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Dulla Bhatti

Dulla Bhatti, the man, may well be said to be the core of the Diwali festivities. Songs sung in his praise, words spoken about his virtues make an inseperable aspect of the annual Lohri celebrations in Punjab. Read our fascinating article to know all about the enigmatic character of Dulla Bhatti, the soul of the Lohri festival, and know how he is connected to the occassion. If you like reading about Dulla Bhatti, click here and pass this article on to your friends and dear ones. Celebrate Lohri with fervor!

The annual Lohri celebrations witness young children going from door to door, singing songs in praise of Dulha Bhatti and getting sweets or little goodies or even money. The practice has associated Dulla Bhatti with Lohri in such a manner that the man is often said to be reason for Lohri celebrations.

But who is Dulla Bhatti and how did he come to be associated to the Lohri festivities?

The legend of Dulla Bhatti is much popular in the North Indian states. Dulla Bhatti was an actual historical character. This legendary Rajput hero of Punjab was born as Rai Abdullah Khan Bhatti and was raised along with Salim, the son of Emperor Akbar. In his later years, Dulla became a rebel when he came to know how the Emperor had executed his father and grandfather. With the assistance of Prince Salim himself, Dulla succeeded in putting up a strong fight against Emperor Akbar but was ultimately caught and executed due to unavoidable circumstances. Many legends are associated with this brave rebel and many of these tales mention of him as a robber in his early years when he used to plunder the rich to assist the poor with the looted money. According to one legend, Dulla had on a man's request saved the prestige of his innocent beautiful girl who was to be forcibly taken away by Mughal officials to their harem. He arranged her marriage with a young Hindu boy in his jungle fort at Rakh (a place lying between Gujaranwala and Sialkot). Acting as her father, he gave the girl a kilo of sugar as her wedding present. In the absence of a priest, Dulla himself lit the sacred fire to complete the Hindu marriage. But he did not know the holy verses to be chanted and hence, sang a hilarious song that added merriment to an otherwise serious occassion.

Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicaharaa ho!
Dullah bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paatta ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
Zamindaar sudhaye!
bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari eet!
Sanoo de de lohri te teri jeeve jodi!
Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pit!

(Click here for the translation of this song)

The event, in all possibilty, took place during the time of harvest celebration when Lohri is observed and hence, the incident got associated to the festival. The song that Dulla sang is still sung during Lohri and the bonfire serves as a throwback to the sacred fire lit during the aforesaid marriage ceremony.

Even to this day, the people of Punjab remember this brave warrior with a heart of gold. On the morning of the Lohri day, young children team up to visit every house in the locality and sing songs that commend Dulla and his giving of the Lohri gift to his daughter as a suggestion to the owner of the house to give them presents in the same way. Normally, the young gangs are given small amounts of money to buy treats, sweets like gajak or rewri or eatables such as popcorn, , til (sesame) seeds, peanuts, crystal sugar or gur (jaggery). If the gifts please them, they sing:

One of the many interesting legends has it that in, there was a thick forest known as Rakh. The forest was the home of Dulla Bhatti, a dacoit who was considered as the Robin Hood of Punjab.

"Dabba bharaya leera da ( Box filled of cloths strips)
"Ai ghar ameera da (This house is of the rich)"

But if they do not receive anything from a house, they chant:

"Hukka bhai Hukkaa (Hukka! Oh! Hukka!)
"Ai ghar bhukka (This house is full of misers!)"

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