Archive for December, 2008

December 31, 2008

sarajA shivAjI rAma hI ko avatAru hai [shivarAja-bhUShaNa 166]

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

…and rAma setu also finds mention in the annals from the pen of the favourite poet of cHatrapati shivAjI.

In this clever kavitta, with a marvelous turn of phrases, our king of poets bhUShaNa churns out a dual-meaning (shleSha) poem.  On one hand, he offers a description of rAmachandra, and on the other that of shivAjI’s, and in the last line equates the two.  Here is the kavitta in manaharaNa meter variety:

सी-ता संग सोभित सुलच्छ्न सहाय जाके
…भू पर भरत नाम भाई नीति चारु है
भूषन भनत कुल-सूर कुल-भूषन हैं
…दासरथी सब दास जाके भुज भुव भारु है
अरि-लँक तोर जोर जाके संग बन्दर हैं
…सिन्धु रहैं बान्धे जाके दल को न पारु है
तेगहि कै भेंटै जौन राकस मरद जानै
…सरजा सिवाजी राम ही को अवतारु हैं !!

The two different meanings are in the subsequent lines in different colours:

Whose presence is ever embellished by Sita by His side and graced by lakShamaNa to His assistance
Whose side shrI never leaves, and who is always assisted by the generals of good lakShaNa
Whose brother named bharata is always eager to spreads benevolence on earth in his name
Whose name this earth takes with affection as a “bhartA”, the nourisher
Says bhUShaNa, He Who is the real crown-jewel of all sUrya-kula
Says bhUShaNa, He Who is the real crown-jewel of all shUra-s (braves)
That son of dasharatha, whose arms are supporting the weight of entire earth
In whose service are valorous rathI-s (Lieutenants) to support the weight of the kingdom
To fame of whose might is destruction of laMkA in collaboraton with vAnara-s
Who breaks the very back of the enemy, such are whose mighty arrows
Who even constructed a bridge over ocean, whose army has no count
At doors of whose forts are always dwelling elephants, whose army has no count
Who knows how to slay rAkShasa-s when encountered
The Very embodiment of manliness who meets his enemies only with his sword
That shivAjI, the Lionheart, says bhUShaNa, is none other than another incarnation of rAmachandra!

Do notice the turn of words… “sindhu rahain bAndhe” means ‘constructed setubandha’ and since sindura also means elephant, the phrase becomes “sindhura hain bAndhe”, ‘Elephants are tied’ too!  Likewise, “marada” while means ‘slaying’ in one sense, but also ‘Manliness’ in the second…

It is not without a reason that bhUShaNa has always left us mesmerized!

December 30, 2008

cHUTyo hai hulAsa… [shivarAja bhUShaNa 150]

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

Words of fire from kavirAja bhUShaNa have always held us captivated since the days of boyhood.  Whenever we heard from our teachers and elders, his terse cHappaya or kavitta in unadulterated braja, we were quickly transported to some other world with our heartbeats accelerated and those hormones further soaring that run high during youth.  Our childhood memories associate bhUShaNa with one of our AchArya-s in school who used to teach us hindI and saMskR^ita, and who transmitted this contagious bhUShaNa-fascination to many of us.

This magnum-opus, shivarAja-bhUShaNa, the fiery poetic annals of the life of the cHatrapati founder of the hindavI swarAja written by bhUShaNa, his contemporary, appears to have quickly lost out these days in popularity, probably since his kliShTa braja is hard to understand even for an average speaker of Hindi, what to say of non-Hindi speakers, in this age when all our languages, indeed the whole cultural continuum, seems to be suffering a major, lasting, and deliberate disruption. While we can do little about that, what we shall do for our own pleasure is to reproduce and translate in English, some of these words, although we are not upto the task to preserve even to a small fraction, the original fire that the lines of bhUShaNa radiate.

So, here goes the first episode (in no particular order of SB):

छूट्यो है हुलास आमखास एक संग छूट्यो
…हरम सरम एक संग बिनु ढंग ही
नैनन तें नीरधीर छूट्यो एक संग छूट्यो
…सुखरुचि मुखरुचि त्यों ही मनरंग ही
भूषण बखानै सिवराज मरदाने तेरी –
…धाक बिललाने न गहत बल अंग ही
दक्खिन के सूबा पाय दिली के अमीर तजें
…उत्तर की आस जीव आस एक संग ही ॥
(SB.150, ‘sahokti’ alaMkAra in kavitta meter of the ‘manaharaNa’ vareity)

With all excitement evaporated; matters of palace and forts interest no more;
Harem and chivalry have suddenly lost meaning;
Pride has left the glances so also bravery the heart;
Tastes and Pleasures, ‘ve all dried up; face paled…
O shivarAja, how should bhUShaNa speak of your manliness!
Effect of your terror is such, that
No boastfulness (of their bravery, by their bards) brings life back to the Amirs of Delhi,
When ordered to march to the Southern Provinces,
Indeed cease both at once: hopes of ever returning back to the North, and desire of life!

