L i f e : 1922 - 1933
1922 : Saurashtra

Press at Ranpur

Amrutlal Dalpatbhai Sheth
`Saurashtra-naa Sinh'

First Issue of Saurashtra
October 2, 1921
owner-editor : Amrutlal Dalpatbhai Sheth
Jhaverchand Meghani, then, was directionless and unable to decide which way to go :
Farming ?    Business ?   or   Service with one of the states ? 
Just then, writings like
Motee-nee Dhagalio Choraa-no Pokaar
inspired by the Kaathi dwellings he saw while
traveling by train which to him looked like

heaps of pearls
inspired by visit to his maternal aunt's village, Tori,
where he sat on the Choraa (public square raised
right at the centre)
, listening to the village elders
 which he sent for publication in the newly started Saurashtra weekly
prompted its owner-editor Amrutlal Sheth promptly to invite him.

Saurashtra weekly at Ranpur in 1922

Nathalal Shah

Balvantrai Mehta

Bhimji Parekh  'Sushil'

Manishankar Trivedi

Gunvantrai Acharya

Kakalbhai Kothari

Hargovind Pandya

Ramoo Thakkar
The Saurashtra team
 the Printing Section fittingly providing the backdrop 
seated : left to right
Kakalbhai Kothari, Amrutlal Sheth, Meghani


picks up the Pen

at Ranpur Fort

Monday to Thursday  : Busy Editing Saurashtra weekly

Friday to Sunday : Visiting Places for Folklore Fieldwork


The Human Touch of Folklore !

First Book published in 1922
Kathaa-u-Kaahinee Kurabaanee-nee Kathaao
1900 The First Edition : 1922 The Present Edition
A free translation, in poetic prose, of chosen ones from the ballads in Tagore's Kathaa-u-Kaahinee
in which Rabindranath had rendered, in his sparkling verse, memorable episodes of self-sacrifice taken from
the Sikh, Rajput, Bauddha and Maratha annals of Indian history.
Meghani notes 
Press Premises

left wing  Composing           right wing  Printing

Neem Tree above his office

Temporary Residence in the Press

Shri Amrutlal Dalpatbhai Sheth Hospital
converted into a Philanthropic Public Hospital in 1960 by Sheth Family

Mahatma Gandhi
This historical picture of Gandhiji was clicked while, during his visit to Ranpur in April 1925.
He stayed at Saurashtra Press premises as an honoured guest.
Amritlal Sheth, in a leading article he wrote in the issue of Saurashtra weekly dated April 4, 1925
welcomed Bapu with utmost warmth.
In his response Gandhiji said :
"One should always follow one's inner voice even if that means standing up against the whole world
including the so-called Mahatmas like me.  I would consider someone who could do this a blessed one."
The Municipality of Ranpur too took the opportunity to honour Mahatmaji with a Maan-Patra (citation).
places where Meghani stayed

Glimpses of the historic Ranpur Fort
After succeeding his father in 1290, Ranji Sejakji Gohil established Ranpur after his name and
built a fort on a hillock
on the confluence of three rivers -- Bhadar, Goma and Lindiyo
It stands witness to the rare incident of Jal-Jauhar -- the only one to have taken place in the history of Gujarat.

In 1309 Allauddin Khilji attacked Ranpur. 
Within moments of learning about it, the brave ruler rushed to the battle-front -- Kanara village in the outskirts of Ranpur.
He was, unfortunately, overpowered and killed.
Six out of his seven queens, as per the Rajput tradition, ended their lives to save their honour
by plunging into the deep, dark well inside the palace, one after another,
as they saw the Gohil flag falling -- an unmistakable indication that Ranji was defeated and dead.
The seventh, an expectant mother, was, in order to save the heir of the family, persuaded not to join them. 
1923 - 1927  :  Sauraashtra-nee Rasadhaar 





Folk Stories of Bravery and Adventure, Chivalry and Sacrifice, Friendship and Love
compiled, edited and collected in 5 Volumes
One-Volume Edition
published first in 1997 and reprinted several times since then.
List of Folk Stories
the figure in the bracket following the title indicates the original volume in which the story first appeared
Meghani explains how he happened to take up writing of Rasadhaar

The Unbowing Heads

excerpts from the English translation `The Indomitable Twelve' by late Vinod Meghani

A heart-rending saga of 12 bosom friends
who lived in
Aambardi, a small village about 35 kms from Chotila  (Dist. Surendranagar) some 500 years ago.

