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YoungBites. Dated: 5/6/2017 9:25:11 AM


Karan Ghelo: Gujarat's Last Rajput King is a Gujarati historical novel by Nandshankar Mehta. It was published in 1866 and was the first original novel in Gujarati. The book was translated in English in 2015. The novel depicts Karan Vaghela, the last Rajput ruler of Gujarat (c. 1296–1305) who was defeated by the Turkish forces of Allauddin Khilji in 1298. The novel was written for educational purpose. It was based on variety of historical sources but author took liberty in depiction of some incidents. The novel deals with social as well as religious issues. The book was well received and was translated in Marathi and English. It was adapted into plays and films. The Rajput king Karan Vaghela rules Anhilwad Patan, a large kingdom located in north Gujarat, and is well-served by his prime minister, Madhav. It happens one day that he comes face-to-face with Madhav's wife, Roopsundari (who, like all well-born women, lives in seclusion) and has a chat with her. The king becomes besotted by her and, after pondering for a long time, decides to set aside all considerations of decency and propriety in order to avail himself of the woman. He sends the minister away on a mission and, in his absence, abducts Roopsundari. Madhav's brother is killed by the king's men while making a heroic but vain attempt to protect his sister-in-law. Later the same day, his wife Gunasundari commits Sati by immolating herself on the funeral pyre of her valiant husband. The hapless Roopsundari, after being abducted and taken to the palace, kills herself before it is possible for the king to ruin her virtue. She dies with her chastity intact, and the king has gained nothing but infamy for his despicable deed. He has also made a dangerous and relentless enemy. His former minister Madhav has escaped the devastation of his family. He abandons Anhilwad Patan for good and makes his way to Delhi. On his way, he experiences many adventures, including several wonderful ones at the almost mystical Mount Abu. Madhav eventually reaches Delhi, where he persuades the Muslim sultan Allauddin Khilji to invade Gujarat, promising him all help in the venture and much plunder at the end of it. As former minister, Madhav is a knowledgeable and influential man. With his help, Khilji invades Gujarat, destroys Patan fort and plunders the treasures of that kingdom and of several others. On his part, King Karan Vaghela performs many heroic feats on battlefield, but eventually loses not just his kingdom but also his wife, Kaularani. After the defeat, Karan gathers what remains of his family and followers and flees to Baglan in south Gujarat, to seek refuge with his old friend Ramdev, the Maratha ruler of Deogadh. With him is his unwed daughter, Deval Devi, still only a child. As the dust settles and negotiations for peace are set afoot, Karan is required to face one more horror: the hateful Khilji wants Karan to give his daughter in marriage to his own son and heir, Khizr Khan. The proposal is abominable to Karan, and after he returns an insulting refusal, a second battle becomes inevitable. As he prepares for war, Karan is extremely concerned about the security of his daughter and the preservation of her virtue and her future. He therefore bestows his daughter upon Shankaldev, the son and heir of his host and old friend Ramdev.


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