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....
Mares while returning towards homes started to cover mileages rapidly. During the silvery moon lit night at the quiet hours the densely bloomed wild flower plants of Chameli effused fragrance. The riders went ahead by leaving behind mountains, battlefield and all that monumental pillars. As a part of aftermath effect of mass destruction; the atmosphere of compassion for assassination and silent sacrifice of heroes were left behind.
Filtering the poison of enemity–
Agar chandan rat
Chanda poonam rat
Chandaliyo Kyare ugshe?
Tarodiyo kyare ugshe?
A Fragrantful night releasing sandalwood’s aroma.
It was a full moon night.
When the Moon will rise?
When stars will rise?
It was the same type of night releasing aroma of sandalwood as described in the song. When the rider lighted an indigenous cigar, the guest understood that Mahiyo has entered into different swing of mood; so reffering the matter the guest asked, “Would you please give me the detailed information of your Gigo Mahiyo, when he started an outlawry?” “Do you ask about Gigo Mako? Do you talk about Gigo of Kaneri village?” ‘Yes, Yes.’ ‘Gigo was dreadfully dangerous for Makrani. Makrini can play havoc in the entire region but they dare not to touch even the border of Kaneri region of Giga. Brother, Gigo came to be known as the Lion of Geer.
So you please listen to the sagas of his fame:
Babi thi beeno nahi, Khatrivat Khage,
Bhup Mota bhage, Gar no Savaj Gagdo.
“And dear brother,
Pateliyabpragna tana, june ravu jay
Danke dungarmay, gale savaj Gigdo.
Une thi juna lage, nari nab hare neer,
Natya nee ridorid, Gar no Savaj Gigdo.
[From Una village until Junagadh women were not able to fetch water. They shouted every day. Such type of fearful sway was of Gigo.]
“Further more, how manly hero was Gigo!”
Kesar jyu leva kara6, lambi sadhachh la.
Mandachh pag Maiya, gadhe ne kote Gigda.
[Giga, you roar loudly like a lion and you are leaving your impression on every fortress and defense wall.]
“How head strong he was?”
Timbi jevdu gamdu, Sunthi fantyo Miya,
Sinh vachhutyo samto, gamali gyo Gigdo!
[In the village, Timbi, all the Muslims became rebellious and Gigo confronted them like a lion and taught them lessons.]
“Are you talking about the same Gigo who did many deceitful futile deeds? It was much before massacres of Kanda. In 1909, Gigo went for outlawry. His outlawry was not dependent on any kingdom. Family strife was going on and out of which Gigo’ s madness shooted up in fiery manner. There was no big reason for initiating strife. That was simply a fit of madness.”
“Gigo, originally wan an inhabitat of Kaneri village. He was a Mahiyo of Maka lineage. The real name of father was Mulu Mako. The discord started against uncles regarding land. Four cousins were against him: one Namari, second Karno, third Ratto and fourth Amro; thus, he had four uncles. All the four uncles’ dunghill laid together at one place. Only farmers of uncles used to take fertilizer from it. Gigo charged an objection. He said that he would allow every one to take of their share. Four Uncles thwarted Gigo and told him, in very mean and indiciplined manner that, “Go, go, you are born of dirty and low origin of pig! What you could do?”
“Gigo experienced a big mental shock as he was addressed as a low origned man belonging to pig origin. The young Man who was never addressed earlier in a rude and hateful manner by any one. Trivial problems went on for many days and adding into it, the statement that he heard aggravated his pain. At that point, of time, Gigo silenty gulped down sore feelings, but he said that, ‘Uncle, whether I belong to an origin of Pig or I belong to the origin of Lion that you would see now.”
Even one bite of grain seemed very poisonous to him. His soul did not find solace either within the house or outside the house. By taking his four brothers with him, Gigo went away by being offended.
“In the east side of Kaneri, there was a village named Prasali. On being fed up by persecutions caused by cousins, Gigo became guest of Prasali for one day. He kept on complaining to his friends regarding Uncles’ mal treatment to him. While talking with his friends; the words that dropped out from his mouth came that; ―Brother, I am worn-out by this.”
“Relatives tried to calm him down by saying, ―Giga such minor conflict keeps happening in family. As untensils kept together makes clattering sound similary in a big joint family clashes of thoughts keep going on. On such a trivial matter, it is not advisable to sow seeds of revenge. Can we waste our power and energy over such trifles?”
“After eating Rotla while taking a dose of tobacco from a smoking pipe Giga fell asleep. So all the sixteen friends, stealithyly slipped away from that place. After few moments, Gigo woke up; during the short nap of two minutes intensity of fire of revenge burning within his heart decreased. As he got up, around him he did not find a single friend out of sixteen friends Giga suspected and murmered, ‘Definitely all must have gone to blemish me.’ After saying so Gigo got up. He gushingly went on the way of Kaneri. When the border of the village Kaneri was at a little distance at that time, he heard frightining commotion and loud lamenting cry of dismay. On hearing all this his legs became numb. Sense of fear overwhelmed him. On reaching the border of the village, he saw that from four uncles, corpses of two uncles namely Rata and Amra were lying. There were puddles of bloods. Brothers were standing there after murdering uncles. Brothers called him, ‘Come here Giga, let us drink blood of them.’