The Indomitable Twelve

Visal Raabaa
The leader, a  Parajiya Chaaran by caste, was the leader of 7 villages and the right hand of Rajsaheb of Halawad state.












While eleven of them belonged to the community of Parajiya Chaarans,  Keshavgar, the twelfth one,  was a Bawaji.

This is how Meghani introduces them

Not just in this world, even on the journey beyond they would be together : they had declared.  
Indeed, the twelve of them once had pressed their swords on their necks, mingled the oozing blood, and using it as ink had written a deed and vowed :
"The twelve of us shall live and die together. We shall not let a moment separate us even when we die"

Visal had vowed not to bow his head before a mortal being; his head, he said, would bow only before his sword -- Shakti --  the symbol of Goddess.


Artist  Pratapsinh Jadeja

The Sultan of Gujarat, when he heard about this, got annoyed and upset.
He promptly sent a dispatch to Visal asking him to either bow before him or accept the challenge of a battle with his army.

Rather than bowing his head before the Sultan.
he, on behalf of his friends, took up the challenge of facing the might of the huge Sultanic army.

 He, however, suggested : So that the battle does not appear altogether unfair and lop-sided, and we have a better chance too of showing you our skills as warriors,
the army be forbidden from using guns, cannons, double-barrels and firelocks against the few and far outnumbered that we are with but a sword in the hand of each.


-As they were about to enter the battlefield Visal, with his sword, drew on the ground where they stood a big circle and
asked the friends to return into the fold of this circle on sunset along with all their belongings --
even the bits and pieces of the dismembered parts of their body --
so that they breathe their last on this collective deathbed.


The battlefield on the bank of river Brahmani near Karsangadh village

As the battle raged, the eleven men (Tejrav was, incidentally, away then, having gone out of the town on some errand)
braving the blows of hundreds of enemy warriors, began to sweep across the battlefield.
So swiftly they moved around that the swords swinging violently in their hands flashed dazzles that gave an illusion of each of them fighting the battle in multiple forms.

Fearing defeat, the Sultan went back on his word and, breaking the agreement, ordered his men to attack with arrows and firelocks.

At sunset, as the fighting stopped, the friends, having gathered every dismembered part of their bodies, they managed to hobble back into the circle.

 Bidding farewells, they stretched out side by side and breathed their last.


The last scene so dramatically described by Meghani


It was dusk when Tejrav, the twelfth friend rode back with his cart to the village and learnt about the carnage.

Lamenting like a grief-stricken widow, he raced towards the crematory grounds
where flames were leaping into the sky from the single crematory pyre of the eleven brave men.

Lest he be left behind by his friends in the eternal journey which they had vowed to undertake together,
he then leaped into and clambered up the blazing pile of firewood and took up a sitting posture atop the pyre.

As the flames enveloped him, he began to say his rosary and chant : Har !   Har !   Har !

Only after his entire body was aflame, the rosary fell out of his hand !

A Duho in praise of Tejrav


The Memorial at Aambardi



The memorial to Maanju, the Rabaaran (shepherdess)

While the friends were leaving for the battlefield, Maanju offered them water from the earthen water-jug she was carrying on her head.
After they cooled their throats with water, Visal requested her to wait there, if she could, till they returned from the battlefield.
Still badly they would need to sooth their souls then, he murmured as if prophetically.

