To most, of course, Kabir, icon of Bhakti is a champion of Hindu-Muslim unity, his Arabic name sitting cheerfully alongside the chant of Ram
When Kabir, the poet-saint, died five centuries ago, he could not have predicted he would be reimagined over and over again, to allay the anxieties of every succeeding generation. To most, of course, this icon of Bhakti is a champion of Hindu-Muslim unity, his Arabic name sitting cheerfully alongside the chant of Ram. Indeed, soon after his death, Abul Fazl, emperor Akbar’s chronicler, described him as “the asserter of the unity of God", one who “discarded the effete doctrines" of his time, “revered by both Hindu and Muhammadan for his catholicity of doctrine and the illumination of his mind". Sikhs too looked upon him with respect, dedicating to his work whole passages in their Adi Granth. And in the 19th century, European missionaries laid claim to the weaver-saint of Varanasi, delighting in his barbs against caste, finding in his sayings a reflection of such thought which could only, they were convinced, be Christian in origin.
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