Of the Songs and Verses attributed to Rup Mati.

THERE remains the third portion of this book on which a few comments are necessary. It is composed of ‘Dohās’, ‘Kabittās’, and ‘Sawaiyās’ still sung by the musicians of Mālwa and attributed to Rup Mati. In view of the steady continuity of Indian tradition some are in all probability hers, and the majority of them have been taken from manuscripts which at the least are one hundred years old, and, according to their owners and judging from their condition and the script, at least two hundred. Doubters may be reminded that to-day His Highness the Māharāja of Dhār has in his employ musicians who can trace their descent from those of his Paramāra ancestors, and who are still playing as their masterpieces the same harmonies which delighted the court at Ujjain. The probabilities of correct ascription of verse of A.D. 1560 to Rup Mati are obviously much increased by such knowledge, and it may not un­reasonably be thought that most of the simpler and more passionate poems may well be genuine; and simplicity and passion are the only criteria to be applied to the verses of one, who loved with all her heart, who was wedded at fifteen and died ere she was twenty-one. It may perhaps be taken as some corroboration of the genuineness of them and of the story of the Persian manuscript that sixteen of them were obtained from Brahmans in and round Sārang­pur. Doubts will, however, be felt and rightly over the pieces attributed to her in her resistance to Adham Khān. Some, nay most, of these appear to be the production of later bards who saw the strength of the situation but were not inspired by its passionate despair. Such bards, however, ordinarily imitate a model, and Rup Mati, as tradition states, may in fact have left one. Readers may take their choice; mine is made. Though Rup Mati’s chaplet be not entirely of her own weaving, though later bards may have mingled in it flowers of lesser fragrance, its beauty is not doubtful nor is it altogether unworthy of so fair a head.

Two songs were obtained from books in English— No. xii, which is printed in note xxxvi, page 109, of the Bombay Subaltern’s History of Māndoo, and No. xxv, which is printed on pages 22 and 23 of Colonel Luard’s Dhār and Māndu.

The pieces have been arranged according to metre. First come the Dohās, i. e. couplets, often a single couplet, though there is no bar to any number. This is the com­monest and simplest of Hindi metres and is composed of two lines, of 24 instants, each divided into two ‘Charans’ 6-4-3, 6-4-1. The last foot in the first Charan must be a Tribrach and the last syllable of each line short. The Dohās, as will be seen, on the whole contain expression of simpler and more passionate feeling than the other metres. Secondly, the Kabittās—four-line poems—each line of 32 letters with a break after each 8 letters. The measure is used by the ‘Bhāts’ or bards for heroic tales, and hence the heroic couplet is not inappropriate as the ordinary medium of translation. Rup Mati uses the Kabittās for expressions of different emotions from the Dohās. Sawai­yās have four lines each of 16 plus 15, i. e. 31 instants, the last foot being a trochee. They are used by Rup Mati much as the Kabittās, though also for the proverbial philosophy of the countryside.

Last have been placed the verses translated by Sir A. Cunningham—partly to separate his version, partly because no Hindi text was obtainable, and from the Romanized Hindi reprinted by Colonel Luard from Cunningham’s text it was not possible to decide on the metre or interpret the exact sense of some parts. Probably the piece is composed of two Dohās.