L i f e : 1933 - 1940
1933 : Bombay (now Mumbai)
   

Flora Fountain

Victoria Terminus

Gateway of India
 
Moved to
Bombay (now Mumbai)

April 23, 1933
  
While the elder children Mahendra and Indu moved along with him,
the twins --- Mastan and Nanak --- were put in the care of
his elder brother Lalchandbhai and sister-in-law Godavariben at Calcutta (now Kolkota).
 

 
some of his relations, friends and acquaintances at Bombay

Desai-nee Waadi, Ghatkopar
his house


Dr. Vrajlal Dharamchand Meghani
Meghani's cousin,
a selfless Doctor with a missionary spirit,
and  a Writer too in his own right


Devotional Song
A grief-stricken and subdued
Meghani
sadly sang during his address
at the mammoth meeting held
to mourn the death of Dr. Vrajlal Meghani
He was most brutally killed during the 1947 communal riots in Bombay as he was coming out of his office,
where he devotedly worked as Municipal Medical  Inspector for 21 long years.
He was often advised not to venture into the rather unsafe area his office was located in during such disturbed days.
He, however, continued to report for duty, as regularly as ever, saying :
'I have done no harm to anybody. Why should someone think of harming me?'

   


Dahanukar Building, Kalbadevi Road
his house

Durlabhji Umedchand Parikh
Gandhian, Social worker
and a successful Businessman

Rasiklal Parikh
his younger brother
.  Meghani was fairly close to the Parikhs and stayed at their home for a while.
His wife Vijayaben introduced Meghani to Chitradeviben and subsequently got them married.
Meghani, in his last novel Kaalchakra, on which he was still working when he prematurely died, 
created characters one might feel tempted to trace to the Parikhs,
the dynamic and powerful Vijayaben being more easily detectable !
It was as a mark of his appreciation for such qualities of Vijayaben that Meghani had earlier dedicated his novel Tulseekyaaro to her.
 
    

'Keshav Kunj', Ghatkopar
his house
 

Durlabhji Keshavji Khetani
Gandhian, Freedom-fighter, 
Philanthropist, Educationalist,
Jain Scholar, World Traveller,
and owner of Textile mills

during Aarazee Hakumat
He was the Deputy Prime Minister in Aarazee Hakumat (Lok-sena : People's Army) formed to liberate Junagadh,
which was ruled by Nawaab Muhammad Mahabat Khan III at the time of the Partition of India
and was making moves to accede to Pakistan.
Meghani's son Mahendra later married Nirmala, daughter of his younger brother Nanalal.
   

Nagindas Mansion, Babulnath

Dr. Bhanurai Prabhashankar Shukla

Dr. Bhanurai and Meghani
He was Meghani's neighbour at Nagindas Mansion (now Rambha Bhavan), 2nd Dady Seth Cross Lane, Babulnath. 
He and his wife Prabhalaxmiben took care of Meghani's children --- Mahendra and Indu -- 
especially when Meghani was hard-pressed after Damayantiben passed away.
Incidentally, his elder brother Himmatlal Shulka, was a renowned barrister
who handled -- and won for Meghani -- the well-known Phulchhab Cartoon Case.
 
 
then now
Meghani often visited Asiatic Library at Fort to look for references for his research work in folklore.
1933 : Meeting Rabindranath Tagore




(1861-1941)
 
Around the end of
1933 Tagore was in Bombay (now Mumbai).
 
Nandalal Bose, the great artist who was a close colleague of Tagore and who earlier had happened to listen to Meghani
rendering Gujarati folk-songs, prevailed upon Tagore that he find time to listen to this literature of Gujarat.

Through Nandababu's courtesy Meghani was taken to the place where Tagore stayed by two Gujarati disciples of Tagore ---

Bachubhai Shukla and Pinakin Trivedi -- at the appointed time
7.30 in the morning.
      
    
Meghani rendered songs which were warmly appreciated by Tagore.
 

