119 Years of Trust

THE TRIBUNE

Saturday, October 2, 1999

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Chand Bardai
By Shiv Darshanlal Sharma

THE 850th birth anniversary of Poet Chand Bardai fell on September 30, 1999. His original name was Prithvi Chand. He 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’ 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’.

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 work 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 his master’s achievements and the historical accounts. According to Colonel Tod, the poems of Chand Bardai have frequent indistinct references to fire arms, especially the malgola. Impressed by the classic elegance of the work, Colonel Tod translated about 30,000 stanzas into English. French scholar Garsa-de-Tasse certified and testified the authority of this compilation.

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. After the second battle of Trian (now Taraori, near Karnal in Haryana state — then Punjab) in 1192 A.D., the king was arrested by Muhammad Ghauri. He was put in Goar jail in Ghazni, and he was blinded. The Royal poet managed to approach his king, and chalked out a plan to finish Ghauri. He convinced Ghauri that the king was an expert in archery and he should be asked to display his skills.

The stage was set. Ghauri was seated at the top to enjoy the skilful art of king Chauhan. In the meantime, the poet described the distance and direction of the seat of Ghauri, to his master in the following verse:

Char Bans Chaubi Gag, ungal asat parman;
Ta upar sultan hai, mat chuke Chauhan.

Prithvi Raj Chauhan shot Ghauri dead. And before body guards, Mir and Khan, could slay the king and the Chand Bardai, the latter killed each other with the help of daggers.back


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