2020 February 9 remarks the birth anniversary of Ravidas—a fifteenth-century saint and poet revered by the Dalit community. He unleashed a frontal attack on the long tradition of social oppression and caste discrimination. Guru Ravidas and his socio-religious teachings have become a major rallying point for the unity and struggle of the Dalit communities. Venerated as a guru (teacher) in the region of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the devotional songs of Ravidas have had a lasting impact upon the Bhakti movement
The Followers of Ravidas Guru, the Ravidassias have a significant presence in Punjab, where Dalits comprise thirty percent of the population. Ravidas’s opposition to caste-based discrimination made him particularly popular among Punjab’s Dalit Sikh population.
Legendary Pakistani vocalist and musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was among the first line of musicians to pick up the subject of the virtues of powerful Dalit icon Guru Ravidas. Fateh Ali Khan sang a Qawwali on him.
Watch Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Qawwali on Guru Ravidas.