Stories about love are numerous but stories about true love are rare. This is the story of two true lovers, Heer Saleti and Ranjha Dheedo. The love-laden waters of the river Chenab, providing its bounty to Pakistan and India, connect Heer and Ranjha's love story. On one bank was Ranjha's village – Hazaara and the other side was Heer's Siaal.
Mauja Chaudhri, Ranjha's father, was the chief landowner of Hazaara. Ranjha was his favorite son and his brothers hated him for this. After Mauja Chaudhri died, Ranjha's brothers usurped all their father's land leaving a barren and inhospitable piece to Ranjha. Ranjha's brothers raised their arms exultantly and said, "How can a man plough that wears long hair and anoints his head with curds?" So, Ranjha with his flute under his arm left Takht Hazara, never to return.
From Takht Hazara, Ranjha started his long journey in search of happiness. Tired and hungry, he reached a mosque. He sat down, kissed his flute and blew life into it. Strange things happened. People were enchanted, some became senseless and there was yearning in others' hearts when they heard the music. The whole village thronged to the mosque to listen to the haunting, and sweet melody. The mullah of the mosque was bewildered when he heard the music. He told the people, "Lewd fellows like Ranjha should be spurned from the assemblies of honest men."
Hearing this, Ranjha jested merrily, at the mullah's morals and his bawdy tricks. He teased the Mullah and said, "Mullahs run after women in mosques and cultivated land like laymen. They are like curses clinging to the house of God". The mullah was very angry. But, Ranjha slept in the mosque that night and set forth on his travels at dawn.
Ranjha walked on and reached the banks of the river Chenab. From there, he had to travel in a ferry, which would take him across the river. Ranjha sat in a corner of the ferry and started playing his flute. He played a sad piece of music about the separation from one's beloved. Then he took off his shoes off and set his feet in the river. The ferryman's wife caught him. Ranjha replied, "It is best that those in trouble should die". The others pulled him back into the ferry and placed him on Heer's couch. Heer was the daughter of Mihr Chuchak of Siaal. Ranjha sat there unaware that he was going to meet the queen of his heart in the near future.
Eye Meets Eye:
Heer, the daughter of Mihr Chuchak was as lovely as the moon. She was the pride of the Siaal assembly. Heer and her friends had come to the river to bathe. The tinkling of their anklets was heard from afar. As soon as Heer saw Ranjha, she was angry. She told the ferryman, "Luddan, you black-faced rogue, why have you defiled my couch? Whom have you allowed to sleep on my bed? Have you no respect for me or fear of God that you have done such a thing?"
Luddan apologized and told Heer that he was mesmerized by Ranjha's song. So Heer turned towards Ranjha and ordered him to get up from her couch. Heer was furious and even scolded her maids. The queen in her wrath was a sight to behold.
Ranjha opened his eyes and saw Heer standing in front of him. They both looked into each other's eyes. The mere look of Ranjha melted Heer's heart. Then, Ranjha narrated to her the story of his life and journey. The journey had led him to his destination – Heer was his love, his goal, his everything.
Heer convinced Mihr Chuchak, her father, to employ Ranjha as his herdsman. Chuchak said, "He seems to be a mere lad but he has wise eyes and a kindly disposition. You are championing his cause with zeal. We will see how the boy turns out. The boy can be given charge of the buffaloes, but bid him take care, as it is no easy task to tend buffaloes in the bar."
Heer then came to Ranjha and consoled him with her sweet speech. She said, "I will bring you butter and sugar and sweet bread. Go and drive the buffaloes into the forest and have trust in God. My sixty maids and I will accompany you and together we will track the footprints of the last cattle.
Ranjha took up the task of a herdsman. He performed his duties very well and Mihr Chuchak was happy. Fortune favored Ranjha and he met the five Pirs in the forest. They told him that all his wishes would come true. They also told him that God has bestowed Heer on him.
Heer kept her promise and brought food for Ranjha while he was in the forest. She came to fulfill her heart's desire. She brought him rice, sugar, butter and milk. Heer comforted Ranjha with sweet words and poured all her soul on him. She took a bowl of rice and pudding for Ranjha to the forest, everyday. They promised to be loyal to each other throughout life. Heer gave up spinning yarn and no longer sat with her friends. She sat all day with Ranjha.
The news about Heer and Ranjha's love spread like wild fire in the whole of Jhang. The root cause was Kaidu, Heer's uncle. He kept a constant watch over the lovers. Heer's mother came to know about the relationship between Heer and Ranjha. She ordered Heer to stop meeting Ranjha. But, Heer refused to leave Ranjha.
One day Heer was taking food for Ranjha. Kaidu appeared as a fakir and took the food from Ranjha and showed it to the council of village elders. Chuchak could not believe it. He asked Heer for an explanation, but she stood her ground and refused to give Ranjha up. When Ranjha returned from the forest, he was ordered to leave the village.
