeated that all creation is the Lord’s manifestation, and if He had so desired, He would have ordained Hindus to be born as Muslims. Mirkshah bowed and promised to treat Hindus and Muslims alike. The persecution of the Hindus stopped. To the grateful Hindus Jhulelal proclaimed not to despair in times of difficulty, as He would again come to their aid.
During and after the partition, Sindhis forgot about this promise. They were again, however reminded of the Sindhi Blessed Deity Jhulelal, by beloved Dada Ram Panjwani, (Professor, deep thinker, writer, singer from Larkana) who sang Sindhi songs, danced “Kanwar Bhagat Chej”and celebrated “Cheti-Chand”(the birthday of Jhulelal). Dada Ram Panjwani will forever reign in the heart of the Sindhis for reminding his Sindhi brethren in all parts of the world, of the rich cultural heritage that they had left behind in Sindh.