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Archive for category PAKISTAN ARTS & LITERATURE

5 Famous Folk Love Stories from Pakistan in DESIblitz By HASEEB AHSEN

5 Famous Folk Love Stories from Pakistan

Love stories are an essential part of Pakistani folklore. We bring you five of these tales of love and tragedy which have been immortalised to this day.

5 Love Legends from Pakistan
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The iconic characters of folklore can easily be seen in Pakistani culture today

If there is one consistent subject throughout the folklore of Pakistan, it is love.

It is the most prominent and notable theme around which many of the notable folk tales of Punjab and Sindh revolve.

These love stories follow different pathways but arrive at one similar ending – the perishing of lovers while fighting for each other.

The iconic characters of folklore can easily be seen in Pakistani culture today. Innumerable songs, movies, poems, books, and TV series keep them immortal.

DESIblitz reveals five of the most legendary folk love stories from Pakistan, some of which also span to India pre-partition.

Heer Ranjha

Heer Ranjha

Heer Ranjha is a story of great despair, narrated by Waris Shah. It is a tragic tale of two lovers.

Ranjha, whose real name was Deedo was a fortunate man in some ways, but unfortunate in many others. He was the youngest of four brothers and his father favoured him the most.

When his father passed, his brother’s refused to give him any share in the farm land. He was badly treated by them, forcing him to leave the village. He left for Takht Hazara, hoping to find a better fortune.

In this new village, he came across a farm, much like the one he was banished from. This is where he laid his eyes on the most beautiful lady he had ever seen. He instantly fell in love with her and from that moment onwards, it was his sole mission to make her fall in love with him.

It was Heer, and Ranjha got a job of herding her father’s cattle. One thing led to another and Heer also fell hopelessly in love with Ranjha. She was captivated by the beautiful music he played on his flute.

For next few years, their secret affair went on wonderfully, until one day they were caught. Kaido, Heer’s uncle, told on them and Ranjha was exiled from the village.

Lost again, he wandered across Punjab, travelling from city to city till he met a band of Jogis. Ranjha decided to relinquish the material world, dedicate the rest of his life to the Lord.

The new pious Ranjha returned to Takht Hazara, and Heer’s parents agreed for their marriage. The young lovers rejoiced at this revelation, but fate had something else in the store for them.

Kaido conspired to poison Heer in an attempt to sabotage their marriage. Clueless Heer devoured on the food laced with poison.

When Ranjha found out about this, it was already too late. Struck with grief, he made the decision to end his life. He ate the same food. Their lifeless corpses laid next to each other and the lovers were now united in death.

They were buried in the Heer’s hometown of Takht Hazara near Jhang, Punjab. Their graves are regularly visited by couples.

There are several films made on this love legend, including Heer Ranjha (1992) starring Sridevi as Heer, Anil Kapoor as Ranjha, and Heer Ranjha (2009) starring Neeru Bajwa as Heer, Harbhajan Mann as Ranjha. Other adaptations include the 1970 film starring Raaj Kumar and Priya Rajvansh.

Mirza Sahiban

Mirza Sahiban

Mirza Sahiban love story emerged from Punjab, during the Mughal Era. Mirza was from Punjab and belonged to a tribe of Jats, the Kharals. Sahiban belonged to the Sial tribe.

Mahni Khan, the father of Sahiban, was chief of Kheewa, a town in Punjab’s Jhang district.

Mirza’s father was Wanjhal Khan, who was a Chaudhary in the tribe of Kharal Jatts, in the Jaranwala, which is now Faisalabad.

Mirza went to Khivan in order to study. He fell in love with Sahiban soon after he saw her for the very first time.

Sahiban’s marriage was arranged soon after they became lovers, and she sent a message to Mirza. Mirza, who was attending the marriage ceremony of his sister, immediately left for Sahiban’s village.

Mirza took Sahiban away from her marriage ceremony on his mare. They hid in the forest, where they were caught by her brothers. Mirza was an expert archer, but he was unable to defend himself.

