Friday, January 7, 2011

हिस्टरी ऑफ़ चरण गढ़वी

Chāraṇ (plural Charans; Hindi:चारण; Gujarati:ચારણ) is the term for a caste living in the Gujarat and Rajasthan states of India. Members of this caste are highly revered for their unflinching readiness for martyrdom, bravery in war, high literary sense and deep loyalty to patrons[1].Ain-e-akbari states that Charans were good poets and better soldiers .The caste is also identified with the surnames "Adha","Gadan", Kaviraj, Barhath and Gadhavi. Members of this caste are considered to be divine by a large section of society[2]. Women of the caste are adored as mother goddesses by other major communities of this region including Rajput Kings[2][3] The goddesses Karani, Bahuchra, Hinglaj (whose main temple is now in Baluchistan), Khodiyar and Sonal are well-known examples of it. This is one of the reasons that Charan men are often addressed as Deviputra, which literally means "son of goddess". In the medieval era, it was considered a matter of prestige and pride for a king to have a Charan in his court[4]. They were much respected, being trusted friends through thick and thin. Whoever caused the death of a Charan was turned out of his caste and treated as infamous and degraded beyond redemption. Charans (men or women), when engaged to attend a traveller, protected him by threatening to kill themselves if any harm befell their client. Always with the Rajputs, they were found in Mewar, Gujarat, and Marwar. Kings and landlords gave them grants of villages, and various kings also gave them Lakh Pasavs, a large gift equivalent to 100,000 rupees. It usually consisted of elephants, money, and ornaments. The kings would also invite them to occupy a place of esteem in the Royal Courts. Indeed, a Rajput's regard for a Charan was uppermost. In a procession, a Charan would sit on an elephant and the king would walk in attendance. In return, a Charan would always honour a Rajput, by giving him shelter when the Rajput was in distress. A Charan's status was such that, if anyone who committed murder and took shelter at the house of a Charan, the pursuer would not touch the culprit.While they are considered to be great warriors and extremely loyal citizens, they were equally revered by kings for their taste in literature and love for poetry. Because of their ability to compose poems instantaneously, another popular way of addressing members of the Charan caste is "Kaviraj", which literally means "king among poets".

In between social order of the Rajputs and the status of the Brahmans there is a caste of Charans which exercises a great respectability and influence in Rajasthan. The speciality of the caste is that it combines in its characteristics of Rajputs and Brahmans in an adequate manner

G. N. Sharma in Social life in medieval Rajasthan[5]



[edit] Social structure

The Charans' caste system is based on written genealogy. A Charan will accept all the other Charans as equals even if they do not know each other and have radically different economic or geographic status.[6] They are divided into four sections. Each section has several sub-sections and subsections have several stocks. Males and females of the same stock are considered brothers and sisters, and thus marriage within a stock is strictly forbidden. Similarly, marriages outside the Charan commnuty are not allowed. Instead of four sections, many authors consider 23 divisions a more fundamental way division comprising four [Pahada]s which literally means mount peaks, sixteen sakhas and three chals. The four sections mentioned before are just based on geographical identity and may overlap with many of the divisions under 23 divisions. As per 23 divisions the four Pahadas are (1) Nara (2) Chorada (3) Chuva and (4) Tumbel, three chals are (1) Ausura (also spelled Avsura), (2) Maru and (3) baati. Charan of one Pahad are considered brothers and sisters and cannot intermarry. As per these divisions Nara charan usually mary with Ausura, Chorada with Maru and Chuva with Baati. Tumbel don't have exclusive chaal to marry from and hence they are referred as half-Pahada. Tumel usually marry from any of the other three Pahadas and Chaals. Rest of the community is divided into sixteen sakhas (known as Sakhiyas), which literally means sections. They usually marry with other sections as well as three Chaals and three and half Pahadas. Large part of the 16 sakhiyas is living in Rajasthan. As per Bombay Gazetteer[3] four sections and their sub-sections are mentioned below.

