The largest peaceful gathering of the pilgrims Kumbh Mela which returns after every 12 years to mark the celebration of Hindu Heritage is underway.
Special arrangements have been made by Yogi Adityanath led UP Government this year for the convenience of the devotees
In between the celebrations, A Dalit Mahamandaleshwar, the first scheduled caste to be made one of the heads of the Juna Akhara, who took his first dip at Sangam on the first ‘Shahi snan’ day has expressed his wish of ‘Ghar Wapsi’ of Dalits, STs, SCs and OBCs who left “Snatan Dharam’ due to fear of exploitation to embrace Buddhism, Christianity and Islam” to Hinduism
The Mahamandaleshwar, Kanhaiya Prabhunand Giri called the moment he took the dip a long due “equality in religion”
The seer sharing his experiences said all through his life he has faced exploitation and security threats for being who he is He said the remarks he has got has pierced him more than a bullet would which once took him to the extreme point wanting to leave Hinduism
The seer said he took up all kinds of odd jobs to survive. “After my class X, I wanted to study Sanskrit, but I was denied for being a Scheduled Caste. I then came under the shadow of my guru, Jagatguru Panchanandji Maharaj in 2008 who taught me and soon gave me the priestship of the temple. But I was frowned upon, attacked by the Hooligans, a finger each on my hand fractured, my temple set-up ransacked and called by casteist names, he said
He further explained fear of his community. “My community is scared of religion because it does not include them. For them, the Constitution is the holy scripture. When I go to meet them today, they consider me a Brahmanical political agent who will dupe them. But when they get to understand my mission, they are ready to be beckoned at one call,” said Giri
Remembering one old incident, Giri narrated his life changing moment that when he was in Chandigarh in 1999 at a place where a congregation of Sikh Gurus was being held there when people came to know about his identity they made him stand outside the entrance and I was not allowed to touch the feet and toes of Gurus who are said to give divine strength because of me being a Shudra
But today I am at a position where people of all caste and creed come and bow in front of me. I am religious leader who will kept fighting this caste mentality, he said
After joining the Akhara he has now expressed his wish to bring all those back who have due to some fear got transformed to other religions.
“It is difficult to explain the pride I felt when I was made to sit on a chariot for the ‘shahi snan’, surrounded by dev devotees dancing to drum beats around me. My community has, for ages, been kept away from this honour, even when we have been rulers and have proved our mettle both mentally and physically by writing the constitution and fighting the Mughals and English respectively”, he added
The Mahamandaleshwar, Kanhaiya Prabhunand Giri who was born as Kanhaiya Kumar Kashyap was initiated as one of the Mahamandaleshwars of the Juna Akhara in April last year after completing his Deeksha. “I will wash the feet off the past lives of all my community members who embraced Islam, Christianity and Buddhism due to inequality and bring them back to Sanatan Dharm. I will show them how the Juna Akhara has been inclusive with me.