Chhattisgarh observes the “jayanti” (birthday) of Guru Ghasidas on 18 December each year. Ghasidas lived from 1756 until around 1850 and was a leader of the Satnam sect within Hinduism. He established a Satnami community within the state of Chhattisgarh that continues to this day.
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In accord with Satnami teaching, Gasidas advocated equality as opposed to the caste system. And he preached largely to lower caste Indians. Having experienced the oppression of the caste system early in his own life, he was motivated to fight against it for the rest of his life.
Although his teachings were similar to those of Hinduism and Buddhism, there were points of difference significant enough that some would almost class his movement as a new religion. His emphasis was on truth, equality, social justice, and peace. He also opposed the practice of “murti puja”, where physical objects are seen as embodiments of god during Hindu puja rituals, and he opposed certain other facets of Hinduism.
In search of ways to oppose the social injustices of the caste system and to find solutions to other problems, Guru Ghasidas travelled extensively all over Chhattisgarh. And his legacy is celebrated there every 18 December. Plus, the local Guru Ghasidas National Park and Guru Ghasidas University are named in his honour.