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  • Cultural Aesthetics of Marwar, Part -5

     03.06.2020
    Cultural Aesthetics  of Marwar, Part -5

     Traditions and Practices Prevail in Marwar's Society

    Loyalty and Gallantry

    हमारी नई वैबसाइट - भारत का इतिहास - www.bharatkaitihas.com

    The rajputs were holding high moral of Loyalty and Gallantry. They could sacrifice everything even their lives to save their king, their land, cows, brahmins, ladies and even for the unknown people who were in their shelter. So many accounts are available for this purpose.

    Raj Rupak was written by Virabhan, the court poet of Maharaja Abhaya Singh of Jodhpur. It begins with an account of Set Ram and comes down to the time of Abhay Singh (the rulers of Marwar during 13th to 18th century A.D.). It preserves a vivid account of the Rathor battles against the Mughal generals of Aurangzeb, fought at Desuri, Nagor, Nadol, etc., and the valorous role of Sajja, Jaita Harnath, Girdhari and others.

    A large number of European travellers who visited Rajasthan during Delhi Sultanate, Mughal Empire and British rule also recorded with interest about the character and customs of the Rajputs. Tavernier stated that the Rajputs were considered among the best soldiers in India. They constituted the soldiery and made no scruple of killing when it was a question of attacking or defending. Bernier also mentioned about their military occupation. He explained that the word Rajput signified sons of Rajas. These people were educated from one generation to another in the profession of arms. About sixteen of these Rajas were at a distance from Agra and Delhi. They were rich and formidable, particularly Rana of Chittor (Mewar), JaiSingh (of Jaipur) and JaswantSingh (of Marwar). If these three chose to enter into an offensive league they could prove dangerous opponents to the Mughals as they had large army.

    Manucci was an important traveller of the first-half of the eighteenth century. He died in India in 1717 A.D. He was for some time in the service of Sawai Raja Jai Singh also. He wrote 'Storia do Mogor'. It was translated and annotated by William Irvine (Vols. I-IV) in 1907-08 A.D. He gives an accurate description of the desert of Rajasthan of that period. Manucci noted the disputing nature of the Rajputs among themselves. The Mughals employed Rajputs to destroy each other. If they were only united among themselves, the Rana and the Rathors, Kachhawahas and Bundelas, they could easily expel the Mughals from India. According to Broughton it was the dissensions among the Rajputs which made it possible for the Marathas to intervene in Rajputana affairs.

    In this context, John Malcolm noticed that it was the policy of the Marathas to encourage quarrels and feuds which at once degraded and divided the Rajput race, whom they could neither reconcile to their rule nor completely subdue them. George Thomas noted that no Rajput engaged in trade or any mechanical occupation whosoever. They were all without exception either soldiers or husbandmen. They were of a high and unconquerable spirit and did not think of poverty and dishonour. He considered the Rathors as the bravest among the Rajputs. He noted that the Rajputs of Jaipur were not esteemed brave as those of Jodhpur for which Thomas ascribed three causes. First, the encroach¬ments of a Prince on the Jagirs, which had contributed to render the people abject and slavish; second, that their armies were commanded by people whom they neither love, fear nor respect.

    Thirdly, the difference of climate, which was parti¬cularly observable in a comparison with the stature and personal comeliness of the Rathors with those of Jeypore, the inhabitants of the former being by far more robust in their body. The custom of preservation of female honour among Rajputs gave them superior status. In matrimonial relations they paid strict attention to the caste. The Rajputs kept their women in seclusion. According to George Thomas they were "dutiful sons, kind husbands and affectionate brothers." They were affable in their manners and civil to strangers. Manucci remarks that the Rajput rulers never refuse anyone leave when it was with the object of marriage.

    Manucci and Tavernier noted that the Rajput rulers kept Brahmans and astrologers For consultations. Bernier has praised the bravery of the Rajputs in the battle and commented that they fought for "every inch of ground with skill and pertinacity." Tavernier had pointed out that the Rajput wives cherished heroism and bravery and maintained the martial tradition in their race by discarding their cowardly husbands. The anecdote recorded by Bernier relating the disdainful reception experienced by the valiant Jaswant Singh (17th century ruler of Marwar) from his Sisodia queen was a specimen of the spirit which animated the Rajput women.