The poem describes the terror of the founder of marahaTTA nation in the hearts of the Imperial officers of Delhi, when they hear about their posting in the South.

December 27, 2008

Because Thou lovest the shmashAna…

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

Because Thou lovest the shmashAna,

I have made a shmashAna of my heart

That Thou, Dark One, haunter of the shmashAna,

Mayest dance Thy eternal dance…

Nought else is within my heart, O Mother

Day and night blazes the funeral pyre

The ashes of the dead, strewn all about

I have preserved against Thy coming…

With death-conquering mahAkAla neath Thy feet

Do Thou enter in, dancing Thy rhythmic dance,

That I may behold Thee with closed eyes…

(An old Bengali song, and a 12th c. sculpture in Mewar.)

December 13, 2008

na kAko garuDAyate !!

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

The mettle of leadership is tested through the test of behaviour during bad times, and seeing the response of the Indian leadership during the times of ongoing Jihad, one is only reminded of the following subhAShita-s:

nahi sushikShito.pi naTa-baTuH swaskandhamAruDhaM paTuH !!

(A son of an acrobat can never climb on one’s own shoulder, no matter how well trained!)

prasAdashikhare.pi sanna kAko garuDAyate !!

(A crow remains a crow, and does not become a garuDa, even if seated on the tallest pinnacle of the palace!)

December 3, 2008

“A handful of gAzI-s paralyze a Hindu city”, unprecedented?

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

As the band of a dozen gAzI-s swooped to the marahaTTA shores — and following the tradition of jihad laid down by the prophet, torturously dispatched countless kAfirs of both buta-parasta and yahUdI varieties to dozakh, took hostage the place belonging to pArasIka mahA-shreShThI of an equally despicable Atish-parasta creed and paralyzed the nation — memory of this similar event of long past, now almost evaporated from the Hindu subconscious, suddenly surfaced. As the blessed peacemakers, born through the womb of India but conceived during the prolonged gang-rape by the mlechCha-s, light up that “Gateway” built in honour of the mlechChAdhipati who ravaged her for centuries as his maid and his mistress, it was hard to put down this old fragment of lost memory when a similar act was played out centuries back on her eastern regions by the turuShka-s.

That band of gAzI-s was not unlike this one, with only dozen and half mujAhidIn riding on Arabic horses, wearing the cloak of merchants and carrying leather sacks on horseback concealing large-scale weaponry. With Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji, the trusted turuShka-Afghan lieutenant of Qutb-ud-deen Aybak at their head, gAzI-s swiftly rode eastwards deep into the delta of ga~NgA, and it was approaching dusk as they entered the market streets of nAdiyA, the sena capital of Bengal famed worldwide for its riches. The year was 1198.

Khalji had, just in the previous decade, brought the province of Bihar to under the umbrella of dar-ul-islam, and cleansed it of numerous places of infidels, destroying most notably the universities of nAlandA and vikramashilA, the despised seats of jAhiliA and kufr. The Persian chronicler Minhaj reports in tabAqat-i-nasIrI that during the sack of nAlandA, thousands of monks were burned alive and other thousands put to the sword of Islam, and after ensuring that there was no copy of Quran on the shelves, the massive library of university was put to flames. The size of library was such, that the fire continued for several months as the “smoke from the burning books of infidels hung for days like a dark pall over the hills”, says Minhaj.

With Bihar under Islam, Khalji’s sight had been set for some time now to further east, towards the riches of Bengal. While the army of Bengal was not any weak, its ruler the scholarly lakshamaNa sena, the patron of famous jayadeva, and a staunch vaiShNava, had become too weakened by age and turned pacifist by temperament. What else could be said of the lack of kShatriya spirit in him, that even after seeing the treatment meted out to the neighbouring countries of magadha and kAshI, he did not adopt any forward policy and comfortably waited in his capital wishing they would be spared by the turuShka-s!

