A ‘Foolish’ King Inspires First Gujarati Novel

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Tales of passion, murder, remorse and revenge have littered the pages of history across time but one such dramatic story, which centres on the invasion of Gujarat by Sultan Alauddin Khilji, is special in more ways than one. It is the theme of the first original novel in Gujarati, penned by a headmaster from Surat. Titled Karan Ghelo (Foolish Karan), the story has been immortalised in plays, movies and translations ever since.
Also incorporated into the school curriculum in Gujarat, the book was written by Nandshankar Mehta (1835 – 1905) in 1866. Interestingly, Mehta wrote it on the urging of the British administration, which at the time was keen to make education accessible to the ‘natives’.

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