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True love story – And thus Mirza and Sahiban enter the world of lore and literature.

Lyrics in Punjabi with meaning from the second video !

kaaga sab tan khaiyo mera chun chun khaiyo maas

kaaga sab tan khaiyo mera chun chun khaiyo maas
do naina mat khaiyo mohe piya milan ki aas

Kaaga means crow….so she’s saying to the crow, you can eat all of my flesh, but please don’t eat my eyes, as I yearn to meet my beloved

oo ni mein jaana
jaana jogi de naal ni mein ..jana jogi de naal
hoo ni mein jaana…

I want to go, I want to go….I want to go with jogi (meaning Ranjha i.e her beloved)

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Mirza–Sahiban, a love-lore is a treasure of Punjabi literature. It is a romantic tragedy. Sahiban was another love-lorn soul. Shayer Pillo raves about her beauty and says,” As Sahiban stepped out with a lungi tied around her waist, the nine angels died on seeing her beauty and God started counting his last breath…”

Mirza and Sahiban who were  childhood playmates, fell in love with each other. But when this beauty is about to be wedded forcibly to Tahar Khan by her parents, without any hesitation she sends a taunting message to Mirza, whom she loves, to his village Danabad, through a Brahmin called Kammu.

“You must come and decorate Sahiban’s hand with the marriage henna.”

Mirza couldn’t and wouldn’t let this happen. He announced his decision to go to Khewa and get Sahiban. His parents and sister tried to dissuade him saying that the Sayyal women could not be trusted, and that he was taking a big risk going to Khewa.

His father’s words of advice and warning are quite revealing of the values of the time, some of which persist even today. He says: “To hell with these women. Their brains are in their heels. They fall in love laughing and, later, tell their story to everyone crying.” Strange as it may sound, the father goes on to say: “One should not step inside the house of a woman with whom he is in love.”

However, when the father realized that Mirza would not be dissuaded, he relented, saying: “I see you are determined to go. Now, go, but don’t come back without Sahiban. It’s a question of our honor. Bring her with you!”

Mirza readies his horse, collects his bow and quiver and sets off to Khewa on the day Sahiban’s wedding is to take place. He reaches Khewa when the wedding party (barat) has just arrived and is being feasted. Sahiban, decked in her bridal dress, her hands and feet died with henna, is tucked away in a room somewhere upstairs.

Mirza, knowing the layout of the house from the years he had spent in it, quietly slips inside and asks a woman confidante to alert Sahiban of his arrival. He, then, climbs up to her room, brings her down, helps her into the saddle on his horse and, with Sahiban clinging to him, gallops away into the night.

It takes a while for Khewa Khan’s household to find out what has happened. Sahiban’s brother, Shamair, accompanied by his other brothers, the bridegroom and others set off on their horses after the runaway couple.

Confident that he had gained sufficient distance and that it would not be easy for his pursuers to catch up with him, Mirza wants to stop and rest for a while. He was too tired.

Sahiban warns him that her brothers might catch up with them and urges him not to stop. But Mirza  tells her that, first, they won’t be able to catch up with them

In the quiet of wilderness, Sahiban is assailed with doubts. What if they catch up and kill Mirza?

What if Mirza, quick and accurate marksman that he was, kills his brothers?

Like a typical Eastern sister, her love seem to be divided between her lover and her brothers. She doesn’t want either of them to be killed. Somehow, she believes, or hopes, that this whole thing could end without bloodshed. So, she quietly takes Mirza’s quiver and hangs it on a branch, out of his reach.

Soon, there is the drumming sound of hoofs, and in no time the pursuers appear on the scene. Sahiban shakes Mirza out of sleep. Mirza wakes up with a start and instinctively reaches for his quiver but doesn’t find it there.

In that split second, an arrow from Shamair’s bow pierces Mirza’s throat and he falls to the ground. Another arrow pierces his chest. With two arrows stuck in his body, Mirza looks accusingly into the eyes of Sahiban and utters those memorable words, somewhat reminiscent of Shakespeare’s “Et tu, Brute?”:

“Bura kitoyee Sahiban, mera turkish tangiya jand!”

