HIKAYAT, also called Hikaitaan, hikayetan, is the title given to the eleven tales, in Persian verse but in Gurmukhi letters, in the Dasam Granth, immediately after the Zafarnama. Zafarnama is also included in hikayat which makes its counting to 12.
The title `Hikayat` does not occur in the actual text, but most of the tales have a verse, coming after two or three invocational lines in the beginning, which contains the phrase `hikdyat shumdem` (we have heard the story of...). Hikayat, being the plural of Hikdyat (story, tale), is adopted as the title for these tales. Each tale is meant to emphasize a moral lesson.
The subject matter of the tales is in keeping with the literary taste and style of medieval India and ranges from the romantic and chivalrous to the fantastic and the macabre. Six of these eleven tales are Hindi tales retold in Persian.
Hikayat 4 is Chritra 52 of the Chritropdkhydn, where an intrepid ran? defeats the obdurate Raja Subhat Singh in battle in order to marry him.
Hikayat 5 is the Persian version of Chritra 267. Some other stories from Charitropakhyan have likewise found their way into these hikayat. All the verses as well as hikayats are numbered, but hikdyat one is not traceable. The first talc which comes after the Zafarndmah is numbered two. Some scholars have suggested that Zafamamah proper should be treated as hikayat number one while others give number one to the first four verses occurring at the beginning of hikayat two. These verses are in praise of God and are mainly in Sanskritixcd Braj.
The first (tale 2) hikayat is about a rajas four sons who were tested for their fitness to rule. The three elder sons were given great wealth which they soon squandered. The youngest son was given some seeds which he planted. From the harvest he was eventually able to build cities like Delhi a possible lesson for Emperor Aurangzeb and his sons. The Hikayat reaches the climax of horror in tale 12, where a Pathan woman from fear of her husband kills her lover, cooks him, and serves him up as a special feast to her hungry husband and his friends, thus winning his approval.
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More on hikayats
The last section of the Dasam Granth, after the Zafarnama, are the Hikayats which are in the Persian language. The Hikayats should probably follow Triya Charitar for they are much the same, and for the most part, Persian translations of the Triya Charitar.
There are eleven Hikayats in total covering 28 pages. None of the stories bear the Guru’s signature, although all have the saluation of the Khalsa, ‘’Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh’’. The Persian used is said to be very good, and all are rhymed. They are supposed to contain moral instruction for the Emperor Aurangzeb.
Each of the eleven stories opens with praises to god, and ends with a command to the cup-bearer to bring a cup of wine, usually green, possibly a play on the name of Hari, which means “green”. With these artistically styled poems with their Sufi colouring, the Dasam Granth ends.
Summary of the Hikayats
Hikayat 2, 3
Hikayat number two is about the Raja’s four sons who were tested to determine their fitness to rule. The three elder sons were given thousands of elephants, horses and camels. These they lost or squandered away. The youngest son was given a kernel and a half of gram which he planted, and from the harvest he was able to buy thousands of elephants, horses and camels, and to build cities of Delhi and Mungipatam besides. The moral seems to be the wisdom of relying on the power of God to produce wealth. Number three, is logically enough, a description of the perfect ruler, who fears God and no one else.
Hikayat four is Charitar 52 given in Persian, the tale of the redoubtable Bachhitramati who would not take “No” for an answer to her proposal of marriage, but thoroughly defeated the obdurate Raja Subhat Singh in battle, and then married him. The appropriateness here in not obvious, but it is a good story.
Hikayat five is Charitar 267 in Persian guise. The beauty of the young wife of a Qazi was such that her reflection turned water into wine. She became enamoured of Raja Sabal Singh and offered to share her throne with him; but he, to put her off, says she must kill the Qazi first. She goes off and kills the Qazi in his sleep and brings the bloody head to the Raja; but then Sabal fears a similar fate at her hands and rejects her offer. She leaves the head lying there and returns to raise the alarm. People follow the bloody trail to where Sabal is sitting. The Emperor Jahangir turns him over to the murdered man’s widw. She winks at him, then pretends to start on a pilgrimage to Mecca, but turns back after dark to go and live with Raja Sabal Singh.
Hikayat six tells how the daughter of a Qazi rescues Raja Chakarwati from his enemies.
Hikayat seven is the account of Raja Darab who was put in a trunk and set adrift on the river by his mother, the Rani of Rome. He was rescued and brought up by a dhobi. Later, his mother recognizes his identity by the ruby ring she had put in the trunk with him.
Hikayat eight is the counterpart of Charitar 118. It describes how a beautiful mother kills her two grown sons because her lover feared them. She then becomes a ‘’fakirni’’ (a female Muslim ascetic) but the God Shiva appears to her and grants her the bonnes of renewed youth and a meeting with her lover.
Hikayat nine is supposed to come from France. It is Charitar 290 in Persian garb. A rani dresses her lover as a woman and keeps him (her) with her night and day – especially since the raja also has become interested in this youthful sitar player.
In Hikayat ten, Roshan Dimagh, the daughter of a Wazir, leads an army in battle with the Raja of Mayindra, captures him, and takes over his kingdom.
Hikayat eleven is one of the best known. It is Charitar 246: The daughter of a money lender steals the emperor’s famous horses from the imperial palace in Delhi.
In Hikayat twelve the series of stories reaches a climax of horror in the story of a Pathan woman who, out of fear for her husband, kills her lover, cooks him and serves him up as a special feast to her hungry husband and friends, thus winning his approval by her wifely devotion. He then goes and kills the informer.
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- Rattan Singh Jaggi, Dasam Granth Parichaya. Delhi, 1990
- Piara Singh Padam, Dasam Granth Darshan. PATIALA, 1990
- Dharam Pal Ashta, The Poetry of the DASAM GRANTH. Delhi, 1959
- C.H. Loehlin, The Granth of GURU Gobind Singh and the Khulsa Brotherhood. Lucknow, 1971
- Loehlin, C.H (1971). The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh and The Khalsa Brotherhood. Lucknow Publishing House. ISBN.
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