And, indeed, when they returned --- badly bruised --- Maanju, who was still there as promised, held a tumbler in her hand and
dripped drops of water between the lips of the pilgrims to the eternity 


Mohabattkhan Peer-nee Jagya

The tomb in memory of Prince Mohabbatkhan, the eldest son of the Sultan who was slain by Visal in the battle

The story is based on research, legend as well as on
an ode titled Nishaanee composed in Dingal language during 15th century AD by a Meer poet called Karman Krishna Chotala of Jambuda village (
Dist. Jamnagar)

A series of sketches depicting various stories from Rasadhaar
Artist  Pratapsinh Jadeja



Sorathee Bahaaravatiyaa




Narratives of
13 Outlaws of Saurashtra
each one of whom took up arms for a cause

Meghani justifies people's -- and his own too -- soft corner for the outlaws
in alphabetical order -  left to right, top to bottom
Bawa Vala
around 1820 A.D. fought against
Jetpur and Visavadar
Bhimo Jat
1800 - 1850 A.D. fought against
Chapraj Vala
around 1835 A.D. fought against
Gaikwad and Agency Police
Jesaji - Vejaji
1473 - 1494 A.D. fought against
Mughal Suba of
Junagadh and Ahmedabad
Jodha Manek - Mulu Manek
1858 - 1867 A.D. fought against
Jogidas Khuman
1816 - 1829 A.D. fought against
Kadu Makrani
1883 - 1885 A.D. fought against

`Kanaraa-ne Risaamane'
of Mahiya Rajputs atop Kanaro Hill, Gir
Mahiya Rajput
1853 - 1883 A.D. fought against
Movar Sanghwani
1878 - 1884 A.D. fought for 
Personal Grievance
Natha Modhvadia
around 1830 A.D. fought against

The only actual, camera-clicked picture available
Ram Vala
1914 - 1915 A.D. fought against
Valo Namori
around 1890 A.D. fought for
Personal Grievance
Buchad Chaaran
around 1873 A.D. fought against
The narrative first appeared as a part of the author's book Chhelu(n) Prayaan, posthumously published in 1947. 
It was, however,  moved from there to be  incorporated -- quite appropriately -- in Volume 3 of this 3-Volume work when its 5th edition was issued in 1981.
It, obviously, sits better there, along with other similar accounts.   
Artist  Kalaguru Ravishankar Raval


some of the Folk-songs praising their Heroism

Praful Dave

some of the Places associated with them
Bawa Vala Bhimo Jat Chapraj Vala
Jami-no-Dhado  (Dist. Junagadh)
his memorial atop the hill
Babiyara Hill  (Dist. Jamnagar)
his last rest
Bhaaniyo Hill  (Dist. Amreli)
where he killed a British soldier
Jesaji - Vejaji Jodha Manek - Mulu Manek Jogidas Khuman
Vejal Kotha, Gir
their den deep in the dense forest 
Jodha Aambli, Gir
where Jodha Manek breathed his last
Mitiyana  (Dist. Amreli)
his native place
Kadu Makarani Mahiya Natha Modhvadia
Amarapur  (Dist. Junagadh)
his house
Kanado Hill, Gir
Paaliyaa (Stones raised in memory) of
Mahiya Rajputs
Polo Paano at Barado Hill  (Dist. Porbandar)
his secret hideout
The Guns

Natha Modhvadia

Valo Namori
courtesy  Watson Museum, Rajkot
Narratives of Outlaws from other lands
First published as Vartamaanyug-naa Bahaaravatiyaa in 1932,
It appeared with a slightly changed title --- Dariyaapaar-naa Bahaaravatiyaa --- when it was reprinted in 1946.
 Worldly-wise and Learned Chaarans
with whom he modestly shared both friendship and learning

Pictures of Samatbhai Gadhavi (Sanali), Dadabhai Gadhavi (Aasodar), Palravbhai Paliya (Reshamiya) couldnot be found

click here for full view

1924  :  Dheliben
her Home Dheliben Meraanee
in the twilight years of her life
Bagavadar, District Porbandar ...
her Farm
... amongst Barada Hills
It was Meraanee (woman of Mer community) Dheliben of Bagavadar village
who first introduced Jhaverchand Meghani to the enchanting world of Folk-songs.