    Bernier observed that— "When it was announced that the (Raja Jaswant Singh) was approaching with his gallant band of about five hun¬dred Rajpoots, the melancholy remannt of nearly eight thousand, at the head of whom he had fought wilh noble intrepidity, quitting the field from necessity, but not with dishonour; instead of sending to congratulate the gallant soldier on this escape, and console him in this misfortune, she dryly commanded that the gates of the castle should be closed against him. "The man is covered with infamy", she said, 'and he shall not enter within these walls. I disown him for my husband, and these eyes can never again behold him.

    The son-in-law of Maharana can possess a soul so abject... 'Prepare the funeral pile', she exclaimed. 'The fire shall consume my body. I am deceived; my husband is certainly dead; it cannot possibly be otherwise", and then again, transported with rage, she broke into the bitterest reproaches. In this humour she continued eight or nine days, refusing the whole of that time to see her husband. The arrival of her mother was attended, however, with a beneficial effect : she, in some measure, appeased and comforted her daughter, by solemnly promising, in the Raja's name, that as soon as he should be somewhat recovered from his fatigue, he would collect a second army, attack Aurangzeb, and fully retrieve his reputation."

    Love affairs

    Love affairs were not so common in society of Marwar but even than the folklores and folksongs based upon love stories were very popular in every era in the region. Dhola-maru-ri-Vat by Kallol, dated V.S. 1677 is famous love story of Desert. Its transcript copy of V. S. 1819 preserved in the Maharaja Mansingh Pustak Prakash Jodhpur, of Raja Man Singh's time (early 19th century).

    The poet wrote out the work at the instance of Harraj of Jaisalmer. The story has been interwoven round the figures of Dhola, the son of Nala, the king of Marwar, and Marwani, the daughter of Pingalrao, the king of Pungal, a part of Marwar. When dhola and Marwani Were three and one and a half years of age respectively, they were married. Later on Nala got his son married to Malwani, princess of Malwa. This Malwani when came to know of Dhola's marriage with Marwani she managed the affairs in such a way that Dhola might have no idea of his first marriage, One Dhadi Bhat, however, informed Dhola about his marriage with Marwani and took him to Pungal. Dhola thence brought her to his town where after some difference between the co-wives there came a proper adjustment among them. Though the story has all naturality about it, it has no corroboration in history. But the poet has referred to certain aspects which throw light on the society of that age and in this respect the work is very useful.

    The description of varying condition of climate in winter and summer and the flora of the desert are based on the personal knowledge of the poet. The writer refers to certain marriage rites which were in vogue at that time. The age of the bridegroom and bride as 3 and 1.5 years respectively show the prevalence of the custom of early marriage in Rajasthan.

    The illustrated part of this manuscript as well as a set of paintings of Dhoamaru, are highly informative as regards the use of beds of petals for princes, wearing of mod at the time of marriage, the style of moustaches, objects of toilets, practice of taking opium among the Rajputs, the toys of children, the indigenous method of sending letters, the roll of Bhats and Bhatnis, Pushkar as a place of pilgrimage, etc. From this point of view Dholamaru-ri-Vat is one of our most reliable sources for the construction of cultural history of Rajasthan.

    Varsharitu-ra-Doha transcribed in V.S. 1882 for Ras Kunwari, are a part of a bigger manuscript. It comprises of 75 verses in Dingal dealing with emotional expressions of love and separation. It says that sometimes in the rainy season the rivers of Rajasthan become unaffordable, making it difficult for lovers to cross them. Even boats are not available on such occasions.

    In Baramasa-ra-Duha by Jasraj, the poet describes the emotional condition of the lovers from month to month in the entire year, the description being appropriate to the climate and season of each month. Jasraj-ra-Duha, a part of the manuscript deals with various aspects of love, emotion, devotion, etc. Panchasaheli-ra-Duha preserves a conversation in Rajasthani verses of five lady companions expressing their worries on account of separation from their husbands in the spring season. The description of the spring season is very interesting.

    Marriage

    Marriage is an important event of life. It is one amongst sixteen sanskars of a Hindu. Marriage is a pious tie between husband and wife. It is not merely a medium of giving birth to generations but a medium of the four fruits of life, which are described as Arth (money), Dharm (Religion), Kam (Lust) and Moksh (Liberation). Heavy expenses, even beyond means, are incurred in marriages and ceremonial feasts.

