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
"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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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."