He went to the village looking mainly for folk-stories.
Since it did not click, he thought he would at least try for an opportunity to listen to their Raasdaa (folk-dance-songs).
Disappointed here too, he was about to give up, when, luckily, he happened to meet this Dheliben.
Although toiling in the field, along with her husband, all through the day had taken a heavy toll on her,
she sang for him for hours together, till late into the night.
It was a dark night. He sat in the Verandah of her house,
taking down, in the feeble, flickering light of the lone kerosene lamp burning there,
the songs Dheliben's tough throat tirelessly continued to thunder out, one after another.   
One of these, Vahuae Vagovyaa Motaa Khoradaa is a pet song of every home even this day.
Another, Moralaa-nee Maayaa, was his personal favourite.

It was a night he said he would never never forget. Reason : It was his first ever initiation into Folk-songs !

Artist  Arvind Joshi
recollects Meghani

Although Jhaverchand Meghani didnot happen to meet Dheliben again, to record his deep gratitude,
he dedicated to her the
Fourth Volume of his series of collections of folk-songs, Radhiyaalee Raat.
Dheliben remembers Meghani's visit
in an interview she gave to Narottambhai Palan in 1967 when she was 90.
She passed away in 1977 at the age of 100.


Artist  Pratapsinh Jadeja
1928  :  Chaaran-Kanyaa
Gir Forest
the home of Asiatic Lion spread over an area of 1400 square kilometers
Tulsishyam in Gir Forest
Rukmani Hill Temple of Lord Krishna Hot-water Springs
Few kilometers from Tulsishyam is Khajuri-no Ness, the home of Hirbai Chaaran
A typical of the many dwellings in the Ness The Vad (banyan tree) where the lion attacked the calf
     In course of his travels for folklore research, Jhaverchand Meghani once happened to stay overnight at
Khajuri-no Ness (a Chaaran dwelling) near Tulsishyam in the Gir forest.

It was, incidentally, then that a lion attacked a calf, called Hiral, a proud and dear possession of Hirbai, a 14-year old
Chaaran girl, and killed it. 
On hearing loud cries for help, people with
laathi (long thick stick), sword, spear -- whichever came handy -- ran towards the site
and were astonished to see the young brave-heart girl standing with one of her legs put firmly and possessively
on the dead body of the calf and fiercely and incessantly swinging her Daang (long thick stick) over her head, in a desperate attempt
to prevent the lion from dragging her dead calf into the forest
and the lion, perhaps overawed by unexpected guts of the gallant girl, fled the scene.

Amazed at the bravery of the girl, Meghani felt so touched, his poetic sensitivity got so immensely inspired, that,
unmindful of the fact that neither paper nor pen was on hand then, he instantly started composing a poem in his mind
and began simultaneously to recite it aloud and with great excitement.


Artist  Arvind Joshi

Thus was born
'Chaaran-Kanyaa', one of his most popular poems

2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9
First-hand, picturesque, hair-raising and breath-taking account below of the incident by Padmashree Dula Bhaya Kag
who witnessed the entire thrilling scenario with wide, unbelieving eyes.
1929  :  Ranjitram Suvarnachandrak (Gold Medal)

Gujarat Sahitya Sabha, Ahmedabad
established in 1904

Ranjitram Vavabhai Mehta
founder Gujarat Sahitya Sabha

Ranjitram Suvarnachandrak
Medal award to Kavi Rajendra Shukla in 2006
Jhaverchand Meghani was the First Recipient of
Ranjitram Suvarnachandrak (Gold Medal) for the year 1928
awarded in recognition of his researches in, and contribution to, Folklore
As the Silver Jubilee (1904 - 1929) Celebrations of Gujarat Sahitya Sabha commenced,
Shri Hiralal T. Parekh, Chairman of  Ranjitram Smaarak Samiti (Memorial Committee),
taking the opportunity, requested President
Keshavlal H. Dhruv that the first medal be given to Jhaverchand Meghani
who, Parekh pointed out had done something dear to the heart of founder Late Ranjitram.
Meghani's singular contribution to the noble task of
unearthing, collecting and editing the oral folklore
before it went into complete oblivion was too well-known, Parekh argued.

