JESAL – TORAL ( ANJAR KUTCHH )
Couple “Jesal” and “Toral”. Jesal was famous bandit of kutch, and toral was a holy princess. The company of toral changed the jesal and he became the saint. Together they served the people in kutch. This fare is held at “anjar” 45 kms. From “bhuj”, this fare is also one of the most famous and worth watching.
Image credit : YOGESH MASURIA
According to Darshana Dholakia lecturer at Lalan College Bhuj back in 1526 AD this is a story of a dacoit and a queen. Jesal was a Kutchi rajkot and he was dacoit. Once he was challenge by his brothers wife that if he is brave enough steal the toral and prove it. Toral was extraordinary mare belonging to a Surashtra king. In the process of stealing Toral, Jesal’s hand got caught in a nail and his agonised cries brought the king running outside. Asked what he wanted, Jesal said “Toral”, not knowing that the queen too had the same name. The king, a devout daani (donor) who had sworn never to disappoint anyone, gave him three Torals-his queen, the mare and a sword by that name. But on the boat journey back home, Jesal realised that Toral was not an ordinary woman. He was tormented by guilt at having taken away someone who, out of loyalty, did not even question her husband’s decision. It is said that the enlightened company of Queen Toral, remembered in Gujarati literature as a devotional poet who composed and sang songs, transformed Jesal completely and the two began spreading the message of God.
Their inseparable companionship as teacher and disciple is talked about, but in cautious tones. No one, not even the local scholars, wants to discuss the Jesal-Toral alliance as a man-woman relationship. “Even the Gujarati film Jesal-Toral did not suggest any such angle,” recalls photographer Vinay Thacker, who started his career in 1976 by selling photos of the twin samadhis outside the shrine. However, people do accept their unusual affinity, which even death couldn’t change. It is said that when Jesal undertook samadhi, he called out to Toral from his grave to join him. Toral, who was travelling, heard his voice, came back to Anjar and immediately took samadhi. Toral, the mare, too was buried outside the temple. A green and magenta chaddar now covers the equestrian grave. The destroyed roof of the shrine has been temporarily replaced with an asbestos sheet. But that hasn’t stopped the huge throng of pilgrims who pour out endless tales of miracles attributed to the blessings of Jesal-Toral. Thacker believes that his photography has been blessed by the shrine. An old priestess recalls how she stood unmoving, hands folded during both the earthquakes at the samadhis. “Toral rani saved me, I didn’t even sustain a scratch,” she says. A woman from Patna says she gave birth to two sons after 16 years of marriage, following a visit to the shrine.
Courtesy : http://archives.digitaltoday.in/indiatoday/20031215/offtrack.html