Jhulelal (Sindhi:جهوللال), Kutchi: ઝૂલેલાલ) is the Ishta Dev (community God) of Sindhi people. His birthday Cheti Chand which falls on the second day of the Chaitra month is auspicious for Sindhis and is celebrated all over the world with traditional pomp and gaiety. In certain parts of Pakistan, al-Khiḍr is also known as Khawaja Khidr, a river spirit of wells and streams. He is mentioned in the Sikandar-nama as the saint who presides over the well of immortality, and is revered by both Hindus and Muslims. He is sometimes pictured as an old man dressed in green, and is believed to ride upon a fish. His principal shrine is on an island of the Indus River by Bhakkar in Punjab, Pakistan.
Mythology[change | change source]
The legend of Jhulelal is closely related to religious persecution and the oneness of God. Muslim invaders from Turkey and Persia expanded their empires eastward and conquered Sindh (and later, a large part of the Indian subcontinent). Legend has it that Jhulelal convinced a tyrannical Muslim ruler, Mirkshah, to treat Hindus and Muslims equally. He also impressed upon the ruler the fact that although Hindus called their God "Ishwar" and Muslims refer to God as "Allah", they are the same one God who created the world. Jhulelal is revered by both Hindus and Muslims, who refer to him by several names including Lal Sai, Uderolal, Varun Dev, Doolhalal, Dariyalal and Zinda Pir.
Faith has established Jhulelal as the Asht Dev (community God) of Sindhis. His Birthday "Cheti Chand" second tithi of Chaitra auspicious for Sindhis and is celebrated the world over with traditional pomp and gaiety.
The Hindu legend of Jhulelal or the River Deity has its historical or semi-historical beginnings in Sind, an erstwhile province of united India and now a state of Pakistan. During the days of Sapt-Sindhu (land of seven rivers), the mainstream Sindhu and its tributaries were considered life-givers to the people who lived on its banks and drew sustenance from its waters. It was precisely the lure of plentiful water that brought invading hordes of Muslim rulers from the neighbouring Arabian Kingdoms to Sind and India. Having conquered Sind and its adjoining territories, they (Muslims) did not spread Islam at the point of the sword but with love and true knowledge. In the 10th century A.D. Sind came under the rule of Samras. The Samras being converts from Hinduism to Islam were neither bigots nor fanatics. However, there was no exception in the Sumra region. Being far away from its capital, Thatta maintained its separate identity and influence. Its rulers Mirkshah was not only a tyrant but also a religious fanatic. And as in the wont of many a tyrant, Mirkshah too was surrounded by sycophants. These friends advised him one day : "Spread Islam and you will be granted 'Janat' or eternal bliss after death."
Notes[change | change source]
- Story of Jhulelal Archived 1 May 2011 at WebCite
- Sindhi New Year
- Longworth Dames, M.. "Khwadja Khidr". Encyclopedia of Islam, Second Edition. http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/khwadja-khidr-SIM_4126?s.num=0&s.f.s2_parent=s.f.book.encyclopaedia-of-islam-2&s.q=khidr. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- Vaswani, J.P. (2008). I Am a Sindhi: The Glorious Sindhi Heritage - The Culture & Folklore of Sind. New Delhi, India: Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd.. pp. 129-135. 9788120738072. http://www.sterlingpublishers.com/bookinfo.asp?na=9788120738072.