RAVIDASS – Once Part of the Sikh Community – Now a New Religion.
Who they are and what they believe.
Essay in Remembrance of the Saint Ramanand Ji, murdered on 24 May 2009 in the Ravidassia Temple, Vienna by fanatical extremists.
- The attack continues to strain the relationship between the Sikh community and the members of Ravidassia.
- Ravidassias fear further attacks.
- Sikhs also face prejudices.
On 24 May 2009 at about 13.00, the worship service in the fully occupied Ravidassia prayer hall in the Vienna-Fünfhaus was disrupted by a shootout. Six Sikhs in blue-yellow turbans attacked the preacher with a pistol and two knives. Onlookers overcame the attackers, and in the process over a dozen people were injured and one of the preachers, Saint Ramanand (57), was killed. A second guru, Saint Niranjan Dass (68), sustained severe gunshot injuries but survived the attack.
The six perpetrators were identified as Sikh extremists, thought to have traveled from Spain.
The result of this incident was a far-reaching escalation of the conflict between the two groups as seen in bloody riots and curfews in Punjab, the home of most Sikhs and Ravidassias.
Background of the Conflict:
The background of this incident can be found in the very foundation of both religions. Although a distinct separation was triggered only in 2009 by this incident, there has long been a smoldering conflict between the Sikhs and the Ravidassias.
Sikhism was established in the fifteenth century in India as a reform movement of Hinduism with elements of Islam. The last guru, Gobind (1666- 1708) did not nominate a successor because he saw the danger of a potential split in the community. Rather, he designated the holy book, containing the teachings of the ten founding fathers, as the next guru. Since that time, the honor of central guru has been assigned to the holy book Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Continue reading