Ranjha was sent away without his wages. He had grazed the buffaloes for twelve years and yet was thrown out without any wages. In a rage, he shook the dust of the Siaals and gave up the service of Chuchak.
People of the village cursed Chuchak for not paying Ranjha. So, Chuchak called Ranjha back and put him on the job once again. Heer's mother told him, "Do not fret over much about the quarrel you had with Chuchak. Parents and children often fall out in such small matters. Come back and milk our buffaloes and lay Heer's couch. Since you have gone, she has been displeased with us. Our cattle, our wealth, the Siaals and Heer are all yours". Ranjha heartened at these words and once more became Chuchak's herdsman.
When Heer returned from the forest, her parents sent for the Qazi. The Qazi told Heer, "It is not becoming of Chuchak's daughter to talk to cowherds and penniless coolies. In a few days the messengers of your wedding will be here. Preparations for the marriage are all but complete. The Kheras will bring a marriage procession in a few days to take you to your husband's house."
Heer replied to her father, "As opium-eaters cannot live without opium, so I cannot live without Ranjha". The Qazi was enraged and said, "Nobody can stop or stay with this wicked girl. Heer's pride knows no bounds. She must be given in marriage at once." Heer called aside one of her friends and sent her to Ranjha at once with the following message, "My parents and the Qazi are oppressing me and my life is being taken from me even as sugar is pressed out of a sugar mill. You, friend are living happily but an army of sorrows is invading me."
Ranjha was very confused and he stood before the five Pirs with tear-stained eyes. He asked them to help him or his love would be ruined. His wish was granted and they bestowed Heer as his Malangan and Mate.
Enemy Thy Name is World:
One day Ranjha drove the cattle into the forest. After a while, Heer and her companions in their scarlet clothes came into the forest. Ranjha and Heer stayed behind and slept together peacefully in the forest. Kaidu knew about it and he ran to the assembly of the village elders. He said, "Come, see the strange things in the forest."
Chuchak came to know about it. He took his spear and rode into the forest. Heer heard the noise of the oncoming horse and knew that it must be her father. Chuchak and the villagers gathered around them. Here Chuchak decided he would get Heer married to somebody soon. Heer started weeping and said, that she would not come to the jungle again. She then went away.
Chuchak's brother recommended an alliance with the house of Kheras. They were Jats of good lineage whom Chuchak would be proud to be related too. So Chuchak announced the betrothal to his friends and relations. The Kheras were very happy on receiving the news.
Heer was very angry with her mother for betrothing her against her will. She said she would never go to the Kheras, how ever much her mother tried. Heer met Ranjha and said, "Great tyranny has fallen upon us. Let us go away to some distant part of the country, for once I am admitted into the house of Kheras they will never allow me to return. Ranjha replied, "Love does not taste well if it is composed of theft and stealth and abduction."
Meanwhile, the Kheras asked the Brahmans to consult the stars for the wedding. Ranjha left his buffaloes and sat in a corner depressed. When the procession arrived, Ranjha's heart and soul sank with misery; and he said to himself sadly, "Saida is drunk with joy today though he has not touched wine. Saida has become a Nawab and Heer his princess. Who cares for Ranjha the poor shepherd? Death is better than life without my beloved."
The Qazi admonished Heer but she was displeased and refused to say a word to him. The Qazi said to Heer, "You should obey the orders of your religion, if you wish to live." Heer replied, "I shall cry out in the court of God that my mother betrothed me to Ranjha and has broken her promise. Where the love of Ranjha has entered, there is no place for the authority of the Kheras. If I turn my back to Ranjha, what shelter will there be for me on the Day of Judgment?"
The Qazi tried to admonish Heer, telling her to accept the marriage arranged by her parents. Chuchak said to the Qazi, "The marriage procession of the Kheras is sitting at my door, and if the marriage is not accomplished I shall be disgraced and the name of the Siaals will be blackened." The Qazi replied, "You can only gain your object by dacoity. Tell the bride's attorney, that consent to the marriage must be wrung from Heer, even against her will. If Ranjha the shepherd makes trouble we will cast him into the fire."
Thus, Heer was married and put into the doli (Palanquin) by force. The Kheras marched with Heer's doli and at dawn reached the forest. They halted and sat down to eat and drink and be merry. Heer finding herself alone and the Kheras busy merry making, made a signal to Ranjha, called him into the Doli and embraced him tenderly. Heer asked Ranjha to promise her that he would come and meet her disguised as a fakir. One of the Kheras noticed this and urged the procession to move on. At last they reached the village of Rangpur. The girls lifted the bride out of the doli and poured oil over the threshold. Heer's mother-in-law swung water round the bride's head and drank it and thanked God.
Ranjha resolved to become a fakir and bring back Heer, whether he lived or died. Meanwhile, Heer languished in the house of her father-in-law.
Edited by CuteFairy91 - 17 January 2006 at 7:57pm