Sahiban broke all of his arrows, hoping to avoid any bloodshed. Mirza put up a fight but didn’t last long, and was killed by her brothers. Sahiban ended her life right there with Mirza’s sword.

This love story is a now part of the Punjabi culture. There are numerous folk songs by singers like Harbhajan Mann, Kuldeep Manak, Gurmeet Bawa, and many others.

Sassi Punnu

Sassi Punnu

Sassi Punnu is one of the Seven Queens of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. The narrator of this story is the famous Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689-1752).

Sassi’s father was King of Bhamboor, but upon her birth, an astrologer predicted that Sassi was cursed and would bring shame to the prestige of this royal family.

The Queen ordered her to be put in a box and thrown in the Indus River. A washer man found her and decided to raise her as his own.

Punnu Khan was the son of King Mir Hoth Khan. He belonged to the Makran area of Baluchistan.

Sassi’s beauty became a fairy tale as she grew up. Stories of her divine beauty spread across the region, and this inspired Punnu to meet her. When he reached the house of the washer-man and laid his eyes on the beautiful Sassi, he immediately fell in love with her.

Punnu asked the washer-man for Sassi’s hand in marriage, who initially refused but agreed if only Punnu passes trial as a washer-man. He failed miserably but still managed to convince the washer-man.

When this news travelled to the family of Punnu, they instantly opposed this arrangement because this was an unacceptable match for them. His brothers deviously attended the marriage ceremony but intoxicated him and took him back to Makran.

Sassi lost her mind when she was met with this news. She ran barefoot through the desert towards the hometown of Punnu. Her feet blistered, her dry lips parched from constantly crying the name of her lover.

She met a shepherd whom she asked for help, but instead, he tried to violate her. She barely managed to escape.

The legend has it that when she couldn’t take any more, she prayed and the mountains split and buried her alive. When Punnu woke up, he was devastated too.

He ran towards the village of Sassi, when he reached that mountain he met the shepherd who told him what happened to Sassi. In a fit of grief, he lamented and the earth swallowed him too.

Their legendary graves still exist in that valley. Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai narrated this historic tale in his poetry, which tells the story of eternal love and union with Divine.

Sohni and Mahiwal

Sohni Mahiwal

Sohni was born in the home of a potter, in a village at the bank of Indus River. She grew up learning how to draw floral designs on the items of pottery her father made.

Izzat Baig was an Uzbek trader from Bukhara, whose business trip became a permanent stay once he laid his eyes on Sohni. He would visit the potter’s shop every day just so that he could get a glimpse of Sohni.

Sohni fell in love with him too. Now her art turned from flowers to shades of her love and dreams. Izzat Baig decided to stay and took a job at the home of Sohni. He would take the buffaloes to grazing, which earned him the name of ‘Mahiwal’.

When rumours of their love started to spread, her parents arranged her marriage with another potter. ‘Barat’ suddenly showed up one day and Sohni was married before she could do anything.

This completely turned the life of Mahiwal upside down. He renounced the material world and became a Jogi. The land of Sohni was a shrine for him. The lovers would meet secretly at night.

Sohni came to the riverside and Mahiwal swam across the river to see each other. Mahiwal brought a roasted fish every day for Sohni.

Legend has it that one day he couldn’t find any fish so he took a slice of meat from his leg and roasted it instead.

Mahiwal was unable to swim so Sohni started coming towards his side using a ‘Matti Ka Ghara’ (earthen pitcher). One day, it was replaced by an unbaked one by her sister-in-law, who was spying on her.

The pitcher dissolved in the river water and Sohni drowned. In his attempts to save her, Mahiwal lost his life too. Their bodies were said to be recovered and their tomb is in the city of Shahdapur, Sindh.

A Bollywood film, Sohni-Mahiwal (1984) was also made starring Sunny Deol and Poonam Dhillon.