 
 
    
Just as the encounter between the two was peaking -- in terms of interest as well as intimacy -- rushed in a hurricane called
Sarojini Naidu, the fiery poet who was next in the beeline of visitors waiting for an audience with Tagore.
Quickly realising the situation, she turned back, saying :
"Not having the heart to disturb an engagement in such a full bloom, I withdraw in favour of Meghani."
 
So impressed was Tagore at the end that he extended an invitation to Meghani to visit Santiniketan.
"Much as I wish," Tagore said, "to visit Gujarat again, I am afraid I won't be able to make it. Why not, then, you come over to Santiniketan ?
We shall compare notes and publish jointly English translation of selected things. Do therefore come.
But, yes, in winter --- not summer when the heat is scorching over there."

The meeting eventually lasted almost four times as much. 
 

Artist  Jagdeep Smart
  
Immediately after the meeting, Tagore assigned Nandababu himself
to go to Meghani and formally extend to him
an invitation to visit Santiniketan.
   
   

Nandalal Bose
(1883-1966)

Sarojini Naidu
(1879-1949)
1934 : Kasumbi-no Rang
 
1934 : Janmabhoomi


Meadows Street
then

Janmabhoomi Marg
now
  Janmabhoomi daily was launched at Mumbai by Amrutlal Sheth.
Meghani was invited to join it from the very first day and asked to develop a literary column.

Joined
Janmabhoomi on June 9, 1934 
      
 
He named the literary column as
Kalam ane Kitaab.
The column aimed at persuading the common people to participate in discussing literature,
considered till then the domain of a few scholars.
It was altogether a new concept in literary-column writing which soon became so popular.
   
 

at his desk

   

Sorath, Taaraa Vahetaa Paanee
His path-breaking novel was first serialised in Pravasi, the weekly edition of Janmabhoomi.
  
  
 
his Colleagues

Bapalal Doshi

Shantilal Shah

Shamaldas Gandhi
 
  
Letter-head

 
    
Meghani observes
 
Nostalgic Memories
1934
   

 
Married Chitradevi of Nepal origin

July 13, 1934
 
Church Road, Ville Parle (west) with Family
clock-wise from top left
wife Chitradevi, son Mahendra, daughter Indu,
twin sons Nanak and Mastan
  He started living at Church Road, Ville Parle (west), and ensured the twins, Mastan-Nanak, joined him rightaway.
1934 : K C Dey
  

Manna Dey
who took up the torch from his illustrious uncle

KC as an actor
with K L Saigal, Uma Shashi in Dharti Mata (1938)
Krishna Chandra (K C) Dey
(1893-1962)
Famous blind Singer, Composer and Actor from Bengal

Jitubhai Mehta, a writer and friend of Meghani, once took him toSagar Film Company at Bombay (now Mumbai)
to put him face to face with 
the famed blind Bengali Singer Krishna Chandra Dey who was then a guest there.
(
KC, as he was fondly known, had, as a child, a passion for kites and so tragically had lost his eyesight, flying kites in dazzling sunlight )

After exchanging pleasantries with him Meghani got going, reciting some of his songs --- especially folk songs.
 
Springing to his feet in sheer excitement KC shouted out --- in Hindi :
"Meghaniji, I feel as if I am able to sight you unmistakably : you have large blood-red eyes .... curly locks of long, lovely hair ..."
 
What a vivid description of Meghani as visualised by KC with his extinguished eyes !  Meghani stood stunned.
 
Approaching him in slow paces, KC held his hand and sighed :
"I had yearned to have you in my eyes. But, alas, it will now be your voice, instead, which my ears will treasure for ever."

Meghani identified himself more as a singer than as a poet. No wonder, therefore, that he could understand KC better.
   
