ACK-070: Jasma of Odes

An out of print ACK #095

Inside cover story

Jasma of the Ode Tribe of Gujarat is remembered for her royalty of husband, for fearless conduct in the face of the might of king Siddharaj jaisingh and for her love of the rugged life of the nomadic odes. many folk song sung about her, to this day, in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

According to legend, in an earlier birth, Jasma was an Apsara (celestial nymph) and had been sent to earth by indra to distract the meditation of sage Nala. the engraged sage cursed her. " she would be born in the poor nomadic community of Odes and be forced to marry an ugly man". it was in fulfillment of this curse that she was married to Rupa, the ugly son of Bhalo Bhand.

A wandering bard of king Siddharaj jaisingh's court chanced to see Jasma and described what he saw to his king when he returned to the Court. The king has to see the dazzling beauty. When he did, he was captivated by her beauty and offered to marry her to make her the queen of Gujarat. Jasma looked him in disdain, spured his offer and rebuked him for having cherished such evil thoughts. This dialogue between the king and Jasma forms, perhaps the most eloquent part of the folksongs and is sung with embrassment by the inspired villagers.
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A Temple is built in her memory which is situated at Pattan railway station, near Baroda in Gujarat State, INDIA.

Odra or Ode caste

During the medieval times, the state corresponding roughly with now-a-days Orissa passed under the various names such as: Utkala, Kalinga, and Odra (Udra) Desa. The state boundaries varied from time to time and were sometimes much larger. These land names are associated with peoples. The Okkala or Utkala, the Kalinga, and the Odra or Oddaka were mentioned in literature as tribes. Ancient Greeks knew the latter two as Kalingai and Oretes. Eventually the names got identified with the territories. The land was inhabited by semi-Hinduized tribes (shabaras) in the hinterland, a group of farming Brahmins (halua brahmuna) who practised invincible Tantra method near Jajpur area (the place of Goddess Biraja), and people of other castes and trades as well. For centuries before and after the birth of Christ, Kalinga was a formidable political power, extending from the Ganga river to the Godavari river. Approximately between the 11th and 16th centuries the name was twisted; the name Odra Desa was gradually transformed into Uddisa, Udisa, or Odisa, which in English became Orissa. The language of Odisa came to be known as Oriya. Ode tribe migrated to gujarat around 12th century for construction of temples in which they are more specialized. People who supplied stone and lime for construction work of temples. People from these region were called as Oddars, Vadderas and Waddars in Andhra, Tamil nadu and Karnataka. The important Deity of Odes is 'Jasma devi'.

(~ from Nationmaster.com)

Many many thanks to “Ajay Misra” for providing ACK scan.

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