L i f e : 1941 - 1947
1941 : Santiniketan
     

Heritage

Yatra Visvam Bhavatyekanidam 
where the world makes a home in a single nest

Santiniketan Griha
 
Santiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal.
Previously known as Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit), the place was found peaceful by
Maharshi Debendranath Tagore,
Rabindranath's father, and he renamed it Santiniketan -- Abode of Peace.
In 1863 Debendranath built a small retreat for meditation, and in 1888 he dedicated
the land and buildings towards establishment of a Brahmavidyalaya and a library.
Rabindranath's school Brahmacharyasrama, which started functioning formally from December 22, 1901
with not more than five students on the roll, was, in part, a fulfillment of the wishes of his father.
Visva-Bharati was inaugurated on December 23, 1921.
In May 1951, Visva-Bharati was declared to be a Central University and an Institution of National Importance by an Act of Parliament.

Kavivar Rabindranath Tagore at Amrakunja - Mango Groove
 
   Invited by Kavivar Rabindranath Tagore himself, Jhaverchand Meghani visited Santiniketan in March, 1941
   

 Cheena Bhavana
where he was honoured
before delivering his lectures

Syamali
Tagore's
Home

 Ratan Kuthi
the VIP guesthouse
where he was put up
  
 

with Gurdial Malik
 
 

with Nandalal Bose
 
 
 
Kshitimohan Sen Hazariprasad Dwivedi

Warm Welcome at
Bolpur Railway Station
 
 

Breakfast time

 at Ratan Kuthi
 
with the Youth
 
Scenic beauty of the surroundings then
   

     
 
Presented with a Maan-Patra (citation), which he said, was more a Prem-Patra.
date : March 12, 1941
venue : Terrace of
Cheena Bhavana
time : Evening
the speech he made while accepting the honour 
Delivered Four Lectures in English on Gujarati Folklore

venue :
Central Hall of Cheena Bhavana
time : 6.45 pm to 8.00 pm 
( 1 hour, 15 minutes each )

March 13 Folk Songs
March 14 Tales told in Verse
March 16 The Bardic Lore - 'Chaaranee Vaanee'
March 17 Folklore - A Living Force


Meghaniji stirred up our heart chords !
The lectures mesmerised the audience which included the great teachers on the campus --
each one a master in his field -- as well as the students there who hailed from
different corners of the country as well as nations across the world.
   

Handwritten Manuscript of the Lectures
Later published as  a 10-page article under the title `Folk-Songs of Gujarat' in
the
April 1943 issue of Visva-Bharati Quaterly.
  
Tagore was unfortunately a bit unwell then.

Nandababu and Malikji still offered to take Meghani to see him, saying :
"Feeling rather weak, he receives but a few visitors. However he will certainly feel happy to see you."

"No, no ..." came the instant reply from Meghani. "I donot want him to waste his energy talking to me;
it may be saved to be utilised for a better purpose."

When pressed further, he said  "Let us, anyway, go upto the steps leading into Syamali."
  
"Tell Gurudev," he said as he was leaving : " Meghani came and went back after fulfilling his word"
 
remembering Santiniketan on the pages of Phulchhab
1941 : `Mukhadaa Kyaa Dekho Darapana Mein '  Cartoon
 
   
 

 

Ahmedabad -- then considered as `Manchester of India'


June 4, 1941
Accused of fuelling hatred between communities, he was charged under section 153 A of IPC.
 


 
      
Poilce Station at Gaekwad Haveli, Ahmedabad
where he was first taken
Court of City Magistrate at Bhadra, Ahmedabad
where he was presented
Sub-jail at Court, Ahmedabad
where he was lodged for a night
    
  Released next day on a bail of Rs. 500.     
     

at the Court of City Magistrate, Bhadra, Ahmedabad
left to right  Barrister Himmatlal P. Shukla, Meghani, Nathalal M. Shah of Phulchhab, Barrister Pandurao B. Desai
      
Meghani's  statement in the court
    
 
And ultimately aquitted on September 9, 1941.
  
Court  Judgement
Magistrate Suleman Kalubhai Desai

 
 

Telegram intimating the aquittal
  
    
During the days the case was going on, Ravishankar Maharaj
would be seen standing on the foot-path outside the Congress office.

