Sant Ramanand remembered

The slain Dalit saint, Sant Ramanand who was murdered in Vienna by the so called upper caste fundamentalists in 2009, was remembered at the Sri Guru Ravidas Sabha gurdwara in Burnaby past Saturday.

A public meeting followed by annual candle light vigil was organized by the charitable trust formed in the memory of the deceased head of the Dera Sach Khand Ballan sect. The trust leader, Varinder Bangar has been organizing yearly candle light vigils in Surrey since.

Short films on Sant Ramanand were also screened on the occasion.

A visiting scholar and a prominent activist, S.L. Virdi was the guest speaker. Most speakers insisted that he was a “martyr’’ who died for the sake of the Dalit community.

Virdi revealed that Sant Ramanand had endured caste based discrimination since his childhood and dedicated himself to the cause of Dalit emancipation. “He spent his entire life to rid Dalits of their sufferings.’’

He also warned that the caste based discrimination is still an ugly reality in India and within the South Asian community in Canada. He pointed out that the recent parade organized in connection with 636th birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas, a revolutionary saint in Burnaby was virtually blacked out by the Punjabi media which reflects this prejudice.