JAMMU, Nov 4: A week-long Jhiri Festival on Saturday started on city outskirts here.
Hundreds of devotees from different parts of the neighbouring states paid tributes to Baba Jitto, who fought against the archaic system of exploitation and for the cause of marginalised farmers.
Famous Annual Jhiri Mela depicting the rich cultural and religious heritage of Jammu commenced with traditional fervor and gaiety.
The Jhiri Mela is held every year in memory of Baba Jitto and his daughter Bua Kaury which is attended by nearly 8 to 10 lakh devotees from Jammu, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and other parts of northern India.
The department officials detailed about various initiatives taken by their departments for the benefit of villagers and for the people related to the trade pertaining to these departments.
A series of cultural programmes were also organised highlighting the cultural and traditional heritage of the state.
Jhiri fair is organised every year on the occasion of Gurupurab-the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Member Parliament Shamsher Singh Manhas inaugurated the Mela.
MLA Marh, Sukhnandan Kumar Choudhary, MLA Doda Shakti Parihar, MLA Chamb Dr. Krishan Bhagat, Deputy Commissioner Jammu Kumar Rajeev Ranjan, Mela Officer (SDM) Paramjeet Singh, Additional Mela Officer Ranjeet Singh, Mela Secretary Ram Ditta Sharma and other senior functionaries of police and district administration were also present on the occasion.
Paying rich tribute to Baba Jitto, Member Parliament described him as a revolutionary farmer who fought against the feudal system and against exploitation of marginalized farmers.
The Member Parliament also witnessed a dangal competition organised by Mela Management Committee which witnessed bouts of professional wrestlers from different parts of the country.
Manhas lauded the efforts of Jhiri Mela Management Committee and the district administration for making excellent arrangements for the visitors.
He inspected awareness camps and exhibition stalls installed by various government departments including Department of Agriculture, Horticulture, Sericulture, Floriculture, Handicrafts, Small Scale Industries Development Corporation Limited, Animal Husbandry, Sheep Husbandry and various other departments.
The stalls have been established to educate the people about various welfare schemes being implemented by the state and centre governments for their benefit.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages presented a cultural programme depicting the rich cultural heritage of the Dogras.