  • Tumbel[Tumer]:The Tumer (also spelled Tumbel) are believed to originate from Sindh. The clans of Tumers are:
  1. Mudhuda
  2. Seda
  3. Sindhiya
  4. Gelwa
  5. Rudach
  6. Bhan
  • Kachhelas
Also called Parajias, from the Kachchh district of Gujarat, the Kachhelas have three clans:
  1. Chanwas (72)
  2. Choradas (52)
  3. Naras (66)
  4. Kesariya [This surname belongs to 16 sakhiyas]
  5. Aalgya [This is a surname of Chunva pahada]
  6. Paaliya [This is a surname of Nara pahada]
  7. Soya [This is a surname of 16 sakhiya]
  8. Keedia [This is a surname of Nara pahada]
  • Maru
The Marus are from Marwar in Rajasthan. They have 20 clans and more than 300 stocks:
  1. Ashiya
  2. Adha (Arha)
  3. Barhat
  4. Badhva (19)
  5. Baratrohdia (12)
  6. Bati (13)[ This is Chaal of Chunva pahada]
  7. Boxa
  8. Budhda
  9. Bitu
  10. Deval
  11. Detha
  12. Dhadhania (11)
  13. Dadhvadia (19)
  14. Gelva (6)
  15. Gadan(Harmada)
  16. Varnsurya
  17. Jula (Zula) (31)
  18. Jadiya(dahej)
  19. Jhiba
  20. Khidia(khiria)(36) [This is the surname of Chorada pahada]
  21. Kharol (2)
  22. Kiniya (The members of this sub-caste are known as the descendants of goddess Karni Mata)
  23. Kavya
  24. Kharal
  25. lalas
  26. Mishan(The Renowned poet of this surname was shri Surmallji Mishan, born in Rajashthan who wrote a huge epic named "VANSH BHASKAR"incarnation of the Sun and his heirs)
  27. Mahiya
  28. Mada (2)
  29. Mahiyaria (11)
  30. Mahedu [This is the surname of 16 sakhiya and also brother to Kesariya]
  31. Nadhu (29)
  32. Pandarsinga
  33. Ratnu (1)
  34. Rohadiya
  35. Samor
  36. Sandhayach (16) [This is the surname brother to Bhanchaliya and inclusive in 16 sakhiya]
  37. Sandu (8)
  38. Sau
  39. Siyal (0)
  40. Silga
  41. Soda (33)
  42. Tapariya
  43. Vija (1)
  44. Vithu
  45. Mohod
  46. Hada(10)
  47. Bogsa ( Narawat)
  • Gujjar
Gujjar are apparently a remnant of the great tribe that gave Gujarat its name.

[edit] Values and belief

Charans respect bravery, loyalty and truth more than they do life. Much of the respect and admiration they receive is because of their unflinching readiness to sacrifice their own life in order to honor these values. Their attitude is typical of warriors. Their war cry is "Jay Mataji" ("Hail the mother goddess"), which is also a phrase used by male members of the Charan community to greet each other. Since female Charans are actually regarded as Mataji (mother goddesses), they use blessings to greet each other, so as to avoid hailing themselves.

[edit] Self-immolation

The Charans are highly feared by other communities for their readiness to self-immolate known as tragu. It was believed that anyone who shed the blood of a Charan would meet with ruin[3]. Self-immolation, known as tragu, was practiced by Charans whose demands had not been met. Tragu consisted of shedding one's own blood or the blood of some member of one's family and calling down the vengeance of heaven upon the offender whose obstinacy necessitated the sacrifice. Sometimes the Charans performed tragu by putting fire on themselves. Tragu or self-immolations were performed only when the offending party was not considered to be an enemy. When the offending party was an enemy, the Charans would always choose to go to war.

Self immolations were performed for a variety of reasons, although usually over matters of honor. One Gadhavi woman practised self-immolation to save a wild hare. Her name was Punai Mata. There is a temple of her near a small village named Zarpara in the Kachchh district of Gujarat. While she was collecting fodder for her livestock, a wild hare came running from a huntsman and leaped into her lap. The huntsman demanded that she give it back. Punai Mata refused, telling him that the hare was seeking refuge and that she now provided it and would honor that responsibility until death. The huntsman overpowered her, and so she performed self-immolation.