So, as this band of mujAhid-s entered the streets of his capital, it did not attract much attention. They were taken by citizens to be a group of horse-merchants, a frequent sight in the markets of nAdiyA. As the sun was now setting, gAzI-s enquired about and swiftly made their way towards the royal palace. It is not clear whether by deceit or by bribe, by trickery or simply by overpowering the platoons guarding the garrison opening, the band in whichever way managed to gain a quick entrance. And as soon as the entry was made, they swooped onto the harem and took it hostage, probably also some the ministers and generals. If we have to believe the account of Minhaj, the aged King was at the time being served his dinner when he heard of the turuShka attack. His personal body guards swiftly escorted him through secret alleys to outside the palace which opened far away near a riverine, and through a raft he escaped either to kali~Nga or kAmarUpa, or more likely, to his other capital in eastern Bengal near dhAkA.

Back in nAdiyA, the band of dozen and half gAzI-s was hard at work, razing the residential quarters and markets and putting some citizens to sword and taking others as hostage. As soon as they were joined by the larger turuShka army that poured into the capital, Minhaj says, they “swept the town with the broom of devastation, completely demolishing it”. Countless temples were razed throughout the state, and mosques erected from the rubble. Most notable of these being the famed AdinAtha temple of mAldA dedicated to mahAdeva, that moslems later converted into a mosque, known these days as adInA-masjid, and on walls of which a mutilated body of dancing gaNapati can be seen to this date, and the complex still suggesting how magnificent the original temple could have been. Countless women of Bengal were dispatched to the harem of Aybak in Delhi and also to the Rightly Guided Khalif in Iraq, together with much booty and precious gifts. Khalif of the momin, soon sent to Khalji a letter of praise. Many boys were castrated and taken as slaves and sent to be sold in the markets of bukhArA and basarA.

(Image, thanks to shrI Saurabh Basu)

While Khalji failed to press further deep into Bengal, and sena-s managed to halt him from east and south, the reign of Islam was thus inaugurated in Bengal by just a dozen and half gAzI-s swooping into the city of Hindu-s and paralyzing the whole country. Let this be remembered as we repeatedly hear about the “unprecedented” attack in Mumbai, in mid of the chants of “terrorism has no religion”.

But one can not just stop here without mentioning the retaliation from Hindu-s soon after. The Hindu-s of Orissa and Assam had still in them the flame of kShatriya spirit burning, and far from losing heart of coming under Khilji’s control, rAjA-s of both these countries marshaled their armies and independently smashed him.

First, the Armies from Orissa marched proactively and completely devastated the capital of Khilji, Lakhnauti, with such ferocity that he had to flee and take shelter in Awadh province.

Later, In 1205, Khalji received a final body blow from Hindus, when he set out on an invasion of kAmarUpa, Bhutan and Tibet, and crossed through the border region of prAgjyotiSha via dArjIling with a cavalry of 10,000 moslems. The retaliation from Himalayan kingdoms was extremely fierce and turuShka-s met heavy losses in a kind of warfare they had not seen before, forcing them to retreat. Here, Hindus must learn a lesson from an event that is recorded in a saMskR^ita inscription on the rocks of kanaibarasibowa not very far from the shrine of kAmAkhyA devI.

Anticipating the turuShka return, the King of kAmarUpa had prepared a trap for them. He destroyed the stone bridge over brahmaputra which the Moslems would have crossed, and blocking the way forward, his armies intercepted the enemy from three sides. No prisoners were taken and a general wipe out followed. While many turuShka-s perished from the poisonous darts, others who jumped into bramhaputra were devoured by it. In the end, leaving his army to perish, only Khalji escaped with 300 horsemen, his personal bodyguards, to his capital near gaur, and this is all that became of the large Moslem army of Bengal. Khalji died soon after his return.

1. riyAzu-s-salAtIn of Maulavi Abdus Salam, translated from Persian by Gulam Husain Salim, Baptist Mission Press, Calcutta, 1903

2. tabaḳAt-i-NAṣIrI, a Persian chronicle of Maulana Minhaj-ud-din Abul Umar-i-Usman, translated by H. G. Raverty as “A General History of the Muhammadan Dynasties of Asia, Including Hindustan (810–1260)” (Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, 1881). This account by Minhaj is the earliest narrative of this event. It is likely that some of the historian’s informants had been eyewitnesses to the events.

3. pAdshAh-buranjI, an old Assamese chronicle translated by S K Bhuyan as “Annals of the Delhi Badshahate” (Dept. of Historical & Antiquarian Studies, Govt. of Assam, 1947)

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