A Taste of the Maestro  
 
Mann Ki Ankhein Khol 
Dhoop Chhaon
1935
Mat Bhool Musafir 
Devdas
1935
Duniya Rang Rangeeli
Dharti Mata
1938
click here to view click here to view click here to view
 ( wmv format - 2 MB each )
Memorable Movies
he savoured
 

at Cinema Halls of Bombay (now Mumbai)
Regal Talkies
Colaba
Royal Opera House
Girgaum
Empire Cinema
Bori Bunder
Imperial Cinema
Lamington Road
Edward Theatre
Kalbadevi
Cinema Majestic
Girgaum
 
The mesmerizing movies totally gripped him, so much so that he was restless till he had,
in what may seem to b a reverse process, recast these into Gujarati short stories
.
  
Later published as two unusual books --
Pratimaao  (The Images) and Palakaaraa (The Blinks)

The publication of these signaled the rise of a new genre in Gujarati Literature.

 
1934 1935
 

Meghani explains

 

1936
 
 
On learning that the crisis cropped up at
Phulchhab was likely to result in its closure,
thereby
jeopardizing lives of over a 100 families of those working there,
Meghani rushed back to Ranpur and took charge
.

Rejoined  Phulchhab on November 21, 1936
       

his editorial
 
 

A man of his sensitivity, Meghani got interested in, and responded to, almost everything he came across.
As an editor he got moved even by an apparently insignificant thing that would normally escape the attention of others.
With a remarkable regularity he would then tell his colleagues :
Aa To, Bhai, Lakhava Jevu !   (Oh, this is just the thing we would do well to take up !)  
Editing, he would always say, was more of a teamwork.
He treated never as subordinates, nor even as colleagues, but like brothers, all his co-workers.
 His editorial colleagues, out of their love and respect for him, called him 'Bapu'.
  
    
     
his Colleagues

Niranjan Varma

Jaymal Parmar

Maganlal Satikumar
the  Ni-Ja-Ma  trio
 

Mohanlal Dave

Babubhai Vaidya 

Vajubhai Vyas
 

Keshavlal Dwivedi  `Shani'

Maneklal Dave

Jhalubha Jhala
 
 
Letter-head 

  

 
 
  
  

Botad Railway Station  

Train at Botad Railway Station

Ranpur Railway Station
Commuted by train between Botad, his home town, and work-place Ranpur where he edited Phulchhab     
He took the early morning Fast Passenger train leaving Botad at around 6 o'clock and reaching Ranpur in an hour or so.
To return home he travelled by the same train which, on its return journey, would touch Ranpur at about 8 in the evening.
As he called it a day and left his office to walk down to Ranpur station to catch this train,
some of his colleagues and friends would join him to have an opportunity to listen to him chat informally with them on the way.
The train, notorious for running late, would, more often than not, give them further time to have a 'sitting session'
on the empty benches on the platform of the station !
When the train at last arrived, the guard Natubhai would often extend its halt there to join the fun !
In case the train was running too late, the Station Master would even inform Meghani about its expected arrival
to enable him to leave his office late accordingly if he chose to do so.
He occasionally travelled sitting in the Guard's cabin.
 
   
  
He also restarted his household at Botad.
 

then

now
 

Well at Taadhaa-nee Vaadee
where the family went to take bath and wash clothes
       
  
Lakhubhai Shah (Bhalani)
a leading resident of Botad and Meghani's close friend

Lakhubhai ...

... and his vivacious wife Jituben
        

Room (in the left corner)
the two friends chatted for hours together

Lakhubhai's House
Meghani visited frequently

Easy Chair
Meghani's favourite seat in the house
      

Water Pool
Meghani's favourite cooling spot

Lakhubhai's Farm
Meghani visited with his family

Jaamun Tree
underneath which Meghani rested
 
  
  
Hathibhai Khachar
Meghani's loyal, humble helper
and a milkman by profession
Bhikhabhai Bathwar
Shoeshine
at Botad Railway Station
1938 : Samaraangan   (The Battlefield) 
 

