Celebrated In: India
Jhiri Mela - A tribute to a legendary farmer is an annual fair held in Jammu every year in the months of October-November. The fair is celebrated to salute the courage of a farmer, his sacrifice for the liberation of the farming community.
The Samadhi of Baba Jit Mal, popularly known as Baba Jitto at Shama Chak Jhiri, about 22 km from Jammu. He had laid down his life after he was cheated by the Kardar of the area. The village Jhiri is located about 20 kms from Jammu, off the Jammu-Akhnoor highway.
Every year during the Karthik Purnima (Late autumn full moon) falling during the last week of October and early November an annual mela is held here. Lacs of devotees throng the village to commemorate the martyrdom of Baba Jittoo, a farmer who gave up his life in protest against the oppressive demands of the zamindar about 500 years ago.
The Jhiri mela is held annually in the memory of a poor farmer who according to popular belief committed suicide to protest against the unfair demands of his landlord.
Baba Jitu was a simple, God loving and honest farmer who preferred to kill himself rather than submit to the unjust demands of the local landlord to part with his crop. He killed himself in the village of Jhiri, 14 kms. from Jammu.
A legend has grown around the Baba and his followers congregate at Jhiri on the appointed day from every corner of North India; they revere him for his compassion, courage and honesty and hold an annual fair in his name.
Legend has it that the zamindar demanded a major share of the wheat crop from Jit Mal a poor farmer. Since the peasant had toiled hard to cultivate the crop he did not want to yield to this unjust demand. Rather than parting with his crop, Jit Mal preferred to take the extreme step of ending his life over the heap of wheat. He has ever since been venerated as Baba Jittoo and is revered for standing up against the injustice and unfair treatment meted out to the peasantry during the feudal times.
The festivities during the mela last for a week with the main day of the fair being held on Karthik Purnima. People pay obeisance at the Baba Jittoo temple and seek his blessings and the blessings of his daughter Bua Kouri, who as per the legend also took her life by jumping on her father’s funeral pyre. People also take a customary dip in the Baba-da-Talab (Pond), a natural pond four kms from the temple which is believed to have curative powers.