Beginning the New Year with seeking divine blessings, Sindhi community celebrated Cheti Chand by distributing food and other items to underprivileged people in the city on Saturday. The community members took out ‘Baharana Sahib’ around the city to water bodies the previous evening. He said ‘Baharana Sahib’ consists of jyot (oil lamp), mishri (crystal sugar), fota (cardamom), fal (fruits), and akha (rice). Behind is kalash (water jar) and a nariyal (coconut) in it, covered with cloth, flowers and leaves.
“These are items that bring light and life to the world, we cannot survive without them,” Kishanlal said. Sharing about festivities, JP Mulchandani from Bhartiya Sindhu Sabha said, “After 40 days of Chaaliho, the followers of Jhulelal celebrate the occasion as Thanks Giving Day.” He said on Cheti Chand, Baharana Sahib is taken to a nearby river or lake and offerings are made in form of donations to underprivileged people.
The community members trace their roots to Mohenjo Daro civilisation that sank. “All of us would have sunk if it was not for Jhulelal,” said community coordinator Shankar Kishanlal. “Our motto is to share our blessings and make way through difficulties. We have been blessed to find our way of life in many countries. Sharing is natural way to give thanks to nature, God and life,” Sona Kasturi, Sindhi council of India MP, women head, said. Social workers including Harish Davani, Prakash Lalwani, Sarita Mangwani, Kanchan Gidwani, Shankar Wadhwani and politicians joined the celebrations.
“For offering made to Lord Jhulelal, we prepare akha which is a sweet dish made from rice, ghee, sugar and flour,” organising member Gulab Thakur said. Other traditional Sindhi dishes are also prepared. “I have sweet tooth, so it becomes a special day for me,” organising committee head Ramesh Godwani remarked. He said namkeens, dry fruits, spicy dishes and other traditional dishes are also prepared, which are distributed in public after the puja. “There is a different pleasure in cooking and eating together with our extended families,” committee coordinator Naresh Phundwani remarked.
Tableaux in the city
The community celebrated Cheti Chand festival with fairs, feasts, processions with tableaux of Jhulelal (an avatar of Vishnu, similar to Vithoba) other Hindu deities. The tableaux were taken out from Jhulelal temple, Chattribagh to Nursing Bazar, Sitlamata market, Rajwada, Yaswant Road and Palsikar colony concluding at Sindhi Colony.