This type of sacrifice was greatly respected. The mother goddess Bahuchara Ma (one the three most important mother goddesses worshipped in Gujarat) was a Charan woman who cut off one of her breasts when attacked by members of the Koli caste. Readiness to sacrifice themselves allowed Charans to perform several important functions, one of which was to stand as surety. Rajputs valued a surety composed of Charans more than they did in any other type of sureties, because they knew that the Charans would make other parties honor an agreement even if it cost the Charans their own lives. Charans also offered themselves as surety for the good behavior of kings, feudatories, zamindars and village headmen. The British accepted Charans as surety in some of their early treaties with the chiefs of Saurashtra.[7]

Charans acted as surety and also as guides for travelers and goods. A Charan would commit tragu if anyone tried to rob him or his party. Near the entrance of almost every village in western Gujarat stand guardian stones (known as paliyas), which were set up to perpetuate the memory of Charan men and women who performed tragu to prevent robbers from carrying off the cattle of the village.[8] Hence, even robbers came under the religious sanctions of Charans. The British government in India put a ban on performing tragu from 1808 onward; nevertheless, incidents of it kept occurring during a large part of the later period.[3] However, in post-independent India, one encounters almost no instances of tragu.

Many times Mahatma Gandhi announced that he would fast until death in order to change the opinions of those who opposed him. This closely resembles the practice of tragu; however, tragu performed by Charans used to be much more violent, and the reasons for it were not as broad and far reaching as those of Mahatma Gandhi. It is worth noting, however, that Mahatma Gandhi was born and brought up in the part of India where the Charan population is dominant.[9].

[edit] Food and Drink

Their food and drink habits resemble those of a warrior community. Few Charans used to enjoy eating opium and drinking liquor. Opium and liquor are also widely used substances in other warrior communities (such as that of the Rajputs) of this region.[10] This may be because opium worked as an analgesic in hand-to-hand combat[citation needed]. Charans do not eat the flesh of cows and hold those who do in utter disregard. Cows are respected like mothers. A husband and wife will not drink milk from the same cow, or milk soiled by their counterpart. Drinking milk from one mother (cow) symbolizes that those who do so should be considered as siblings. Before Indian independence in 1947, a sacrifice of a male buffalo constituted a major part of the celebration of Navratri[11]. Such celebrations quite often used to be presided over by Charan woman.[12] Animal sacrifice is illegal now in India, and modern day Charans no longer perform animal sacrifices as part of religious rituals, nor do they encourage drinking of opium or liquor as a social value. On the contrary, vegetarianism has become a highly valued lifestyle. The social movement of the mid nineteen-sixties led by aai (mother goddess) Sonal Ma, Limbdi Kaviraaj Shankardanji Detha and his son Haridanji Detha ,the poet Dula Bhaya Kag, Merubha.Meghanand.Gadhavi, Pinglshin Bapu and others focused on stopping animal sacrifice, discouraging drinking of liquor and opium, and encouraging modern education. This movement had great success for socio-economic reform of this community[citation needed].

[edit] Charani literature

Literature and poems are an integral part of the identity of Charans. A whole genre of literature is known as Charani literature[13]. The Dingal literature and Dingal language exist largely due to this caste[5][14]. It is generally agreed that modern Rajasthani literature began with the works of Suryamal Misran, who was of the Charan caste.[15] Zaverchand Meghani divides Charani sahitya (literature) into thirteen sub genres[13]:

  1. Songs in praise of gods and goddesses (stavan)
  2. Songs in praise of heroes, saints and patrons (birdavalo)
  3. Descriptions of war (varanno)
  4. Rebukes of wavering great kings and men who use their power for evil (upalambho)
  5. Mockery of a standing treachery of heroism (thekadi)
  6. Love stories
  7. Laments for dead warriors, patrons and friends (marasiya or vilap kavya)
  8. Praise of natural beauty, seasonal beauty and festivals
  9. Descriptions of weapons
  10. Songs in praise of lions, horses, camels, and buffalo
  11. Sayings about didactic and practical cleverness
  12. Ancient epics
  13. Songs describing the anguish of people in times of famine and adversity

Other classifications of Charani sahitya are Khyatas (chronicles), Vartas and Vatas (stories), Raso (martial epics), Veli - Veli Krishan Rukman ri, Doha-Chhand (verses)[5][14]. Dursa Adha, Keshavdas, Karanidan, Virbhan, Ishwar Dan, sayaji zula kuvava, etc.sayaji zula was the saint he was the part of lord krishna . hold dignified positions in the literary field of mediaeval India. Rajrupak by Virbhan, Surajprakash by Karanidan, and Hariras by Ishwar Dan are examples of verses. Another form Charani literature is thecharaj, or song of mother's worship. Other minor forms are aaraniyu and zilaniyu, which are also songs for worship.