A sad and worried man, he stood there looking at the court building across the road --
probably a gesture, as simple as the man himself, to show his solidarity with Meghani.
 
The Lawyers

 
Prabhudas B. Patwari
(1909-1985)
Himmatlal P. Shukla
(1898-1981) 
Pandurao B. Desai
(1893-1973)
 
`Labour of Love'
As a mark of their love and respect for Meghani, the lawyers declined their fees.
 
Office of Lawyers at Tankshaali Bhuvan, Bhadra, Ahmedabad
     
Meghani lauds his lawyers

 
Post-acquittal Celebrations

Kashtabhanjan Hanuman Temple
at Sarangpur, near Botad

Himmatlal Shukla Family
( wife Kamlaben, sons Vinod and Nalin, Himmatlal
Kamlaben, deeply religious wife of Himmatlal Shukla, had taken a vow to visit
Kashtabhanjan Hanuman Temple at Sarangpur and offer her respectful thanks to the deity.

Meghani, respecting her sentiments, invited the entire Shukla family to Botad
from where he took them, along with his own family, to the temple.
Incidentally, a bullock-cart was used to track the 11-km distance !

Common Plot of Swastik Society, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad
Himmatlal Shukla organised a function in the common plot of Swastik Society --  where he stayed --
to felicitate Meghani.

In a programme lasting around an hour, Meghani sang out from his heart some of his popular songs
and talked to the gathering of more than 200 people on folklore.

Mr. Whiteman, who was the British Collector of Ahmedabad then, also participated.

10, Bharati Nivas Society, Ellisbridge, Ahmedabad

Patwari Family
Prabhudas Patwari, in his own right, threw a party on the terrace of his Bharati Nivas Society residence
one of those evenings when his wife Savitaben played the perfect hostess.
1943 : Thakkar Vasanji Madhavji Lectures
  

5 Lectures

University of Bombay

Lectures published later
1946
 

Corridor along the Convocation Hall

venue
Convocation Hall of University of Bombay

Inner view of Convocation Hall
 
August 24-25-26-27-28, 1943
 (5 Lectures)
   
  The lectures, though meant primarily for academia, were presented in such a lively manner
that  they aroused unprecedented interest among others too

    
On the second day the hall having been found to be too small to accomodate
the large crowd jostling to enter it and, in the process damaging the furniture,
 
special arrangements had to be made in the garden for people to hear the speaker from outside the hall.
This was something that never happened in the history of the university.
  
Meghani got on to the table so that he could be seen and heard better by the huge audience.
  
People reached the venue as many as 3 hours earlier to ensure a seat in the hall and
an oppurtunity to catch a glimpse of Meghani deliver the lectures.
  
On the last day he received several requests to sing Koi-no Laadakavaayo, one of his most popular songs.
He politely declined saying it would be like straying from the subject.
  
 
Handwritten Manuscript of the Lectures 
 
1944 : Meeting Mahatma Gandhi
 

Gandhiji resting at Juhu Beach

Prayer meeting at the Bungalow
Bungalow of Shantikumar Morarjee at Juhu Beach, Bombay
where
Mahatama Gandhi was staying then
  
After the marriage in Bombay (now Mumbai) of son Mahendra,  Meghani thought of taking the newly-weds to Gandhiji to get them his blessings.
Gandhiji, who, just released from Aghakhan Palace jail at Poona (now Pune), was resting then at Juhu beach in Bombay
readily agreed to receive them.

During the meeting, after initially presenting his Gandhi-theme songs he asked if there was something Gandhiji would especially love to listen to.
"Marriage songs .."  Pat came the reply, pleasantly suprising everyone present there !
Meghani, obviously pleased, most happily obliged.

It was, incidentally, Gandhiji's weekly day of keeping silence, and Gandhiji, all through the `conversation', had communicated
by joting down his comments on used envelopes as was his practice then.

