Glory of Jainism: Khemo Dedrani

Published: 10.10.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015


Khemo Dedrani

The Jain community has always rendered help to one and all in times of crises, especially in times of famines when the population suffered from acute scarcity of food grains and women and children died of hunger. The stories of the relief operations undertaken by the Jains have been written in letters of gold. All their wealth and riches are spent to alleviate the suffering of the people and are second to none in providing support to the needy and those in dire state. The poor and the needy would have a free access to their granaries and godowns and therefore the title Shah has been appended to their names. The shahs (philanthropic Jains) would render all possible help during difficult times when even the Emperors would feel helpless. The bards used to say that the tag "shah" is put before the name of the Jain, while in the case of the emperor it comes at the end. Thus they are superior even to the emperor.

The emperor of Gujarat was Mohmmad Begado. He called a member of the Jain community from Champaner and said: “There is famine in Gujarat and people are dying. All the granaries in the state are empty. I want your shahs to provide grains to the people for one year. If they fail to do so the title shah will be withdrawn and you shall be beheaded.” The bhojak of Champaner collected the members of the business community and reported to them what the emperor had said. They all agreed to provide grains and clothes for one year to the people of Gujarat. They approached the shahs in towns and cities and started collecting money. They could collect sufficient amount to last for about 190 days. Then they had to plan for the remaining period.

Hadala is a small village on way to Dhandhuka. Khemo Dedrani was an ordinary villager. He was on his way to the well with his buffalo. He bowed to the members of the mahajan (the business community). One of them said: “Do you want anything?” Khemo said that he did not want anything but he wanted them to come to his house to enjoy his hospitality. His wife prepared sumptuous meal and they all had good time at his place. Khemo came to know about their mission. After obtaining his father’s consent, he said: “Why not give me an opportunity to show that I care for the suffering people? I will meet the entire expenditure of one year.” All those present were stunned. They thought: “How can an ordinary man have the money to meet the expenses for one full year?” To their surprise they discovered that the ordinary looking Khemo was fabulously rich and he could feed people not for one year but for twelve years.

Mahajan, accompained by Khemo, came to the emperor’s court and informed him about the offer. The emperor was also wonderstruck. After sometime bullock carts loaded with bags of grains began to reach the emperor’s godowns. The grains were distributed to the starving people and Gujarat could face the crisis posed by the famine, thanks to the philanthropy of Khemo Dedrani. The emperor was pleased and the title shah was permanently affixed to the Jains. When the Emperor praised Khemo Dedrani, Khemo only said: “I did my duty and the Jin shasan (Jain order) has triumphed.”

Title: Glory Of Jainism

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha


Shri Anilbhai Gandhi (Trustee),
Palitana - 364270 (India)

Edition: 1998

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  1. Dhandhuka
  2. Gujarat
  3. Jin
  4. Mahajan
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