1938
   
A book based on the fierce battle that was fought in 1591 A.D. -- Vikram Samvat 1648 at
Bhuchar Mori, on the outskirts of Dhrol, near Rajkot,
between the forces of Jam Sataji, the ruler of Nawanagar state, and
Mirza Aziz Kokah, the Suba (Governor) of
Emperor Akbar at Gujarat.
Nahnoo Muzafar Shah III, the Sultan of Gujarat,  having lost the battle against Akbar,
was seeking asylum from princely states.
 Jam Sataji offered him asylum.
Akbar, angered by what he took it as his insult,
deputed  Aziz Kokah with choicest warriors, weapons and infantry to capture Muzafar alive.
 Not the one to yield to the Aziz Kokah's pursuations or temptations, or bend before his threats,
Jam Sataji remained determined on protecting Muzafar true to his Rajput Dharma (tradition).
In the inevitable battle that followed, thousands laid down their lives, fighting valiantly for a cause.
It is said that, at the end of the battle, the blood from the bleeding bodies flowed almost as a river and 
changed altogether the colour of the earth over there to bleeding red as it is found even today.   
   
The Royal Emblem
of Nawanagar
Jam Sataji
Vibhaji Rawalji Jadeja
Jalaluddin Muhammad
Akbar
The Mughal Flag
 
Meghani goes emotional about his creation
 

    
The Memorial raised at the Battlefield
 
 

   
Paaliyaa  (memorial stones)
 planted in honour of those who fell fighting
  
Kumar Ajaji Sataji Jadeja
his Shrine crown prince Kumar Ajaji (left)
and his wife Surajkunwarba (right)
A painting on the wall showing Ajaji
attacking Kokah with a spear
  
An old Edict briefly depicting his sacrifice
  
Kumar Ajaji, the brave son of Jam Sataji, on learning about the battle, left midway his ongoing marriage ceremony
and rushed to the battlefield along with around 500 friends and guests of his who were in the marriage party.
He fought fiercely only to fall in the end.
Although her marriage was not fully solemnized when Kumar Ajaji thus left abruptly,
the bride, nevertheless, insisted on commiting Sati, self-immolating herself with the head of her beheaded husband in her lap.
   
Jesaji Vazeer
 Elderly adviser and close confidant  of Jam Sataji, he lead from the front and fought relentlessly till his last breath.
   
Nag Vazeer
A Duha praising him

son of Jesaji Vazeer and childhood friend of Kumar Ajaji
Even after both his arms got chopped off, he continued to hit, with the stumps of his mutiliated hands,
the Mughal generals seated atop the elephants till he finally fell.
   
Nagda Bawo and his disciples
He, along with his team of over 1000 disciples, was returning from a pilgrimage to Dwarka
when he saw the grim battle being wildly waged before his very eyes.
Greatly moved, they could not but plunge -- and, alas, perish. 
   
Maheramanji Dungarani, Dahya Lodak and Bhanji Dal were the other close aides of Jam Sataji who gave up their lives.
  
The other Rajput clans who too fought
in alphabetical order -  left to right, top to bottom
Baraiya Bhati Bundela Chandela Chauhan
Chavda Dabhi Devda Dhadhal Dodiya
Gaud Gohil Hada Jadav Jethwa
Jhala Kachhwaha Khichi Mori Nimbad
Padhiyar Parmar Rathod Sankhla Singhal
Sisodiya Sodha Solanki Vadher Vaghela
Vaja Vala
  
Paaliyaa standing in salute to those who fought and died unknown
 
  
Bhootnath Mahadev
The Shiva Temple built by Jam Vibhaji II when he revived the old site some 150 years ago

     
Haziro

A mausoleum in memory of the Muslim soldiers killed
 
  
Old Paintings of the action

 A sketch from the book `Yaduvanshprakash' written by Mavdanji Bhimji Ratnu, the Rajkavi of Jamnagar state
 

A part of the huge 18-feet-long and 2-feet-wide 1890 A.D. scroll painting, done in  Kamagari style by Kadia Madha Kachra in 1890 and
 preserved and displayed at Archaeology Musuem in Lakhota Fort at Jamnagar, shows the battle being fiercely fought.
1938 : 5th Akhil Hind Chaaran Sammelan, Rajkot
 
   
Artist  Shashi Parmar
 
May 21-22-23, 1938

   
venue
Lohana Boarding House, Rajputpura, Rajkot
then now
    
  
as many as
400 well-known Chaarans -- many of them  Kaviraj of princely states -- from
Kathiawar, Kutch, Gujarat, Rajputana (Marwar, Mewar, Jaipur), Malwa, Central Province, Sindh
attended the prestigious meet.
 

