Writing is a very diverse field, and writers all over the world have expressed their selves via different means, and languages. Writers here in Pakistan have also dominated this field, with their very breath taking stories and informative books. Ashfaq Ahmed’s famous book Zawiya which was published in parts was an amazing one. Umera Ahmed has been providing us with her marvelous work. The writers here in Pakistan have not only written in Urdu but English as well. Tehmina Durrani with her excellent piece of work has given us very good books like Blasphemy, my feudal lord, a mirror to the blind which is an autobiography of Sir Abdul Sattar Edhi. Another very famous writer, without which Pakistan’s writing industry is incomplete, is Bano Qudsia who has written very good novels and are read by millions all over Pakistan. Other famous writers are Ahmed Faraz (Poet), Anwar Maqsood, Umera Ahmed, and many more.
Following is the list of famous writers of Pakistan
- Ashfaq Ahmed
- Bano Qudsia
- Mustansar Hussain Tarar
- Qudrutullah Shahab
- Anwar Maqsood
- Quratulain Haider
- Ahmad Shah Bokhari
- Mushtaq Yusfi
- Naseem Hijazi
In all honesty, a list of ten writers is not enough to express the quality of literary art Pakistan has. Many major names like Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Saadat Hasan Manto and Mashkkor Hussain Yad have written a lot. A list of ten cannot justify the richness of literary scene in Pakistan.
Mirza Sahiban is another popular romance from the province of Punjab. Mirza; the son of Wanjal Khan Ruler of the Kharral tribe was a handsome young man. They lived in Danababad, a village near present day Faisalabad. The beautiful Sahiban was the daughter of Khewa Khan the chief of the Sayyal tribe.
The parents of both were distantly related making Mirza and Sahiban cousins. Much of Mirza’s childhood was spent at Sahiban’s place. As the two playmates grew up, they realized that they were actually soul mates. Sahiban was known for her dazzling looks while Mirza enjoyed the reputation of being a bold brave person, a remarkable horse rider and an accomplished archer who never missed a target. The deep love of both soon became the talk of the town and Khewa Khan quickly arranged Sahiban’s marriage with Tahir Khan; a young man of his tribe. Desperate, Sahiban sent a message to Mirza to come and rescue her. Mirza obliged and the two of them eloped on the wedding day. When Sahiban’s brothers and the bridegroom came to know about this, they chased the couple. Meanwhile Mirza thinking that he had gained sufficient lead, decided to rest under the trees for a while. Sahiban implored him not to but he was so confident of himself that he did not pay any heed to her pleas. He assured her that it will only take a couple of arrows to get rid of her brothers. Mirza slept while Sahiban kept a watch.
Now Sahiban found herself caught between the devil and the deep sea. On one hand was the love of her life and on the other her brothers; her own flesh and blood. Thinking that even they (her brothers) cared for her and would forgive the runaways once they saw them, she took Mirza’s arrows and broke them. Mirza woke up with a start when he heard the thundering of the hooves and reached out for his arrows but couldn’t find them. Sahiban’s brother showered arrows which struck Mirza, to shield him from the arrows, Sahiban threw herself over Mirza’s body and was struck by arrows too. The two lovers died leaving behind a tale to be told for centuries to come.
Sohni Mahiwal is a tragic folk tale of two ill fated lovers. Sohni was the daughter of a potter. She was a very pretty girl and often helped her father at his workshop. She painted beautiful flowers and designs on the freshly baked earthen pots. As fate would have it, Izzat Baig a merchant from Uzbekistan came to Sohni’s native town with his merchandise. One glimpse of the beautiful girl working in a potter’s workshop was enough to captivate the heart of the merchant. He started visiting the shop regularly buying the earthen pots; Sohni then read the silent messages of love in his eyes and lost her heart to him. Later when he had no money left, Izzat Baig started doing odd jobs and even looked after Sohni’s buffaloes; this is how he got the name of Mahiwal. The two started meeting in secret but somehow the villagers came to know about their affair and told Sohni’s father. Enraged and alarmed, he hurriedly married of his daughter to another potter from some other village on the other side of the Chenab River.
Dejected by Sohni’s marriage, Mahiwal left the town in search of Sohni. Finally he found her and told her about his new whereabouts; across the river from Sohni’s new home. As the night fell and darkness spread, Sohni would steal out of her house and swim across the river with the help of an earthen pot which she hid among the bushes on the river bank and meet her lover. She then swam back to reach home before dawn. Her nightly activities aroused the suspicion of her sister-in-law who followed her one day and discovered her secret. She quickly ran to tell her mother (Sohni’s mother-in-law) and the two women hatched a plot to get rid of her. The next day Sohni’s sister in law replaced her sturdy earthenware with a weak sun dried one. That night the river was flooded and the weak pitcher dissolved drowning Sohni. Mahiwal watched his love being swallowed by the raging water too jumped into the river.
Next day to bodies were found near the river bank and the tale of Sohni Mahiwal became immortal.
Umer Marvi is another folktale from Sindh. It is a bit different from the rest as it focuses more on a woman’s loyalty and dedication to her beloved.
