Folk Tales of Gujarat (and Jhaverchand Meghani)

by Vandana P. Soni | 2014 | 98,532 words

This study represents an English translation of the Gujarat Folk tales composed by Gujarati poet Jhaverchand Meghani (1896-1947). Meghani was born in Chotila and left an important landmark on the history of Saurashtra and Gujarat folklore, Indian poetry, journalism and other literary sciences....

Chapter 2 - Sinh nu Dan

On the throne of Muli in the seventh generation there was one Chachoji. Once the king of Halwad Kesarji, the king of Dhrol and Chachoji went together to take bath in river Gomti. While taking bath the Rulers of Dhrol and Dhangdhra kept many vows; but Chachoji took that type of vow that, ‘Whatever I have with me, I would give to my mendicants.’

All the three pilgrims came home. Gradually two great Rulers gave up their vows but resolution of Chachoji was very risky. He was ready to sacrifice his life.

The Ruler of Halwad provoked his Dasodi Charan. The Ruler gave promise to Charan that if he will break his religious vow then he would give him whatever he demands.

Charan said: “He is son of Parmar so if I would ask for his head then he would sacrifice his head also.”

The Ruler said: “Demand something that Parmar would be compelled to refuse.”

Charan came to Muli. In the crowded council Devi putra and Agni putra embraced. Chachoji said: “Kavi Raj, demand something.”

“Father it would not be possible for you.”

“Why not possible? There is grace of my master Mandavraj on me. The flag that is fluttering over this royal throne is his flag and not my flag. No one had ever done vanity of this royal throne; the master Mandavdo definitely would come to keep up reputation of this Royal throne.”

“My Nourisher, I do not want a single coin from your rich prosperous coffer, I do not want any honour or reward. I am not even hungry of your head.”

“You can demand whatever you want.”

Charan sat down on his knees and sung duha:

Esh ape adhipati, de gaj ke datar
Savaj de mu savbhal parkara Parmar

[Some king gift horses, some king give elephants; but you are more generous than another king so you give me a living lion.]

‘Living lion…’ shrieked all members sitting in a meeting and their voice shrilled.

“Yes, yes, living lion” challenged in a lingering tune.

Jami dan ke de jabbar, lilvalu lilar
Savaj de mu savbhal, parkara parmar

[Some powerful kings give lands in charity, some kings cut their own heads, but oh Parmar, I demand only Lion from you.]

The whole council overpowered by the feeling of fear, roared and rebuked loudly, ‘Gadhva, by making such demand, do you consider your greatness in diminishing reputation of Parmar?’

Charan continued his eulogistic songs:

Krodpasa de kavyand, lakpasa lakhvar
Savaj de mu sav bhal, parka Parmar

[You can give one crore coins to other poets and lend rich property to other poets but from ‘Lion like Parmar’ I will accept only lion]

“Horrible Gadhvo”, collective voice raised in the meeting. Gadhvi sang the fourth duha:

Dodha rang tune dav, sodha, buddhi sar
Modhe ujle de mane, parkara Parmar

[Oh good, reasoned Sodha Parmar, please gift me a lion with a smiling face. So I will take opium in offices of other kings by making your numerous appreciations.]

No line of tension was apprehended on the face of Chachoji. He with a smiling face said:

“Poet tomorrow in the morning we would gift you a lion.”

At midnight Chachoji went to the temple of Mandavraj and appealed:

“Oh Sun god, how could I gift a living lion? God please do something that your flag of fame may not be blamed.”

From the dome of a temple, hollow sound came: ―Oh, Rajput! In such a case why did you come here? In my mountain host of lions are roaring, you are Rajput, catch one lion.‘

Second day by taking all the members of royal court, Chachoji went at the mountain of Chotila. He told the Charan, “Come on Poet I would give you lion.”

Charans of Parmar started to sing eulogistic songs:

Panchali Chir puriya, vitthal te vanpar,
Sharam rakhiya chachatani, Jagdishan Gajtar!

Vitthal, you protected chastity of Panchali;
Similarly by giving lion maintain reputation of Chachoji.

Soon with loud roar one lion approached. Chachoji ran and caught him by his ears. Lion humbly stood like a goat. Parmar loudly said, “Oh Poet, you please accept alms of a Lion.”

Charan retreated and tried to run away then Chachoji made a call: “Gadhva, nine lakh places will be blamed; you being instigated by someone had come to disrepute me, and now why are you running away?”

Savaj Bhali Samho, Bhadakya kemhi bhag,
Panthu pachha pag, bharva nag hate bhad jane!

[On seeing lion, why do you run away in fear? Oh Charan, retreat does not suit to brave man.]

While demanding alms Gadhvi forgot the fact that it would be very difficult for him to receive the gift rather than to give it. There was no other option except receiving a gift. If he does not do so then his whole lineage would be blemished. What to do now?

Charan shrewdly said from the distance:

Chanche Sinh samapiyo, Kesar jaliyo kan,
(Have) ramto meliye Rana, potiyo parmara dhani!

[Oh, father Chancha, you have offered lion at my feet by holding it by ears. I accept the gift. Your charity has reached me. Now Rana you can set the lion free]

By pampering the body of lion, the King said: “The king of jungle, you can go now. You have maintained my fame today.” The lion went away. According to people that lion was no one but Mandavraj himself.

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