Torch­bear­ers of tra­di­tion carry legacy with élan

HT Ludhiana Live - - Front Page - Swati Goel Sharma ludlivedesk@hin­dus­tan­

LUDHIANA: It was that time of the year again on Wed­nes­day when the fam­ily of ‘ka­hars’, other­wise en­gaged in odd-jobs in banks, elec­tri­cal shops or farms in their home­town, Sunet, gather in the old city with the be­gin­ning of Navra­tras to per­form the 100-year-old rit­ual of car­ry­ing the ‘dola’.

The 12 men, who rep­re­sent the fourth gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily that has kept alive the rit­ual, lifted the wooden dola on their shoul­ders that weighs over 500 kg and is it­self said to be as old as the rit­ual. As they car­ried the dola from Thakur Dwara Nauhrian to the Ramlila Maidan in Daresi, this Sikh fam­ily of ‘ka­hars’ also seemed to act as the true torch­bear­ers of com­mu­nal har­mony.

The ‘sing­hasan’, as the dola is also called, car­ried the artists dressed as Ram, Sita, Lax­man, Bharat and Sha­trughan, who are per­form­ing in the Ramlila on the ground that would con­clude with Bharat Mi­lap. The event is or­gan­ised by the Ramlila com­mit­tee.

The fam­ily that says its roots traces back to Pak­istan, claims it has been per­form­ing this rit­ual for a cen­tury now as it is passed on from one gen­er­a­tion to the next.

Said Mahin­der Singh, the great grand­son of Har­nama Ram and eldest of the 12 men, “Gen­er­a­tions ago, the com­mu­nity tra­di­tion­ally worked as wa­ter­men, fish­er­men and car­ri­ers of palan­quins on shoul- ders. To­day, with tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, these jobs no longer re­quire hu­man ef­fort and we have moved on to dif­fer­ent oc­cu­pa­tions.

But once in a year, we are in our el­e­ment as we carry the ‘dola’ to Daresi.

Many peo­ple feel amazed as they wit­ness us car­ry­ing the heavy dola but we tell them it is in our blood.”

The dola, that is kept in the tem­ple through­out the year, is ‘ren­o­vated’ just days be­fore the cer­e­mony as it is given a fresh coat of paint and dec­o­rated.

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