HIKAYAT is the title given to the eleven tales, in Persian verse but in Gurmukhi letters, in the Dasam Granth, immediately after the Zafamamah. The title `Hikayat` does not occur in the actual text, but most of the tales have a verse, coming after two or three invocational lines in the beginning, which contains the phrase ` hikdyat shumdem` (we have heard the story of…). Hikdyat, being the plural of Hikdyat (story, tale), is adopted as the title for these tales. Each tale is meant to emphasize a moral lesson. The subject matter of the tales is in keeping with the literary taste and style of medieval India and ranges from the romantic and chivalrous to the fantastic and the macabre. Six of these eleven tales are Hindi tales retold in Persian. Hikayat 4 is Chritra 52 of the Chritropdkhydn, where an intrepid ran? defeats the obdurate Raja Subhat Singh in battle in order to marry him. Hikayat 5 is the Persian version of Chritra 267. Some other stories from Chritropdkhydn have likewise found their way into these hikdyat. All the verses as well as hikdyatsare numbered, but hikdyat one is not traceable.
The first talc which comes after the Zafarndmah is numbered two. Some scholars have suggested that Zafamamah proper should be treated as hikdyat number one while others give number one to the first four verses occurring at the beginning of hikdyat two. These verses arc in praise of God and are mainly in Sanskritixcd Braj. The first (tale 2) hikayat is about a rajas four sons who were tested for their fitness to rule. The three elder sons were given great wealth which they soon squandered.
The youngest son was given some seeds which he planted. From the harvest he was eventually able to build cities like Delhi a possible lesson for Emperor Aurarigzib and his sons. The Hikdyat reaches the climax of horror in tale 12, where a Pathan woman from fear of her husband kills her lover, cooks him, and serves him up as a special feast to her hungry husband and his friends, thus winning his approval.
1. Ashta, Dharam Pal, The Poetry of the Dasam Granth. Delhi, 1959
2. Loehlin, C.H., The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh and the Khulsa Brotherhood. Lucknow, 1971
3. Jaggi, Ratian Singh, Dasam Granth Parichaya. Delhi, 1990
4. Padam, Piara Singh, Dasam Granth Darshan. Patiala, 1990