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ڪتاب: ڳجهارتون


صفحو :28


This volume which encompasses one specific variety of Sindhi riddle، known as Gujharat، is a companion volume to Book XII، already published، in which all the other eight generic varieties of Sindhi riddle have been discussed and delineated. Technically and culturally، ‘Gujharat’ is the most advanced form of riddle which، perhaps، is not met with in the existing riddle forms anywhere else.

Pun and allesion are the two basic elements in the structure of Gujharat. Pun needs to be understood in the sense of tajnis (of Arabic/Persian rhetorics) of which at least seven varieties are found employed in Gujharat. A gujharat must involve at least one pun، though usually it contains a number of puns varying from two to ten or more. Of the two meanings of each word، one if ‘feigned’ and the other ‘purposive’. The ‘feigned’ meaning is encased in a ‘shell’ known as pava (the pillar، on which the edifice of the gujharat rests). The pava is a word-structure giving the indication of a male/female name، name of city /country، the categorical name of anything (a tree، a bird، a fish، an animal، a food، an ailment، a herb etc.)، or a word related to something as apart/quality/result (‘of food’، ‘of tree’ etc). as such، each pava becomes a minor riddle in itself، the solution of which depends upon the names of persons، places، things etc. which constitute the vast human and natural environment. Thus، the gujharat، as s whole، contains a series of minor riddles (varying from two to ten or more) represented by as many pavas. The solutions of all the pavas yield the apparent or feigned meanings which، because of the puns involved، in turn، yield the ‘purposive’ meanings. These when put together، give a meaningful sentence or a rhymed verse containing some kind of allusion.

The world of allusions pressed into service in Gujharat is very vast، without any limitations. The allusions may extend to facts and ovations from natural phenomena، the origin of creation، stories of prophets and saints، pseudo-historical references from ancient history (of Pharoas، the Babylonian Kings، Alexander etc.)، or actual historical events and occurrences nearer home. Similarly، the allusions may extend to the famous tales and romances، to the general theme of love، to the area of social relationships and any other significant aspects of living، or to observations from daily life.

Some of the gujharats transmitted through generations have preserved the contents of some early folk stories as also they have conserved the significant meaning of some historical events. One gujharat، for example، epitomises a folk tale about Alexander.I. It is said Alexander was in search of Elixir so that he might drink it to attain eternal life. But the Elixir was to be taken in a special cup prepared from pure earth which did not contain the remains of any living organism. Alexander ordered his men to obtain such and earth. They explored everywhere and reported that the entire surface of the globe was covered with particles of human remains. On Alexander’s orders، a handful of mud was then taken out from the depths of the seabed، and a bowl was made out of it. But when it was brought before Alexander، the bowl assumed the shape of a human skull and said: ‘Oh great King! I too am a part of a mortal and that all humans are destined to be mortals’.

In its technical structure and cultural contents، the gujharat transcends the familiar concept of a ‘riddle’. Couched in an elaborate and complicated structural form، it conveys meaning which has a relevance in literature and life. Gujharat is thus، a highly developed literary-cum-cultural riddle. Citing of an original gujharat in a translated form will hardly make any sense. Therefore، an attempt (rather an odd one) is being made here to convey some idea of gujharat by way of explanation.

(a) To put a concise expression، a telling sentence، or a proverb in ‘gujharat form’، some of its key  words will have to be conveyed under the cover of their feigned alternate meanings. For example، in the proverb ‘proof of the pudding lies in eating’، we may take ‘proof’ and ‘pudding’ to be the key words. Now، proof is also ‘a mathematical concept’، while pudding is a kind of ‘food’. Therefore، to put this proverb in the ‘gujharat form’، we will say:

“A mathematical concept of food lies in eating”.

‘A mathematical concept’ and ‘food’ are the two pavas of this gujharat. To solve it، one will have to name the different types of ‘mathematical concept’ and ‘food’، and if one succeeds in naming any one of the two pavas، the gujharat will be deemed to have been solved.

Similarly، the proverb ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ can be put in the gujharat form something like this: of a needle immediately conserves a count’.

(b) A Gujharat، such as follows، may pertain to observations from natural phenomena:

“An animal does not see a constellation.”

