Folk Tales from Kashmir

Table of Contents

  Twin Scientists
  Daddy’s Distress
  Breaking the Horse
  She is the Apple of My Eye
  Daddy’s Coronation
  The In-Law Tussle
  Broken Pen
  The Dudda
  Daddy’s Nightmare
  Rise and Fall
  Rivalry and Rebuff 
  Mini Marco Polo
  Royal Dudda
  Facing the Challenge
  Yes, No? May be So
  Crest Fallen
  Shock Treatment
  Grandma’s Shivratri
  Conquering Death
  Prickly Thistle
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Chapter 10

Rise and Fall

The renowned potentates, Radha Krishen and Radha Rani were residents of the famous township of Tralpora. Radha Krishen was a powerful Jagirdar and a wealthy land-lord. He wielded wide influence and popular regard and was looked at with mixed feelings of respectful awe, love and affection for all this good qualities: precise sense of fairness, pragmatic approach to socio-economic and political problems. In his private capacity as such, he solved people's individual and group problems sagaciously and impartially. He applied his keen sense of justice without favor for any and malice for none. What is more, his judgments were universally acknowledged as fair and just. He was known as the grand old god man of the area.

His wife, Radha Rani, was well versed in ancient Sanskrit lore, the Vedas and jurisprudence.

They bore many children and brought them up as talented youths. Their eldest daughter, Reeta Rani was simply a genius, obedient, well versed in domestic chores, knowledgeable, socially amicable and culturally refined. She was handsome, well built and robust in health.

Besides her own academic achievements, she had imbibed the very spirit and good qualities of her parents.

When alone in their bedroom at night once Radha Rani reminded her husband: "Dear Swamiji," Reeta is growing fast, beyond her age. I am worried about her. She is mature enough now for marriage. You had told that you had asked some go-betweens to bring some Taknees for her. ` "Yes dear, she is growing too fast for her age, you know, I quite share your worries. I have met Rahman Bhat too in this connection. He stay be bringing some Taknees some day". (A teknee is the basis on which a horoscope is prepared.)

One fine springtime afternoon at tea-time, the family was in a relaxed mood after tea, chatting leisurely at random.

"Pandith Sahib. Pandith Sahib,” they hear along with knocking at the door.

"Who is it calling? who is knocking at the door'?"

"It is I. It is me.” Comes back the reply.

"Reeta, just see who is knocking at the door", says Radha Krishen to his daughter.

Reeta looks out of the window and says aloud, "Who are you, sir? What do you want'?"

"I am Rehman Bhat, the go-between. I want to see Pt. Radha Krishen or his wife. Are they in?" he says. Hearing this, Radha Krishen shows him in. Reeta slips away and returns to her room.

A semi-old well built, well dressed Rehman Bhat comes in and takes his seat saying, "Namaskar Pandith Sahib. Namaskar Bhabi ji".

"Salam, Rehman Bhai. Sahib, Salam. How is it that your visits are few and far between:'- Radha Krishen and Radha Rani greet him.

Rehman Bhat Places a dozen Taknees before them, giving verbal details about each candidate, his parentage and family connections-as per custom. Fuller descriptive details are given about one in whom Radha Krishen evinces more interest. Rehman Bhat continues saying, "Ram Narayan of Gerupora is a renowned leader, landlord and rich horticulturist, master of lakhs. Though not as talented and refined as you are yet, he is the strongest and the most respected person of the district. His son. Romesh is a well qualified, robust young man with handsome looks. He is really a match for any accomplished princess like Reetaji Rani".

After a thorough scrutiny of the descriptive details and comparison of the two concerned horoscopes, prepa­rations for the betrothal ceremony are made in agreement with Ram Narayan. Pomp and show marks customary betrothal ceremony which impresses the expectant crowds of both the districts of the State.

Romesh in princely marriage attire rides a mighty grand-looking well decorated white horse. A long leather-cheated sword haves from the belt over his long-robe on the left hand side. He leads the rivelous processionists and other steed-riders to the accompaniment of beating of drums and pipe-music oil the way.

