Some where between Pasrur and Lahore in Punjab on the side of the main path, many travel to their journeys. Most of them would be walking, while some rich men and families could afford to be on a horse or a bullock cart, others used to walk along a small ‘majar’(A Mazār is a tomb or mausoleum;) of an unknown man. There was a small well near the ‘majar’ and frequent travelers on the route looked forward to stopping there for a rest.
There was a small hut next to the ‘majar’ in which lived an old woman in her sixties. She was a religious woman praying four times a day, armed with devotional charm, she used to serve water and whatever else she had, to weary travelers. Despite her being a very religious and devoted woman, she carried a feeling of anger and resentment. Most travelers to this stop on their journey either to or from Pasrur would be puzzled by this apparent paradox and if anyone dared to ask her any questions, she would always repeat the following story to them.
Once upon a time, there was a handsome young man called ‘Mirza’ who lived in Sialkot Punjab.
At this stage, her voice would choke and for a few moments she will be unable to speak. Her audience was left in no doubt by her sad glances towards the ‘majar’, that it must be final resting place of that hadsome young man she is talking about. Then, she would gather her courage and once again continue her story.
Mirza was in love with this beautiful girl from Pasrur. The girl’s name was Sahiba.
A feeling of anger would rise in her voice and her audience could feel the earth tremor in fear of this saint’s emotions. The chirping birds on the tree under which she is sitting would be stunned into silence, the wind would stop and sun would become still. She would pause for a moment, control her anger and wait for the birds to start chirping again and then continue her story.
Sahiba was also very much in love with Mirza. She had resolved that she would not marry any man but Mirza. Mirza was a well known horse rider and Bow and Arrow marksman. There was not any other man in living in and around the five rivers who could even boast to beat Mirza in a competition. It was said that Mirza could wake up from his sleep and before his eyes are fully open, he could shoot seven arrows to kill seven flying birds.
Mirza approached Sahiba’s parents but they refused to give their daughter to him. Both Mirza and Sahiba vowed that they would not get married to anyone else but each other. Mirza returned back to Sailkot. All the elder brothers of Mirza got married one by one. Finally his last sister was going to get married in a few months time. Mirza’s friends taunted him that if he does not get Sahiba’s hand from her parents, he will have to remain single for the rest of his life. Mirza took a bet with his friends, that he and Sahiba will be married before his sister’s marriage in a few months.
Mirza traveled on his horse from Sialkot to Pasrur. There, once again, he pleaded with Sahiba’s parents to marry Sahiba to him but they refused. At night time, Mirza slipped into Sahiba’s home and the two lovers decided to run away. Mirza seated Sahiba behind him on the back of his horse and the two trotted towards Sailkot.
When they were far away from Pasrur, Sahiba asked Mirza to stop for a rest. Mirza knew that now that the sun has risen, Sahiba’s parents would find out and her seven brothers would be searching for her and avenging for Mirza. However he heeded to Sahiba’s request and decided to stop under a tree.
The woman saint’s eyes would turn up to the leaves of the tree under which she is sitting with her audience and narrating the story. She would pause for a moment as if asking permission of the tree to tell what happened next and continue.
Mirza stopped and tied his horse. He handed his bow and seven arrows to Sahiba and asked her to be on the lookout while he takes a nap. He instructed Sahiba to keep the Bow and Arrow within his reach just in case, somebody is following them. Sahiba, in love with this young man, took every instruction he gave as a command and dutifully sat down with the Bow and Arrow guarding the place. Mirza was soon fast asleep.
Sahiba heard a commotion from the other side of the hill. She heard her brothers calling out her name and soon saw them carrying swords to rescue her. Sahiba was shattered, she looked at her sleeping lover and then again looked towards her brothers, who by now had seen her and were running towards her and Mirza with swords waving in their hands. Sahiba knew that these seven swords are no match to Mirza’s arrows and felt guilty towards all her brothers pending deaths. She wanted to escape but thought she could do so and still let her brothers live. To save her brothers from Mirza’s arrows, she decide to wake up Mirza after hanging the bow and arrows a bit high up in the trees so that they could not be grabbed easily.
She woke up Mirza. Mirza saw the swords and men running towards him and gave a laugh. He asked Sahiba to give him his Bow and Arrows so that he could stop them in their tracks. Sahiba pointed her finger to where the bow and arrow were, away from Mirza’s reach. Mirza was stunned at this treacheory of her lover and before he could retrieve his bow and arrow, was cut into pieces by Sahiba’s brothers.
Woman saints’ face would turn into stone, the silence in the air was filled with an expectation of an outburst and she would.
O, People of the world, there is no worse kind of treachery than letting your lover down. Sahiba was cruel and deserves my condemnations, she was not trustworthy, she could not make her mind between her brothers (her past) and her lover (her future) and in the process lost the most precious thing she hed in her life.
Woman saint would now rise from her seat and as if she is calling higher powers of the sky and would say.
If there is any power looking after this world, I ask you to punish Sahiba for her ghastly crime, I ask you to let me tell her story to everybody who passes by so that they can also condemn her, those of you, who are going to Pasrur, beware, go there and spit on the ground and condemn Sahiba.
Woman saint then broke down in tears, her whole body is shaking with indignation and sorrow. She would quietly retire into her hut for the rest of the night.
No body dared to ask her anything more. Not even a foolhardy would ever ask her, what was her relation to either Mirza or Sahiba.
If any one had dared to ask her, they would find out that it is Sahiba herself who is living at Mirza’s ‘majar’ and is narrating her own story to every passer by so that she can atone for her ghastly deed……………End of Dreams