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 10 - Borr Choth

[Borr means calf; on that basis the name borr choth came to be known. The tone of this tale indicates that it must be a ritual observed by non-vegetarian people. Otherwise that age can never let go foolish mistake of killing a calf. Even today in many provinces of Hind aren’t there non-vegetarian Brahmins? The theme of the tale throws light on the antiquity of the tale]

The month of Shravan had begun. The fourth day of the dark half of the lunar month arrived. On that day at the house of Gamoti there was a tradition to worship one colored cow and a calf.

After getting up, Gamoti’s daughter-in-law went to take bath. While going she told her daughter and daughter-in law: ‘Today you cook Ghavlo by pounding it.’

Mother in law instructed to cook dish made of wheat, but daughter and daughter-in-law misunderstood the instructions. Gamotti’s calf’s name was also Ghavlo.

Sister and sister in law together held a calf Ghavlo, slashed it and by pounding it put it into the pot to get it cooked. They boiled Ghavlo.

After taking bath Gamoti’s daughter in-law came back. She asked her daughter, ‘Did you cook Ghavlo?’

Daughter said, ‘Yes, but mother, Ghavlo was very bad! It was too difficult to hold! Too difficult to cut! And it screamed so much! It kept bellowing and bellowing. It was cooked with a great difficulty’.

Trembling with a lurking fear, mother asked;

‘Which ghavlo did you boil?’

‘Which else, we boiled no one but our calf Ghavlo”.

“Alas! You fool! You have committed a heinous crime! Now how can we show our face to people? This evening village’ s all Brahmin women will come to worship cow and calf! Cow would also bellow when she will come back. What answer shall we give?”

Mother got perplexed. All the three ladies clandestinely went to bury pot containing Ghavlo into a dung hill. After burying they closed the door of a house and all the three ladies shut themselves inside the house.

Today wandering cow is worshipped, but earlier cow returning from the field was worshipped.

Gamoti’s cow that was grazing in the field got spiritually inspired. By taking a tail on its head, enlarging ears, bellowing, by making bugle like sounds it rushed towards village. On its way it came across a lion. Obstructing cow’s path lion said ‘I will eat you!’

Cow said ‘Oh brother, village’ s three hundred Brahmin ladies are sitting hungry since morning. If I will not go then they won‘t eat without worshipping me. After making them eat, I will come back soon. Later on you can happily eat me.‘

Lion allowed cow to go. By making a popular hollowing sound cow ran. On entering into village it pierced its horns into a dung hill. As soon as it pierced its horns soon the pot broke and promptly the calf came out of it and calf started feeding its mother and mother started licking its child.

Around calf’s neck pot’s saddle got stuck.

During the evening by taking worshiping plates all Brahmin women of the village came at Gamoti’s house to worship cow.

On arriving all saw that all the doors were shut. Nobody was seen in the house. Even during the evening there was a pin drop silence.

All Brahmin ladies knocked the door of the house ‘Ah, Brahmin lady! Ah Brahmin lady! Open the doors, all these Brahmin women have come to worship the cow.’

But they did not get any response. Sitting in a house, all the three ladies fluttered like birds with fear. They breathed desperately. Brahmin women waited for a while and once again said, “Oh! This cow has arrived. This calf is sucking at cow’s udders. And today around calf’s neck there must be a garland of flower instead of that; why these contemptuous ladies have put a black saddle around its neck?”

Outside the house all such talk was going on. Sitting in a house all the three women over heard such talk. On overhearing the talk of Brahmin women, the three women wondered.

Mother said, ‘Daughter, at least, you go and peep clandestinely out of a hole and check about the talk that is going on regarding cow and calf?’

Through a peephole daughter saw that the calf was alive. She ran and rushed back where her mother and sister-in-law were sitting. She told her mother, ‘Mother! Cow is standing and a calf is dashing at her udders.’

‘Oh dear, it must be somebody else’ s calf. Now how there could be Ghavlo!‘After saying so, mother started crying.

Daughter persuaded her mother to peep out of the door and she also perceived Ghavlo alive.

Soon she opened the door of a house. Cow and calf ran and stood in the middle of the ground. Eyes of mother, daughter and daughter-in-law brimmed with the tears of happiness.

Brahmin ladies asked Gamoti woman the cause of their sudden disappearance. The

Gamoti lady explained everything. A Brahmin lady bowed down to all ladies, and said:

‘Oh sisters! My calf has become alive due to the power of your ritual vow. I worship feet of you all Brahmin ladies!’

Brahmin ladies did a bindi on foreheads of a cow and a calf. They put garland around them. In the right ear of a cow they said,

Mataji! Sat tamaru
Ne vrat amaru

‘Mother, we have simply observed the vow,
The real power of chastity is yours.’

On that day all Brahmin ladies decided and declared; ‘on the day of Borr choth the observer of the vow cannot eat food cooked in an earthen pot; or any other edible item which is either chopped with a knife or pounded in a mortar! The observer of the vow should avoid any food item made of wheat or wheat flour.’

On the next day the cow went to the field to keep the promise that she gave to the lion. On reaching she told lion, ‘Brother, now if you want to eat me, you can eat me.’

Lion saw a garland of flower around cow’s neck, with curiosity the king of the jungle asked the cow: ‘oh lady, why there is garland around your neck?’

Cow told everything to the lion. On listening it the lion said ‘Mother, You have truth and power of chastity. How can I eat you?’

As ‘Borr choth ma was pleased with them so may she be pleased with all!’

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