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Ayodhya Nath Kerni , Khokhars "Daily Excelsior" 29/10/2017

If History is considered as a peep to the past major events of a region or country; the novels certainly would be a mirror to erstwhile culture, traditions, customs and much more. The History of Duggar contains many unfilled gaps which needs deep study to explore our glorious past. In order to assess the chronology of events lost in antiquity more efforts are intended to be made. The literature and history when admirably blended together with sensibility bring standards of interpretation. A dogri novel “Veer Jasrath Khokhar” written by distinguished Dogri writer Desh Bandhu Dogra ‘Nutan’ gives a vivid account of Duggar History of about 300 years with a particular reference to Khokhar clan. The valour of Khokhars we do not find explored in any History book except a mild reference to Jasrath in some of the books. Author as made his endeavor to understand and evaluate Khokhars . They were originally Aryans and their dynasty adopted the Khokhar title after the king ‘Khakh’. They established their regime at Talwara near Reasi and further extended their rule to the areas near the banks of rivers Chenab and Jhelum. The Khokhars were brave and having expertise in guerilla warfare.

The author’s love for nature could be viewed from a forest on the other side of river Chenab wherein flora and fauna have been described in detail. Even the minutest plants, bushes and trees are stated. It seems as if the novel has been written while sitting in this forest. A saint called Mahatma who originally hails from Gujrat migrates to Varangal. He is the main character in the novel who is blessed with multi qualities and having expertise in warfare. He initially joins service of Odisha king and soon occupies a distinguished position in his Army. Feroze Shah Tughlak attacks Odisha in 1360 AD. King Bhanu Dev does not retaliate and offers gifts to Feroze Shah Tugalak who returns from Odisha unchallenged. Mahatma was perhaps upset with this act of king and resigned from his service. Mahatma made many visits to differenct places to enrich his knowledge on history and culture . He ultimately reaches Talwara and stays in a temple. He developed his relations with Jasrath, finally turns into a fast friendship. He convinced Jasrath that all the Jagirs and principalities active in Shivalik must join together to face the Turks.

Mahatma pursued the cause with the rulers of all the principalities like Bandaralta etc to extend co-operation to carry out a joint war exercise with a view to get preparedness of troops for war. Mahatma having great experience of strategy and tactics of war briefed and trained the troops. He discarded the conventional patterns so adopted and introduced new strategies and tactics as the traditional systems were no longer useful. He introduced the attacking patterns of guerilla warfare which may cause less loss to own troops and vanish the enemy in sudden and fierce attacks.

Jasrath was married to the daughter of king Maldev of Jammu whose other two daughters were married in Kashmir . Khokhars did not remain confined to Talwara only but also extended their rule to other areas also. They attached Delhi, Lahore, Multan, Deepalpur and many other places. After the death of Humayun Khan in June 1394 AD Jasrath settled down temporarily at Lahore.

As there was unrest plain areas people migrated to mountains and formed small towns on the banks of Ravi and Jhelum. Amir Temur was deeply influenced with fighting tactics of Jasrath. While returning from Multan alongwith looted material Amir Temur took Jasrath along while passing through Shivaliks. Jasrath remained away from Talwara for a long period due to war commitments. Perhaps long separation from his wife was the reason for Jasrath to fall in love with the daughter of Shahrukh Khan which ultimately turned into performing second marriage with her.

The author is rapturous or consciously reflective and speculative towards the plot of novel in the back drop of History. His out look and behavior towards Hindus and Muslims is very sober. His attitude is not divergent and his pugnacity made him love both the communities equally which may be gauged by inter community relations reflected in the novel He seems to be very careful while mentioning the months and years of major events It reflects originality and versatility of the author. He has many Dogri novels to his credit. Some of them being in multi volumes such as Bheemu etc. Those who are curious to read the history of Duggar must read this novel which provides a taste of novel and account on history.

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