Sunday, March 15, 2009

मूमल और महेन्द्रा

As many folk tales do, this one begins with a beautiful princess. This particular princess was named Moomal, and she lived in a palace on the banks of the Kak river at Lodarva -Jaisalmer. Much to the chagrin of her father, Moomal remained unmarried despite the numerous attempts of suitors from all across the land to win her favor.

This went on for quite a while until the arrival of a young man named Mahendra. Handsome and charming, this Prince of Amarkot (in the land of Sindh) was able to persuade Moomal’s maid to show him the secret entrance to Moomal’s bedchamber. From then on Mahendra would visit Moomal every night, then speed home to Sindh on his camel each morning before his harem at home would notice anything was amiss.

Moomal’s sister, Soomal, was very curious about her sister’s love interest and wanted to see him. She traveled to Moomal’s palace in Lodarva and disguised herself as a wandering minstrel so that she could wait incognito with Moomal in the bedchamber for the prince’s arrival. But it just so happened that Mahendra was delayed that night. His wives, suspecting that something was amiss, had kept him up into the early morning hours with requests and questions. It wasn’t until the sun was threatening to rise that he was able to come to visit Moomal.

When he arrived, however, he found her not alone but sleeping peacefully in bed with what appeared to be a wandering minstrel! In a furious rage, he left his camel-rod between them and stormed away from Lodarva vowing never to return.

Many months passed, and Moomal wrote many pleading letters of explanation, but the irrational Mahendra threw them away without reading them. Finally Moomal decided to disguise herself as a man selling bangles, and set out for the Prince’s palace on foot. So charming a bangle-salesman was she, that she was invited into Prince Mahendra’s company to play a game called “chopar” with him. After they had played for a few hours, she noticed that the prince had grown silent and there were tears in his eyes.

“What makes you so sad?” she asked.
“The birth mark on your hand,” he replied, “reminds me of one whom I loved dearly but have lost to another.”
At this, of course, Moomal lifted her veil and said, “I am your Moomal!”

The prince was overjoyed, but the couple’s hearts were so weakened by their separation and suffering that they died right there in mutual embrace (Few details about why exactly this occurred are given, but this sort of thing seems to often happen in folk tales.) It is said that to this day the remains of Moomal’s palace can still be seen emerging from the desert sands on the bank of the Kak River, which has not flown since.

जैसलमेर से थोडी ही दूर एक प्राचीन बस्ती लौद्रवा है। जहाँ मूमल रहती थी। १००० साल या उससे भी पहले। महेंद्रा सिंध के अमरकोट का राज कुमार था। हम मूमल और महेन्द्रा के प्रेम को जानते है। इतने सालों बाद भी। महेंद्रा पहले से ही विवाहित था, पर प्रेम का पंछी कहाँ ये सब देखता है,किसी भी डाल पर बैठ जाता है। राजस्थानी के प्रख्यात साहित्यकार और थार की संस्कृति के मर्मज्ञ आइदान सिंह के शब्दों में कहें तो' हालांकि महेन्द्रा पहले से ही विवाहित था पर मूमल को एक झलक देखते ही उसकी सारी सांसारिकता तार तार हो गई'

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