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Posted at: Nov 26, 2015, 12:15 AM; last updated: Nov 25, 2015, 11:38 PM (IST)

Baba Jitto remembered at Jhiri fair

Baba Jitto remembered at Jhiri fair
Devotees dance to drum beats during the annual fair at Jhiri village in Jammu on Wednesday. Tribune photo: A Singh

Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 25

Hundreds of people have begun arriving for the annual fair of Baba Jitto at a small village of Jhiri, some 15 km from Jammu city, to remember the sacrifice of the legendary farmer and his daughter, who laid down their lives in fight against feudalism.

The fair is based on folklore of the Dogra history. Followers from Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh gather to pay tributes to the legendary farmer, Baba Jit Mal, popularly known as Baba Jitto, at his “samadhi” every year.

Keeping in view the large influx of people, the administration has already established a control room to monitor the arrangements and civic amenities at the site. “We come here every year to seek blessings of the great soul. It has been a tradition going on for the last several centuries,” said Sukhpal, a devotee from Pathankot.

As per the legend, Jit Mal (Baba Jitto) was a devotee of Mata Vaishno Devi and shifted to Shamachak village, near Jammu, along with his daughter Bua Kori from Aghar village, near Katra, some 200 years ago. As he was landless, he requested Mehta Bir Singh, a feudal lord to provide a piece of land for tilling. Mehta Bir Singh agreed on a condition that he will take one-fourth of produce.

However, later he wanted more than agreed and incensed at the injustice, Baba Jitto stabbed himself sitting on a heap of crop, leaving grains drenched with his blood. Later his daughter Bua Kori lit a pyre and burnt herself with her father, thus making him immortal in the local folklore.

“It is a part of our family history and for generations we are coming here to take part in the mela. We have faith that visiting the shrine will bring good luck and prosperity to us,” said Sunita Devi from Akhnoor.

Meanwhile, the transport authorities were directed to arrange sufficient number of buses for transportation of devotees and to fix a special timetable for hassle-free movement of vehicles. Fire services would ensure fire tenders at the venue and other vital points to meet any eventuality.

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