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The Legend of Mirza Sahiban

Among the doomed love stories of North India is the story of Mirza and Sahiban. You must have heard the other love stories like Heer Ranjha, Sassi Punnu and Sohni Mahiwal. Most of these love tales have tragic end. But notice one thing: while the names of other love stories begin with the name of girl for example Heer, Sassi and Sohni, the order is reverse in Mirza Sahiban tale. While in other stories, the sacrifice made by female was supreme, in this case Sahiban became double minded and could not forego the love of sibling.

The story is simple like others. In the village of Danabad lived Wanjhal the tribal head of Kharal Jatts community. Mirza was his son. In the nearby village, Sahiban was born in the home of Mahni Khan, also from Jatt community of Khewa sub clan. Both families were related and Mirza and Sahiban were cousins. As the fate would have it, Mirza lost his mother and was sent to live in the home of Sahiban. As they grew up, the bond of love also grew between them. There are stories of their school days where when teacher asked the class to write the first alphabet, Sahiban wrote Mirza instead and was punished by the Maulvi. These instances are added to reflect the deep bond between them.
After many years, Mirza who was now a handsome man returned to his home. But they the love kindled in their hearts was always there and they were longing for each other.
The parents of Sahiban fixed her marriage with another man. She sent a messenger to inform the news to Mirza on the day of marriage. Marriage of his own sister was to happen on that day itself. It was very difficult situation for him. But he rode on his mare called Bakki in local language and his quiver and bow to bring the Sahiban. With the help of a confidante woman and a rope, Sahiban was transported to his waiting mare and thus the gallant man dashed away to his village with the bride.
He rode very fast and decided to take rest under the shade of a Jand tree. He hanged his arrows and bow on the branch of the tree and placed his head in the lap of his lover. He soon fell asleep. Meanwhile, her brother, Khan Shah Meer and other village people came chasing them as soon as they found out the elopement of Sahiban. She heard the commotion and neighing of horses from afar. She was familiar with the prowess of Mirza and was sure that he would definitely kill her brothers with arrows. She became double minded. On one side was her love for Mirza and on other his sibling. She broke the arrows and then alerted the Mirza about the danger that was coming towards them. But Mirza was aghast to find all the arrows being broken. He was helpless and was killed by Sahiban’s brother.
The ballad is very popular in Punjab on both sides. It has been sung by numerous singers both from West punjab and East Punjab and made into movies.

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