“Now please stop it, you commited murders. Why these much hurry? You have spoiled my life as a human.‘
“He covered dead body of his uncle with the piece of cloth and sitting beside the dead body Gigo lamentated a lot. He cried genuinenly with real tears. He was alleged with two murders, he was already worried and his anxiety multiplied. How people of that time, could accept the rule of execution as a sentence of murder? Therefore, he told his fellowmen, ‘brother, already death is hovering on my head, then by becoming wise man, why should I meet dog’ s death? We must act courageously so that my fame may last in the region.‘
“Thus due to this type of familial reasons Gigo came out. Behind Gigo, there was an army of Junagadh. Gigo started to make challenges in the mountains and made an announcement of devastating villages. One day, one man came and gave news. ‘Giga Maka! Your father Mulu Maka has passed away.’
‘How it has happened, brother?’
‘Mulu Mako was a run away and in between he was arrested, when he was being taken away to Junagadh at that time while passing from the village Nagdi near Datrana out of shame Mulu pulled his sword and gave end to his own life by piercing sword in his stomach. Second news is that you are enjoying here but in your Kaneri village the three armies of Makrani have layed s siege.’
‘Hats off to Junagadh; reputation of my Kaneri village has increased. Three, three armies for Gigo. Here Gigo is in Geer and in Kaneri there is vigiliance which is forty miles away. Bravo! Who are the leaders?’
‘One is Sankar, second is Badshah Jamadar and the third is Abhram Padalo; all the three are Makranis.’
‘Brothers, all the three are sons of valiant father. Go and give news to them that Gigo is waiting here for them. Perhaps, they might not be aware of it.’
‘They know it very well but they have no problem in Kaneri.’
‘Let us we go to them, why to give them any trouble by making them to change their present abode?’
“Gigo started from Geer, and on reaching the border of Kaneri all went down. Gigo had never put a leg in the territory of any village without checking the status of good or bad omen. His style of checking the status of omen was completly different. At the extreme border of the village, all sit whereas he used to lie down. After lying down for the short period he used to lie down and used to get up whenever he felt sleepy; on getting up as per his intution he may either return or many times crossed the border by taking coconut in his hand. Today, while entering into the village Kaneri he found good signs so by taking a coconut, Gigo went ahead and his army followed him. On reaching; he offered coconut on the stone of the entrance gate of the village. All ate the slice of coconut offered to Mataji and then put steps inside the village. Exactly in the middle of ground, there were armies. Giga was not afraid of Death. After chanting loudly the name ‘Jay Nagbai” Gigo plunged into fight; from both the sides 60, 60 local guns of Makranis were fired out: but from Gigo’ s team only one man was injured, rest of them were unharmed.
‘Dear Comrades, today Ai Nag bai is with us.’ On saying so, Gigo jumped. As they ran by bellowing, soon Makrani Sankar, Badsa Jamadar and Abhram Pado all the three loped away.
Giga detained two men; and knocked down them by shooting with the gun. However, the fat man Abhram climbed up the tree. To search him, out laws went at the extremity of the village. As they looked up, they saw Abhram sitting on the branch of the tree. As Gigo targeted gun at Abhram; soon he jumped down and surrendered at the feet of Gigo. He held Giga’s legs and said; ‘Giga I am your slave.’
“Hatred to you Makrani; you have ruined your life. Go and run away because I never kill my refugee. Go fast to Junagadh and give news to them that today Gigo would stay in Kaneri.”
Thus, he set free Abhram alive and he himself stayed in Kaneri. He took bath in the name of his dead father. ‘Now, if Makrani comes once again then send me news at the dense wood of Chhindardi.’ On saying, such Gigo climbed up.
Badshah Jamadar who was killed at the border of the village Kaneri, the same Badshah Jamadar’s young son came along with the another army and started to trample the whole region of Mahiyawad and sitting on the public platform of the village; he started to boast,
‘Why all talk Giga, Giga all the times? He is simply a helpless Gigli. His name itself is Gigli means child. What he resourceless can do? If by chance he meets me once then I would expose his childishness.’
When Jamadar started to boast exaggerately at that time one chief land holder of the village could not put up with it; so he said, ‘Jamadar, Giglo is in the forest of Chhindardi which is not far from here so go and test his ability.’
Jamadar was easily provocative person by nature. The one who knew secrets started to show him the way. In the dense forest, by leaning against one heavy rock Gigo was sitting with his group. On seeing the army, out laws took shelter at another place behind the rock. To deceive enemies; out laws put turban on the top of the rock. Here Makrani Jamadar was Motimar. By taking the support of one banyan tree, he started to shoot bullets through the void space in the tree. Speedily bullets pierced into turbans. The eyes of Gigo started to find out, where from all the bullets were coming? He did not trace out the gunner. In the middle of that Gigo detected certain types of movements through the crack of two thick branches of the banyan tree. Exactly after noting from the crack he shooted the gun and in the first shot Jamadar died.
