A folkloric hero among the sect of Daryapanthi Sindhis, Jhulelal is the most revered deity of Sindhi Hindus in modern South Asia.
Legends converge upon that Jhulelal was born during the rule of one Islamic despot “Mirkshah”, who had issued an ultimatum to local Hindus for converting to Islam. The reincarnation of a Hindu deity, Jhulelal exhibited supernatural powers since childhood; he preached about how the Hindus as well as Muslims believed in the same God, and emphasized that the Koran forbade forced conversion. Ultimately, Jhulelal convinced the King to spare the Hindus and even gained devotees among the Muslims.
Devotion towards Jhulelal was not uniform in pre-partition Sindh; many Sindhi Hindus had never heard of him and he was one of the many deities belonging to the Sindhi cultural pantheon. However, in 1950 an emigrant section of Sindhi Hindus, led by Ram Panjwani in Bombay, decided to transform Jhulelal into the ista-devata of all Sindhi Hindus and unify the diaspora. Devotional songs were penned, pamphlets printed, statues installed, festivals celebrated, and cultural events organized in thousands for the cause of Jhulelal. Over the course of decades, Jhulelal has successfully become the representative God of Hindu Sindhis.
Iconography of Jhulelal varies widely. Sindhi Hindus worship Jhulelal at the Shrineat Odero Lal in Pakistan’s Sindh province, which is jointly used by Hindus, and Sindhi Muslims who revere the shrine as the tomb of Sheikh Tahir. A second shrine named Jhulelal Tirthdham exists in India at Narayan Sarovar, Kutch, Gujrat.
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