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Arts and Artists (12)
Arts and Artists
AI PANTH, one of the twelve sects of yogis, whose adherents worship Ai Bhavani, a tribal female deity, believed to be an extension of Sakti. Siva in the form of ardhanarisvara is said to have two forms represented by his own halves. His right side is the male whose followers are called daksinacharis, whereas his left portion represents the female known as Sakti, the basic power also called Amba, Durga, Kali or Bhavani. Worshippers of the female aspect of Siva are called vamamargis, known for their peculiar beliefs and customs. They accept no taboos in the matter of food and accord religious sanction to sexual freedom.
Arts and Artists
BAIRAGIS, or Vairagis, are a sect of Hindu ascetics, eschewing colour or passion and detached from all worldly allurements. Founded by Sri Anand, the 12th spiritual descendant of Ramanand, the sect comprises a class of nomadic penitents, living a secluded life of extreme poverty, wearing minimum of clothing and living on begging. They cast ashes upon their long hair and rub their bodies over with these, too.The sect is divided into four different orders, viz. Ramanandi, Visnusvami, Nimanandi and Madhavacharya, of whom only Ramanandi and Nimanandi orders are found in the Punjab.
Arts and Artists
BAZIGARS or acrobats, a counterpart of nats outside the Punjab, are a nomadic people travelling from one place to the other, using camels and donkeys as pack animals. Earlier they had been an occupational group performing bazi, i.e. acrobatic feats, in the form of various types of jumps and other bodily exploits and tricks for the entertainment of the villagers for which they were rewarded by their patrons both in cash and kind. In modern times, however, most of them have turned into farm labourers and several groups of them have settled down on the outskirts of villages where they find work. The Indian Constitution recognizes them as a Scheduled Tribe and they enjoy advantages and facilities reserved for this category of people.
4. BEDI
Arts and Artists
BEDI, a subcaste of the Khatris, Prakritized form of the Sanskrit kstriya which is one of the four caste groups into which the Hindu society is divided. The Khatris are mainly Hindus though there is among them a Sikh element which is small in number but important historically.There are no Muhammadans in the caste because a Khatri after conversion into Islam ceases to be a Khatri and becomes a Khoja. The Khatris are further divided into four subgroups Bahri, Khukhrain, Bunjahi and Sarin. Bahris have twelve castes, Khukhrain eight, Bunjahi fiftytwo and Sarins twenty.
5. BHALLA
Arts and Artists
BHALLA, a subdivision of Khatri (Prakrit form kstriya) caste, one of the four castes into which the Hindu society is divided. Khatris are further divided into four subgroups. i.e. Bahri, Khukhrain, Bunjahi and Sarin; the Bhallas belong to the Sarin subgroup. According to a legend, once `Ala udDin Khiiji, the Muslim ruler of India (d. 1316), attempted to impose widow remarriage upon the Khatri class. The Khatris of western region of the Punjab sent a deputation of fifty-two persons, each representing a subgroup of the Khatris, to plead their case at the Emperor`s court. These memorialists who were against widow remarriage came to be known as Bavanjai or Bunjahi from the number bavanja or 52, comprising the deputation.
Arts and Artists
GIAN SINGH, BHAI (1883-1953), naqqash or fresco painter, was born in the city of Amritsar in 1883. His father, Taba Singh, a comb maker by profession, supplemented his meagre income by dispensing ayurvedic medicines in his spare time. At the age of five, Gian Singh was sent to school run by Giani Thakur Singh, who later rose into prominence as a Sikh missionary and scholar. Giani Thakur Singh`s influence on him was everlasting. After he had passed his primary school, Gian Singh was apprenticed to Nihal Singh Naqqash, a third generation descendant of Bhai Kehar Singh Naqqash, who enjoyed court patronage under Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Arts and Artists
KIRPAL SINGH, ARTIST (1923-1990), the creator of Sikh history in colour, was born the son of Bhagat Singh and Har Kaur in a small village Vara Chain Singhvala in Firozpur district of the Punjab on 10 December 1923. He inherited interest in art from his father who was adept in woodwork engraving, and his practical training started with drawing rough sketches in his school notebooks. He was obliged to discontinue his school studies owing to lack of means. He was forced to take up a small time appointment in the military accounts department where he served from 1942 to 1947.
Arts and Artists
KOHINUR ("Mountain of Light"), the peerless diamond which today lakes the pride of place among the British crown jewels, once belonged to Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last Sikh sovereign of the Punjab. Duleep Singh was made to surrender it to the British after the annexation of the Punjab in 1849. The stone, which weighed 1861/6 carats, was exhibited in London in 1851. In 1852, it was entrusted for recutting to a London firm of jewellers who engaged for this purpose a Dutch from Amsterdam. The cutting enhanced the brilliance of the diamond, but reduced its weight by 80 carats.
Arts and Artists
RAM SINGH, a skilled artisan from Chunar Fort near Kashi (Varanasi) in Uttar Pradesh, who was with Guru Gobind Singh at Paonta. According to Sukha Singh, Gurbilds Dasvrn Patshahi, he improvised a gun carved out of a tree trunk. The Guru is said to have used it in the battle of  Bhangani (1688), near Paoma.
Arts and Artists
SIKH COINS or NUMISMATICS. Sikh coins like coins anywhere else were both a commercial necessity and a symbol of sovereignty. Coin, derived from the Latin cuneus, a wedge, through Old French coing and cuigne, "is properly the term for a wedge  shaped die used for stamping money, and so transferred to the money so stamped : hence a piece of money." The Punjabi word for coin, sikka, is borrowed from Persian where it means both "a die for coining" and "rule, law, regulation" (implying sovereignty). Traditionally, coins struck under the orders of various sovereigns had embossed or inscribed on them the name and/or bust of the ruler and the year of that ruler`s reign.

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