The Beginning of a Saint and the End of a Freedom Fighter | Goa News

Paliem in Pernem taluka, about 40 km from Panaji, is bordered by Arambol, Keri, Korgao and Aronda in Maharashtra. Paliem is nestled along the coastal belt of Pernem somewhere between Morjim and Keri but is the only village without beach access. A hill stands between it and the Arabian Sea.The famous freshwater lake of Goa, although accessible via Arambol, lies within the jurisdiction of the village of Paliem. The village has no commercial activity with very few people engaged in sand mining which in recent times has been marred by legal entanglements. The population depends mainly on jobs in the public sector as well as in the private sector and agriculture. The main community is Hindu with a small section of Catholics. The picturesque village is probably best known as the birthplace of Saint Sohirobanath Ambiye, who is said to have contributed greatly to the spiritual realm. The village also shares strong ties to the history of the liberation of Goa, with freedom fighter Panhalal Yadav being gunned down here by Portuguese soldiers while attempting to fly the Indian flag atop the deity temple of the town.
About 350 years ago, Sohirobanath Ambiye was born in Paliem. He was a student of Gahininaath, who transmitted darshanand diksha him at a place called Insuli in Sawantwadi.
He was a secular saint like the holy Maharashtrian Namdev with a broad Indian appeal. His most famous lines are “Antaricha dnyandiva malvu nako re” (never extinguish the lamp of knowledge in your heart) and “Haribhajanavin Kal Ghalavu nako re” (do not waste your time without prayers to the divine).
Born as Atchyut Anant Ambiye, he resigned his post as a tax inspector at the age of 35 and traveled to the forests of Insuli. He spent the next 25 years as a yogi before leaving his family for good at the age of 60 for a pilgrimage to northern India.
Much mystery surrounds the Sohirobanath pilgrimages to central and northern India between AD 1774 and AD 1792. Legend has it that the Maratha warrior Mahadaji Shinde, after an interesting meeting in his courtyard, accepted him as his spiritual guru and built a monastery for him in Ujjain.
The state government officially celebrated the tercentenary of the birth of the great spiritual visionary of Goa and Saint Sohirobanath Ambiye (AD 1714-1792). The Government College of Art and Commerce of Virnoda was renamed after Sant Sohirobanath Ambiye. The government said it would establish a chair at the University of Goa for research in Marathi language and Goan Marathi literature on its behalf.
Another legacy of the village lies in the pages of history. Sources say that a Uttar Pradesh freedom fighter, Panhalal Yadav, climbed the arch of the famous Shree Bhumika Vetal temple to hoist the Indian tricolor. Portuguese soldiers arrived in a jeep and warned Yadav to drop the flag. The fearless freedom fighter stepped forward to hoist the flag and the soldiers first shot him in the right hand. He then moved the flag to his left hand. The Portuguese soldiers fired another bullet and Yadav, the flag clutched to his chest, collapsed from his temple and breathed his last. The incident happened on August 15, 1955. The state government listed Yadav’s contribution in primary school textbooks. To this day, there is a street named after Panhalal in the village.


Thelma J. Longworth

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