Delhi - Many stories and a rich history

Every good story should be retold for generations to be hear and to be passed on. No judgments here, just good old fashioned story telling. I read this one in Delhi City Limits (ed. dated 28.2.2006). The story was told by Anand Vivek Taneja and sole credit goes to him for the story he told, it is only recounted here


On what used to be the agricultural land of the village(present Lado Sarai), the government, in 2002, erected a Prithviraj Memorial, valorising the lat 'Hindu' king of Delhi, who went down bravely fighting the Muslim invaders. L.K. Advani, at the inauguration, drew a sword and thundered about fighting terrorism from Pakistan.

The story of Prithviraj, as told in Lado Sarai, is slightly different.

One day, in his old age, the good kind Anang Pal Tomar decided to go on long pilgrimage, and leave the kingdom to the care of relatives, Prithviraj and Jaichand. Prithviraj was given custody of Delhi and Ajmer, while Jaichand look after Kannauj.

Prithviraj told Anangpal that his custody was useless unless he had authority which other kings would believe in. "Give it to me in writing," he said. "No King can enter Delhi without the permission of Prithviraj." So Anangpal give it to him in writing, and went off on his pilgrimage. Not much later, when he returned to his city, the gates were closed to him. No King can enter Delhi without the permission of Prithviraj. And so it was that Prithviraj came to be the ruler of Delhi.

Flashback. A trader from Afghanistan decided to start trading with India and thus expand his business and his profits. So he loaded his goods on camels and came to India, and to the court of the vigorous childless king, Anangpal Tomar, along with his beautiful daughter. He offered Anangpal his daughter in marriage. "I know that you will have children with her."

The marriage was consummated, the child was conceived, but the older queen was jealous. While the younger queen was pregnant, she forbade Anangpal from meeting her, and when the child was born, she threw him out on a garbage pile, ghor in Sanskrit.

The child was picked up by a passing childless potter, who then brought him up as his own.

When the child was seven years old, King Anangpal passed a judgment which dissatisfied his people. The potter's son suggested another way in which justice could be meted out. The news spread like wildfire and reached the palace.

Fearing the king's wrath a servant from the palace went and told the potter who his son really was, and asked him to send the child off to Afghanistan, to his grandfather.

Years later Mohammad Ghori marched on Delhi to reclaim his inheritance, and Jaichand joined him. Prithviraj was defeated. Lad Singh, a soldier in Jaichand's army settled in what was to become Lado Sarai village. His four sons lived in four domed structures, four gumbads which existed there prior to their settlement, and around these domes the village of Lado Sarai grew.

Karan Pal Singh, about 70 years old, who told me ( to Anand Vivek Taneja) this story, also told me(..),there are three kinds of history.

One is that written in history textbooks, This is written by those in power, and cannot be trusted.

Then there is the history by the person who sits with books and tries to make sense of the past for himself.

The third is oral tradition, what people remember from what their ancestors tell them. There is one truth in both of these.



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