Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Veer Tejaji - A Jat Folk hero of Rajasthan
Veer Teja (1074- 1103) was a folk-deity who lived in Rajasthan. The history of Rajasthan is filled with lots of heroic stories and instances where people have put their life and families at risk and kept the pride and values like loyalty, freedom, truth, shelter, social reform etc intact. Veer Teja was one of these famous people in the history of Rajasthan. Veer Teja ji is considered to be folk-deity and worshiped in entire Rajasthan by all communities. He was born on Friday, magha shukla 14 samvat 1130 (29 January 1074), in the family of Dhaulya gotra Jats. His father was Chaudhary Tahar, a chieftain of Khirnal in Nagaur district in Rajasthan.
As per the tradition in that area, the chieftain had to initiate the ploughing of fields after first rains in jyestha month. Tejaji's father and brother were out of the village at first rains so his mother asked Tejaji to do the halsotiya in the fields. Tejaji went to fields and started ploughing. His bhabhi became late in fetching his food locally called Chhak, which angered tejaji. On Tejaji's anger she taunted that his wife was in her father's home and it was shame on his part. This prompted him to go to bring his wife from in-laws. Bhabhi asked Tejaji that before he brings his wife Pemal, he should bring his sister Rajal so that she can receive Pemal on her first arrival to Kharnal. Tejājī was married to Pemal in early childhood at Pushkar with the daughter of Rai Mal Jat of Jhanjhar gotra, chieftain of village Paner . After marriage there was a dispute between two families in which māmā of Pemal and father of Tejaji were killed. Tejaji did not know that he was married. When Tejaji was on way to village Tabiji to bring his sister, he was attacked by Meena sardar. There was a war and Tejaji was victorious. He reached village Tabiji, got permission of her sister's husband Jogaji Siyag and brought Rajal to Kharnal.
Next day early in the morning he mounted his mare Līlaṇ with palāṇ and started journey to Paner to bring his wife Pemal. It was a difficult journey, but he crossed all the Rivers running full of water due to heavy rains. He reached Paner by evening. At that time his mother-in-law was milking cows. The cows got disturbed due to Tejaji's brisk entry on his mare. His mother-in-law could not recognize Tejaji and cursed him that he be bite by a black snake as he has disturbed her cows. Tejaji got angry over this comment and decided to return without Pemal. Lachha Gujari was a friend of Pemal. Her house was about 2 km from Rupangarh. Lachhan Gujari helped Pemal to meet with Teja. For this Lachhan rode on camel and went to Teja facing many clashes with Meena sardars en route. Lachhan reached Teja and gave Pemal's message that if Tejaji does not come she will die. Parents of Pemal had decided to re-marriage her with some other person. At this time Pemal was going to die but saved by Lachhan. Tejaji came to Paner and saw her there. Pemal was a beautiful and attractive girl. They were talking with each other that they heard knock of Lachha Gujari. Lachha told Tejaji that thieves have taken away all her cows and there is no body in this to help. Tejaji mounted his mare Lilan and started alone to fight with dacoits, who had taken away Lachha's cows.
Tejaji found that dacoits who had stolen the cows of Lachhan Gujari were Meena sardar's people. Tejaji, who was made for helping others, decided to bring those cows. The myth is that he encountered a snake burning in fire that was saved by Teja. That snake cursed Teja and wanted to bite Teja. In fact he had encountered with a Nagavanshi chieftain and he had a war with him. He promised to come back after bringing his wife Pemal. He was badly wounded in the process to bring Gujari's cows back from dacoits. Veer Teja was man of words. While returning he kept his words and produced himself before the snake. The snake did not find unwounded place on the body of Teja so he offered to bite on tongue. The snakebite was on tongue of Teja. Teja died due to snakebite on 28 August 1103. Historical facts are that while Tejaji was returning from Paner with his wife he was attacked jointly by Meenas, who were defeated earlier and Nagavanshi chieftains. Tejaji and his wife fought bravely with sword. Tejaji was killed in the war and Pemal became sati at place called Sursura. Tejaji's sister Rajal had also become sati which is a unique example of sister becoming sati in the Indian history.