Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Legend About the Goddess Lakshmi

From The Times of India Goddess of East, wealth for all 30 Dec 2007, 0201 hrs IST, Prashant Dayal,TNN AHMEDABAD: Saumyak Shah started a saree store in Ratanpol area of the Walled city in 1953 and called it "Deepak Stores". As the city grew westward, Shah opened another shop on Ashram Road in 1983, now known as 'Deepkala'. Today Shah has his third showroom on the Shivranjani crossroads, in new Ahmedabad, but has not closed the Ratanpol shop. These are the traders of old Ahmedabad who had small beginnings and believe that the Walled city brought them prosperity, because the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, resided there. Folklore has it that nearly 600 years ago, a guard of the ancient city of Ahmedabad, Khwaja Siddiqui, posted at Teen Darwaza had stopped the Goddess from leaving the city without the permission of Sultan Ahmed Shah. The Goddess promised that she would stand right there till the guard returned after seeking permission from the Sultan. When the guard met the Sultan, he was so enraged at the idea of the Goddess leaving, he beheaded the guard. The Goddess stayed. In memory of the guard's sacrifice and honour of the Goddess, a lamp burns 24x7 to this day at Teen Darwaza, one of Ahmedabad's most beautiful gates. It is said that the Mahalakshmi temple at Dhana Suthar ni pol in Kalupur is dedicated to this Goddess. The priest of this temple, Bhupendra Bhatt, is the tenth descendant. The local mujawar has been lighting this lamp for the last 50 years and says this place is revered by both Hindus and Muslims. The traders who launched businesses here owe their prosperity to this belief that Lakshmi (wealth) is more stable here than outside the fort wall. Many businessmen retailed to West Ahmedabad but still have their original shops in the Walled city. West Ahmedabad still hears of several cases of fraud, and businesses winding up, but nothing of this sort for ancient family businesses. Shah of Deepkala says, "There is also a section of people on that side of the river who never cross the river to the western bank and these are our dedicated clientele". Dilip Rochwani of Azad Sweetmart, who set up his first shop in 1958 in the Revdi bazaar area of Kalupur, does not want to leave this area. He has other shops in West Ahmedabad but he says, "we had started on a very small scale for the middle class and they are our dedicated customers whom we don't want to leave".

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