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On the Way to Paharī
On the way to Paharī
JitendraMaid and GuyPoitevin

I was in school in standard IV in 1981 when I first saw the pilgrims known as Vārkarīs heading en masse for Paharī to meet and worship their beloved Vithobā, god par excellence of the Bhakti cult in western Maharashtra, while proclaiming that ‘God is One’ and deprived of attributes and forms.1 We schoolboys looked with astonishment at these people walking in great numbers while proclaiming the names of Jñānadev and Tukārām.2 ‘Who are they?’ we asked. ‘If they have children like me at home, where have they possibly kept them? How sad the children must have felt to see that their parents had left them behind. Do these people have no feelings? What ...

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