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Published on 29 Jun 2013 | over 3 years ago

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Sassi Punhoo is one of the most famous folklore of Pakistan. It is famous in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab equally. Many Sufi poets including Sachal Sarmast, Mian Manzoor had written in their poetry. Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai dedicated 5 chapters (surs) of his Risalo to this Dastan. Sassi seems to be favourite character of Shah Latif due to her courage and struggle for his love.

Story:


'Sassi was the daughter of the King of Bhambour in Sindh, Pakistan. Upon Sassi's birth, astrologers predicted that she was a curse for the royal family's prestige. The King ordered that the child be put in a wooden box and thrown in the River Indus. A washerman of the Bhambour village found the wooden box and the child in the box. The washerman believed the child was a blessing from God and took her home. As he had no child of his own, he decided to adopt her.

When Sassi became a young girl, she was as beautiful as the fairies of heaven. Stories of her beauty reached Punnu and he became desperate to meet Sassi. The handsome young Prince of Makran therefore travelled to Bhambour. He sent his clothes to Sassi's father (a washerman) so that he could catch a glimpse of Sassi. When he visited the washerman's house, they fell in love at first sight. Sassi's father was dispirited, hoping that Sassi would marry a washerman and no one else. Sassi's father asked Punnu to prove that he was worthy of Sassi by passing the test as a washerman. Punnu agreed to prove his love. While washing, he tore all the clothes as, being a prince, he had never washed any clothes; he thus failed the agreement. But before he returned those clothes, he hid gold coins in the pockets of all the clothes, hoping this would keep the villagers quiet. The trick worked, and Sassi's father agreed to the marriage.

Punnun's father and brothers were against his marriage to Sassi (Punnun being a prince and she being a washerman's daughter), and so, for their father's sake, Punnun's brothers traveled to Bhambhor. First they threatened Punnun but when he didn't relent, they tried more devious methods.

Punnun was surprised to see his brothers supporting his marriage and on the first night, they pretended to enjoy and participate in the marriage celebrations and forced Punnun to drink different types of wines. When he was intoxicated they carried him on a camel's back and returned to their hometown of Kicham.

The next morning, when Sassi realized that she was cheated, she became mad with the grief of separation from her lover and ran barefoot towards the town of Kech Makran. To reach it, she had to cross miles of desert. Alone, she continued her journey until her feet were blistered and her lips were parched from crying "Punnun, Punnun!". The journey was full of dangerous hazards, which lead to her demise. Punnun's name was on Sassi's lips throughout the journey. She was thirsty, there she saw a shepherd coming out of a hut. He gave her some water to drink. Seeing her incredible beauty, dirty lustful thoughts came into his mind, and he tried to force himself on Sassi. Sassi ran away and prayed to God to hide her and when God listened to her prayers, land shook and split and Sassi found herself buried in the valley of mountains. When Punnun woke he was himself in Makran he could not stop himself from running back to Bhambhor. On the way he called out "Sassi, Sassi!" to which the shepherd replied. The shepherd told Punnun the whole story. Then Punnun also lamented the same prayer, the land shook and split again and he was also buried in the same mountain valley as Sassi. The legendary grave still exists in this valley. Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai sings this historic tale in his sufi poetry as an example of eternal love and union with Divine.

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