Momal Rano

Momal Rano

Momal Rano (or Mumal Rano) is one of the seven popular tragic romance stories from Sindh and appears in Shah Jo Risalo by Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

Mumal Rathore was a princess from Jaisalmer, India. She lived in a palace with her sisters. The Kak Palace held magical powers and attracted rich suitors for the sisters. The tales about the palace and Mumal’s ravishing beauty became a legend.

Rana Mahendra Sodha was the ruler of Amar Kot, Sindh. He was attracted to the magical Kak and decided to pay it a visit.

Rana was a courageous man and he reached the palace without any harm. This impressed Mumal so much that she accepted him as her consort. He would spend nights at the palace and then return to Umer Kot at dawn. Rana covered long distances from AmarKot to Kak to be with Mumal.

One day, Rano got late for some reason. Mumal became frustrated because of this delay. She decided to prank him by a silly trick. She asked her sister to dress like a man and sleep in the bed with her. Rano was enraged by the sight.

Out of anger and disgust, Rano left his cane beside Mumal’s bed and departed for Umer Kot. Rano ignored all pleading from Mumal.

Desperate, Mumal set herself on fire. When Rano heard about it, it was too late and Mumal was engulfed in flames. Rano jumped into the fire and was burned along with Mumal.

These tales have rich characters that reflect the time and society they lived in.

The stories are not just meant for the young and those in love, but for anyone with a sense of deep emotion. They are narrated for their message of tradition and love.


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Nadia Rafiq Butt.
Pakistan like many other countries is striving to get a positive image for one reason or the other. One can spell out a number of reasons. On top is sectarianism and extremism which has become plague for our society. Then is the law and order situation, frequency of murders and thefts and all such crimes. However, this doesn’t suggest that things are not under control. There are good people and good things to report. It must be admitted that human societies have their limitations. Freedom, justice and equality are only ideals. Total justice and peace is not humanly possible. Instead of looking at it in a negative way, one should look at those negatives with a glass half-full approach, and one should realize that spreading positivity instead of deprivation and scarcity would serve the cause better as we all hold responsibility being nationals to our homeland. Man will only remain on the right track if a mental discipline is shaped by education and if there is a fear of law, justice and punishment, in short dispense of justice without fear or favor. If a society enjoys justice and fair play it will surely portray soft image.
If our social, economic and administrative systems work reasonably and efficiently no harm can come to Pakistan. If all get justice and feel secure no one will think of any criminal activities. Every citizen must have confidence in its justice system. There can be no peace without justice and no civilized society without education. In the absence of justice and literacy no one can vision of credibility of sound reputation of the country.
Apparently Pakistan’s softer image is being portrayed by book releases, rock concerts and exhibitions nationally either internationally. Somehow we misunderstood the reality that the solution lies to the problems of country. We can somehow fix this problem by altering our international image of being naïve along with gratified and full of pride of our own culture and traditions. We have to come out of copying and competing others thereafter. If we can value our own culture and traditions showcasing higher values and norms with self-dignity only then we can gently put others on the track of respecting our culture and traditions in reciprocation. 
Pakistan is making all sorts of efforts to tackle deadly hazard of terrorism not only for its own good but for the whole world. Terrorism could only be defeated through dialogue, as it was the only way to eliminate terrorism where the outcome of using power would produce no positive results but would aggravate the situation. Unfortunately the western world is not giving Pakistan its due credit. It keeps on highlighting only those things through which the image of the country can be damaged and their national interests get served. More fuel is been added by next-door enemy India whose psychological warfare has always put serious harm to our country both nationally and internationally. But would it serve sensible if we keep waiting for due credit. Putting aside unhygienic debate of our war or others war enforced on our country and steered by our forces, political leaders should get our unparalleled sacrifices and unshaken resolve acknowledged by international world regardless of opposition’s propaganda which has been going since years and will keep going. 
Pakistan’s soft image can be portrayed through three resources i.e. culture economy and media. Pakistan is not being able to attract the western world through its historical and cultural heritage. Pakistan has great heritage from North to South. Tourism can bring a big change and can play a pivotal role. Cultural events, exchange programs, broadcasting or teaching country’s language and promoting country’s culture and society can be used as soft tools. Basant and Valentine’s Day celebrations will not help. We are in dire need of culture of tolerance in Pakistan but anything against the true spirit of Islam needs to be discouraged. Pakistan must think to start exchange programs between students. Teachers must be welcome from abroad to teach their language to young students in Pakistan and vice versa. Science and technology must be given high preferences. Helping other countries in disasters and emergency situations can prove our soft side instead of highlighting and pretending miseries in the greed of getting aid from international world. Government should stay alive to the issues of backwardness, unemployment and economic deprivation in the country and keep striving to address these through judicious distribution of resources.
People buy brands not products, this is an age old fact acknowledged by the researchers of the world. We need to develop our brand reputed Pakistan. Almost every other country is associated with its national characteristics. Italy is associated with style, Japan with technology, India with history and culture, so our efforts with branding must be guided to find our economic role. Here comes the question how we can package our self. The media particularly electronic media can play a major role. We need to have more of English news channels to have more international audience. Media has hyped bad news and have made it look like a demon.This does not mean that nothing good has happened or is happening. The only prevailing fact that bad news is more newsworthy than good news. Media has played a huge part in this feeling of desperation by mainly reporting bad news and harping on it. Calling the same idiots for discussions on prime time every day is hardly a way of finding solutions tour myriad problems. Media seems to be shunning every positive news because it is not sexy and gets no TRPs or advertising.We all know that publicity is what a company or individual receives when something prominent happens and when the notable event is good, the publicity usually attracts new client and gives the company something to brag about in future.We as a nation have to say that yes we are going through bad times and all of us in some way or other are contributors to this. Let’s all now resolve to get out of this rut by doing sincerely and honestly what our individual jobs are before we point fingers at others. We need to be more focused and targeted as generic strategies “Be Pakistani, buy Pakistani” “East or West, Pakistan is the best” will not work anymore. 