[Sahiban, you did a terrible thing by hanging the quiver away from my reach!]

Sobbing and shaking, Sahiban throws herself over Mirza’s body to cover him from any further hits. A shower of arrows rains on Sahiban. Her body twitches and then lies still, and Mirza and Sahiban enter the world of lore and literature.

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Innumerable folk songs of Punjab narrate the love tale of Sassi and Punnu. The women sing these songs with great emotion and feeling, as though they are paying homage to Sassi with lighted on her tomb. It is not the tragedy of the lovers. It is the conviction of the heart of the lovers. It is firmly believed that the soil of the Punjab has been blessed. God has blessed these lovers to. Though there love ended in death, death was a blessing in disguise, for this blessing is immortalized.

Waris shah who sings the tale of Heer elevates mortal love to the same pedestal as spiritual love for God saying,” When you start the subject of love, first offer your invocation to God”. This has always been the custom in Punjab, where mortal love has been immortalized and enshrined as spirit of love.

Just as every society has dual moral values, so does the Punjabi community. Everything is viewed from two angles, one is a close up of morality and the other is a distant perspective. The social, moral convictions on one hand give poison to Heer and on the other make offerings with spiritual convictions at her tomb, where vows are made and blessings sought for redemption from all sufferings and unfulfilled desires.

But the Sassis, Heers, Sohnis and others born on this soil have revolted against these dual moral standards. The folk songs of Punjab still glorify this rebelliousness.

“When the sheet tear,
It can be mended with a patch:
How can you darn the torn sky?
If the husband dies, another one can be found,
But how can one live if the lover dies?”

And perhaps it is the courage of the rebellious Punjabi woman, which has also given her a stupendous sense of perspective. Whenever she asks her lover for a gift she says,

” Get a shirt made for me of the sky
And have it trimmed with the earth”

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One comment on “True love story – And thus Mirza and Sahiban enter the world of lore and literature.

  1. Translation of Punjabi Lyrics in the second video in this post !!

    (Kaga sub tan khaiyyo)
    Crow, you might feed on my entire body

    (Mera chun chun khaiyyo maans)
    Eat all this flesh

    (Do naina mat khaiyyo)
    But please do not eat my eyes

    (Mohe piya Milan ki aas)
    Because I expect to see my beloved

    (hoo ni mein jaana
    jaana jogi de naal ni mein ..jana jogi de naal
    hoo ni mein jaana…)
    I want to go, I want to go….I want to go with jogi (meaning Ranjha i.e her beloved)

    (Jaana Jogi de naal ni)
    I shall renunciate from this world like the Jogi.

    (raanjha raanjha kardi ni mein
    aape raanjha hoii
    ranjha mein vich
    mein raanjhe vich
    hor khayal na koi
    hoo nee mein jaana
    jaana jogi de naal nee mein)

    Taking Ranjha’s name over and over again, I myself have become him….I’m in him and he’s in me….I can’t think of anything else….I want to go, I want to go with jogi.

    (Aaj Lok Makkay nu Jandey )
    Today people will go to the holy shrine of Mecca(for Hajj)

    (Mai Jaana Takht Hajarey )
    I shall go to the town of Takht Hazara – where my beloved Ranjha resides

    (Jith Val Yaara )
    Where there is my accomplice Ranjha

    (Uthey val Kaaba)
    There lies my place of worship.

    In short it means people go to holy shrine of Mecca to worship Allah, and here Heer talks about her love for Ranjha and how she worship his love……….and therefore shall visit Takht Hazara where Ranjha resided….
    Heer says ” crow you can eat my body parts n flesh but donot eat my eyes I expect to see ranjha my beloved before I die !!!

    Wowwwwwwww I bow to such love !!!!
    Salutations to Great lovers like Heer Ranjha, Sohni Mahiwal, Mirza Sahiba & All the true lovers in the whole world !!!!
    Blessed are those who are gifted with such love in their lives !!
    Hemant Khurana (Happy)

    Like

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