Folklore from Jangladesh: Kunwarsi Sankhla (Panwar) Rana Venidas Kharal (Parihar)

A fued that transformed into matrimony between the rivals.


The Jangloo region in northern Rajasthan now in the Bikaner division, was ruled by many petty fiefdoms of varying clans during the fourteenth century and before. There were clusters of Sankhla, Dahiya, Johiya, Mohil, Khichi, Kharal, Bhati, and other clans that lived in their own smaller territories, with persistent intent of transgressing into other, whenever the opportunity arose.

Among them was Khinvsi Sankhla, who wielded considerable influence. His daughter was married to Achal Das Khichi of Gagraun. His ancestral place was Roon in Nagore, from where his elders were enticed to move to Rasisar, through the design of Kesa Gujargaur, the purohit of Dahiya Rajputs, who had differences with his hosts. Upon his insistence and assistance, the Dahiya were driven out by Khinvsi from Jangloo and occupied by him. Khinvsi had a brave son, Kunwarsi Sankhla, born of his Jhali queen. This young prince inherited and acquired all the traits and virtues of a warrior Rajput, showering on him immense popularity and affection of his subjects.

Further north in the region, perhaps modern day Ganganagar, there ruled another clan Kharal in those days, under it’s chief Venidas with title of Rana. He maintained a huge herd of camels, the most prized animals of the time, contributing immensely to his wealth and influence. The herds were kept under the care of the renowned class of herdsmen, the Rebaris. The Rebari herdsmen under the protection of a powerful lord had the only agenda of nursing and growing the herd with no concern of the welfare of others. They would let their animals graze anywhere and drink water from reservoirs/wells meant for human consumption of the inhabitants.

So, when a Rajput of Kunwarsi’s state visited his in-law’s place Palhu in the Kharal dominance area, one day he was requested to guard the water body. When a large herd of camels was let loose to deplete water, he dared to challenge the misadventures of the Rebaris of Venidas. Being in great numbers, this lone Rajput was overcome by the Rebaris of the Kharals. The dieing victim forewarned that he belonged to Kunwarsi Sankhla’s state who will take revenge of his death, to which the herdsmen paid no heed.

When Kunwarsi Sankhla came to know about this incident, he sent his men to find out the identity of the culprits and reasons for the death of his countryman. A few days later, Kunwarsi camped at Palhu village in the Kharal realm with a band of armed horsemen. Having located the Rana’s camel herd, he put to death most of the herdsmen and directed his men to take away the camels. When the surviving rebaris conveyed this to Kharal family, young warriors of the house followed the Sankhla and interrupted the assailant a few miles ahead. In the fued that ensued, dozens of Kharals were killed and others took to flight. Kunwarsi forbade his men to chase the running kharals, telling them he bore no enmity with them. He had come to avenge the death of his Rajput and the purpose was over.

Back in the Kharal camp, Rana Venidas was furious at the loss, but had not enough strength to subdue the mighty Sankhlas. He had an extremely beautiful daughter Bharmal, now marriageable. He connived to marry her to Kunwarsi and kill him during wedding. Accordingly, coconut was sent with a well briefed pandit. Kunwarsi was out on hunting on the day the pandit arrived at his place. The pandit followed the direction of huntinground and stood high on a mound in the path of retreating party, with a platter in his hand. Kunwarsi moving ahead of the rest of his fellows spotted the pandit and approached him. The pandit offered him the coconut, which Kunwarsi accepted. When his fellows asked the pandit whose coconut it was, he replied it was from Rana Venidas for his daughter Bharmal. The party was stunned, for not long ago the kunwar had killed so many of Rana’s men and smelled foul in the proposal. Every well wisher pursued Kunwarsi to return the coconut after honouring the pandit suitably and offering riches. An adamant Kunwarsi will not agree to return once accepted coconut, come what may.

The pandit was asked to convey the Rana to be prepared for marriage anyday hereafter, without fixing a date. The Sankhla prepared his men for the event with proper defence strategies. And with a large marriage party of armed horsemen he reached one fine evening to his would be in-laws place. And asked for an instant wedding ceremony. The Kharals tried every trick to isolate Kunwarsi from his men on the pretext of customs, but the Sankhlas would not part their groom on security grounds.

Having failed in his ploys to end Kunwarsi’s life and with strong resistance from his wife and daughter, Venidas accepted this alliance. It is another matter a short while later he utilized his son in law’s might to get rid of his arch rival Johiyas.

This tale has been beautifully described in Bithu Charan’sKunwarsi Sankhla ri Vaat” penned centuries ago. He described all the customs and cultural traditions prevailing in fourteenth century Rajput families. This is just glimpse.

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How historically reliable is folklore? As there is folklore which claims that Kumaoni Rajput king Rudra Chand defeated the Mughals

Folklores are dramatization of certain events thar enrich culture, provide idioms, language and provides cultural motifs.
At times, folklore is history and at other times it’s just a vetsion, in absense of written records.

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