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ARTS & LITERATURE FOCUS: نئی غزل سعید قریشی ڈ یلس ٹیکساس

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سعید قریشی

ڈ یلس ٹیکساس

یوں بھی ھو گا نہ کوئی درد کا چا ر ا  ھوگا

شد ت یا س میں کوئی نہ سھارا ھو گا

بڑ ھ گئی ھو گی پریشا نئی خاطر کچھ اور

اس کے احساس کا جب بوجھ اتا ر ا  ھو گا

و قت کی دھول نے دھند لا دیا ہو گا اس کو

دل کے آئینے میں جو نقش سنوا ر ا  ہو گا

اب تو حالا ت بگڑتے ہی چلے جاتے ہیں

کیسے اے گرد ش ایا م  گزارا ہو گا

عھد حاضر تو عد و کا ہے مگر یا د رہے

اس کے بعد آ ۓ گا جو دور ہما ر ا ہو گا

آ گ بھڑ کے گی تو پھر سب ہی جلیں گے اس میں

پھر تو میرا کوئی ہوگا نہ تمہارا ہو گا

ہم سے جو بات بھی کرنے کا روادار نہیں

کس طرح غیر نے شیشے میں اتا ر ا ہو گا

ر ت جو بد لے گی تو بد لے کا مقّدر اپنا

صبح آئے گی تو ساتھ اسکے ستا را   ہو گا

حو ر کے روپ میں محبوب کرے گا طا عت

خوب جنت میں یہ اک طرفہ نظا ر ا  ہو گا

نا ؤ  جب ڈوبتی ہو گی تو سبھی لوگوں نے

ناخد ا اور خدا کو بھی پکارا ہو گا

آ شیا نوں کو پرندے وہی لوٹیں گے جنھیں

سخت طوفان  میں پرواز کا یا ر ا ہو گا

بزم میں بیٹھے ہوۓ ہیں اسی امید سے ہم

چشم ساقی کا ادھر کو بھی اشارا  ہو گا   


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