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613th birth anniversary of poet-saint Kabir celebrated

Agra, June 26 (Calcutta Tube) More than 2,000 Kabirpanthis, followers of 15th century devotional poet Kabir Das, gathered here Saturday to celebrate his 613th birth anniversary or ‘praktyotsava (appearance in human form)’ of the saint.

The one-day event at the Soor Sadan auditorium here included a satsang and recital of his ‘dohe (couplets)’ to the accompaniment of Kabiri musical instruments like ‘Khanjri’, ‘dholak’, ‘chimta’, ‘manjeera’, ‘jhanjh’, ‘harmonium’ and ‘tamboora’.

According to Rajendra Prasad, president of the organising committee, the followers of Kabir are both Hindus and Muslims and follow different life-styles and traditions.

‘Kabir criticised the dogmatic follies associated with religions, hitting out against kings and caste leaders of his time,’ Prasad said.

Kabir’s ‘dohe’ have survived as traditional wisdom for more than 500 years, producing music in countless local dialects and regional styles, he said.

‘In essence the wisdom of the ancient Hindu scriptures has been transformed into pop format for easy understanding of the common man. Even a villager in north India would be able to recite a verse or two from Kabir,’ said culture critic Mahesh Dhakar.

Taj city has been a favourite centre of Kabirpanthis with eight temples and a following of roughly 12,000 devotees who live a simple, austere life, wear white clothes and do not practise casteism.

On Kabir’s contribution to Hindi literature, Madhurima Sharma, head of the Hindi department at St. John’s College, said: ‘Kabir impacted language and impregnated the elitist literature with a mass orientation. He used the collective wisdom of thousands of years in simplified couplets easy on the tongue and ears, and convenient to remember.’

‘Kabir was a gyan-margi Bhakti poet whose secular credentials and iconoclastic tirade have inspired lots of poets down the ages. He remains a force till this day,’ she added.

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