Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lets have an Identity - 1

Let’s have an identity: 1
In writing a blog one is always driven by two minimum factors. One is inspiration that is what caused you to write the blog and other is motive that is what you want to accomplish through writing it.  This is my first attempt to write an article and I certainly cannot take a chance to experiment.  The universal principle of inspiration and motive holds good for my first blog. I got the inspiration from a single question to which I am exposed right from childhood. This question was asked almost every time I introduced myself as a Bishnoi.  Who are Bishnois?  Have anybody asked you that question? Certainly if you travelled far from Bishnoi dominated areas in the outskirts of the nation then you have come across this question. Even if somebody is kind enough to you, to not to ask you this then, he/she will ask the spelling and pronunciation of the word Bishnoi - An indicator of his ignorance about Bishnois. Are Bishnois Jats? You people are purest vegetarians so are you Brahmans? You bury the dead so are you not Hindu?  etc. are some more associated questions.
Being a Bishnoi can be a thing of ultimate proud for anybody but when somebody raises a question like who are Bishnois then this pride shatters.  So are we in the middle of a great identity crisis?  Why Bishnois are an unknown tribe outside their occupied area? People of our sect has occupied some very high positions in state as well as central politics. They have been in IAS, IPS, CEOs of very large private enterprises, Scientists and you name it! Not only this Bishnoi people have occupied a position in foreighn cabinates. But then our very little known identity is as an aggressive tribe far from development, which, actually is not the reality.
 Our religion is not only great but ultramodern with a contemporary approach. This is evident by the fact that the questions who are Bishnois have two very different facets. Other people don’t know about our religion so they raise this horrible to us question but once you make clear the concept on which Bishnoism was erected by our great Guru ji, they are more and more interested and they end up turning in  a Bishnoi at the end of your explanation. There are no more questions in-between and no more at the end. They all are dumbfounded by our great legacy and heritage. The question that surfaces is why a great movement that started long back in history is obscure despite of its doubtless greatness, logical and contemporary nature. Why the movement has entered in to a perpetual dormancy.  The preachings delivered by our kind Guru is an asset not only to his followers but to the humanity as a whole.
 Bishnoi history is overflowing by the ultimate feats of self sacrifice. The magnitude of greatness of the community Bishnoi needs not a narration.  We inherit a history which is unmatchable and a source that instills the feeling of self importance in all of us. The sacrifice given by our noble ancestors is rare, exceptional inimitable and matchless.  The khejarali massacre has had far reaching consequences. None other but the father of the nation the great Mahatma Gandhi derived inspiration for his non coopration movement which started in 1942 and proved to be the largest and final struggle against the colonial superpower, from this extreme sacrifice.  Our contribution in the freedom struggle of India thus becomes great enough to be noted.  Inspired by this extraordinary and unparallel feat the world famous Chipko movement took off and triumphed in Uttrakhand in the year 1970 when the trees were being cut indiscriminately by the government. The government of India constituted the prestigious Amrita Devi Bishnoi National Environment Award. The splendid past of the Bishnois is not limited only to that one instance but it goes on and on. The self sacrifice given by Bucho ji in the year 1683 is immortal and eternal. Who can forget the great Nihal Singh Bishnoi who gave away his very existence for the sake of wild animals?  A documentary on his life named ‘Willing to sacrifice’ was awarded best environmental film at 5th International film, television and video programme festival. The tale of self sacrifice by the Bishnois thus goes on and on and a complete library of the books can be erected on this great community. But then the situation remains same as it was 560 years back.
We are unknown to the most of the country and they even have not listened a name near to Bishnoi. The ground reality is that due to reasons innumerable we are an obscure community. I told about Guru Ji, his philosophy, the sect which he founded and the tenants governing the sect to a friend of mine who is an able scholar of history, religion and philosophy. His quick feedback with a tinge of astonishment was that how he can be unaware about this sect in spite of the long and fruitful academic journey of his. The ignorance of a great intellectual about our religion made me feel depressed. Nonetheless he got a huge interest and asked me to give him the Bishnoi literature and history which I had.  After reading those books his very inspirational comment came like this. “Bishnoism was not a sect; rather it was a religious revolution which proved to be a reason of change, although at   minor level in the history of modern India. This great revolution did such a change in the socio-religious status in western India that successfully blocked the establishment of foreign invasive systems.” 
Now the million dollar question is why this revolution never became nationwide? We are great and we are unknown this constitutes a very bizarre and perplexing situation. The human history says it clearly and unmistakably that greats cannot be unknown. But we are and this is a thing each one of us devoted Bishnois might want to change. The obscurity and dormancy of Bishnoism may result into far reaching consequences and chances of ill and unpleasant effects are always more. Every problem needs to be understood in its minor details in order to solve it. There are some fundamental and obvious causes of our obscurity which needs a deep discussion and debate. Let’s start a discussion, let’s have an identity. Your reactions are all welcome on and on orkut.
Santosh Punia