The Kathiawad peninsula in Western India boasts a rich heritage of oral traditions. The Charan and Barot communities were especially known for their unique storytelling styles. Jhaverchand Meghani, the author, suggests that much of the main subject matter comes from stories Sanskrit epics like Panchatantra and Kathasaritsagar, as also from legends created around historical figures like king Vikram of Ujjain. These orally told stories were handed down from generation to generation, and were further enhanced by each storyteller’s creativity in injecting elements that would help the story move forward while holding the listeners’ interest.
This book contains ten stories told in such unique style, collected in the 1920s, and published in Gujarati using the exact words as used by the storytellers. The objective of this English collection has been to preserve the original oral style and content as much as possible in a translation to culturally so different a language form.
The author’s two scholarly treatises analyes this storytelling style, and provide comparison with similar stories from other parts of India as well as the West. The author also draws conclusions of his own about the origins and the spread of these stories. These treatises may be of great interest to students and scholars of folklore, perhaps leading to further research.
About the Author
Jhaverchand Meghani (1896-1947), the author, was an immensely popular, multi-faceted Gujarati writer-poet- journalist who, in short literary career of 25 years, penned over 90 books of poetry, novels, short stories, biographies and more, but is best known for his wide exploration of the previously undocumented folk literature of the Saurashtra peninsula. His extensive research produced collections of folk songs, folk stories and scholarly treatises on all facets of folk literature. This won him the first ever award of the Ranjitram Suvarnachandrak, the highest literary award in Gujarat. Meghani’s patriotic songs gave such an impetus to India’s freedom struggle that he was lovingly called “Rashtreeya Shayar” (Poet of Nationalism).
Ashok Meghani, the translator, is the youngest son of the author. An engineer by profession, he turned to translating his father’s works into English after retiring from his professional life. His three previously published books are all translations from Gujarati-Sant Devidas, The Promised Hand (both by Jhaverchand Meghani) and The Himalaya: A Cultural Pilgrimage (by Kakasaheb Kalekar).
Written in their original [oral] style, I have read out these stories to students of a few schools and colleges, especially the institution-Mahila Vidyalay, Bhavnagar-where I have been privileged to test recite all my folk literature writing so far. I believe the students of various ages have listened to these with joyful absorption. That has convinced me that this family of stories has a soul-deep relationship with the world of education.
These folk tales are a rare part of our legacy from a colourful past. It has made a substantial contribution in our nation-building efforts. And that is the reason it gives me great pleasure to publish them.
I had language Dadaji-in Wato (Grandfather’s Tales) in the field of folk literature as a new adventure. I believe, that adventure has succeeded. Many readers have testified to finishing the book in a single sitting. Children young and old have recited these stories in the forceful charani style and enjoyed giving full rein to their imagination while roaming in the world of and enriching fancy. For a sequel, I have material ready for a collection of tales of even more gallantry and adventure that can enrich Gujarati literature-stories that are full of fantasy and yet contain sensible lessons. These are waiting only for me to get around to publishing them. But, my young friends, I will not make you wait much longer!
The Third Edition was sold out two years ago. The hesitation in reprinting centered around the discussion of whether fairy tales and stories of fantasy legitimately belong to children’s literature any more. But, our childhood education experts have been unable to adequately answer that question. Not only that, but many of our universally recognized children’s authors have continued to publish such literature.
My main objective was, and continues to be, to present these as samples of a special class of stories. I am publishing this edition only with that perspective in mind, and not as children’s literature.
I have recently published another collection of similar stories under the title Rang Chhe, Barot! (Bravo, Storyteller!). I have included a treatise on the subject of folklore in that book. With that book, I have made good on my promise to publish a sequel to Dadaji-in Wato. I urge those of my readers that enjoyed Dadaji-ni Wato to not miss reading Rang Chhe, Barot!
|The Co-publisher's Statement||ix|
|From the Vice-Chancellor's Desk||xi|
|Foreword to Dadaji-ni Wato||3|
|The New World of Folk Tales||5|
|To Grandpa's Land!||16|
|Simhasan: The Throne||41|
|Vikram and Vidhata, the Destiny Writer||47|
|Phoolsaudagar and Phoolvanti||81|
|Rang Chhe, Barot!|
|Foreword to Rang Chhe, Barot!||107|
|The Four Maxims||141|
|Occupying Someone's Body||151|
|Daughter of the Sea God||169|
Item Code: NAN416 Author: Jhaverchand Meghani and Ashok Meghani Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2016 Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd. ISBN: 9788124608739 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch Pages: 234 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 455 gms