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ڪتاب:سورٺ - راءِ ڏياچ ۽ هير - رانجهو


صفحو :14




This is the thirty-eighth book, in serial order, compiled under the Sindhi Adabi Board’s Folklore & Literature Project, approved in 1956 for the collection, compilation and publication of Sindhi Folklore.

The work on this Project was started in January 1957, and the first two years were devoted mainly to the collection of the oral tradition and the written record. The oral tradition was reduced to writing through a net-work of field workers, one stationed in each taluka area. The compilation and publication work commenced from 1959. So far, 32 volumes have been published and this is the thirty-third of the forty volumes proposed to be published under this Project.

This book belongs to the series of volumes pertaining to the most popular and time-honoured folk stories which have captured the imagination of the people of the Lower Indus Valley of Sind for more than one thousand years. Of the ten volumes in this series, seven (Books 29 to 35) are devoted to the stories of love and romance: one ( (Book 36) recounts the story of personal valour  and the inventive technique by which the hero killed a sea monster by diving deep in a specially built “Glass-Capsule”; one more (No. 37) recounts the story of a village girl who resists the overtures of king and the temptation to rule as a queen in the palace and prefers to live in the simple rural environment with her village folk; and this volume covers two stories, one of a munificent chief who sacrificed his life at the altar of music and the other of the two lovers who defied the custom and stood by each other to the very last.




Through field research, a number of versions of this story, current in oral tradition, were recorded, and these reveal at least six main versions[1] from the point of the more significant differences in details. It would appear that two entirely different stories – the one of Sorath & Rao Diyach and the other of Sorath & Binjho – were mixed up in the oral lore because of the common name of Sorath (the heroine) in them, thus giving birth to other mixed versions of the story. Also the story of Ranak Devi & Rao Khanghar current in the Nagarparkar area of Sind[2] is a distinct story though with parallels in the names of Rao Khanghar and Bijal.

Rao Khanghar, also known as Rao Diyach, of the Chora Samma dynasty was the powerful ruler of Junagadh. Sorath was the beautiful maid born of a miracle wrought by the wandering saints, in the house of Raja Bhoj of Sankaldip (or Ambal Des), but was brought up by a potter named Ratan (or Pall). She was given in marriage to one Raja Ani Rao (of Ajmer). The marriage ceremonies were held in his absentia, and as the bride was being taken to her prospective husband, Rao Khanghar intercepted the procession and married Sorath who then became devotedly attached to him.

In vengeance, Ani Rao attacked Junagadh but found himself helpless due to the invincibility of Rao Khanghar’s stronghold, the fort of ‘Upper-Kote’. To avenge the insult, he planned to take advantage of Rao Khanghar’s known personal weakness, viz. his munificence and magnanimity not to refuse anything that was demanded of him by the traditional bards and his devotion to music.

There was a wandering bard, a Charan by caste named Bijal, who had incidentally come across the intestine of an animal in the bush, which on being moved by the wind were producing sweet superb music, enchanting even the animals of the bush. He took gut strings of the entrails for his stringed instrument – remembered differently as Kamāch, Keenaro, Chang, Surando or Tunbo (a sort of lute, guitar or tanbur) – and soon became known for the power of music that he played on it.

Now, Ani Rao sent his men who tempted Bijal’s wife to accept a rich reward on the condition that she would persuade her husband to use the power of his superb music with Rao Diyach, influence him to give anything that Bijal asked for, and then insist upon Rao Khanghar to demonstrate his traditional generosity and give him his own head as a reward.

When Bijal came home, he was informed by his wife that she had accepted the deal at the risk of their lives. So, there was no choice left for him but to accomplish the mission. Also it was a challenge to his art and he determined to meet it.

Bijal then set out for Junagadh, and on reaching the gates of the fort, he took out his instrument and sat down to play upon it with all the talent and technique at his command. The news spread around that a great musician had arrived, and soon  the whole city fell under the spell of his powerful tunes. Rao Khanghar invited him up in the fort, listened to him with admiration and offered to give him anything he asked for.

Bijal:        I am no beggar, oh Sire! Hearing of your proverbial generosity, I have travelled a long distance to seek something which no one else could give.

Diyach:    You will get anything you want.

Bijal:                Your head, Oh generous Sire!

Diyach:    I wish I had a thousand of heads on my shoulders so that I could cut one by one as a tribute to each one of your sweet tunes! Alas! I have but only one head which is hardly worth anything. Please consider again if this empty head will be of any use to you!