Marvi a beautiful girl from the Tharparkar district was engaged to her cousin Khet. Marvi was deeply in love with him and Khet reciprocated her feelings. Marvi was once drawing water from a well when Umer Soomro the prince of Umer Kot saw her. Spellbound by her beauty he tried to win her over with his wealth but Marvi remained unmoved. Her love for her fiancé was so strong that all the riches of the world could not make her change her mind. Out of frustration on her constant refusals, Umer kidnapped her and took her to his palace in Umer Kot. He kept her in captivity for a whole year thinking that the luxuries of the palace would impress her but he was wrong. Marvi still pined for her home and her love.
Finally Umer gave up and set her free. Umer Marvi’s tale is a story of a woman’s strong character, unwavering love and faithfulness. This love story is the base of many movies and dramas produced in Pakistan. Most famous drama was produced by PTV in 1994.
This tragic story is from Sindh province. Moomal was a beautiful girl and to make sure that she got married to the person who truly deserved her, her folks built a Kak Mahal a sort of an illusionary palace. Many a men tried to beat the illusions to reach Moomal but failed. Rano a minister at Umer Kot was an intelligent man who with his intelligence and courage crossed all the obstacles and broke the spell woven around the palace. If Rano was bowled over by Moomal’s beauty, Moomal was impressed by his intelligence and soon the two got married.
Rano then returned to Umer Kot but kept shuffling between the two places. Moomal desperately in love with her husband missed him very much. One night she asked her sister Sumal to wear her husband’s clothes and lay down beside her. When Rano saw the two, he thought that the person in masculine attire was his wife’s paramour. Disgusted he left his riding cane at the bedside and headed back to Umer Kot. Moomal realizing what a big mistake she had made tried to clarify her position but Rano turned a deaf ear at her pleas.
Finally out of desperation, she set herself on fire, Rano on seeing this also jumped into the flames and the two were burnt to ashes.
Raja Chanesar was the ruler of the Sindh from the Soomro dynasty. He was happily married to Lila. At the same time, Rana Kanghar and his wife Mirkhi ruled over Lakhpat in Kutchh. The couple had a beautiful but vain daughter Kaunru. Kaunru was engaged to her cousin who often noticing her proud attitude remarked that she behaved as if she was to be Chanesar’s queen. Kaunru stung by this sarcasm told her parents that she would only marry Chanesar or end her life. Alarmed her parents approached Jakhiro, a minister in Chanesar’s court begging him to convince the Raja to marry Kaunru. Chanesar was outraged when he heard this and refused the proposal.
Kaunru then disguised herself and sought employment in Queen Lila’s palace. She was given the duty of preparing the bed for the couple at night. Once while performing her duties, Kaunru started crying and on inquiry told the queen that she (Kaunru) too was a princess who had every luxury and that instead of lanterns and lamps, her room was lit by the glittering diamonds of her “Naulakha Har”. Now diamonds and fine jewelry were the queen’s weakness. When Queen Lila saw the necklace, she asked Kaunru to quote the price. Kaunru in return asked for a night with the king. The foolish queen agreed and asked her husband to sleep with Kaunru. Chanesar furious at the suggestion refused to comply with the queen’s wishes.
One night when Chanesar came to bed stone drunk, Lila asked Kaunru to sleep in her place. In the morning when Chanesar found Kaunru on his side, he was shocked and felt insulted. Seething with anger he turned Lila out of the castle and married Kaunru. Full of remorse, Lila went back to her parent’s house.
Jakhiro the minister was getting married to a girl from Lila’s family. When Lila heard that Chanesar would be at the wedding, she covered her face with a veil and danced and sang along with other girls. The king impressed by the veiled figure’s performance asked her to reveal her face. On seeing Lila’s face behind the veil, Chanesar fell on the floor dead. Lila followed after a few seconds.
Sassi Pannu; this folk tale is from the province of Sindh. Sassi was the daughter of a washer man (some versions of the story say that she was actually a princess who was abandoned by her family at birth as she was prophesied to bring a bad name to the royal family). Sassi grew up to be a girl of exceptional beauty and soon word spread around and Sassi became famous for her beautiful looks. The word also reached Pannu the son of Ali Hoti Khan, ruler of Mekran who became curious to see her. He disguised as a merchant selling perfume and reached Sassi’s native town Bhambore.
When he finally saw her, he instantly fell head over heels in love with her; for Sassi too it was love at first sight. As Sassi’s father wanted a son in law from the same trade, now Pannu disguised as a washer man asked for her hand in marriage. Sassi’ father asked him to wash some clothes as a test. Obviously Pannu who knew nothing a bout washing clothes damaged them but that crafty fellow hid gold coins in the clothes so that the customers won’t complain. Sassi’s father agreed to the match and marriage preparations began.
Pannu’s family was not happy with the match and decided to trick Pannu in coming back. Pannu’s brothers reached in time for the wedding and during celebrations got him drunk. Later they carried him away to Mekran as the night fell.
In the morning, Sassi realized that she had been tricked, ran barefoot after her husband. The poor soul died while trying to cross a desert and was buried by a shepherd. In the meanwhile Pannu regained his senses and ran back to his wife; while crossing the desert, he met a shepherd sitting by a freshly dug grave. On being told that it was his beloved Sassi’s grave, the grief struck Pannu died there and then to join his soul mate in heaven.