Manuscripts of Satnami sect to be published

Prayagraj, Sep 4 (IANS) The Hindustani Academy in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj will publish rare manuscripts containing the writings of famous Satnami sect poets, Bhikha Saheb and Bhomik Saheb.

The manuscripts date back to around 350 years and are in Devanagari and Kaithi script.

These will be edited by Hindustani Academy president Uday Pratap Singh and litterateur Uday Shankar Dubey.

Dubey was recently conferred the Tulsi Award by the organisation.

This will offer people a peek into a sect, which challenged exploitation of lower castes and promoted the idea of God as a ‘nirgun' (regular) entity.

According to the Academy president Uday Pratap Singh, while Bhikha Saheb belonged to Bhurkura in Ghazipur district, Bhomik Saheb lived in Lakhimpur Kheri.

A disciple of one of Satnami Panth's noted seers Gulal Saheb, Bhikha Saheb holds a special place in Nirgun literature. His works include Rama Kundaliya, Kavita, Rekhta, Rama Shabad and Sakhi.

“The manuscripts talk about an egalitarian society which is above religious and caste divides and a beautiful world where love and sacrifice is the basis of all relationships among humans,” said Singh.

He said that the poet has written on handmade paper using handmade ink in different colours.

“The ‘doha' (couplet) is written in black, while the chaupai (quatrain verse of Indian poetry) is in a shade of golden colour. The calligraphy is also very beautiful,” said Singh.

Over the years, several sub-sects of Satnami Panth have mushroomed across the country. The earliest of these sub-sects could be traced back to the 15th century. Bhikha Saheb was also associated with the Bawri sect, a sub-sect of Satnami Panth.

“We are fortunate that these masterpieces have been preserved so well using traditional methods of conserving manuscripts written on handmade paper and were given to us by a ‘Math' (monastery) in Lakhimpur Kheri”, said Singh.

The manuscripts include some of the works by Apa Saheb Nirgun, a poet-saint credited with propagating a Satnami Panth sub-sect Apa Panth in the late 17th century. He wrote under the pseudonym ‘Munidas'.

Singh said the manuscripts will be published in five volumes and each would have around 250-300 pages. Their translation would take around two years to complete.



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