Among a wonderful piece of pre-modern Rajasthani poetry is the couplets, written in Soratha chhand, by poet Kriparam Barahath, aka Kriparam Charan. Kriparamji’s poetry is renowned as Rajiya ra duha, as all of his couplets are addressed to his Man Friday, who possibly had the name Rajkumar, pejoratively called Rajiya. These couplets would have been written approx. year 1800 CE or thereabout. It is possible to get some 130 of these couplets [see here – https://www.charans.org/kraparambarhat/]
Kriparam’s poetry contains crisp sayings, in extremely subtle and deeply touching Rajasthani language. The best part of the poetry is that the language is not very different from present-day colloquial Rajasthani language, and therefore, one may easily use these couplets as sayings.
Kriparamji makes excellent use of Vayansagai or Bayansagai, a very famous alliteration style used in Dingal poetry. In Vayansagai, the first and last word of every part of the couplet start with the same sound, thereby creating intensive impact in recitation. Additionally, each of the Rajiya couplets end with the word Rajiya – being addressed to the Man Friday.
The poet, therefore, worked under tremendous limitations. Since the last word of each couplet had to be Rajiya, the first word of the last part had to start with sound R, leaving him with limited word combinations. Within this constraint, Kriparam still makes perfect carnation of words and conveys crisply what he wants to convey.
I have translated some selected couplets of Rajiya ra Duha – in no particular order.
मूसा नै मंजार, हित कर बैठा हेकठा।
सह जाणै संसार, रह्यो न रह्सी राजिया।
The cat and the mouse are sitting together, as if affectionately. The whole world knows that this has never been so, nor will ever be.
मतलब री मनवार, नूँत जिमावै चूरमा।
बिन मतलब मनवार, राब न पावै राजिया।
So much of warm hospitality that one is being invited and served Choorma. This is all for purpose. Once purpose is served, they will not even serve raab. [Choorma is a sort of homemade delicacy. Raab is layman’s food made of flour soaked in curd. ]
सुधहीणा सिरदार, मतहीणा राखे मिनख।
अस आंघौ असवार, रांम रुखाळौ राजिया।
Senseless leaders engage brainless servants. The horse is blind. So is the horse rider. Only god save them!
पाटा पीड उपाव, तन लागां तरवारियां।
घले जीभ रा घाव, रती न ओखद राजिया।
If the body is hurt by swords, bandage and medication may help ease the pain. However when it tongue (spoken words) that inflict injury, there is not even a molecule of medication.
ऊँचे गिरवर आग, जलती सह देखै जगत।
पर जलती निज पाग, रती न दिसै राजिया।
Everyone sees the fire burning on the high hill. However the one burning at one’s own feet – no one seems to see that.
हियै मूढ़ जो होय. की संगत ज्यांरी करै।
काला ऊपर कोय, रंग न लागै राजिया।
मलियागिर मंझार, हर को तर चन्दण हुवै।
संगत लियै सुधार, रूंखाँ ही नै राजिया।
These two couplets demonstrate the impact of company- working in one case and not working in the other:
If one is absolutely stupid, how can company help? No other colour can be mixes with black.
On the hills of Malayagiri, every tree is that of sandal. See, company can impact even trees.
भाड़ जोख झक भेक, वारज में भेळा वसै।
इसकी भंवरो एक, रस की जांणे राजिया।
The frog, leech and fish – all stay in the same pond. However it only the amour black bee (bhramar, bhanwara) who knows the love of lotus.
कारण कटक न कीध, सखरा चाहिजई सुपह।
लंक विकट गढ़ लीध, रींछ बांदरा राजिया।
It is the able leader that matters, not the strength of the army. See, Ram conquered Lanka with an army of moneys and bears.
रोटी चरखो राम, इतरौ मुतलब आपरौ।
की डोकरियां कांम, राजकथा सूं राजिया।
Their concern is limited to food, spinning wheel and the name of god. What do old ladies have to do with talk of the king or politics. (That is, keep your concerns limited to what matters for you.)
गुणी सपत सुर गाय, कियौ किसब मूरख कनै।
जांणै रुनौ जाय, रणरोही में राजिया।
The deft singer sang seven Sur’s (Swars of music); you showed artful skills in front of a fool. It is lying crying in wilderness.
उपजावे अनुराग, कोयल मन हरकत करै।
कड़वो लागे काग, रसना रा गुण राजिया।
They look similar- the crow and the cuckoo. However cuckoo begets happiness in mind, and crow disdain. All attributes of the tongue (speech).
एक जतन सत एह, कूकर कुगंध कुमांणसां।
छेड़ न लीजे छेह, रैवण दीजे राजिया।
These three have same nature: stray dogs, bad odorous substance, and a bad person. It is best that you don’t disturb them. Let them be.
पहली कियां उपाव, दव दुस्मण आमय दटे।
प्रचंड हुआ विस वाव, रोभा घालै राजिया।
These five things – fire, enemy, disease, poison and wind – the best is to to take preventive measures beforehand. Once they become strong (after occurrence) they cause lot of pain.
दुष्ट सहज समुदाय, गुण छोडे अवगुण गहै।
जोख चढी कुच जाय, रातौ पीवै राजिया।
Evil people, due to their instinctive features, leave out virtues for vices. The leech climbs on breasts and sucks blood instead of milk.
बंध बंध्या छुडवाय, कारज मनचिंत्या करै।
कहौ चीज है काय, रुपियो सरखी राजिया।९०।
It releases from shackles; attains whatever one wishes. Tell me what can match the might of money?
आछा है उमराव, हियाफ़ूट ठाकुर हुवै।
जड़िया लोह जड़ाव, रतन न फ़ाबै राजिया।१०८।
The king is good enough, but has employed senseless ministers/subordinates. It almost like precious stones studded in iron.
काळी घणी करुप, कस्तूरी काँटाँ तुले
शक्कर घणी सरूप, रोड़ां तुलिये राजिया
Kasturi (deer’s musk) is black in colour and ugly in looks. Yet it is weighted on small measuring scale (used for gold/precious materials). Shakkar (ground form of jagery) is offwhite, looks beautiful. Yet it is weighted with stones (before standard measuring scales came, stones were commonly used for weighting heavy things). In essence, what matters is merits, and not looks.