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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 431.


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XI] VERNACULAR LITERATURE 43'
founded on the historical siege and capture of the virgin city
of Chitor by Alau-'d-din Khilji in A.D. 1303. Ratan SEn, its
king, having heard from a parrot of the charms of Padmavati,
princess of Ceylon, journeys thither, and after many perils
succeeds in winning her. Returning with her to Chitor, he
lives there happily till Alau-'d-din hears of her beauty and
demands her for his seraglio. Ratan refuses, and war is
declared. He is treacherously taken prisoner, and held as a
hostage for her surrender. During her husband's imprisonment
proposals of an insulting nature are made to Padmavati by the
Raj& of the neighbouring state of Kambhalner, which she rejects
with scorn. Ratan is subsequently released from his dungeon
by his friends Gdra and Badal; and as soon as he is again
seated on his throne he attacks Kambhalner, and kills its
king, but is himself sorely wounded, and only reaches home to
die. His two wives, Padmavati and NMgmati, become sati for
him, and while their ashes are still warm Alhu-'d-din's army
appears before the city. It is nobly defended by BAdal, who
falls fighting at the gate, but in the end is taken and sacked,
'and Chitor becomes Islam.' In the final verses of his work
the poet explains that it is all an allegory. By Chitor he
means the body of man; by Ratan Sin, the soul; by the
parrot, theguru or spiritual preceptor; by Padmavati, wisdom;
by Alau-'d-din, delusion, and so on. The Padumczewatiis a noble
poem; its author's ideal is high, and throughout the work of
the Musalman ascetic there run veins of the broadest charity
and of sympathy with those higher spirits among his fellow
countrymen who were searching in God's twilight for that truth
of which some of them achieved a clearer vision.
One other important work in Eastern Hindi is the
translation of the Mahkbhdarata (published in 1829) by the
Benares poet Gokulnath and others. It has a great reputation,
which it well deserves. Some of its verses are household words
throughout Northern India.
The main figure in Marathi literature is TukLram, who has Marathi
already been disposed of. Namdev, the tailor (thirteenth literature.
century), was the earliest Maratht writer of importance. He is
known to us by hymns enshrined in the Sikh Granth, as well
as by those current in his own country. Contemporaries of
his were Dnyan6ba (author of an esteemed paraphrase of the
Bhagavad-gitd) and MIukunda-ray, a VWdantic writer. Eknath,
who wrote also in Hind6stani, was a contemporary of Shahji,
the father of Sivaji, and composed several Vaishnava works.
Ram-das, a devotee of Rama, was the spiritual teacher of



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