Bhagat Kanwar Ram, born on April 13, 1885, in the village of Jarwar, now part of Ghotki district in Pakistan, was a true saint with a remarkable journey that left an indelible mark on the hearts of Sindhis, Muslims, and Hindus alike. His life was a harmonious blend of devotional singing, humility, and compassion. Let’s delve into the captivating story of this revered saint.
Early Life and Devotion:
Hailing from a humble background as the son of Tarachand, a shopkeeper, Bhagat Kanwar Ram’s destiny took a spiritual turn when he became a disciple of Saint Satram Das of Rahrki Tehsil. From childhood, his Guru recognized his melodious singing talent and prophesied that as long as he didn’t keep a penny from public funds, his name would shine like the moon and stars. This prophecy shaped Bhagat Kanwar Ram’s life and principles.
Musical Prowess and Devotional Performances:
Bhagat Kanwar Ram’s voice was a divine gift that mesmerized audiences during his Bhagat-sessions of songs and dance. Clad in a long kurta and a red turban, he sang bhajans of renowned poets and saints like Mira Bai, Saint Kabir, Sachal Sarmast, Sami, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, and others. His performances had a profound impact, with listeners getting lost in the spirituality of his renditions.
Despite the admiration and offerings of money, gold, and jewelry showered upon him, Bhagat Kanwar Ram remained true to his Guru’s teachings. He distributed the entire collection among the poor and needy, displaying humility and compassion throughout his lifetime.
Divine Connection and Miracles:
Bhagat Kanwar Ram’s connection with the Creator was so profound that he could invoke natural phenomena. It’s said that whenever he sang Bhajans based on the Raga Sarang, the Raga of Rain in Indian Classical Music, rain clouds would gather, and rain would follow. This mystical connection endeared him to Sindhis and people of various faiths.
Tragic End and Legacy:
On November 1, 1939, at Ruk Railway Station, religious extremists sought Bhagat Kanwar Ram’s blessings before committing a heinous act. Despite blessing them with words of encouragement, he was shot, plunging the entire Sindhi community into shock, anguish, and grief. Today, Bhagat Kanwar Ram is revered worldwide, with statues, trusts, and organizations dedicated to preserving his legacy.
Publications and Commemorations:
Bhagat Kanwar Ram’s legacy lives on through his compositions, with the most popular being Naale Alakh Je Bedo Taar Muhinjo ... HMV Music released 20 of his compositions, allowing the public to access and appreciate his divine music. In 1997, Bhagat Ghanshyam, a respected modern-day Bhagat and follower of Bhagat Kanwar Ram, released an emotional audio album, Kanwar Je Kadman Mein, narrating the saint’s life story.
Bhagat Kanwar Ram’s life was a symphony of devotion, humility, and compassion. His melodious voice and spiritual performances left an everlasting impact, transcending religious boundaries. Even today, devotees gather annually to sing and listen to his compositions, keeping the legacy of this revered saint alive. Bhagat Kanwar Ram’s story is a testament to the power of divine connection and the enduring influence of music on the human soul.
~ Balwant Wadhwani