 
 
Wrote Gandhiji at the end of the meeting :
" I think the last time we met was at Ranpur. Not since then.
Today I had a bellyfull of  your songs and felt so happy.
But donot fear I would for ever remain full : My stomach gets emptied soon ! "
 
1944 : Raveendra Veena
 

Sanchayita
The
Earlier Edition

Kavivar Rabindranath Tagore

Sanchayita
The
Present Edition
  
Sanchayita   (1931)
A Collection of Poems in Bangla by Kavivar Rabindranath Tagore specially published by Visva Bharati
to mark the Tagore Septuagenary Celebrations in 1931.
Setting it apart from numorous other collections available then is the fact that
the poems here were selected by the poet himself,
mainly from the poems beginning with Sonaar Taree.
Tagore thought the poem marked a cut-off point in the development of his poetry, which, he believed, had really taken off from there. 
Of course, a few poems, which were found to meet the high standard he had set for inclusion in
Sanchayita,
were picked up from the earlier collections too.
  
Raveendra-Veena   (1944)
A Collection of 64 Poems adapted into Gujarati by Jhaverchand Meghani
           

one of the later Reprints

The First Edition : 1944

The Present Edition
 
      
A Collection of 64 Poems
 
Some of the Poems compared
The original Bangla
in Gujarati script
Its transfusion in Gujarati
by Jhaverchand Meghani
The English transalation
by Rabindranath Tagore
Sonaar Taree
 

Sonaa-Naavadee : 1931

The Golden Boat
  
The Rain fell fast.
The river rushed and hissed.
It licked up and swallowed the island,
while I waited alone
on the lessening bank
with my sheaves of corn in a heap.

From the shadows of
opposite shore
the boat crossed with a woman
at the helm.
I cry to her,
'Come to my island
coiled round with hungry water,
and take away my year's harvest.

Navavarshaa

Navee Varshaa : 1944
 


untitled
   
My heart,
like a peacock on a rainy day,
spreads its plumes tinged with
rapturous colors of thoughts,
and its ecstasy seeks
some vision in the sky ---
with a longing for one
whom it does not know.
My heart dances.
 
Bidaai

Marataa Baalak-nu Aashvaasan : 1936
 

 
The End
 

It is time for me to go, mother;
I am going.
When in the paling darkness
of the lonely dawn
you stretch out your arms
for your baby in the bed,
I shall say,
'Baby is not there !' ---
mother, I am going.


       
click here to listen to Rabindranath Tagore reciting Sonaar Taree
 
 
Sonaar Taree in Tagore's Handwriting Sonaa-Naavadee in Meghani's handwriting
 
  
The Making of Raveendra Veena
To Meghanibhai

With an ardent wish that
you bring some of these into Gujarati.

08-11-'33,  Santiniketan
 
With these words inscribed on it, arrived, one fine day, all the way from Santiniketan, a copy of Sanchayita
sent by
Dalpat Kothari, an acquaintance of Meghani.
Much as Meghani felt like taking up the challenge, he, somehow, just could not get going all out on it.
   
Overcome with grief when Tagore died on August 7, 1941, Meghani paid an extraordinary and heart-touching tribute to
one whom he considered his mentor. 
Writing in Phulchhab, the weekly he edited, he addressed the poet, who was no more, as if he was face-to-face with him :

Phulchhab : August 15, 1941
 
Even with the copy of  Sanchayita as his constant companion, all he could do was to translate a few stray poems from it.
The death of Tagore too, when his sensitivity was supposed to be at its optimum,
could not provide the push needed to set him right on.
    
As if the wish of his fan at distant Santiniketan was destined to be fulfilled ultimately though belatedly, 
Meghani's mind, at long last, more than a decade later,
on the eve of the third death anniversary of Tagore, settled on Sanchayita.
And this, ironically, when the circumstances were least conducive to such a creative commitment.
Still, this time he, strangely,  enjoyed what he was doing.
Sanchayita's closeness, he felt,  had  a soothing effect on his burnt forehead.
So, he kept going cheerfully till he finished the job to his satisfaction.
     