Jamadar’s dead body was brought to Shergadh. In the morning, Jamadar did all bragging and on seeing his funeral ceremony on the same day all Mahiya rolled down with laughter.
Holi’s fire is kindled on falgun suud poonam but holi of valiant Giga was unique. There was an expressway from Junagadh to Veraval. At the edge of that highway and on the extremity of the village Panidhara Giga was residing; the same village is known today by the name of Gigadhar.
After musing Gigo proposed before all: “How it would remain if we light our Holi here independently and arrange seperate programme of duha and invite everyone here to sing Rasda?”
‘That would be very good.’
‘Let us sit by circumferencing the end of the road; and gather the necessary items required for the worship.’
The long row of Carts containing a large bale of unpressed cotton and cotton seeds were going from Junagadh to Veraval. Harness bell which was tied round the neck of cattle were jinglining.On the pedestrian roads which were as big as markets, there was no pinch of fear of outlaws.The cart driver while pulling cart was taking winks in between. Then out of blue a loud call was heard when Gigadhar came close: ‘Stop your carts.’
‘Why brother? These are bales of unpressed cotton of Nawab Government.’
‘That is why we are forcing that you bring all the bales down.’
Cartdrivers cottoned on the whole matter that, it was the attack of Gigo. Bales of cotton were unloaded.
‘How much your wages was quoted, brother?’
‘Take your wages. Your children must not be kept without dates and coconut on this festive day which comes only once in a year. If any one asks you about goods then tell them that Giga has kept the bales of cottons to ignite Holi.’
By taking their total wages cart drivers pulled their carts. Suddenly Giga remembered something, so he shouted, ‘brother, today we would light Holi. We would play and sing. Please stay today.’
‘Father, please forgive us, we would be rebuked if we stay here.’
‘Mean and coward; ok, then you may go away now. On the way, whomsoever you meet tell them that on the border of Panidhara, Giga has invited tonight all to sing duha and eat dates. If you come across army hunting me then please also forward invitation to them to come here.’
‘But, Giga Maka, do we have to make an arrangement of dates and coconut?’
‘Brother, all the arrangement would be done by sitting here only. From here, itself, bags of matting full of dates, oil tins, sacks full of kernels of coconuts, etc, all the items that are required in Holi would pass. Whatever you require, you can unload them.But do not forget to pay charges of cart drivers. On the day of this grand festival, their children should not remain without the harda of Holi.
By the evening, on one side of road; bales of cotton, oil canes, and bags of mattings full of dates, bags of peanuts etc were stacked; and by wrapping oil canes in the bales of cotton Giga lighted fire. In all nearby villages, the news had already spread regarding Holi of Giga so by night people gathered in a large number. As the moon of the full moon day emerged out by spreading light of its shining glory between cliffs of Girnar similarly, blaze of fire of Holi became visible from Gigadhar. The Holi fire lighted in near by villages made of dung cake simply looked as flame, whereas blaze of Giga’ s Holi touched sky. An outlaw with full humility moved circularly around the Holi fire and payed homage with water. He offered coconut into sacrificial fire. The competiton to take out coconut out of burning fire started. Later on when intensity of flame of Holi reduced, the moon by rising high in the sky started to spread its silvery exuberanc and here at Gigadhar proficient duha singers of Sorath by sitting in rows facing each other sang to its climax. They played dandiya rass. During the whole night; in the sky as well as on the earth escatsy gushed in. In the morning Gigo packed his luggage and came out of Gigadhar and started on the way of Geer.
The chief of the village Khilawad, Sabhago Jamadar of Muslim caste of Jokhiya lineage came with army. They searched for Giga in every mountain pass. In between, he got news that Gigo is lying in the shepherds‘huts at Ranadhar which is near the Dadercha mountain. The information giver advised that, ‘Jamadar sahib it is not advisable to go within the cave of that lion like Giga. We would first allow him to come out.’
Jamadar was very much arrogant regarding the valor of his arms. He said, ‘what bravery lies in killing that lion by calling him out on the ground? If I go within his territory and shoot him down then I am the real son of soldier.’
“Jamadar, please do not do.” However, force of his energy increased as every one pleaded to stop him. He went with the large group of men and guns. He soon saw the flag of Gigo. Giga had never remained without the flag. He saw the army approaching him‘, quickly the army surrounded the out laws. Therefore, he put down his smoking pipe and held the sword. As he ran approaching them; soon Makrani of Gist blocked his way with guns. Jamadar who was a horse rider, he stood alone there. Gigo ran and held the bridle of the horse soon clever Jamadar recollected something and he started to bestow Giga,
‘Well done Giga, well done to your birth giver. Hundreds of congratulations to you valiant Giga and now this much is enough Giga.’
On hearing his praises, Gigo got puffed up and he gave up the bridle of the horse and said, ‘You can now go Jamadar and when you get the spirit on that day you can come. The residence of Giga in Geer had never remained a secret. His big flag kept appearing in the whole region.’