Here، ‘animal’ and ‘constellation’ are the two pavas of this gujharat. To solve it، one must name any one of the pavas correctly. The solution is:

“The Scorpio does not see the pliedes”.

In the northern hemisphere، the Scorpio and the pliedes do not appear in the sky simultaneously.

(c) A gujharat may contain a far-fetched allusion to some pseudo historical story or tale، such as the above mentioned tale of Alexander. To give an idea of its structure، we may improvise one as follows:

“The beggar’s tool made from the vision’s sleeping place”،

turned into a technique and admonished the male-name.

(beggars tool=bowl; vision>seeing>see>sea;

sleeping place=bed; technique>skill>skull;


The solution will be:

The bow/made from the sea bed turned into

A skull and admonished Alexander”.

(d) A gujharat may contain a reference to some historical event.

For example:-

“Remember a water-ditch stormed the gathering”

(Remamber=cram> cormm; a water-ditch=well;

Remember + water-ditch= cromm + well = Cromwell;


The solution will be:

‘Cromwell stormed the parliament’.

(e) Gujharats in the context of tales، romances، epics etc. may be construed as follows:

within the context of ‘Merchant of Venice’، a gujharat may be structured as follows:

“Politician’s ways failed، because the male-name

would have the butcher’s way”.

(Politician’s ways=treaties> entreaties; male-name= Shylock; butchers way=pound of flesh).

The solution:

“Entreaties failed because Shylock would have a pound of flesh”.


Similarly a gujharat may be construed within the context of Macbeth:

A Male-name was noble but he was misled

By the time-keeping devices.

(Male name= Macbeth; misled=beguiled;

time-keeping devices = Watches> witches).

The solution is:

“Macbeth was noble، but he was beguiled by the witches.

It seems، Gujharat originated a form of ‘coded message’ between the rulers، nobles، and the chiefs as also between the lovers. Probably، its origin goes back to the Sumara period of Sindh history (1050-1350 A.D.)when confidential messages were frequently exchanged during the events commemorated in the great epic of ‘Dodo-Chanesar’. During the rule of the Sammas (1350-1520 A.D)، who followed the Sumaras، Gujharat came to be used both as a form of coded message as well as an artistic reddle between the professional participants. Because of its practical utility، it was subsequently used by a almost all the sections of society for conveying confidential messages as also a form of entertainment at feasts and festivals. For the Sugars (the talented folks specially trained in the pursuits of folklore)، the gujharat has flourished as a form of intellectual exereise intended to test the wit and wisdom of one another.



University of Sindh

N.A. Baloch

10th December، 1969.








Vocabulary indices pertaining to the pavas alphabetically arranged …  … pp.00



Chapter I

About God’s works، Nature، Angels & Prophets

Chapter II

Of Pseudo-historical and Historical Type

Chapter III

About outside Tales & Romantic Stories[1]

Chapter IV

About the Story of Mokhi-&-Matara[2]

Chapter V

About the story of Mari-&-Mungthar

Chapter VI

About the Romance of Phul Wadhou-&-bhori

Chapter VII

About the Romance of Sasui-&-Punhoon

Chapter VIII

About the Story of Morirro-&- the whale

Chapter IX

About the Story of Lilan-&-Chanesar

Chapter X

About the Story of Umar-&-Marui

Chapter XI

About the Story of Moomal-&-Rano

Chapter XII

About the Story of Rai Dayach

Chapter XIII

About the Romance of Suhni-&-Mehar

Chapter XIV

About the Romance of Jam Tamachi-&-Noori

Chapter XV

About the Romance of Boobana-&-Jararr

Chapter XVI

About the Romance of Doolah Daryakhan-&-Hammu.

Chapter XVII

The Miscellaneous (with bearings on more than one story at a time).

Chapter XVIII

Gujharats within the Context of the Poetic themes of Shah Abdul Latif.

Chapter XIX

About Love

Chapter XX

About Valour، Proverbial Expressions، Admonitions etc.


I. A number of folk tales pertain to Alexander, some referring to ‘Sikandar dhu al-Qranain’ (Alexander the Horned’) and others to Alexander the Macedonian.

[1] That is, tales and romances of non-Sindhian (Arabic, Persian etc.) orgin.

[2] This and the other stories up to Chapt. XVI are of Sindhian origin and constitute the main themes for Gujharat.

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