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Old 24th March 2008, 09:36   #1
sat
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Default Interesting read....

I received this article a few month ago. would be nice if we could post the photo of the blue car..

sat

------------

Raja Ghanashyamsinhji
Dayalu Bava
Nahi male
Have nahi male nahi male


He was an old man, with a flowing white beard and milky eyes when I met him at the village tea shop at Tikar village in the winter of 1986. Tikar the village that sat on the lip of the salt rann. He was now almost blind, but his voice was strong and his old ravanhatha and bow made sweet music still. He wore a white dhoti and a long white shirt with a khes thrown over his shoulders. I had noticed this Nathbava, this wandering singer, in dusty Tikar for the refrain of the song he sang,

Raja Ghanashyamsinhji
Dayalu Bava
Nahi male
Have nahi male nahi male

He was singing a praise song to the ex ruler of Dhrangadhra, Maharaja Ghanshyamsinhji who had died in 1942.

I knew something about Ghanshyamsinhji Bava as any grandson would know something about a grandparent. My grandmothers had told me he was kind, he was generous and that by and large he was a mild mannered man of the family. He was fond of food and fine English waistcoat watches and diamond studded enameled cigarette boxes. I also knew that he was a supporter of Gandhi from the time of his return from South Africa and had given him money when Gandhi was an unknown name in the wilderness. Few know today Ghanshyamsinhji Bava had met with Gandhi in the salt-pans of the rann of Dhrangadhra many years before Gandhi marched to the sea and shook the foundation if the alien empire of the British in India. Salt was one of the pillars of our ancient desert kingdom's revenue for hundreds of years, granted rights by the Rajput Kings of Patan in the eleventh century. Raj Ghansyamsinhji and his predecessors had fought for this vital livelihood of our people with the Sultanate Sultans, the Mughals governors, the Marathas marauders, before the arrival of the latest tormentors, the British taxmen administrators.

I knew these things and so I was not entirely surprised that the singer sang the refrain of King Ghanshyamsiinhji the Kind, but I was curious to know what specific anecdotes Bhurji Bhai sang about and how he came by them, for in 1986 he was in his mid eighties and would have been a man in his thirties when King Ghanshyamsinhji passed away.

This is the story he told me.

A man can be kind to a person a king has to be kind to an entire people.

It was cruel winter of 1921 in the village of Sultanpur when the great flight of demoiselle crane circled above before descending in great spirals in the barren fields that lay around the permanent waters of the lake where many flights of mallard and pintail duck had already arrived. The waters were teaming with life of the waterfowl. Snipes, egrets, herons snowy white and blue patrol the shores and green bee eaters, crested hoppoes, sand grouse marked the flat grasslands that race away to the north edge of the salt rann where mirages dance in the winter once the sun has gained some strength. His village was Sultanpur and he was an agaria a saltmaker, who made salt in the desert.

It was a time of great sorrow for Burji a young boy of fourteen at this time as his father lay dying in the salt pans. He lay on his string cot and Bhurji's mother sat by giving the dying man water from time to time. Waiting for the end. At fourteen Bhurji was a grown man and he pulled the rope on the Dhenkvo well so that the leather bucket went deep into the darkness. When the boy released the rope slowly the stone weight on the wooden arm swung the arm upwards so the bucket emerged filled with brine. Bhurji swung the bucket over onto the pan and emptied the water into the shallow white salt pan. He did this all day stopping to eat and on occasion to attend to his mother. He could not stop. Not for an hour, not even as his father lay dying for the salt had to be made, the water had to be released into the rectangular pans to enable it to evaporate at the correct temperature. If he stopped the salt would not grow into the fine white crystals. What would they eat. So Bhurji bent and pulled up buckets of water with the rhythm of his heart and the strength of his body.