The plain around the foot hill of the Mountain Godhman there was a village named Nagdi. One day in the afternoon, to give tiffin from one farmer’s house a daughter-in-law of Patel’s son was getting ready. This newly married girl had recently come from father’s house by receiving gifts from her father during her arrival at in-law’s house for the first time. Even parents endowded their daughter with abundance of gifts so that this young girl was much enthusiastic to deck her up with new apparels and ornaments. Furthermore, no other better option she would get to deck herself except serving meal to her husband at farm. The daughter-in-law of a farmer wore an embroidered petticot and tied one cloth around the waist; she put on the saree made of Galretano and decked her with almost all the ornaments that she had of, hands, legs, neck, nose and ears. On one hand, she was a young Kanbi girl, her ornamentation enhanced her natural glow, and her pretty complexion glowed by combination of natural beauty and ornaments. As she put the rice bowl and pot of buttermilk on her head on an indhoni made of pearls, her mother-in-law saw her; she stared at her with a gaped mouth. She asked:
“Oh, daughter-in-law: where are you going by draping yourself in gold?”
“Where else shall I go? I am going to give tiffin at farm house.”
“Oh, great madam, on the way somebody would loot you by slapping you.”
“Who dare to take away my ornaments?”
“But, who is that?”
“An out law named Gigo Mahiyo would loot you. He must be sitting in the valley of Godham wating for his prey.”
“Ok, mother, you take my all ornaments. You could not tolerate this, you are jealous. You keep harassing and shouting. See I am leaving.”
Outspoken and stupid Kanban by tinckling her bangles and making thundering sound by flapping her clothes gushed away. In her absence her old mother in law kept grunting loudly in such a way that whole village could hear her. Here when the daughter-in-law crossed the boarder at that time, the vigiliant moving his sharp eyes told the out law, “Apa Giga, one woman carring food for the farmers is going. It seems that she is taking food for many men.”
“Yes, run and take the food that she is carrying and even snatch her ornaments it would be useful for pocket expense.”
Out laws ran in a concealed manner and obstructed woman. They loudly addressed her and said; ‘You stand here woman.’
On beholding two gun holder men with veiled face, the woman got afraid and stopped. “Woman, put down here, tiffin and your ornaments.” The out law lost consciousness on seeing one basketful gold ornaments.
Woman asked ‘Who are you?’ in discordant low voice to one sharp-eyed man and to another man who looked more impressive than the first one.
“Woman, I am Gigo Mahiyo. Woman, you are uselessly delaying. Why are you beating about the bush?”
“Are you Giga Bapu?”
“Yes, I am not Bapu, Fapu I am Gigo-is there any wrong if you address me as Giglo? We want to work at any cost. We want to thrash heads of Makrani and rob golds of the rich. Now you quickly remove all your gold ornaments.”
“Oh ho, now whatever my foul tongued mother-in-law said came true.” On saying such, Kanban started to look on all the four sides.
“What did your mother in law said? Should we hear that? Ok, woman, tell everything quickly. We are very much hungry.”
“My mother-in-law had warned me, ‘if you would overload yourself with gold ornaments then your father Gigo, would rob you at Godhme.’ I told her let my father Gigo ransack.”
“Did your mother-in-law address me as your father?”
“Yes, it is true.”
“Then I am regarded as your father.”
“Young Men, can I loot this daughter by becoming her father?”
“Could I rob her? On the other hand I must gift her clothes.”
“Yes, very much right.”
“Oh, brothers give her handful coins. However, oh dear as you are my daughter, can you atleast feed your hungry father?”
“Yes, definitely father.”
“Then please serve us all chappatis of your tiffin. We would satiate our hunger on reaching Godhem. You take back the empty pot of buttermilk with you. We cannot keep even utensils that belong to daughter.”
Bubbling with joy, Kanban asked, ‘Father, do I bring more Rotla and Chachh?’
“No, now you do not come here; otherwise some jealous opportunist would loot you and blame Giga. So please hurriedly now make yourself scarce.”
Two Charnianiyo were approaching after passing through the narrow mountain pass. People talk that both belonged to the village Kalila. One was daughter–in-law and another was mother-in-law; one was young and one was a middle-aged woman: on heads of both there was a dark black big woollen blanket. Their white faces in dark coloured clothes bloomed like twilight during dark hours of a setting evening.
It was afternoon. The barren region became very hot and the process of fetching water in fields gradually stopped at that time, two charniyanio reached near Addsang at the extremity of the village Pati.
“Fui, I am thisrty.” The young girl expressed her impatience.‖
“Bhale bap lets go inside the nearest gate and drink water.”
The village was barren. Even in the market, not a single person was seen. There was a pin drop silence. Near the extremity of the village, there was a big gate. Charananio entered into it and reached at the lobby. In this big lobby, there were three-four rooms in one row and from the last room some sounds of breaking were heard. Going at the opposite side of room, and standing on the lobby in front of room the elder Charaniyani gave a loud call, ‘Some must give cold drinking water to we wayfarer.’
One middleaged woman came out from the room and she went in the lobby where there was a waterplace from there she filled one small pot with water and quenched thirst of both the travellers.