Kalaguru Ravishankar Raval with his students

Meghani remembers 
As the book was being printed at Ahmedabad, Meghani had an extended stay there  
so that he could give final touches to the book and see it through. 
He stayed this time with Ravishankar Raval, the renowned artist and Kalaguru of Gujarat
who ran an Art School at his home at
'Chitrakoot', Brahmin Mitra Mandal Society, Paldi, Ahmedabad
 and whom Meghani considered his elder brother
In the evenings the students and friends gathered to listen to Meghani sing songs from his new book.
  
   

Professor Firoze C. Davar, 
a renowned scholar and a respected critic, so wisely observed :
"This is not Translation; It is Transfusion."
With the brief but apt comment probably ended the debate on the book,
about  the translation of which quite some questions were initially raised.
 

   
   
Meghani in his preface to the Second edition of the book
 
 
1945
 
Retired from Phulchhab ... ... after completing 23 years of Journalism
 
September 30, 1945
 

with family at Botad
1946 : 16th Sahitya Parishad, Rajkot
   

 
 
Attended 16th session Gujarati Sahitya Parishad at Rajkot
as the President of Literature section.
 
October 18-19-20, 1946
   

then

venue
Dharmendrasinhji College, Rajkot

now
       

Dr. Kanaiyalal Munshi
Mentor
 

Ramnarayan Pathak
President
 

Principal Dr. Ramanlal Yagnik
Host
 
   
President of Literature section
   
         

seated -- left to right
Munshi, Pathak, Yagnik, Meghani
 

left to right
Meghani, Yagnik, Munshi, Pathak 


left to right
Meghani, Pathak, Munshi, Yagnik
 

Office-bearers and Delegates
 

Cultural programme
         
    
'we are music-makers'
his address as President of Literature section
1946 : Mahida Paaritoshik (Award)

  
 Awarded for
Maanasaaee-naa Deeva, a book depicting the life and work of Ravishankar Maharaj
 
December 29, 1946 : 4.30 evening
   
  
the speech he made while accepting the honour 
 
 

  


Kumar Motisinh Mahida
(1909-1941)
Poet, Writer, Social Reformist 

Mahida Family
Mandwa-Chandod Estate
( District Vadodara )

Kumar Motisinh Mahida   (left)
Kumar Narendrasinh Mahida   (right)
 
Mahida
Paaritoshik was instituted by Kumar Narendrasinh Mahida on behalf of Mahida Family of Mandwa-Chandod Estate
in memory of his elder brother Kumar Motisinh Mahida. 
    
Mahida House, Mandwa
  

 The award was to be given annually to the best literary work of the year to be selected
in co-operation with
Kalam Mandal of Mumbai
which had, on its role, distinguished names like
Dhansukhlal Mehta, Umashankar Joshi, Jyotindra Dave, Chandravadan Mehta, Kisansinh Chavda, Yashwant Pandya, Snehrashmi,
Sunderji Betai, Bhanushankar Vyas, Jitubhai Mehta, Yagnesh Shukla, Jaykrishna Varma, Bachhubhai Dhruva, Jamubhai Dani.

Kalam Mandal Team
left to right
Jyotindra Dave,   Chandravadan Mehta,
Dhansukhlal Mehta

Umashankar Joshi
First Recipient
'Praacheena'
1944
Other eminent people who occasionally attended the weekly meetings at Fellowship School were :
Kanaiyalal Munshi, Mulkraj Anand, Harindra Chattopadhaya, Krishnalal Jhaveri, Balwantrai Thakore,
Ramnarayan Pathak, Ramanlal Vasantlal Desai, Gaganvihari Mehta, Ravishankar Raval, Kanu Desai,
Bhulabhai Desai, Mangaldas Pakavasa.  
The Saintly Voices
 
Sorathee Santo
The Saints of Sorath
Puraatan Jyot
The Pristine Glow
1928 1938
Twin books depicting
lives of some 12 saints of
Sorath
Sant Devidas Mekran Dada Dan Maharaj
Sorathee Santvaanee
The Saintly Voices from Sorath    
1947
A collection of
104 Bhajans (Devotional Songs)
Sections

click here for full view

March 9, 1947

 
Breathed his last at Botad
 
 
 

Front Page of Phulcchab : A befitting tribute to Jhaverchand Meghani

 

Back click here for Touching Tributes Top

 

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