[edit] Relationship with other communities

Charan enjoyed very cordial relationship with most of the other communities. Charans had great influence with the Rajputs (a community of warriors). The historian Qanungo describes the special relationship between Rajput and Charan: "The Charan was the esteemed and faithful companion of the Rajput, sharing his opium and half his loaf in adversity and receiving his extravagant bounty in prosperity. He followed his client chief on horseback to the thickest of fight, where poetic fire of his deed of old gave a Rajput the strength of ten on the field of carnage". .[citation needed]

Charans are also known to speak truth to the kings of the Rajputs, something which others would not do because they feared to arouse the anger of the kings. James Tod[16] remarks that "Their chroniclers (Charans) dare utter truths, sometimes most unpalatable to their masters. Many resolutions have sunk under the lash of their satire." In spite of their amnesty as a divine community, speaking the truth cost many Charans their life and led to mass persecution.

The other community with whom Charans have very close relationship is the Ahir/Yadav community. Ahirs are considered to be descendent of the god Krishna. Presently most of them are farmers and herdsmen. Charans refer to Ahirs using the word "mama" which means "brother of one's mother".

[edit] History of charans

[edit] Prehistoric period

According to Shrimada Bhagwata Skand (3.a.10 Slok 728) Charans were created along with other divine forms such as Yaksha, Gandharvas, Kinnara, Sidhdhas, Apsara, etc. and lived with them in Heaven [17]. According to Padma Purana, King Prithu brought the Charans from Himalaya to India and gave to them Telang Kingdom (may be Telinga Kingdom or present day Telangana ) [17].

[edit] Ancient period (1000BC-1000 AD)

King Nahapana honored the Charans with large amount of land grants around 119 AD to 128 AD[17] Brahmanand Swami who is one of the most prominent figure for Swaminarayan Community, was a Ashiya Charan born in Khann village, Sirohi District, Rajasthan. His original name was Ladudanji. Few years earlier Swminarayan Community had built Brahmanand Nagari in Khann village.[18]

[edit] Medieval period (1000 AD - 1800 AD)

(1509 to 1527) when Rana Sangram Singh popularly known as Rana Sanga was the ruler of chittorgarh from 1509 to 1527 .He once went to aakhet where an elephent lost his temper and ran towards rana sanga seeing this Haridass mahiyaria who was also accompaning the maharana remembered her sister devi sundar baisa ,atonce the elephant turned around and everyone was safe.after coming to fort Rana Sanga told everyone that in the jungle he saw a hand on the elephants head and thats the moment he got saved .On knowing that it was the hand of non other that "Sundar maa" rana sanga offered Haridasji Mahiyaria to act as rular of Mewar for three days as reward and gave jageer of "Panchli village".Sundar baisa and her hands are worshipped by "Mahiyaria" till today .The main temple is at "Bhildi" in Bhilwara dist.The pond there have miracle and can cure skin desises.

Adha Duraso, known as Dursaji, was a poet of the medieval era. He born at Jaitaran in Pali district in Rajasthan in 1538 and died at Panchetiya in 1651. Dursa Adha is believed to have been a maternal uncle of the goddess Karni. Historian remembers him for his boldness to sing praises of Maharana Pratap(an archenemy of Akbar) in the court of the Akbar. Opo Adha was also a famous poet.[19]. A golden statue of Dursaji stands in Achalgadh, Mount Abu. Dursaji's niece the mother-goddess Karni (between 1387 and 1537) is revered as the major deity of Rathod and other communities of this region. She is supposed to have helped Rao Bika (a ruler of Rajasthan) to occupy the territory of Bikaner. Her shrine is at Deshnok near Bikaner.