“Now we are feeling good, may god bless you daughter! As you gave us satisfaction, may you also get contentment. Really, water was just like nectar. In this way the elder Charinye gave blessings and in the last room, loud exploding sound was heard. Charni on seeing that woman became speechless asked: ―What is this going on? What are these crashing sounds and rowdism?”
“It is nothing, Ai. Now you please go.” While speaking these words, eyes of the woman brimmed with tears.
“Oh dear, what afflicts you? What is the matter? I will not go away from here, without knowing the fact.”
Defeaning sounds and menancing calls increased. “Ai, it is our bad luck. We are being robbed. So please you quickly take your way.”
The young Charni asked in angry tone, “Who is robbing you?”
“Giglo Maiyo. But, Ai, now you please go.”
The elder Charni looked at the younger Charni. Within a twinkling of the eye, both the Charanaiyo made a very mystic consultation with the eyes. The elder one-stepped on the lobby. The younger one followed her. On entering, they saw, two wailing women. Two big trunks that were shining so brightly that they looked as newly brought in home on ocassion of ceremonius sending of a daughter to her husband’s house for the first time. Two big trunks were lying in the room; they were decorated with engraving done on brass sheet. As Charni women came near the room, it seemed as if lamps were enlighted.
In solemn voice, Charni woman asked, ‘Women, in which room you have kept your treasure?’
Frightened Young daughter-in-laws secretly started revealing, “In this room, Ai. We have just come here for the first time, after receiving first ceremonious gifts from our father’s house. Right now, our trunks that are full with ornaments will be broken.”
“Where are your husbands?”
“They have run away out of fear of outlaws.”
“What, had they run away? Leaving you alone.What is your caste?”
“Shame, shame mother godess; the life of Ayars have been wasted.”
“Ai, you please go away.”
Both the charnis looked at each other. Both talked once again and then both sat on both the trunks. They removed the blanket covered on their heads and kept hair open. On the face, their hair locks started to play and their eyes were getting reddish.The elder one told Ayarani; please bring two round crushing stones.
The pestles were brought. Both the women sat by holding two big stones each weighing ten seers. Very soon, shriek was heard closely. Masked raiders holding sticks and swords in hands and guns on shoulders came at room. On reaching as they saw inside the room, they got embarrassed. They became dumbfounded and stopped. They noticed one another and because of their apparel, they recognised one another. They got silent suggestion of their identity. They discussed among them and concluded; “They seem Charans.”
“No issue let us tell; otherwise we would not give any promise to her.”
One Man appealed Charaniyo: “Ayuu, we bow down to you but you please come down.”
‘Father’, Charni spoke profoundly “We would not come down during this life.”
“Then we have to bring you down forcefully by pulling your arms.”
‘Then we would dye you with your own bloods’, the blood of hard-hearted raiders frissoned on hearing these words of the young woman.
“Now go and call Apa Giga.” One man told the other man.
Gigo who was ransacking at other places in the village; from there he came very fast on getting message. He saw two Charni women in fierceful appearance of Durga. By making the ending part of his turban as curtain, he requested them by folding his hands in prayer form and appealed, ― Ayiuu, please be merciful with us and come down. We have suffered a lot. We have not come to an unowned or desolated place. The master of this house Kumbho Wagh was sending me offensive and improper statements. Today, I have come here to test ability of Ayars. What relation do you have with them? Gigo is ready to offer at your feet whatever you demand. You please come down.‘
The elder one by mixing scold with love replied, ―Pause, rest, Giga, do you consider us as a taker of gifts? How can you use such a big word, ‘Rest?’
“Ai, how would you get down?”
“Father, now I would get down only after my death.”
“But why, is there any great cause behind this?” “Rest, while travelling we drank water of this house.”
“Is it the only reason that you drank water of this house?”
“Yes, father, it is the only reason that we drank water of this house.”
“Gigo was so shocked that he stood there motionless. Each one was standing dumb foundedly. Heart throbs of each one was audible. As animals contract their tails in fear on beholding fire in forest, the same was the condition of outlaws. After few minutes, Charni told Giga for the last time: “Giga do not plough the sand; we have drunk water of this house. Whatever yo have raided that you take with you and run away.”
Gigo went away without breaking the village. However, for so many days, words echoed in his ears, “Rest, we have drunk water of them.”
The month of Ramjan got over and the morning of the day of Id was about to begin. From Prabashpatan in the East direction one small covered cart was going on and behind the cart one escorter was walking.He was was wearing such a long coat that one could not even see the toes of his feet. On this long coat, from chest to waist, he had tied tightly worn loincloth and in this cloth he tied closely, daggers; on shoulder there was a shield, there was a sword around the waist and in hand, there was an Amdawadi gun full with canons. An escort who had crossed 70 years of his age was with full sincerity pacing with the cart. One old woman by carrying her two years child followed him. On the body of the child, there were fresh signs of small pox. Complexion of both grandma and grandson was fair. Even on the wrinkled face of woman, the delicacy and chivalric spirit of Nagar caste of an ancient time was apparent.
The old escorter asked the old woman while walking on the road, “Old woman, now how many days have remained?”