Bijal:        I will have nothing else but your head, Sir!

Diyach:    Then, you will have it.

When Sorath came to know of it, she pleaded with Bijal not to deprive her of her dear husband. She begged him to ask for anything else – horses, elephants, silver, gold, everything and all that they possessed, but spare her husband’s life.

Bijal did not yield. Then at the appointed time, Rao Diyach cut his head to him. Bijal took it to Ani Rao who was much pleased, but he also hated Bijal for his cruelty. Sorath claimed that she would become a Satti and prepared to burn herself. Bijal and his wife repented and rushed to Sindh to join Sorath in her mourning. When they arrived, fire was already lit with Sorath sitting on the Dāgh. As the fire rose, conscience stricken Bijal jumped into the fire followed by his wife who also became a satti with him.

In the local cultural context, the key points of impact of this story are as follows:

Bijal’s discovery of the gut strings, and the power of his music.

Rao Diyach’s willingness to reward Bijal with his own head.

Sorath’s pleadings and entreaties with Bijal to take everything else but to spare the life of her loving husband.

Rao Diyach’s unexcelled munificence and his complete identification with the spirit of music – a spiritual communion with the divine.



It is a well-known love story of the present Jhang and Muzaffargarh Districts of the Punjab, which became popular in the Punjab and Sind. The early account of the story -imoder of Jhang (1512 A.D.), who claimed to have passed the events of the story himself, and the Persian Masnavi composed by the poet Baqi (1580-1605 A.D.),[3] would indicate the romance had originated earlier (before 1512 A.D)become well-known during the reign of Akbar (d. 1605) have become a theme for poetic compositions.

Most of the poets who versified the romance in Persian, belonged either to the Punjab or Sind. It was during the reign of the Kalhoras and the talpurs that the following works were composed in Persian in Sindh:

Mahabbat-Namah, a work in stylistic (rhythmic) prose, by the poet Shevakram of Thatta (1771-1776 A.D.).

Masnavi-Hir-wa-Ranjha, composed by Azimuddin of Thatta in 1214 H/1799.

Masnavi-i-Hir-wa-Ranjha, composed by Ziauddin `Zia` of Thatta in 1215 H/1800.

Masnavi-i-Hir-wa-Ranjha, composed by Munshi Saheb Rao `azad` (1801-1811).

Masnavi of Hir-wa-Ranjha, composed by Nawwab wali Muhammad Khan Leghari `Wali` (1811-1820).

The romance versified in a long Qit’ah by Qadir Bakhsh `Bedil` in 1876.

In the native languages, `Hir` composed by Waris shah (1180 H/1776) in Punjabi gained wide popularity. His version translated into English by C.F. Usborne sometime before August 1917, has been recently published.[4]

A number of poets have composed verses in Seraiki, which (in its `Jhangwali` dialect) was the mother tongue of Hir herself, but a complete version of the romance in Seraiki has not yet come to light, the Si-Harfis (thirty stanzas each commencing with one of the thirty letters of the alphabet), composed in Seraiki by the two renowned poets of Sind, Khalifo Nabi Bakhsh Leghari and Hamal Khan Leghari,[5] stand unexcelled thus far. In Sindhi, the romance was composed in the bait poems by Haider Shah in 1290/1873.[6] In Sind, the story also came to be recited in the artistic form of narration by the wandering bards and minstrels. One version in this form which was recorded from the talented bard Maula Bakhsh of Hyderabad district has been included in this volume.[7]

Hyderabad Sind.                        N.A. Baloch

15th February, 1976.                       Director  


[1] Text, pp. 43,77,104,124,132 & 145.

[2] Text, p. 132.

[3] The manuscript preserved in the National Museum, Pakistan, Karachi, and noticed for the first time by the Late hafiz Hoshiarpuri in his detailed and valuable introduction to Masnaviyyat-i-Hir-wa-Ranjha (composed by the poets of Sind during 1776-1876), published by the Sindhi Adabi Board, Karachi/Hyderabad, 1957. pp.31-35.

[4] The Adventures of Hir & Ranjha, a translation, into English prose by C.F. Usborne, edited by Mumtaz Hasan, Lion Art Press Ltd., Karachi, 1966.

[5] In the two works, Khalif-e-Nabi Bakhsh jo Risalo and Kulliyat Hamal, published by the Sindhi Adabi Board, Hyderabad Sind, in 1953 and 1966 respectively.

[6] Text, pp. 181-221.

[7] Text, pp. 152-176.

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