Flotsam and Jetsam

Posted by sepoy on March 18, 2005 · 4 mins read

There are some throwaway lines that I chuckle over for days. Some weird stories that replay in my head as episodes from a long lost Xena season. Some insane character that could step out of the pages of the text right onto a Jerry Springer set. None of it can ever make it into the dissertation - that unique contribution to the scholarship. I use them, sometimes, as bar stories. And then I catch the trapped look in the listener's eyes and I stop myself. Luckily, I have a blog. Two gems from yesterday. They both concern Raja Dahar, the 8th century Sindhi ruler who fought against the invading Muslim armies. These are taken from a 13th century Persian history of the conquest [my rough translations]:

Tale of Jaisina's Birth: One day Raja Dahar went out to the hunting grounds. The dogs were let loose for the tigers, wolves and deer. Suddenly a roaring lion jumped into the path of the royal horse. Instant pandemonium broke out as people scattered with terror. Upon seeing this, Raja Dahar jumped off his horse and stood in front of the lion. They looked at each other for a while and, then, the lion charged. Raja Dahar wrapped a long piece of cloth around his hand and thrust it into the lion's mouth. With his other hand, he delivered a single sword blow, cutting off the lion's front legs. He then removed his hand from the lion's mouth; took out his knife, and disemboweled the lion in one stroke. The lion fell dead.
In the meantime, the panicked people reached the castle and told the queen that a lion had attacked Raja Dahar. The queen was pregnant at the time and loved her husband very much. Upon hearing the news, she fell faint to the ground. By the time Raja Dahar had returned from the hunting ground, she had died from fear. He saw his dead wife laying on the ground and his child struggling in her womb. He ordered that her stomach be cut open. A living child was pulled from her. He gave the child to the caretakers and named him Jaisina which means the lion's conqueror.

Tale of the Missing Raja Dahar: A sorceress lived in Aror. The elders of the city went to her and asked, "Can you tell us, through your powers, where is Raja Dahar?" The sorceress replied, "Give me a day and I will bring you the full story". She went home and after 12 hours returned with spices from Sarandeep and fresh fruit from Jaffa and said, "From edge to edge I have travelled this earth. He is no where in al-Sind or in al-Hind. Neither is there any news of him. If he was alive, he could not have hidden from me. To demonstrate my truth, I bring you these spices from Sarandeep. I am convinced that your Raja is not alive."

Both of these stories have literary geneologies. One can trace the DNA strands through thousands of re-tellings. I won't share those. Maybe my intrepid readers can.

related: I will be gone all next week. NYC is calling. There are hundreds of stories pent up, waiting for dani. I may post. I may not. I have a contract before me that says that farangi will post. He is a Lieyer. So, who knows. If nothing, I will flickr some camera shots and CM can attempt the coolness that is VB. Have a good weekend, gentle readers.


elck | March 18, 2005

It's all smoke and mirrors, don't you believe the hype. Hey, drop me a line if you'll be on the isle of Manhattan some evening and you fancy a drink...I don't know my Dravid from my Tendulkar, but we can surely talk about other things...