Thousands throng famous Jhiri Mela

Devotees taking holy dip at 'Sarovar' near Baba Jitto shrine at Jhiri during Mela on Monday. -Excelsior/ Rakesh
Devotees taking holy dip at 'Sarovar' near Baba Jitto shrine at Jhiri during Mela on Monday. -Excelsior/ Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Nov 14: Thousands of  people paid their obeisance at the historic shrine of Baba Jitto  and his daughter- Bua Kauri, on the first day of  famous Jhiri Mela, at the border village in district Jammu today.
This historic Mela, connected with the sacrifice of a hardworking  and legendary Dogra farmer, Baba Jitto, and his minor daughter, hailing from Aghar Jitto near Katra, falls on Kartik Purnima every year. Lakhs of people hailing from J&K, Punjab, Himachal, Harayana, Delhi and other states participate in this week long fair.
Entire Jhiri town and adjoining Kalyanpur village wore a festive look today on the first day of the Mela. There was hustle and bustle at the Mela venue and a large number of stalls and temporary shops had been set up all along. The Government departments had also set up stalls for creating awareness among the people, especially the farmers. Wrestling competition was also organised by the Management Committee on the first day of the Mela in which the wresters from J&K, Punjab, Harayana and Delhi participated.
The children and women in large number were witnessed enjoying the merry-go rounds and making purchases at the stalls/shops. A large number of devotees were seen offering prayers at the shrine and also taking holy dip at the Sarovar (Talab) near the Shrine of  Baba Jitto.  There was heavy rush at the shrine and the devotees were seen in long queues waiting for their turn to pay obeisance.
Speaker,  J&K Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta inaugurated the   Mela and paid obeisance at the shrine of  Baba Jitto in presence of  several legislators, party leaders, large number of devotees and local people of Jhiri and Shama Chak areas.
MLA Marh, Sukhnandan Chowdhary, MLA RS Pura Dr Gagan Bhagat, MLA Akhnoor  Rajeev Sharma, MLA Khour Dr Krishan Lal Bhagat, Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Simrandeep Singh and  SDM Marh Ved Parkash were also present on the occasion.
While paying  rich tributes to Baba Jitto,  the Speaker termed this Mela as a tribute to the  legendary farmer who fought against the system of exploitation and for the cause of marginalized farmers.
Jhiri Mela is held every year in the memory of Baba Jitto and his daughter Bua Kauri which is attended by over eight to 10 lakh devotees from the Northern States. In view of the tension along borders, the security agencies have taken extra precautions for the safety of the people. There are some restrictions on the movement of  the people towards the border belt this time.
The Speaker along with other dignitaries also inaugurated and inspected various stalls displayed by the departments of Animal Husbandry, Agriculture, Information and Broadcasting, Sericulture, Horticulture, SICOP, Floriculture etc.
The officials present at the stalls, detailed about various initiatives taken by their respective departments for the benefit of the people and farmers in particular.  Stressing on the need for adopting latest techniques in carrying out day to day activities, Mr Gupta  applauded the steps being taken by the departments in reaching out to the people and  organizing such awareness programs.
The literature for general awareness related to management, healthcare, genetic improvement of animals, crops, plants and employment opportunities in these sectors was also distributed among  the people during the Mela.
A series of cultural programmes were also organised highlighting the cultural and traditional heritage of the State.
The Speaker appreciated the efforts of the organisers for managing and holding this fair and congratulated the artists for their enthralling performance and promoting the State’s rich heritage.
Later, the Speaker declared open the  Indian style wrestling. He also distributed prizes among the departments for participation and for their efforts to create awareness among common masses about the schemes and initiatives of the Government. State Agriculture department bagged the first prize on the occasion.
Meanwhile, in view of the tension along border and as precautionary measures, Natrang Theatre Group led by Balwant Thakur cancelled its Dogri play, Baba Jitto to be presented at Jhiri Mela venue late this evening.

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