As he was working in the gloom of the hopeless, he saw a small dust cloud rise in the southern horizon and it came quickly towards him. Soon he saw that some hundred yards in front of the cloud there was family of onagers, the brave little horses of the desert, dun and white as they ran fast and straight towards him. They looked long legged as they ran on the mirage waters of the rann and the legs were elongated by the shimmering reflection. Within seconds the dust cloud cleared and the strange new car came into view that streaked the rann. Without thinking he ran towards the streaking car. He ran and he ran as fast as he could waving his head scarf wildly so that the occupants would notice. What did he have to loose. His father was dying. Maybe somebody in the motor car could help him. As he ran the family of onagers split past him, the males on one side of him and the young ones and mothers on the other. They raced on. They raced past and the motorcar raced past him in a flash. Broken and panting he stood bent over in the dust cloud. He looked up into the blinding sun for a moment and then turned back, walking slowly over the cracked earth, flat and shimmering as far as the eye could see. Looking up from the cracked earth, he saw the open sky blue motorcar drive up to him and there were 5 men. Three dressed in khakhi uniforms and shinny brass buttons and turbans with fine upturned moustaches. A third man was dressed like him, a villager, with a muzzlehoader over his shoulder. He was pagi, a game scout. A fourth man drove the car. A fifth man, large and at ease sat looking at him, kindly. He wore a white solar hat on his head. He signaled Bhurji to approach. Bhuji knew at once this was the king. There was only one man in the land who had such a car in the entire region. He had never seen it but people in the village spoke of the sky blue car . It would appear out of the blue horizon without warning and it would fade away into the horizon without warning. Even the black buck antelope loved to play with it and they raced along and in front of it when it appeared in the grasslands and in the salt desert.

"What is the matter, son", asked the king, "Why were you running at the car?" "Bapu, I stammered," My father is dying. Bapu can you help us?". "Where is your father?" asked the king. "There", pointed I at the little reed hut besides the squares of the salt pan, shinning white.

We drove to the hut. "The king had father, mother and me placed in the sky blue car. "Take them to Dhrangdhra hospital" he said softly. Bapu cried I, 'What about the salt?
"Don't worry" said the king.

"Two of his attendants and the pagi stayed with him, Bapa," said Bhurji, "He sat on the string cot looking over the saltpans as we raced away in his sky blue car. My father was saved that day when Andata came. How great was our good fortune? How great was his heart, how ocean wide his kindness? Blessed were we, poor salt makers when his shadow fell upon us!. We will never see such a kind man again, no, we will never see such a kind king again. "

He lifted his ranvanhatha and song in the future.

Raja Ghanashyamsinhji
Dayalu Bava
Nahi male
Have nahi male nahi male
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Old 24th March 2008, 09:54   #2
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interesting it is

Did you get this email? yeah would love to see the pic of the Blue car
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Old 4th April 2008, 11:51   #3
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Nice read...is there any picture of the general area or a map? I am also thinking of touring the rann and would like to get as much info as possible. With your back ground you could be treasure trove of information.
Too much to hope for but is there a picture of that car?
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Old 1st January 2009, 08:58   #4
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wow Dayalu Bava (kind man).. hakikat me have nahi male (really heard to find now)..

Nice reading to start the year 2009 ahead.
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Old 1st January 2009, 09:48   #5
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Beautifully written. Could see the scene play out like a movie before me
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Old 1st January 2009, 11:05   #6
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What a co-incidence that this thread got bumped up. Just last weekend we were passing through Dharngadhra and I was narrating this story line, that I had read here, to my wife.......Dayalu Bava (kind man).. hakikat me have nahi male (really heard to find now)..
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Old 1st January 2009, 19:51   #7
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Extraordinary writeup this. I could see the whole scene play out before my eyes - sat, you have amazing descriptive skills.

Once again, this is outstanding writing!
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Old 1st January 2009, 23:34   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sat View Post
I received this article a few month ago.
Beautifully written. Who wrote it?
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Old 1st January 2009, 23:48   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
Beautifully written. Who wrote it?
It is implied, the grandson of Raja Ghanashyamsinhji.
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Old 2nd January 2009, 12:53   #10
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Very nice mail indeed,it looks even nicer when we read some news in papers that a woman gave a birth to child in ambulance due to traffic jam because of some big neta was passing on that road.
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