A saintly Charan woman, mother of Baru Charan, helped Rana Hamir, using her own funds to supply him with 500 horses to use in the recovery of Chittor.[5]

Charan Khemraj Dadhiwadia (of village Dharta) saved the life of Prince Jagat Singh of udaipur by killing Naruka Rajput, who attempted to murder the prince.[5]

Naruji, worshipped by both Hindus and Muslims, achieved martyrdom at the gate of a Jagdish temple when Taj Khan and Ruhullah Khan came to destroy it on the order of Muslim emperor Aurangzeb. Two shrines for him were built; one, tended by Hindus, is where his body fell; the other, a few yards away and tended by Muslims, is where his head fell.[11]

  • Varnsuraya Bherudan who was son of Thakur Jugtidan Varnsuraya was given a task to kill the prime minister of Bundi by Maharaja Man Singh of Marwar (Jodhpur). With hundred Rajputs under his command he accomplished the duty and returned to Marwar. This was perhaps the only situation where a charan was given command of Rajputs.This fact is mentioned in the book Vansh Bhaskar authored by Sooryamall Mishan, the famous poet of Bundi,however he has criticized the attack.Thakur jugtidan varnsurya was thakur {JAGIRDAR-RULER OF SEVEN VILLEGE-KOTDA DISTRICT JALORE,PARLU DISTRICT BARMER etc} and born in KOTADA,AHORE,JALORE. He help maharaja MANSINGH of jodhpur .He mortgauge his own son BHERUDAN and his wife's ornaments to borrow five lacks rupees for the help of maharaja MANSING RATHORE OF JODHPUR.

Following are the quotations about Charans taken from book of Dr. G. N. Sharma.[5]

  • In the Battle of Haldighati, which took place in 1576 between Rana Pratap Singh of Mewar and Raja Man Singh of Amber, general of the Mughal emperor Akbar,charan warrior Rama Sandu displayed unprecedented valor.
  • In the year 1615 AD, Narhar Charan fell fighting in the action of Sur Singh against Kishan Singh of Kishangarh.
  • In the famous field of Dharmat in 1658 AD, Jagmal Khadiya made his end as a valiant warrior.
  • In the battle of Delhi when Durgadas planned the rescue of Ajit Singh, Charan Sandu and Mishan Ratan distinguished themselves as martyrs for the cause of their land.
  • One of the Unique Battle of Martyr and self respect was fought by VISHAL RABA AND OTHER 11 CHARANS at Ambardi in 1600- 1620 AD with Gujarat Sultan. Jhaverchand Meghani has noted this act of bravery as "ANNAM MATHA" [Heads that never bowed]. Even today there are 12 nos of pillars [paliyas] of Vishal Raba and others who fought with 500-600 persons of Gujarat Sultan's army for not bowing the head in front of Gujarat Sultan.
  • Valabha Kesariya of Garni in Saurashtra{Ta- Babara} was honoured by Gaekwad in 1830-1840 AD for his charity to one of his Suba's Childhood without any relationship. Valabha Kesariya had given a widow amount equivalent to accomplish her needs for 20- 25 yrs as he could not resist her insult done by the shopkeeper in the Vadodara city when he was there for selling his horses and other specious diamonds etc. He had said ' Sister i cannot accept such a insult of a lady by such crooked shopkeepers so keep this amount and jewellery to bring up your child and live life with respect. Even if you need more call me any how. I am Valabha Kesariya of Garni in amreli paragana." Later on child became Suba of Gaekwad and met Valabha Kesariya and bowed to him. Further Valabha Kesariya use to help him accomplish the amount of revenue[Khandani] from all Saurashtra kings to Gaekwad. In such a event of recovering the revenue from Jamnagar state, the King of Jamnagar had argument with Vithoba who was Suba of amreli pargana. Suba involved Valabha Kesariya for the Strict recovery from Jamnagar state and to take revenge Jamanagar's King killed Valabha Kesariya by giving him poison in his shoes [Mojadi].
  • Charan Jogidas, Mishan Bharmal, Sarau, Asal Dhanu and Vithu Kanau were among the chosen brave warriors who escorted prince Akbar through his way to Shambhaji's court.
  • Dhanraj Charan (1801 AD) and Ghan Rama (1822 AD) have been recorded as well-known traders in records of that period.
  • Alha charan gave selter to the rathore king Rao Veeramdev rani-Mangilani and her son rao Chunda who than taken over The Mandor Kingdom from Inda(Parihar Rajputs) Alha charan Gave not only selter but complite Army and training to Rao Chunda and by his efforts Inda rajput got married there daughter to Rao Chunda and gave mandor in Dowry to rathore, Alha Charan are now Known as ALAWAT barath of Marwar Jodhpur. Due to grete contribution to the Rathore Kings Alhawat were holding very important position Marwar.
  • Dhanabha Raba of Rabana Samadhiyala Village had also helped his friend Ala Khachar who was King of Kundani [Jasdan-Saurashtra] in 1850. He was held by Gaekwad for not paying 18000 kori as amount of treaty between them. Ala Khachar was released as Dhanabha paid the amount to save his friends prestige.

