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....

There was one shepherd woman in the village Khambha. In her life, she faced a very grim moment. Her shepherd husband died and famine hit her country. Children moaned in want of food. Afflicted woman had only one hope that to seek help and support from her brother. By folding her hands she pleadingly told her neighbors, “Bapu, for two days feed my bonny and innocent children with drops of gruel; meanwhile I come back after visiting my brother’s house.”

Her real blood related brother lived in the village Mitiyana. She went to Mitiyana from Khambha with a great hope. She beheld her brother standing at the threshold of the door but brother was spoiled by the age of immorality and sins.

“From where, this lender has come?” after mumbling so, Ayar went inside home and ran away from the rear stile. Sister saw from the distance that her brother ran away on seeing her; she was hesitated to go further but obsessed by miseries with a great difficulty she went to the lobby of her paternal house. Her sister in law did not even use the word of ‘welcome’ for her. She stood holding an eave of a roof and asked her sister in law, ‘Bhabhi, where is my brother?’

“Yesterday your brother went out of station.”

Sister felt so bad that she wished to bury herself into the earth if it splits up and gives her a way. She sighed and returned. Sister in law said, ‘At least stay, for lunch.‖

“Bhabhi, if smilinglly you had given me arsenic then also I would have swallowed.” After saying so, she silently went away; but her eyes were full with tears. While walking she shed big tears. Outside the gate there was a locality of untouchables. There was a huge neem tree near under which on neat and clear floor daubed with cow dung, one stout untouchable named Jogdo was sitting. He was smoking a pipe. Jogdo knew the woman since her childhood. On seeing a sister he became happy and stood in her way and asked; ‗dear, why are you crying?’

“Brother, Jogda I am surrounded by many insurmountable problems, I am too unhappy to cry. My own brother, whom my own mother has given birth is hiding his face from me, this fact makes me cry.”

“Oh, mad, why are you crying over this trivial matter? I am also your brother; get up and come with me.”

In this way, Jogdo accepted that woman as his sister and took him inside. He filled the cart with grains by a measuring container. He gave her cash amount and told his son,

“Dear son, go and drop your aunt at Khambhe and unload all these grains at sister’s house.”

By yoking cart, the boy went along with the aunt. Widow Ayrani, by mulling over the true and false of life walked on. Her grudge against world slowly waned from her heart.

After the departure of sister; wife of Jogda came and told: “Bhagat, I feel that the distance between me and you will increase.”


“See, Bhagat, if the boy is really related to you by blood then he would give both cart and bullock to his aunt and if there would be a flaw in my character then he would bring both cart and bullock back.”

“Oh, foolish, stop such meaningless discussion. What does this helpless boy understand? He does whatever elders have told him. Did we ever tell him anything or teach him anything?”

“Bhagat, if any need of telling or teaching him arises then what is the use of carrying his weight for nine months.”

Second day the boy came home alone by tossing rope. On seeing him, mother asked,

“Dear son, where is cart and bullock?”

“I handed over to aunt.”


“Father, you gave her gifts as a brother and I as his nephew why cannot give gift to my aunt?”

Mother replied: “Well done son. Now you have proved yourself as a son of Bhagat!”

Jogda who once gave gift by hands with the same hand he played with the sword. During that time, there was a rule of Abhel wala. The army of enemies invaded Mityana and Jogdo went to fight in the battlefield. On the preceding day of his death, his wife did many entreaties.

Saras saji rat, walkhe walam jayu,
Rahone aju rat, (amari) jod vachhodo ma, Jogda!

[Oh Jogda, why are you making my condition like a bird Chakravaki who spends the whole night by making an uproar and pines to meet her male partner, who stays at another shore. Please stay during this night and why are you violating our pair? ]

Jogdo firmly resolved to die first before everyone; so no one could stop him. By making brawl he was the first one to sprinkle his blood at gate of his mother land. In Khambha, Jogda’s religiously accepted sister was daubing frames of roof with cow dung by standing on a ladder; at that time, somebody gave her news:

“Your religiously accepted brother has died in brawl.”

On hearing the woman jumped down from the ladder, and by covering her head started to sing elegies.Soon elegies renting hearts of men and animal flowed out in her melodious voice.

Vankar ane vanar, nate pan nedo nahi,
(pan) gan ne rov gajmar, tari jat na pu6u Jogda.

[Oh brother, Jogda, you were an untouchable doing work of weaving clothes and I am Ayrani of Vanar lineage. There is no relation between me and you so far as our caste is concerned. Why should I take your low caste into consideration? Oh, brave warrior and a killer of elephants; I am crying over your dignity.]

Ayrani wailed and shed red tears of blood. On hearing her lamentation people who were dinning got up leaving their meal incomplete. All felt as if Jogda was their real brother.

Ayrani imagined about brawl of Jogda.

Rampi no rakhanhar, kalba le vetran kiya
Vijali tano vichhar, te ki janiyo Jogda

[Oh, brother Jogda, you are considered as an expert in splitting leathers of cattle. Instead of that you displayed your skill in ripping enemies with a sword. How come you automatically cultivated deeper understanding of wielding a sword?]

Intensity of expression of grief increased, new imaginations emerged and as if God aroused in her heart:

Age chheli uthto, peli uthiyo pant,
Bhupa ma padi bhrant, jaman abhdaviyu, jogda!

[Hey, brother Jogda, you are an outcaste. In feast you get the last chance. But in the feast of battle field you got the first chance. You have died first. You have unpurified meals of other great emperors; it means that you have diminished their fame.]

Agal katak Orto, kolu ag kare,
Abhel kav ore (have) Jangi bhagiyo, Jogda!

[Oh, Ruler Abhel wala, till now in your army squeezing machine instead of sugarcane you were squashing enemies but now in that squeezing machine, how could you crush sugarcane? Because Jogdo who was just like an axis of squeezing machine has died. How come your squeezing machine would rotate now?]

Shankar ne jadiyu nahi, mathu khala mai,
Tal Tal apsar tay, je jadh manchiye, Jogda

[The Lord Shiva yearned to string in his garland, the skull of a brave man like you. His head did not come in his hand in the battlefield because to marry him many Celestial damsels came on the earth and as they were large in numbers unfortunately they had to share small pieces of his body.]

Mungha mal mal;ye, sungha satvi e nahi,
Khundha kon khame, jat vaniya na Jogda

[Dear brother Jogda, generally wise does not take cheap thing if they can afford to purchase costly things; because only strong things can bear our weight. How could tender and short lived things bear our pressure? Same thing happened with you and me. My real brother was easily available but he was not noble that’s why he could not help me when I was in crisis. On the other hand you were from different caste- ‘an outcaste’, in spite of that as you were strong you saved me at crucial time. ]

Ayrani, continued to shed tears and kept singing a dirge by commemorating her brother.

Her eyelids got swollen and her world became deserted.

Footnotes and references:


There are two different opinions; some say that an outcaste who remained with Champraj wala and died while fighting against the army of the King of Jetpur was Jogdo. (See the story, Champrajwala) Another opinion is that the companion of Champrajwala was not an untouchable, he was a scavenger. Jogdo was all alone among Abhel of Mityana who was seven in numbers and died while battling against armies of foe.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: