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....

[The professor of Bengali literature of Kolkatta University Shree Dineshchandra Sen, with the help of accumulator named Chandra kumar De collected old folk tales of earlier Bengal, verified the actual places where all events had happened, and the time when all events had happened.By Kolkatta University all love stories were published in the voluminous book named, ‘Memensing-Gitika’. One poem from that collection has been cited in its precise form. The actual story is very lengthy and it is in poetic form. Only necessary stanzas have been quoted here. These ballads have been created by folk poets in folk language. The language is ancient and rustic. The creators‘names are found only in some tales.]

At the bank of the river Sutya there lived one old widow of a farmer; she had only one son named Chandvinod. By tilling the chunk of land, both mother and son earned their livelihood. The month of Asho is going on. Water is logged into farm. It is time of sowing.

In the darkness of early morning, mother wakes up Chandvinod:

Uth uth Binod, Are dake tomar mao,
Chand much pakhlayia, mather panne jao.

[Get up Chandvinod! Your mother is calling you. O Chand first you wash your face and then go to farm.]

Megh dake guru guru, dakiya tule pani,
Sakal kaira khete, jao amar jadumani.

[Thundering rain slowly stirs up water of the river, so my Gem, you hurry up and go.]

Asman Chhailo kala meghe, devay dake raya
Aro koto kal thakbe jadu gharer maje suiya

[The sky is covered by canopy of black clouds. Rain is frequently making sound. Oh, my god, now how long will you sleep in a room?]

Chandvinod went to sow seeds but due to heavy rain field sunk into water and plantation of mustard seed failed. Chand fell ill. Mother medicated him by selling two bullocks. By god’s grace son was saved.

There remained no grain for the worship of goddess Laxmi; so mother told the son, ‘Dear son, you go to the field to reap harvest.’

Panch gachhi batar, dugal hate te layia,
Mather maje jai binod, baromasi gaeeya

[Chand went to the farm by holding plant called ‘vat” in his hand and singing songs from twelve seasonal songs.]

On going there he saw that there was no grain. Excessive rain of the month of Asho has poiled plantation.

By selling the chunk of land to Banya, Chand Vinod purchased one cage of eagle. He went for hunting by carrying the bird eagle. He went further and further.

Kuday dake dhan dhan, ashadh mash ashe
Jamine padilo chhaya, megh asmane bhashe

[The bird eagle started to chirp in profound sound: the month of Asadh has arrived. The earth was veiled. Clouds began to float in the sky but they did not find any prey.]

Vinod while walking reached at the plain of the extremity of the village Araliya. On the border of the village there was one dark pond and there was one small track for reaching at pond. On watching lovely pond’ s water and on beholding the flower tree; he sat down to take rest under its shade by putting the cage of eagle bird aside. He slumbered.

Ghumayte ghumayte Binod, aylo sandhya bela,
Ghater pare nindra jao ke tumi ekla,
Sat bhaiyer ben maluva jal bharite ashe
Sandhyabela nagar suiya, ekla jaler ghate.

[Evening occurred but he remained asleep. At the evening, Maluva the sister of seven brothers came to fetch water. At the bank of the river she saw a sleeping man. Who are you man, sleeping alone on the bank of the river?]

Kander kalsi bhumit thayela Maluva sundari,
Lamilo jaler ghate ati taratari.

[Mauva started to climb down quickly the steps of the river, by putting down the Pot that she held in arm-pit.]

Ek bar lame kaniya, aro bar chhai;
Sundar purush ek, adhure ghumai.

[Sometimes she climbed down; in between she stopped to look back and exclaimed oh what a handsome man is sleeping here!]

Sandhya milaya jay Ravi paschim pate,
Tabu na bhangilo nindra, ekla jaler ghate.

[The sun set in the west. The evening was engulfed by darkness, in spite of that the man who was sleeping on the bank of the river did not wake up.]

Oh, no what will he do if would wake up at night? Where this foreigner will go? Is he an orphan? Who would allow him to stay at night? I am a virgin coming from a good family back ground; how can I ask him?

Utho utho nagar! Kanya dake mone mone,
Ki jani maner, dak sheo nagar sone

[The girl murmured within and spoke within, ‘Wake up! Oh foreigner you wake up!’ who knows, whether this man is hearing my inner voice or not.]

I feel that I should wake him up and show him way towards my father’s home; otherwise how could he detect the way during night?

Utho utho bheen bheen purush, koto nindra jao,
Jar vaksher dhan tumi, tar kacche jao.

[O foreigner you please wake up. How long will you want to sleep? You go to one to whom you are an apple of eye.]

Oh, no how he could hear my inner feelings in this way? Had there been any sister in law with me then I could have awoke him but whom should I tell?

Yes, yes, she remembered that she had one friend who could wake up a sleeping foreigner.

Suno re pitler kalshi kya bujai tore
Dak diya jagao tumi, bheen purushe re

[Listen my pot of copper; according to my advice you wake up this foreigner.] On saying so, she dipped a pot into water.

Jal bharner sabde kuda ghan ghat chhade,
Jagiya na Chand vinod, kon kam kore.

[The sound of filling water was heard. So the caged bird squeaked loudly; on hearing the screech of a bird Chand Vinod awoke. What he did on waking up?]

Dekhilo sundar kanya, jal laya jay,
Megherbaran kanyar, gayete lutay.

[He saw one girl having glowing complexion and the shadow of clouds was lingering on her body.]

Ek bar chav lo kanya much firaya,
Aro ek bar dekhi ami apna bhuliya.

[Oh, girl you turn back once look at this side, I want to see you once by losing all senses.]

Uer re jao re bener kuda, Kayo Mayer age,
Tomar Na Chand, khai chhe jungledhar baghe

[O eagle of forest, you fly to my mother and tell her that your Chand vinod has been killed by forest’s tiger.]

The girl came back home by holding a pot. Her face became reddish. Wives of five brothers in law asked “oh sister in law why did you stay alone at the edge of pond till late evening? Why the clothes on your body have become untidy. Why bun of your looks is dishevelled?”

Adha kalsi bhara dekhi, adha kalshi khali,
Aiyz je dekhi phota phul, Kail dekhiyachhi kali.

[―Oh sister in law, how come your pot is half full and half empty? Yesterday you looked like a petal and today how come you bloomed like a flower?]

“What happened at the bank of pond? Please tell. In the morning when you will come with us to fetch water; there we would talk secretly.”

“No, bhabhi, you all may go, I will not come. At night I had fever. My waist and tummy severely aches.”

Five sisters in laws went to fetch water and whispered among each other.

Maluva went to her bed room.

Who is this Maluva? She was a daughter of a sailor. Her father’ s name was Hiradhar. At home large cylindrical vessels were full with grain. He had 10 milching cows and on farm he had four bullocks. He had only one problem; was that his darling daughter did not get a suitable match.

When Maluva was lying on the bed she got lost in thoughts: From where this man might have come? Where he would have stayed at night? Where he would have kept his bird eagle?

Ami jaddi hoytam kuda, thaktam tar sane;
Tar sange thakiya ami, dhurtam banne banne.

[Oh my god, had I been an eagle I would have got chance to stay with him and to wander in jungle with him.]

Asmane thakiya devua, dakchho tumi kare,
Ena ashadher pani, bai chhe sat dhare.

[Rain, whom are you calling? It was a torrent rainfall of Ashad.]

Ga bhashe nadi bhashe, suknai na dhare pani,
Emun rate kothay gelo, kichhuy nai jani.

[The village was surrounded by water and the river was overflowed with water. There was water water everywhere. Where this man would have gone during this night?]

The morning passed, afternoon passed. The girl went on the way leading towards pond. On the bank Chand was sleeping. The cage was lying near the pond. On seeing the same water fetcher the bird sitting in the cage started to chirp. Chand got up and opened his eyes.

On that day, both introduced each other. Maluva said:

Adhuya pushkneer pade, kalo nager basha;
Ek bar danshile jay be, paraner asha.

[O foreigner, near this dark pond there are burrows of black serpents; their one bite is powerful to take one’s life.]

So please come with me at my home. This is the same way. On the east side my home brightly shining like a mirror will come.

Chand’s number of visits at Hiradar’s house gradually increased. Their familiarity increased. One day Chand sent proposal for marriage. Father of the daughter said, everything is ok but how could I send a daughter to that house where one time meal is a problematic.

Chand Vinod went to a foreign country by leaving his mother unhappy. He earned for one year by doing hunting. After going home he purchased farms, ox, he got his house built.

Hiradhar now got his daughter married with Chand. Maluva went to in-laws‘house by taking dowry. Mother-in-law welcomed the goddess Laxmi of her house.

Neigbhour women blessed a newly married woman by filling a pot of Ganga water.

All made the moment auspicious by gifting her gold and silver. Chand’s married life started to pass happily.

In the village there lived one magistrate of Muslims; that Muslim kaji was a scoundrel.

Bidoy Durant kaji, shemta apar,
Chhore ashra diya diya, saudere dey kar.

[He was such a wicked Muslim judge that he was providing shelter to thief, he was imprisoning gentle men, and molesting women.]

Once, while riding on a horse he passed by the pond. He saw Chand’s wife fetching water. On seeing her beauty he became mad.

Bhuyete baiya tar pare lamba chul,
Sundar badan jemun Mahuar ful.

[He saw Maluva; whose long hair was touching the earth, her face was as delicate and charming as a flower of Mahuva.]

Anaguna kayra kaji, hoylo bawra;
Rakhite na pare man kore pankhi uda.

[Maddened in love, Muslim judge visited the pond everyday. He could not control his sensuous cravings. Mentally he experienced wow moments. ]

Deshte bhamra nai ki kori upay,
Golaper madhu tai gobariya khai.

[There are no wasps in the country that is why worms suck sweet gist of roses.]

On taking for granted that to tempt sailor’s wife was not a big task; he called procuress of the village. He sent them to Maluva to give her temptations of wealth:

Taray gathiya tar, diyam galar mala,
Dekhiye tahar roop, hoyachhi pagla.

[Harlot, you go and tell her that I would make her wear necklace by threading stars of the sky. I have become crazy after beholding your beauty. ]

On seeing Maluva alone on the bank of the pond; procures started to persuade her with Muslim judge’s enticement. First time Maluva got scared and ran away.

But the second time, when whore came to lure her, Maluva furiously retorted:

Swami Mor ghare nai, ki bolibam tore;
Thakile maritam janta, tor pak na seere.

[As my husband is not here, what can I tell you? Otherwise I would have smacked your white head with broom.]

Kajire kahiyo katha, nahi chai ami,
Rajar dosher sey, amar sovami.

[Tell your Muslim judge, that I do not accept his demand. To me, my life partner is equivalent to king.]

Amar sovami she je parvter chuda;
Amar Sovami jemun; run doder ghoda.

[My master is a lofty mountain to me. To me he is a sturdy horse running in the battlefield.]

Amar sovami jemun, asmaner chhan;
Na hoy dushman kaji navkher saman.

[My master is just like a moon for me. Rowdy Muslim judge is trivial even in comparison of his toe nail.]

Strumpet told everything to Muslim judge, Muslim judge got incensed by hearing Maluva’s remarks. To take revenge, he wrote orders to Chand Vinod, that he had not paid his marriage tax. If he would not pay the tax within eight days then his house and property would be confiscated.

Due to sudden order, Chand could not make an arrangement of 500 rupees, the due date of paying tax passed. His farm was fortified.

Chand thought:

Ami rahilam gachher talay tate shati nai;
Praner doser Maluva re, rakhi kono thay.

[I would stay under the shade of tree; I do not have any problem. But where should I keep my dearest Maluva?]

“Dear, Maluva you go to your parent’s home. You could not face this adversity. You are a doting daughter of your father. You are a sister of five brothers.”

Maluva said:

Bone thako, chhane thako, gachher talay;
Tumi bine Maluvar, nahi ko uppay.

[There is no problem, if I have to stay under the tree; for Maluva there is no other shelter except you.]

Sat diner upash jadi, tomar much chaiya;
Bodo such paibam tomar channamiti khaiya.

[I have no problem if I have to keep fast for seven days. I would be delighted if I would get chance to drink water of your washed feet.]

Maluva managed to meet house hold expenses during the month of Ashadh by selling her nose ring. In the month of Shravan she sold her anklets, in the month of bhadarva she sold armlets, in the month of Asho she sold her silk saree: thus in this way by selling her clothes and ornaments; she satiated everybody’s hunger.

At last when nothing remained Chand Vinod went to foreign country without informing anybody.

At Maluva’s parents‘house everybody came to know that Maluva was unhappy.

All the five brothers tried a lot to take away their sister. By pounding grains Maluva passed her days with great difficulty.

One year passed, in the month of kartik Chand came home after earning good fortune. By paying tax of marriage, he got his house and property released and once again husband and wife met each other.

Meva mishree shakal mitha, mitha Ganga jal;
Tar thakiya mitha dekho, sheetal daber jal.
Tar thakiya mitha dekho du; kher pare such;
Tar thakiya mitha, jokhun bhare khali buk,
Tar thakhiya mitha jadipay harano dhan;
Shakal thakiya adhik mitha virhe Milan.

[Sugar and fruits are always sweet but Ganga water is sweeter; in comparison to all coconut water is more sweeter; similarly after sorrow happiness seems more sweet, the more sweetness lies when one get lost money back but sweeter than all is meeting after separation.]

Muslim judge once again fabricated intrigue. He sent a message that spy of our chief of the Royal state informed him that in your house there is one fairy like woman. If within seven days you will not present her in the council of the chief of the Royal State then you will be killed.

Seven days were over. Chandvinod was arrested and what Maluva did?

Kandiya katiya Maluva kon kam kare,
Panch bhaiye lekhe patra aday akshare

[Crying Maluva wrote a short letter to her five brothers.]

She put that letter in the beak of the eagle bird. Trained eagle bird understood quickly all the signs and directly flew away to the village of five brothers.

Five brothers by holding long sticks reached directly on the ground where their brother in law was supposed to be killed. By smashing heads of gate keeper they saved life of their brother-in-law. All the six went home but they did not find Maluva.

Khali Pijra payda raye chhe, uyra ge chhe tota;
Nibe chhe nishar dip, koyra andharta.

[The cage was empty, the parrot has flown out. The lamp of night was extinguished by spreading more darkness.]

Buker panjer bhange, binoder kandne
Jar antray dukh, say bhalo jane

[Vinod broke down by making heart rending lamentation. Only one who is undergoing from misery could properly understand his condition.]

payra raychhe jaler kalshi, achhe sab tay;
Gharer sobha mallu amar,keval ghare nai.

[The pot of water is lying. Other furniture is there, but the real ornamentation of my home is Mallu she herself is not present.]

After wailing a lot Vinod went near the cage. He asked the eagle who was sitting in the cage:

Baner koda maner koda, janam kaler bhai
Tomar janya jadi ami, malure uddish pai

[Oh, bird of the jungle, one who understands my mind, my childhood friend, could I get information regarding whereabouts of Maluva?]

Along with his mother and bird Chand Vinod went to foreign country by leaving his house,

Hawlate bhoshiya kande Maluva sundari;
Palank chhadiya boshe jamin uppri.

[In the castle of Jhangir, Maluva was crying. By giving up bed, she was sitting on the floor.]

By dressing himself in an amorous style, that chief persuades beautiful woman Maluva replied tactfully:

“Oh, diwan sahib, my vow of twelve month is going on. Nine months are over, now you just keep patience for three months. Later on I would marry you happily if you allow me to observe my vow. As per my vow I would not eat food cooked by anyone, I would not drink water touched by anyone; I would not sleep on cot; I would not see the face of any man; please allow me to observe all these rules otherwise I would commit suicide.” Three months passed.

Mukhete sunghti pan, ati dhire dhire,
Sunali rumal hate dewan pa shilo andere.

[By keeping aromatic betel leaf in mouth and brocaded hanky in hand: with such pomp the chief slowly slowly entered into room.]

“Oh, Dilaram, please come on the bed!”

“Oh Diwan sahib, you first unbound my poor husband. What crime he poor has commited?”

Diwan sent message to the chief of sub-district as suggested.

“Now, master, I wish to go for hunting by taking an eagle bird. I am skilled in hunting. I can catch 100 eagle birds together. Let us go for boat riding.” Diwan got the boat decorated. What Maluva did?

She put another letter in the beak of an eagle bird; thus she informed her five brothers behind closed doors.

Five brothers and the sixth one was Chand Vinod all went by taking small boat. They confronted Diwan very far in the river. By killing all men of Diwan and by setting Maluva free, they took her in their small boat.

The relatives of Chand Vinod started slandering:

Keho bole Maluva je, hoylo asti;
Musalmaner ann khaya gelo tar jatti.

[Somebody said that Maluva has no longer remained serene. Some said that she is turned out as an outcaste by eating food of Muslims. By staying in the house of Diwan for three months one could not maintain chastity.]

Vinod’s maternal uncle belonged to a very higher family lineage. He told Vinod, either you are exterminated from caste; or you repent and expel your wife from house.

Vinod made repentance in the presence of Brahmin priest.

Parachiti koriya vinod, tyaje gharer nari,
Adhare lukaya, kande Maluva sundari.

[After making penitence, Vinod renounced his wife. Maluva bewailed alone by hiding herself in a dark place]

Kotha jai, kare kai maner bedan,
Swamite chhadilo jadi ki chhade jiban.

[Where shall I go? Whom should I express grief that lurks in my mind? My soul mate has renounced me but, can my life would disown me?]

Five brothers approached their sister: sister, and said: “Sister, let us go to our home. There we will try that you will not have want of anything.

Bape bujay, bhaiye, na buje sundari,
Bahir kamuli hoya ami thakibo sovamir badi.

[Father pacified and persuaded her, brothers tried to make her understand but a belle did not agree. She said: I would prefer to remain servant of my master.]

Oh, master,

An jal na, nite na paribo ami
Bhalo dekhiya biya koro sundari kamini

[I cannot bring food and water for you. So you please get married by selecting a good woman.]

All the relatives got Chand Vinod married.

Maluva made dung cake, cleaned house hold chores, nursed old mother-in -law, and treated her co-wife as her younger sister.

One day Chand vinod by taking eagle bird went for hunting. He went into terrific jungle. He hid himself at one place and sat there. There black serpent bit him.

In a fraction of minute, the poison reached to the palate.

Uyra jao re pashu pakhi kayo maer age;
Ami binod mara gelam ey jangler maje.

[O, bird of the jungle, you fly away and tell my mother that Chand Vinod has died in the jungle.]

In the evening, way farers informed mother. All the relatives started to cry on the dead body of Chand. But Maluva mustered courage and said, “Brothers do not cry. First let get his body examined and test whether there is life in his pulse.”

At the shore, there was a river. By taking head of a dead husband Mallu sat in the boat. All the five brothers started rowing a boat with an oar. As per the distance it would take seven days in reaching at the house of a Dr. Garudi but Maluva reached within one day.

Dr. Garudi checked nose and mouth of a dead body and slapped on his head soon the poison receded and reached the waist; from waist it went down to knee and from knee it went further down and reached the toe. The serpent came from subterranean region and sucked poison from his toe.

Chand Vinod opened his eyes.

By making husband alive, Mallu came home. In the village, salutation raised for her. People loudly complained, “Can one keep such a devoted woman out of caste?” Accept her within caste. Dung cake and broom does not suit her.‖

The maternal uncle of Vinod was the chief of the caste: he replied; “One who brings daughter in law Mallu in house will be exterminated from caste.”

Misfortunate Mallu during lone moments thought: as long as I live, my husband will be blemished. My husband will remain forever unhappy, then why I do not cut of my life span?

Taking a resolution of to die, Mallu came at the bank of river. In the afternoon Mallu put her leg in the ferry. As soon as she put the step-

Zalke Zalke uthe bhanga naw se pani;
Koto dure patalpuri ami nahi jani.

[In that broken ferry, water of the river gushed in by making zalak, zalak sound. Mallu said, ―O water of the river, I do not know the distance of subterranean region from here.]

Uthuk uthuk ar o jal, nawer batta baiya.

[O, wind you blow more, may more and more water gush into this ferry]

The ferry was more and more hauled. It was getting filled with water. Soon sister of Chand Vinod came running and cried for help: “O sister-in-law, you leave the broken ferry. Come to home, come to home.”

Mallu replies from the ferry:

Na jaybo ghare ar, shuno he nandini,
Tomra saber mukh dekhiya fati chhe parani.

[O sister-in-law, I will not come to home, my heart cries on seeing your faces.]

Uthuk uthuk uthuk pani, dubuk bhanga naw;
Jammer mat maluvare, ekbar dekhiya jav

[Let the waves of water raise; let it rise more and more. Let the ferry may drown and for the last time you all relative come to see your Mallu]

The ferry reels more and more and ferry is getting filled with water. By folding her hands Mallu bows to everyone. Mallu’s mother–in-law came running with dishevelled hair.

“My daughter-in -law, goddess Laxmi of my house; please come back. Please return.”

Mallu says:

Uthak uthak uthak pani, dubak bhanga naw;
Biday deo ma janni, dhari tomar pav.

[O mother, now permit me to go. I bow at your feet. O water of the river rise and rise and let the broken boat sink]

Bhanga nave uthlo pani, kari kal kal
Pade kande havdi, nav adhek hoylo tal

[The broken ferry got filled with water by making kal kal sound. Standing at the bank of the river Mother-in-law cried. Half ferry sunk into water.]

Five brothers came running. Each member of caste rushed and brothers loudly called,

“Oh, sister, why you want to die? Please come to father’s house. We will take you there in a boat made of gold.”

Drowning into water sister says, “Brothers, now I cannot go to father’s house. Now, allow me to go.”

Uthak uthak uthak jal, dubuk bhanga naw!
Maluva re rakhiya tomra apan ghare jav

[O water of the river you raise higher, higher and higher. Let the boat may submerge into water. O dears, all of you now go by bidding adieu to Mallu.]

“Please, call once my Chand. Let me see his face for the last time. Any one from you please go and bring Chand here!”

Chand came panting: he saw Maluva drowning into middle of water. By standing on the bank of the river he made a loud cry:

“You are an apple of my eyes, why you did this?”

From the rocking boat, weak voice was echoed: “Oh, master, what is my use in this society? Relatives and members of caste do not require me. Please happily give me permission!”

Husband called the devoted woman who went unreachably far:

Tumi jadi dubo kanya, amay sange nev;
Ektibar mukhe chaya praner bedna kav.

[O woman, if you want to drown then please take me along with you. Please vent out your agony for once by looking at me.]

Ghare tuliya laybam tomay samaje kaj nai;
Jale na dubiyo kanya, dhammer dohay.

[O my dear, I give you swear in name of religion. I do not care for caste. I will welcome you in my home.]

“No, no master!”

Ami nari thakte tomar kalank n jabe;
Gnati bandhu jane tomay sadai ghatibe

[As long as I live, you will be blamed and people of caste will defame you. So master, please give me leave!]

Ghare achhe sundar nari, tari mukhe chayia;
Sukhe kar girvas, tahare laya.

[You have fair woman. You enjoy your married life happily by seeing her beautiful face.]

It was neck deep water. Only fairly white face of Maluva was visible. Female serpents of subterranean region in form of waves covered Maluva. What Maluva spoke while lying in the middle of neck deep water?

“O people of caste. The one who is guilty must go away. There was no fault of my husband, but you all tormented him a lot. Now I am going, do not be cruel to him.”

Purvete uthilo jad, garjiya uthe devua,
Ey sagrer ful, nai ghate nai dovwa.

[The storm raised in the east direction, the rain made a thundering sound and Maluva wanted to go to that place where there was no bank or boat.]

Dubak! Dubak! Dubak! Nav aro ba ko to dur;
Dubiya dekhi koto dure achhe patalpur.

[Sink, sink, sink, and boat now you sink. How far it is? On getting drowned I want to see, how subterranean have remained far!]

Purvete garjillo devua, chhutlo bisam bav,
Koiba gel sundar kanya, man pavner nav.

[Rain thundered in the east. Stormy wind blew. Where that beautiful woman had gone? Where that ferry disappeared? Nobody knew it.]

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