Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sohni Mahiwal Love Story

Sohni Mahiwal

Sohni Mahiwal is a very famous folk love story of sub-continent. This story is originated in Gujrat in 18th century. At that time, Gujrat was on the Central Asia to Delhi Route and traveller especially traders stay here for rest and business. This story become popular when a Punjabi poet, Syed Fazal Shah, wrote it in poetry form. He also wrote other poetic love stories; Heer Ranjha and Laila Majnu but Sohni Mahiwal got more fame.

Every culture has such folklores but some are so heart touching, romantic and tragic, that become popular worldwide without the limits of language, borders and cultures such as Laila-Majnun in Arab, Shirin-Farhad in Persia, Romeo-Juliet in Italy and Heer-Ranjha, Sohni-Mahiwal, Mirza-Sahiba in Punjab and Sassi-Punnu, Umar-Marvi, Noori-Jam Tamachi in Sindh and Adam Khan-Durkhani in Swat KPK. Story of Sohni Mahiwal born in Gujrat. It seems that this story is a mixture of fiction, belief and some facts.

sohni-mahiwal
Sohni Mahiwal
Sohni was a beautiful daughter of a pot-maker "Tulla" of Gujrat while Mahiwal (Izzat Baig) was the son of a wealthy trader of Bukhara. Sohni helped her father by painting artistic designs on the Surahis (water pitchers) and other clay-pots. Her beautiful drawings added value to the pottery. Izzat Baig saw Sohni, working in  her father's shop, while his travel to Delhi. He caught in love of Sohni at first sight. He forgotten his status and purpose of journey and stayed permanently in Gujrat. He visited her father's shop daily and bought water-pitchers from her just to have glimpse of Sohni. These pitcher was of no use for him but he regularly bought them until all of his money spent. Then his friends, servants and courtiers ask him to go back but he denies. His companion left him alone and went back to their homeland. 

Now when he lost all his money, he took the job of a servant of Tulla Kumhar (Sohni's father). He did all type of jobs assigned to him, even took buffaloes for gaze, that's why people of Gujrat named him Mahiwal (Buffalo Herder). Now Sohni also started feeling his love. When her parents knew it, suddenly they married her with a man of their caste. Mahiwal was shocked from this tragic event, left the city, crossed river Chenab and started living solitary life in jungle. Sohni started meeting her by crossing the river with a baked pitcher. Mahiwal regularly caught and make a fish for her. One day he couldn't catch a fish. He loved her so much that he cut his thigh and roast for her. When she came to know that, she wept bitterly.

When sister-in-law of Sohni knew about their meetings, she replaced her backed pitcher with an un-backed pitcher which was not able to cross her the river. She realized that pitcher is not baked soon after she jumped into the water. Now she has two options; either to go back or try to cross the river with it. She want to fulfil her promise at any cost and didn't want to go back as she knew that Mahiwal is waiting for her on the other bank of the river. Pitcher slowly dissolved in the water and Sohni drowned in River Chenab. When Mahiwal saw drowning Sohni, he also jumped in the water to save her but drowned as well.

Rough Punjabi to English translation of a part of song 

Sohni to the pitcher:
It’s dark and the river is in flood
There is water all around.
How am I going to meet my Mahiwal?
If I keep going I will surely drown
And if I turn back
I wouldn’t be living up to my promise to Mahiwal
I beg you, with folded hands,
Help me cross the river and meet my Mahiwal.
You always did it. Please do it tonight, too. 
The pitcher replies:
I wish I were baked in the fire of love like you are
But I am not. Sorry, I am helpless.

A slightly different version of this story is also present as "Sohni Mehar" in the Sindhi Culture. Dead-bodies of this loving couple found from Indus River near Shahdadpur Sindh, Tombs of Sohni and Mahiwal are present in this city.

In India, 2 films have been made on this story. Many Punjabi singers sung this poetry. Love Story of Sohni Mahiwal is popular in both; Pakistani and Indian Punjab.

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