Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Chand Bardai’s Prithviraj Raso

Chand Bardai was born in Lahore in 1149. A Bhat Brahman of Jagati gotra, he was the worshipper of goddess Saraswati, who gifted him with boon of Bardai. Chand Bardai belonged to the community of Charan . The Charans were known for their bravery and exhibited their war skills in the battle field.

Chand ‘Bardai’ was the court poet of King Prithvi Raj Chauhan, at the close of the 12th century. He was married twice. His wives — Kamla and Gauran — gave birth to 10 sons, namely Sur, Sunder, Sujan, Jalhan, Vallah, Balbhadra, Kehari, Vir Chand, Avdut and Gunraj and one daughter, Rajabai. He was closest to his son Jalhan, who was extremely intelligent that is why when the poet went to Ghazni, he asked Jalhan to complete the pending work of ‘Prithviraj Raso’ or ‘Chand Raisa’.

The royal poet had mastery of grammar, literature, astrology, prosody and the Puranas. He was conversant with the Abhiri, Autkali, Chandali, Dravirhini, Shkari, Swali and Vijaitia dialects. One of his most famous works was Prithviraj Raso. He compiled it in the archaic form of Brajbhasa. It is a long poem consisting of nearly 100,000 stanzas elucidating a chronicle of Prithviraj Chauhan’s achievements and the historical accounts. Chand Bardai was not only a court poet but was a member of the inner circle of the king. The poet accompanied the king during wars.

It was Chand Bardai-a very dear friend of Prithviraj Chauhan who managed to enter the court of the Ghori in a disguise when Prithviraj was imprisoned by Ghori. He did it to support his friend. He could successfully convince Ghori that Prithviraj could shoot the target without eye sight and only on the basis of sound,thus the unity of Chand Bardai and Prithviraj could win over ghori and could set an example of true friendship. He showed it practically that-‘A friend in need is a friend in deed.’

The Prithviraj Raso was embellished with time and quite a few authors added to it. Only parts of the original manuscript are still intact. There are many versions of Raso but scholars agree that a small 1400 stanza poem is the real "Prithivraj Raso". In its longest form the poem comprises upwords of 10,000 stanzas. The Prithviraj Raso is a source of information on the social and clan structure of the Kshatriya communities of northern India.

It is valuable not only as historical material but as the earliest monument of the Western Hindi language, and the first of the long series of bardic chronicles for which Rajputana is celebrated. It is written in ballad form, and portions of it are still sung by itinerant bards throughout north-western India and Rajputana.


1 comment:

bngoyal said...

It is a good attempt to revive the great stories of Indian culture and glory. Chand Bardai is one such character who did not get his due recognition in the Independent India. He was one among the line of Bhamahshah and others. Kudos to the author of this article. Still we need to go further to bring out more pearls and jewels ...........bngoyal