Invitation Card 

'Shantikunj' - Sir Chinubhai Baronet's Bungalow


Hiralal T. Parekh
Chairman, Ranjitram Smaarak Samiti

Keshavlal H. Dhruv

Dr. Hariprasad V. Desai

Humble Acceptance

standing   Chaitanyaprasad M. Diwanjee 
  seating on sofa   Ramnarayan V. Pathak, Keshavlal H. Dhruv, Dr. Hariprasad V. Desai
seating on ground   Ratnamanirao Bhimrao, Meghani, Dhoomketu

the speech he made while accepting the honour 

1930 : Sindhudo
Mahatma Gandhi unfurling the tricolour flag at Lahore
December 31, 1929
At its historic 1929 Lahore session on the bank of river Raavi
the Indian National Congress at midnight of December 31, 1929 adopted a resolution, tabled by Gandhiji,
Purna Swaraaj (Total Independence) from the British rule.
It was decided too that January 26, 1930 be observed all over India as Independence Day.
Dandi March
March 12 to April 6, 1930
On March 12, 1930 Gandhiji, along with his 78 followers handpicked from different corners of the country,
launched a 400-kilometer march to commence from Sabarmati Ashram on the bank of river Sabarmati at Ahmedabad
and to end at Dandi, then a sleepy little village on the southern coast of Gujarat,
to protest against the tax levied on edible salt by the British.
On reaching there on April 6, 1930 he symbolically broke the unjust salt law by picking up a handful of salt from the sea bed.
Dholera Satyagraha
April 6, 1930
The dynamic newspaper man and editor of Saurashtra weekly, Amrutlal Dalpatbhai Sheth,
led the Salt
Satyagraha offered at the coastal town of Dholera situated in the Gulf of Cambay about 140 kms from Ahmedabad.
Many of the participants like Balvantrai Mehta, Rasiklal Parikh, Vajubhai Shah,  Ratubhai Adani, Manubhai Pancholi `Darshak',
Mohanlal Mehta `Sopan', Poornimaben Pakwasa went on from here to become leaders in their chosen socio-political fields later in their lives.

Amrutlal Sheth sets the ball rolling

Meghani and Sheth at Dholera creek

Picking up salt and courting arrest

 Amrutlal Sheth and his team of young Satyagrahi

Arousing the masses with mesmerising songs from Sindhudo
Meghani on Sindhudo
The book was later proscribed and copies confiscated.

Vajubhai Shah
The leading freedom-fighter had the unique and pleasant previlege of writing preface
to both the 1932 and 1980 editions bridging almost half a century
1930 : Chhellee Prarthanaa  (The Last Prayer)

Special Court at Dak-Bungalow

Jilla Panchayat Rest-house
Jhaverchand Meghani was tried in the Special Court at Dhandhuka
for making an inflammatory public speech an offence he had, in fact, not committed.

April 28, 1930
After giving his testimony he asked for permission of the court to recite a prayer and, then,
sang his heart-rending poem
Chhellee Prarthanaa  (The Last Prayer)
which brought tears in the eyes of every one present there -- including the Judge Isani.
Indeed many were seen sobing loudly and uncontrollably.

in the Court

`Meghani Otalo' constructed underneath the historic Neem Tree
The Judgement was pronuced here
Sentenced to Two years' Simple Imprisonment,
  A report published in Saurashtra dated May 3, 1930
Behind the Bars : April 29,1930 to March 8, 1931

Sabarmati Jail, Ahmedabad
Jhaverchand Meghani was
sentenced to Two years' Simple Imprisonment,
but released halfway through under the provisions of Gandhi-Irwin Pact.

