Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Divine Love legend - Sheh Murid and Hani “Romeo & Juliet of Balochistan”

By Shagufta & Bijjar Baloch

Story of Sheh Murid & Hani is a symbol of pure and tragic love, it revolves around love, romance, miracle, mystery and human passion.

Story depicts the life of baloch, their emotions and philosophical idea ‘Good, Evil’

The story dates back to the 15th century, which is considered to be the heroic age of Balochistan and the classical period of Baloch literature. Sheh Murid was the son of Sheh Mubarak, the chief of the Kahiri tribe. At that time when a man was known for his arts, Murid was famous as having mastered the art of swordsmanship, horsemanship, and archery. For his skills and braveness he was ranked the highest in the army of Mir Chakar Khan Rind, the chief of the Baloch army.

Murid’s bow made of steel was so heavy & he was known as the “Lord of the Iron Bow”, because none but he alone could draw and shoot arrows from it.

Hani was the daughter of the Rind noble Mir Mandaw; some say she was Murid’s cousin.

She was a paragon of loyalty and devotion and everyone knew her for her good character and chastity. Hani was engaged to Sheh Murid and had been a childhood friend of Murid.

Legend says that one day when Mir Chakar and Sheh Murid were returning from hunting, they stopped at the town where their fiancées lived. Since a Baloch woman never appears before her betrothed before the wedding. Mir Chakar and Sheh Murid decided to visit each others’ fiancées.

Sheh Murid went to Mir Chakar’s fiancée, who brought him clean water in a silver bowl. Murid, dying of thirst, drank the entire bowl in a single gulp and became sick. However, when Mir Chakar went to Hani, Sheh Murid’s fiancée, she brought him clean water in a silver bowl in which she has placed dwarf palm leaf, properly washed. The chief was surprised by the pieces of straw, but he drank the water with care in order to avoid swallowing the straw. When he departed he found Murid vomiting and sick. Murid told him that the water had made him ill because he drank a lot of water on an empty stomach. Now Mir Chakar realized that Hani had acted wisely by putting pieces of straw into water.

May be that palm leaf ironically touched Mir Chaka'rs heart.

Some time later, Mir Chakar organized a gathering of poets where Baloch heroic poems were recited and chief from each tribe was invited.

Mir Chakar wanted to test Balochi values in invitees, asked each to take a vow “make a solemn Balochi promise” and stick it rest of the life, one may end up sacrificing a lot.

This was like, “the Balouch Honor” and for this they stand - their pride which eclipses the brightness of the Sun. A vow ‘solemn promise’ for which he will have to make the precious Sacrifice.

One of the Chief ‘Mir Jado’ swore that he would chop off the head of anyone who touched his beard at the assembly of nobles. Mir Chakar tested Mir Jado’s word by asking his young son to touch his father's beard during an assembly of nobles. The young boy innocently did as he was told; Mir Jado turned his face and moved the boy hoping no one noticed. However Mir Chakar encouraged the boy to repeat the action the boy grabbed his father's beard once more. The entire assembly became silent and looked towards Mir Jado. Will he be true to his word? Full of wrath, Jado unsheathes his sword and smites the head of his innocent son in the presence of all the Rind nobles.

Now it was time to test Sheh Murid and he hosted a festive gathering on his wedding and invited renowned poets to entertain the audience. And at the close of the festivities, Sheh Murid, was ready to depart with his possessions.

Mir Chakar asked for Hani. Sheh Murid was shocked; he thought that he would have asked for his bow which was a unique bow and he was a brilliant marksman with a strong bow. He was known as The Lord of the Iron Bow. With a heavy heart and much sadness he told Mir Chakar to take Hani.

The unexpected demand distressed him greatly, and Murid realized that he had lost Hani.

If he did not keep his vow he would be mocked and future generations would have contempt for his name. Soon after the annulment of Murid’s engagement with Hani, she was soon married to Mir Chakar.

Murid was so shaken by this turn of events that he abandoned his former life and passed the days and nights in worship of Allah. He also composed poems eulogizing Hani’s beauty and openly expressing his passionate love for her.

Later the scandalous news of Murid’s love for Mir Chakar’s wife became the talk of Balochistan. His father Sheh Mubarak tried to advise him, he composed a poem in Baluchi in response to his father’s advice;

My Shai mubark says, Oh Mureed leave your aloofness,Aloofness without purpose direction(purpose), For Chakar’s beautiful wife, In the assemblies you are not amongst your friends, You are like a walking corpse, Hani's love has blinded you, How will you carry on in this way, I replied, I advised my elderly father, I advised my respected father, Oh most honored father, Oh most esteemed, If you were in my place likewise, You would have left all your friends, And stopped going to assemblies and noble gatherings, You would have lost your mind, And not be aware of how you dressed,You would have clapped your hands, On your lap and be, In your own world, At least i am sometimes with it And sometimes not with it. Then Sheh Murid decided to leave the country and run away to unknown lands across the seas. Sheh Murid remained in Arabia for 30 along time during that time he truly became a beggar and lived the life of an ascetic.

After spending years away, he returned to Sibi in shabby clothes with his hair hanging down to his waist. In the company of a band of beggars he passed himself off as an anonymous mendicant begging for alms at the palace of Mir Chakar Khan Rind.

The maidservant gave bowls filled with grain to each mendicant, but when she presented this food to Murid, she saw that Murid’s eyes were fixed upon Hani. Hani recognized him at once but held herself back to avoid any suspicions, but Chakar saw a sparkle in her eyes.

How Hani felt I wonder the vows of a wife she has taken in one side and on the other side the part of her soul Murid. No body could recognize but Hani did, because they had played together as children. Hani recognized the mark on the upper left thigh, which her bracelet had made, and another one behind the eyebrow.

When the Rinds checked the marks, they at last recognized Sheh Murid.

Although Mir Chakar married Hani, however he was unable to consummate the marriage, whenever he approached Hani, he would freeze as if paralyzed. For years it was carried on this way and realized that Hani can never truly be his.

When he found out that Sheh Murid had returned, he told Hani that Sheh Murid was a great man and deserved her, so he divorced her and told her she was free to go to Sheh Murid.

Hani, who had not forgotten her first and only love, decided to go to him, she told him that Mir Chakar had realized his mistake and has now freed her so that they (i.e. Sheh Murid & Hani) could be together.

But Sheh Murid told her that he had now reached a different level and cannot step down from that to be with her. To Sheh, Hani was a mean by which he had reached closer to Allah.

He took left her and later he visited his father’s camel herd, chose a white camel, mounted her, and disappeared from mortal eyes.

He has become the immortal saint of the Baloch, and the common belief among the Baloch is that: ta jahan ast, Sheh Murid ast (Until the living world, Sheh Murid remains immortal and their eternal love remains.)

Love is such a blessing and it is Divine. Beyond any explanation or definition.

Disclaimer “Original post is edited by Imran Baloch for concise reading”


Anonymous said...

They are living under this illusion that like many states in the world, Pakistan too is an empirical 'nation state;' it has a unified culture and history.
One has to remind these Urdu-speaking alien and also Punjabi colonisers that if a cultural community which has retained its values for hundreds years, melts away within sixty years of captivity, then today, Roman empire, Mongol empire and Ching dynasty of China had been still amongst us.

Anonymous said...

oops! I was supposed to post the above comments in response to 'Sind in Bolovia.' But never mind...

Muhammad said...

Too bad people don't know much about the balochi culture and history...