As per a report in Times of India, the first Dalit Mahamandaleshwar to be made one of the heads of the Juna Akhara, Kanhaiya Prabhunand Giri, has called for the Gharwapsi of SCs, STs and OBCs who have “left Sanatan Dharm due to fear of exploitation to Buddhism, Christianity and Islam”.
Earlier known as Kanhaiya Kumar Kashyap, the 32-year-old Prabhunand Giri was honoured at a Pattabhishek ceremony by all the seers of the Juna Akhada in April 2018 and it was announced there that he would participate in the 2019 Kumbh as a Mahamandaleswar.
He stated, “I will wash the feet of the past lives of all my community members who embraced Islam, Christianity and Buddhism due to inequality, and bring them back to Sanatan Dharm. I will show them how Juna Akhara has been inclusive with me.”
On Tuesday, Giri took his first dip at Sangam on the first ‘Shahi Snan’ in Kumbh Mela. He told TOI, “It is difficult to explain the pride I felt when I was made to sit on a chariot for the ‘Shahi Snan’, surrounded by devotees dancing to drum beats around me. My community has, for ages, been kept away from this honour, even when we have been rulers and have proved our mettle both mentally and physically by writing the Constitution and fighting the Mughals and British, respectively.”
Giri further stated that he wants politicians to stop using the word Dalits and call the members of his community SCs, STs and OBCs as mandated by the Constitution. He asserted that he has faced casteist comments himself but wants to bring back people to Hinduism.