“Muslim gentleman today, it is the last day. Today, for the last time we would go to make Shivprasad bow his head to Mother Goddess, so that I can become free from my religious vow. I feel very sorry, gentleman that exactly in the month of Ramjan I have to make you travel by foot.”
“Oh, granny, what are you saying? Have I made any prolonged excursion; and I have not skipped a single day fast of Ramjan. Every day we start very early at dawn and before the rise of a day we come back to Patan. Therefore, I have never faced any problem in doing breakfast before starting the fast of Ramjan and in doing dinner after breaking the fast of the day. It is quiet natural that there is difficulty in observing the religion. You yourself see that even in your old age a weak person like you and a staunch observer of keeping the custom of veiling faces have kept a religious vow of to worship the Godess Shitla by walking two/three miles everyday across the Geer for the welfare of your grand son. Grandma, faith is not cheap that lies on the road.”
“It is not the matter of faith brother; God evokes a special kind of affection for one’s own child that urges us to do all these things.”
They kept talking and the thunderous river Hiran came closer and closer. The religious flag of Shitla temple became visible. The location of the temple was so curved and crooked that it seemed the whole place was surrounded by leopeard. Amidst that one curved path one horse rider was standing; hindering the path he stood in the way. There was a gun in his hand. Pointing the gun towards the escorter he told old woman; ―Remove anklets. ―
The old escorter rushed in between and putting the gun on shoulder and making eyes small; he asked, “Who are you? Are you Jhangiro?”
“Yes gentleman Farjala. I am Jhangiro. You go to one side. You are Saiad.”
“Shall I go to one side? Does the son of Saiad go away and allow you take the possession of my master Desai’s mother’s anklets?”
The Outlaw said, “Gentleman you are Saiad, if you ask for something then I would let you go.”
“No, no dear son, I have not come here to beg. I have come here to protect by tying the shield and sword. I am the servant of Udayshankar Desai. So you Jhangir accept surrender.” The old man prepared his gun.
Along with the child, old woman came forward encumbering the way of faithful servant and requested, “Gentleman, please you do not meddle into it, leave it. Today it is the big day of Eid and on this auspicious day if the son of Saiad dies for the sake of my anklets whose value is very very trivial then it would be very difficult for me to live in this world.”
“Oh old woman, what do you say these?” On the face of Miya, faithfulness that he kept for 72 years emerged with prominence. If these ordinary type of Jhangiro snatch anklets of an old woman, then the salt of the master that I ate for thirty years will go waste on this day of Eid.‖
Tears rolled down the cheeks of old woman. On looking at the robbers from the toothless mouth of the old woman pearly statements dropped “Jhangiro, you are also sons of Musalman. You keep the words of this Muslim man for only today otherwise I will be defamed in my old ages.”
The old woman saw an effect of her words on Jhangiro. So smart old Nagrani continued further; “Son, please go away. Tomorrow I will send you these anklets. You are native of my Patan. We know very well that the days of sufferings have weighed down you. I would not let die anyone from both of you. I am also born in the dynasty of Desai; I will keep my words.”
Jhangiro understood the matter. Outlaw was crestfallen. He speechlessly turned his horse and went away. This Jhangiro was originally the farmer of Patan; once some disputes were raised among cousins regarding land so he started outlawry and later on few wise men enabled him to make compromise with the King. Once again, he started to till the farm in Patan.
This Jhangiro once lost morality and caused one lakh rupee loss to Gigla.It was Giga’s misfortunate day that without understanding the matter he was mislead by silly Jhangiro. In the region of Nagher, in the place of Gorakhmadhi, of Gorakhnathji there was property of 12 villages. The matter of property fanned disputes between two disciples of the head of monastery. One disciple made vicious strategem to abolish another disciple. The task of solving the matter was allotted to Jhangiro. Jhangira taking the advantage of outlawry of Gigla took the task upon him to do iniquitous act. Jhangiro brought Gigla to attack the village named Ajotha. At the time of dinner at Ajotha, the loud rebuking call came from
Mahiya. It was good fortune that one Brahmin came across Giga in the market and said, ‘Fie upon you Giga why have you come to wreck the founder pole of religion?’
Gigo was alarmed, turning his neck, he asked Jhangiro, “Companion, what this game is?”
Harsh eyes of Giga corroded the heart of Jhangiro and a cat came out of the bag.
“Priest” Gigo turned towards Brahmin, “You have maintained my pride, integrity and importance so bravo to you whereas Jhangira abhorrence to you.”
On saying so, Gigo came out. On reaching at the extremity of village, he pondered and took a resolution. He told his brother Puniya, “As we have come in Nagher, we would not go empty hands. Let us assault on Bij.
In Nagher at the bank of the river Saraswati, there was a village named Bij. The village was as graceful as its name. People were slumbering during the first part of the night. At that, time burglars clandestinely entered into the village. They directly went to Government Boarding House. Along with them there was a person knowing the secret, he asked, “Who is sleeping in the lobby on the high cot?”
‘Desai Udayshankar of Patan.’
“Uncle Udayshankar? Then it is essential to remain alert. If he would wake up then he the son of Nagar would put all five of us in custody.”
