In India several fairs and festivals are celebrated, round the year. Similarly in Jammu and Kashmir an annual fair is held in the name of Baba Jitto, a simple 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. Baba Jitto sat on the heap of grain and stabbed himself with a dagger and all the grains were smeared with his blood.
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 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.
Farmers and Mela – This Jhiri Mela is also called as the Farmer’s fair as it is celebrated to worship the holy soul of the farmer named Baba Jitu. This fair also creates a significant selling outlet for the sugarcane crop, which is conveyed by most of the visitors and farmers to the Mela. It is a big occasion for an outing of the family and is particularly rejoiced by children and women. There are numerous stalls loaded with a range of eye-catching goods – from pottery and vases, to toys, utensils and books. Lasts almost a week, dances and songs are also organized and a range of local foods are there. There are a number of other activities which includes cultural programs and local rustic sporting occasions such as wrestling