President
Thakur Kesari Singh Sauda
(1872-1941)
Rajkavi of Rajputana

Hosts
left to right

T N Dave  MA, PhD (Principal, Dharmendra College)
 
Ramdan Kesarbhai Taapariya  (Hebatpur)
Chhelbhai Dave  (The Brave Policeman)
 
President - Chaaran Hit Vardhak Sabhaa
Tharanbhai Madhubhai Mahedu
(1879-1954)
Rajkavi of Vala-Vallabhipur
 
the well-known Chaarans who were also present

Shankardan Jethibhai Detha
(1892-1972)
Rajkavi of Limbdi
 

Meghanand  Khengarbhai Leela
(1861-1944)
Chhatrawa, District Porbandar

  

Mavdan Bhimji Ratnu
(1892-1984)
Rajkavi of Jamnagar
   

Kanji Gagubhai Leela
(1903-1973)
Sanali, District Amreli

 

Dula Bhaya Kag
(1903-1977)
Majadar, District Amreli

 

Merubha Meghanand Gadhavi
(1906-1977)
Chhatrawa,
District Porbandar
  
 
Khetsinh Narayanji Misan
(1908-1974)
Modhera, District Mehsana

Hardan Pingalshibhai Narela
(1908-1966)
Rajkavi
of Bhavnagar

Pingalshi Parbatji Payak
(1908-1987)
Lodrani, District Kutch
 
Invited onto the dias, Meghani started off with a Marwaari song and then went on to speak
for the next one and a half hours, holding the august audience spellbound all the while.
excerpts from his speech



As Meghani completed his address, the Rajkavi of Limdi, Shankardan Detha,
sprang on his feet, approached Meghani, hugged him affectionately, and said
:

"Meghani ! 
Kaljug (Kaliyug)
, they say, has already set in.  I now feel convinced it indeed has.
How come, otherwise, this could happen : 
A
Vaaniyo (Bania)
goes on unfolding and interpreting Charanee literature,
quoting from it copiously and extempore for one and a half hours; and
we, hundreds of Chaarans, called Deviputras
(Sons of the Goddess)
,
sit listening to him, silent and sheeplike, all along, hypnotized so much so that
we forget to rekindle our extinguished Hookahs inbetween !"

The tongue-in-cheek comment of Shankardanji sparked off a loud, hearty laughter amongst the audience.

Meghani's humble reply was
:
"I am just a Postman"
       
 
Distinguished Chaarans on the dias
      

seated -- left to right
Nathubhai, Meghanandbhai
standing -- left to right
Narandan, Dolatdan

Dula Kag, Merubha and others

left to right
Jogidan and Hardan Narela
  

Chaarans

Chaarans from Marwaar
having higher education -- BA, LLB

Chaarans
  

Chaaran Volunteers

 
Evening Daayaro
Persuasive Presentation by
Merubha Dula Kag Khetsinh
the trio sang in praise of Mahatma Gandhi

 


Jhaverchand Meghani

Rajkavi Mavdan Ratnu
recited Brahmanandji's
'Harihar Aj Her Her, Vikasat Soor Ber Ber
Faragat Ghat Fer Fer, Natawar Naache'
  

Rajkavi Hardan Narela
recited a poem
'Chaarano Kevaa Hataa'

Master Vasant
'Meree Maataa Ke Sar Par Taaj Rahe'

Kavi Tribhuvan Vyas
recited his poem
'Dhanya Ho Dhanya Sauraashtra Dharanee'



the journey continues ...
Back Part-4 : 1941 - 1947 Top

 

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