Very, slowly drummer went there. Giglo sat on the chest on this sleeping brawny man by keeping a open dagger in his hand. In dim light of stars, the man sitting on the chest was not identified. He asked, “Who are you?”
“Udayshankar Kaka, did you not recognise me?”
“Are you Giglo? Oh unfortunate man, what enemity was there between you and me that in thievish manner you sat on my chest? You Coward! Can‘t you come by challenging me in advance? At least there would be test of manliness.”
“Kaka, do I have antagonism with you? You are the head of the followers of Somnathji. As you are considered as promise keeper and religious, so I have come here to share my innermost feelings with you.”
“Not here, you come outside the village.”
“Ok, let us go.”
In darkness, Udayshankar Desai, secretly removed necklace having seven strings of gold lying around his neck and dropped it smartly under the pillow. He got up and started to put on clothes.
Due to commotion, one man who was sleeping very far on the cot shouted loudly, who is there in the boarding house?‖
“Adam Makrani,” Udayshankar gave reply, “Nobody is there so you please sleep.”
The, loyal and brave forgeiner Adam Jamadar of Desai understood everything. He ran away, by taking guns. He climbed up the upper storey and started to do bombarding. The Mahiyas had remained watching these. He started to appreciate, ‘you sturdy man, you are very shrewed!’
But, one Young Mahiya went up from the rear side and pulled Adam by holding his leg and made him fall down and suppressed him. The suppressed Adam started to velify Mahiya badly.
On hearing his contemptuous words Pune Mahiye said, “Jamadar, be Man, do not abuse.”
But Adam did not stop, so Giga said, “Puna, he is very courageous and heroic man but his tounge is vice so set his foul tounge on fire.”
Puna put a wick on the tip of the tounge of Adam and caused a blister on the tounge. Adam became mute. Meanwhile, Puna became suspicious so he moved his spear under the pillow. As soon as he moved spear, then shriek was heard in darkness, ‘oh, father, do not kill me, please take this chain of Desai.’
A gardener; hid himself under bed; Puna pulled him. By snatching away necklace of gold dropped by Uday Shankar Desai from his hand; Puna slapped him and said “You unfaithful; could you not even bear the hit of spear for the sake of necklace of your master?”
The whole troupe taking Desai went towards Gir. On reaching very far, Giga told Desai,
“Kaka, I wanted to tell you only that I would meet premature death. As I have no sons so, I must arrange for my funeral rites. As you are very religious, you take vow that you would feed Brahmins after my death. If you do these, then it would provide me relief.”
Laughingly Desai said, “Giga for this small matter you made a big uproar. If you had sent the message then also I would have done it.”
“Ok kaka, now you can go, nobody would disturb you.”
“Ram, Ram, Giga.”
Desai went away. In the morning, Giga saw a new sword framed with rupees hanging on the shoulder of Puna. So he asked, “Puna, from where this sword came?”
“We have earned this from boarding house of Desai.”
“Ok, bring that necklace and sword to me.”
Five years of outlawry were over and Giga’s deathbed was getting ready. Man does not know that his sin keeps him crumbling from within. Giga also wanted to die so by crossing all limits he was looting as many villages as he could. In between, he came across one Sandhi. This Sandhi was carrying its cattles to graze pastures by finding green zone in Geer. One Charan was also coming there by bringing his cattle to graze. Thus,
Sandhi did not like the way his pastures was getting divided. To remove impediment of Charans, Gigo and Sandhi developed relaions. After visiting various villages; he told
Giga, “Giga, now we must visit my village; brother.”
Gigo said, ‘Ok, let us go.’
Giga did not smell the cause on which Sandi was carrying him.
The whole group, reached at one shepherd’s hut. Giga took it for granted that hut was belonging to either Ayar or Rabari. They raided during night and and deadly anarchy prevailed. As he was looting at that time, the words that he heard were: ‘Apa Giga, are you attacking us? Are you attacking the cows? Who has brought you here? Is it your death?’
Giga focussed and saw Charan women in black blankets. “Who are you?”
“We are your keeth and kin. We are Charan women.”
Giga became aware; he shouted, ‘arrest Sandhi who have deceived us.’ Sandhi had already ran away by goading Giga on criminal path.
‘Your Death, brought you here,’ this statement buzzed in Giga’s head. Even in the darkness of black night, his sin was evident to him. He returned the heap of things that he raided. By folding his hands, he said: ―Aiyu, You have cursed me. Now you forgive me.‘
“Father, you take rest. Charniyo said, “We have not thrown dust that we can sweep it away. This is our intimate feelings. We do not know more.”
“Ok, Aiyu, I put down all my weapons at your feet. Now if you make me tie them with your own hands then only I would tie them.”
“No, no, no. We cannot put ban on your usage of weapons. We would become sinner if we do so. Take your weapons with you.”
On saying so Charan women once again gave back weapons to Giga and said, “Give one promise, that for one month you do not travel to other village. After one month, feed 13 Charan virgins. May Goddess will protect you.”
Gigo left the place. His conscience grudged him. Crimes commited during Outlawry were hunting him like his shadows. To pacify pangs of mind and heart, he by leaving Geer went to his friend Morlisa’s house that was mendicant of his village; he started to stay in cocealment.