    The accounts given in Gunbhasha by Hemkavi in 17th century about the marriage ceremonies and dashera celebrations are very interesting.

    Jodhpur ri Khyat
    gives information regarding the history of Marwar right from the origin of the Rathors down to the end of the 18th century. Its transcript copy is available in Shri Raghubir Library, Sitamau, which the Maharajkumar obtained from the late G. H. Ojha. It gives details of Bai Indra Kunwari's marriage (daughter of Maharaja Ajit Singh of Marwar) with Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar.

    Achaldas Khichi-ri-Varta copied in V. S. 1822 tells that the Bhats and Bhatnis were sent to bridegroom's place for the preliminary talks for marriage. It also refers to the game of Chaupar played in the harem.

    Madhumalti by Vasant Raj, copied in V.S. 1822 throws some light on the marriage rites. According to it the proper age of marriage for a girl was between 18 to 20. Chandrakunwar-ri-Varta copied in V.S. 1822 is one of the stories of the Varta series refers normal age of marriage as nine years.

    Shri Ramcharitra Paintings of V.S. 18th century depicts several important scenes of the ceremonies observed at birth and marriage festivals. The dresses of the warriors have been painted after the Mughal pattern.

    Intercaste Marriage : Normally, Intercaste Marriage were not allowed in any period but there are examples when powerful and rich people could do it. Vat Sangrah, a compilation of stories of the 17th century consists a story of a Raja marrying a painter's girl reveals that intercaste marriages were permissible for a man in authority.

    Child Marriage : Now it has been declared illegal by law but it is still in practice. In medieval time, Child-marriage was prevalent in all the communities of Marwar. Hardly 10 per cent of the girls remained unmarried at the age of puberty (14). The marriage of the girls took place at a very early age, even at their birth they were married. There was no fixed age for marriage. Famous Marwani was one and a half years of age and Dhola three only when they were married.

    Polygamy : In Marwar, amongst the higher cast people, there was a tradition of polygamy. They could keep more than one wife. Princes and people of higher society had many co-wives and pasbans of many castes and creeds. These co-wives and pasbans could satisfy their lust. Polygamy was common among the Rajputs, Bhils, Minas, etc. George Thomas has observed that polygamy was mainly prevalent among the higher order of the Rajputs and even in that instance, it was more owing to the motives of policy than inclination. It arose chiefly from a desire of extinguishing those ancient feuds which so long subsided among families. James Tod has emphasised the dangerous results from polygamy, endangering disputes in Rajput families. John Malcolm and Heber have recorded its conti¬nuance among Rajputs in the early nineteenth century in Rajasthan and Malwa.

    Remarriage : Man of any caste could do remarriage after the death of first wife, even in the life of his wife he could have a second or third wife. The women of higher caste could not marry a second husband, but the lower caste women could do it easily, it was called "Nata". Widow Remarriage amongst the Brahmins and Mahajans was not allowed. Among Natrayat Rajputa, Kachhela Charans, Jats, Malis, Gujars Minas, Bhils, Darogas, Grassias etc. the marriage of a widow was allowed. In certain communities (Jats etc.) the widow often married the younger brother of her husband.

    Divorce : Man of any caste could leave or separate his wife but the higher caste women could not divorce her husband. The lower caste women could do it easily.

    Widowhood : The evil effects of early marriage lie in premature cohabitation and among certain castes it was the cause for a number of child widows who were precluded from remarriage. In 1931 there were 7 percent widowers but the widows were 16 percent. The proportion of widows was high among Jains and the high caste hindus like- Brahmans, Rajputs and Mahajans. The proportion of widows in the Bhils and Girassias was the lowest due to prevalence of 'Nata' system.

    Bachelors : The highest proportion of unmarried males was among two such extremes as the Rajputs on the one hand, and the Bhils and Girassias on the other. Among the former the reason was partly economic and partly the shortage of women. Among the latter, the preponderance of young persons in the population combined with higher age for marriage tends to show a high proportion of bachelors and also the highest proportion of unmarried girls.

    हमारी नई वैबसाइट - भारत का इतिहास - www.bharatkaitihas.com


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