Rare reception and dinner delicate entertain the guests. The night -long marriage ceremony concludes towards the early morning after the couple take the customary seven rounds around the sacred fire and subsequent rituals according, to the prevalent Kashmiri­ Pandit tradition.

The profusely garlanded groom riding on a stout white steed stands guard behind the bride's pearl-bedecked palanquin carried by four giant looking bearers.

In keeping with prestigious traditions of Tralpora Radha Krishen supplies swift horses to guests of the marriage party. A huge regiment of riders and ravenous back home.

Crowds as well as dancers precede and follow the bride and the groom 

All these glamorous functions and mirthful demonstrations reinforce Reeta Rani's fame as sagacious rich lady of parts. On this background with the passage of time women folk of her neighborhood and gradually be­comes more and more popular. Sooner than later. She wields unprecedented influences all around the vast area of her new home which, brings more glory to her royal heritage, academic achievements, knowledge, sociability and refined culture. Such qualities of her head and heart, combined with her selflessness and ability to settle disputes and intricate problems of life, pay her good dividends. This is enough to fascinate the masses towards her.

By and by, Reeta established her position as the wisest and most pragmatic social worker, supreme guide friend and philosopher- for the hitherto pugnacious populace. Naturally the populace rush to her for the settlement of their contro­versial disputes as well as for the solutions of their long - standing problems - domestic, group or socio-eco­nomic. Her decisions are final and accepted as such by the disputants. Everybody finds her sitting on judgment with out favor for any and malice for none again, the litigants, both the winners as well as losers acknowledge that justice is and has been done. Disputes, taking decades in Courts and bleeding the litigants white, are settled in no time by her and, all that costs nothing to the contestants.

Life is harsh. It blows hot and cold together. It is hard and soft both. Nature is unpredictable, treacherous and stern.

And, as unfortunately happens many times, Reeta Rani hears a controversial case as usual in a big room at her residence. The statements made by the disputants seem to be equally plausible with a very narrow margin of 45% to 55% in favor of one disputant. Reeta in her sharp sense of justice delivers her judgment in favor of the latter.

Her judgment comes as a bolt from the blue to the former. His native instinct of pugnacity disturbs his calm. He could not but react to the declaration of judgment. Like a flash of lighting, he grinners aloud in protest. Brewing stir of controversy became contagious. It flooded the parties in subdued grins on the one hand and, approvals on the other, producing a whirl wind of appreciation and depreciation in whispers at the same time.

"What an unusual judgment is it this time? Such an odd judgment is not worthy of Reeta Rani. Is it?" say some. The affected employees of deserted courts fanned the fire.

"What a sharp mind, Reeta Rani has: Her quickness of wits enables her to pick up even a sticking pin from a heap of ashes". Counter the others.

The adversely affected employees of the deserted court fan the fire further, more vociferously. Reetaji is puzzled at the above. She does not understand what it is all about. She is startled and stunned. In a grim mood, she retires to her parlor. She is in a brooding state of mind.

And as the accident soon gets wind and spreads over the whole area, Reeta Rani's ego receives a grievous shock. She can no longer bear such insinuations and derogatory remarks: "Why?…. Why? Why all this simmering gossip? Am I wrong in judgment in this case? No certainly not. I am perfectly right as usual in this case too. After all, I had no axe to grind in the matter". She mutters with herself. After a pause, she bursts out saying, "My judgment is precisely correct to the point. I am flawlessly right. Let them say, what they say But… But…. but, I must leave this place for good now". She thinks aloud".

Early the next morning, Reeta Rani, taking leave of her family members, hastily returns to her parental home much to the dismay and display of all her in-laws, husband children and people at large.

Day in and day out, week by week and month after month, elders and elite, educated and uneducated, common folk, wailing and weeping women including the opponents go to apologies to her for their folly and thoughtlessness. The accuracy of judgment had dawned upon all by now as the disgruntled employees of deserted courts could no longer convince the masses of the work he said Reeta fans had lost the wind with which they had been fanning the fire.

The family members as well as people actually weep and wail, appeal, and entreat Reeta Rani to return to Gerupora once again. But no, Reeta Rani was already top shocked return back.  Her ego was too seriously hurt to think of returning.

Foot Note: Read also Story no. 16 entitled "Crest Fallen."


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