After few days, marriage ceremony of Morlisa was going to take place. The marriage party was destined to go to Mangrol. Morlisa told Giga, “Giga Mahiya, you must accompany us in marriage party.”
“Brother, please do not take me with you. Charaniyues has forbidden me to go out of station for one month.”
“Oh, friend, the vows forbids you to loot houses and villages and here you have to come in marriage procession so your vow will not hinder you.”
“But, brother if I would be identified then you marriage ceremony would deteriorate.” “Nobody would identify you. Come on, if Gigo would not come in marriage party then I would not marry.”
Giga went in friend’s marriage party. Outlaw did not talk and clothes that he was wearing were green coloured silk clothes; so he seemed like a mendicant, there seemed no chance that anybody could identify him. However, from bridegroom side in Mangrol an arrangement of party was done. In this party, all the villagers who were opium eaters were invited to relish opium drink in the party. In this party one Brahmin of Shergadh village named Dayaram also came, because he was addicted to eat opium. This Brahmin was a resider of the region of Mahiya, so he soon discerned face of Giga Mahiya and said; “Oh ho Giga Maka, what a pleasant surprise that you are here!” “Keep mum!” Giga put a finger on his nose.
This matter did not remain secret in the party. This news reached to the palace and discussion continued that, “How to arrest him? No one could arrest him alive. In open war, if we fight with them then our power would also evaporate. So the first thing is to make him unconscious.”
The party was on, then in reverence of Morlisa landowner, from kingdom big baskets of sweets made of wine, mafar, majam and other intoxicating items-arrived. By making entreatises they started to make them eat. Gigo was never drinking wine but that day in merriment he crossed the limit and took excessive doses of opium. Outlaw and his fellow men were so much toxicated that they were unable to wield weapons; this news reached at the palace, soon army of kingdom hailed barrage.
‘Giga Mahiya! Treachery! Army has assailed.’ Such type of loud cry was heard. Outlaws who were deeply intoxicated got startled. They got up in a staggering condition. They went towards east side doors. Due to fear, the fit of intoxication decreased but the army stealthily went away. Exactly near the shrine of Makdum Jhaniya Pir 1, Gigo stood there in unconscious position.
Rest of fellowmen climbed upon tarmarind tree and before the army attack upon them they gave end to their lives by stabbing sword to themselves with their own hands. The army reached there, Gigo was taking last breathes suddenly he recollected something. By shouting loudly he said, “Brothers, you are sons of soldiers; as I do not want to die as a debtor, I request you to return this necklace and sword to Udayshankar Desai of Patan. Please, tell him that on that night Giglo had stolen away from the village Bij.”
Giga removed the seven stringed necklaces and put down a sword shielded in pearls which was hanging on his waist and he died. The army made other corpses fall down from tarmarind tree by shooting guns.
Amidst this tumult of army, Morilisa came. On reaching, he went near the dead body of Giga. He closed his eyes for a fraction of minutes; and then he picked up the sword which was lying on Giga’s dead body.
“Yes, yes, yes father”; on saying such, men held his hands.
“Please you go away at one side. You do not be obstinate. Today along with the auspicious thread tied around wrist during occasion of my marriage; I must go with Giga.”
By making his hand free that were held tightly by other men, Morlisa penetrated sword into his stomach. He also died and fell down on the deceased body of Giga. This event happened in 1913.
“Such type of crazy people were there of that age, brother. They knew how to make even death sweet. I have narrated two types of death before you; now it is you to decide which excel from both. This was our history.”
The guest remarked; “How come such a big history is at the tip of your tounge!”
“We brother, are illiterate. Where do we go to inscribe tales of our house? Where do we go to read? We engrave them in our heart. We teach all these things to our children and wives. If noble people like you come then we share our inmost feelings by unlocking our heart, we tell you with intimacy. Otherwise, who is ready to believe all these incredible tales? Could we share our deepest feelings with everyone? Today fire of affliction razes everywhere.”
Suddenly mares neighed. Young Mahiyo who was loitering in the memory lanes of past, startled and became conscious. They saw the pinnacle of fortress of the village.
On the fortress, one owl was chirping: It seemed as if Mother was singing songs of Death in commeration of dead!
Footnotes and references:
Saiyad Makhdum Jhaniya, Saiyad Sikandar Jhaniya etc were first Musalman saints and disciples of Shahalam Saheb. The village Makatpor that was gifted to him was known earlier as Devalpur. It is said that, these were the same people; who prompted Mahmood Begda to invade upon Ra‘Mandlik.
This necklace and sword of Uday Shankar were not dispatched by anyone to him. Therefore, when Desai, made an appeal he got his sword back through political agent captain Lang of Ajab. He did not get the necklace because it was sold by the soldiers, but Desai received an amount of the necklace. This amount was utilised by honest Desai behind charity done during the ritual rites observed after Giga’s death. Honesty and nobility of Desai family is well known everywhere. The character of Nagrani projected earlier was mother of Udayshankar and the character of Har bhai in the story of Kadu was son of Udayshankar.