There are records of gifting villages for glorious military service, the book Palanpur Rajayano Itihas (p. 266) gives accounts of gifting a village Manaka to Royal Charan who organised Mercenary Army of Arab Soldiers and helped his Master to stabilise as the Nawab of the state. Again there were several such incidents in the state of Rajasthan as well and literature of Marwar and Mewar have evidences that Charans were gifted village for acts of bravery in War..

[edit] References

  1. ^ Sircar, Sanja (2006). "Narrative "Lore" and Legend from Saurashtra (India) Gems Waiting to be polished" (PDF). Asian Folklore Studies 65: 323–337.
  2. ^ a b Shah A. M. and Shroff R. G. title= The Vahivancha barots of Gujarat: A caste of Genealogists and mythographers (1958). "The Vahivanca Barots of Gujarat: A Caste of Genealogists and Mythographers". J. American Folk Lore 71 (281): 246–276. doi:10.2307/538561.
  3. ^ a b c d "Section VII". Bombay Gazetteer. Bombay: Government Central press. 1904. pp. 214–222.
  4. ^ Abul Fida (1590). Ain-e-Akbari.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Sharma G. N. (1968). Social Life in Medieval Rajasthan. Agra: Lakshmi Narayan Agarwal Educational Publisher. pp. 94–96.
  6. ^ Thomson, G. R. (1991). "Charans of Gujarat: Caste Identity, Music and Cultural Change". Ethnomusicology 35 (3): 381–391. doi:10.2307/851968.
  7. ^ Aitchison, C. U.. A collection of treaties, engagements and sanads. VI. Calcutta. pp. 1932.
  8. ^ Mr. Ovan's Survey Book. 1817.
  9. ^ Spodek H. (1971). "On the Origin of the Gandhi's Political Methodology: The Heritage of Kathiawad and Gujarat". The Journal of Asian Studies 30 (2): 361–372. doi:10.2307/2942919.
  10. ^ Singh, Khushwant (1982) (in en). We Indians. Delhi: Orient Paperbacks. OCLC 10710940.
  11. ^ a b Harlan L (2003). Goddesses' Henchmen - Gender in Hero Worship. USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 258.
  12. ^ "Matanamadh, Desh Devi Ashapura". Matanamadh Jagir, Kachchh, India. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2006-12-23.
  13. ^ a b Meghani, Z. (1943). Charano and Charani Sahitya. Ahmedabad.
  14. ^ a b Smith, J. D. (1974). "An introduction to language of the historical documents from Rajasthan". Modern Asian Studies 9 (4): 433–464. doi:10.1017/S0026749X00012841.
  15. ^ "South Asian Arts: Rajasthani". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
  16. ^ James, Tod (1952). Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (first published in 1829-32). London. pp. 500.
  17. ^ a b c Gadhvi, Laxman (2005-06-22). "Evolution of Charans". World Charan Cultural Organization. Archived from the original on 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
  18. ^ Brahmanad Swami Biography
  19. ^ K Ayyappapanicker (1997-01-01). Medieval Indian Literature: An Anthology saya zulo, known as sayaji zula he was born in gujarat at kuvava village. he was the bhakt of lord krishna. he was kavi he wrote Rukmani haran kuvava is h only village of zula they all are say's sayaji zula .there are 35 house in this a day kuvava in idar taluka dist-sabarktha Gujarat.. India: Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 8126003650.

Web Resource :

posted by rahul gumansinh gadhvi

No comments:

Post a Comment

very nice