His jail-mates good-humouredly honoured him with a Ph.D degree (Bogus, USA) !
Damyantiben, along with the children, regularly visited Meghani at Sabarmati Jail.
She also maintained a diary which she sent regularly to Meghani to keep him posted with happenings at home.
'Business' was a word liberally used therein as also in the letters she wrote to him.
It was, in fact, a code-word she had used for
'Freedom Struggle'

A Poet-Father fondling his kids from afar
The letters written from Sabarmati Jail in a unique prose/verse style and a language no less naughty, surely,
pleased and amused the brother-sister duo no end -- probably making them forget for a while
that the letters were from behind the bars. 

son Mahendra

daughter Indu



1930 : Koi-no Laadakavaayo  (Somebody's Darling)
Devidas Gandhi, an inmate of Sabarmati Jail, during the function arranged on the eve of release of
another inmate Abbas Ali Tyabji, recited the poem
Somebody’s Darling by Marie Ravenal de la Coste
published in an old issue of Royal Reader magazine.
The recitation inspired him spontaneously to freely translate the poem into Gujarati.
and this indeed was accomplished even as his eyes, scrubbed just the day before, were sore and painful.

Spreading beyond the jail-walls into the wider outside world the song soon became a hit with the masses.


Meghani  says
`his heart bleeds when he hears a song of his being sung in a tune other than the original one in which he set it'

Somebody’s Darling
Into a ward of the white-washed walls
Where the dead and dying lay,
Wounded by bayonets, shells and balls,
Somebody’s darling was borne one day
Marie Ravenal de la Coste
(1845 - 1935)

After the death her fiance, a captain in the Confederate army,
the young French teacher became a nurse visiting hospitals and looking after wounded soldiers.
John Hill Hewitt
click here to listen to its symphony composed by renowned musician John Hill Hewitt Somebody's Darling

1931 : Raashtreeya Shaayar  (National Poet)

Bapu sailing for England onboard 'S S Rajputana'
August 29, 1931

Mahatma Gandhi

Bapu attending 2nd Round Table Conference in England
September, 1931


Poem composed on August 27, 1931


 The poem, addressed to Bapu as he was sailing for England to attend the Second Round Table Conference,
was composed during the last hour and was rushed and delivered to Gandhiji at the last moment.
When Gandhiji later read it he observed :
"The poet, it seems, has entered my heart and mind and read my thoughts"
Mahatma Gandhi spontaneously gave the title of Raashtreeya Shaayar  (National Poet)


The Poem Meghani penned out after
Gandhiji returned from the Round Table Conference -- sad and dejected


Touching comments by Mahadevbhai Desai

After Mahadevbhai Desai wrote in
Young India and Navjeevan acclaiming the poem, it came to be known across the nation,
and there was a widespread demand for making it available.
It was thus that a special folio carrying it was issued by Phulchhab on the occasion of the 63rd birthday of Gandhiji.

Meghani on the title `Raashtreeya Shaayar'

1932 : Phulchhab

 Saurashtra weekly was wound up and  
Phulchhab weekly launched.
Joined Phulchhab
weekly as founder editor.

Nostalgic Memories

First Issue  

50 years

75 years 

The Phulchhab Family
The vast frontage of the school across the road came in handy for so large a family to be clipped.
It was, in a way, symbolic too since the school was at the forefront of the socio-political crusade Phulchhab was waging then.
Commuted by train between Botad, his home town, and work-place Ranpur where he edited Phulchhab
Talsi Mistry-no Taajeeyo, Botad
his home      
Glimpses of Botad

river Utaavalee



wife Damayantiben passes away at Botad

April 7, 1933

son Mahendra

daughter Indu

son Mahendra and daughter Indu

son Mastan

son Nanak
the toddler twins

the poem Meghani penned in her memory

the poem echoing the emotions of  his children
who lost their mother
before they could get to know her well enough

Meghani set aside Rupees 1000 for undertaking philanthropic activities in the memory of Damyantiben.
Of this amount he entrusted Rupees 100 to Dr. Ambashankar Nagardas Bhatt, his physician-turned-close-friend,
with a request to utilise the amount as per his discretion, for the same purpose.
From the Rupees 900 thus left, he later donated Rs 501 to Bal Kelavani Mandal run by his childhood friend
Lalchand Jaichand Vora at Bagasara, to start a Balgriha (children's centre).


the journey continues ...





Part-3 : 1933 - 1940