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Stories from Home Series: A Pakistani Folklore

Heer Ranjha, By Uzma Kanwal (Level 1)

“Heer Ranjha” is a story of great despair, narrated by Waris Shah. It is a tragic tale of 2 lovers. Ranjha, whose real name was Deedo, was a fortunate man in some respects but unfortunate in many others. He was the youngest of 4 brothers, and his father favoured him the most. When his father passed away, his brothers refused to give him any share in the farmland. He was badly treated by them, forcing him to leave the village. He left for Takht Hazara, hoping to find better fortune.

He came across a farm in this new village, much like the ones he was banished from. This was where he laid his eyes on the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He instantly fell in love with her, and from that moment onward, it was his sole mission to make her fall in love with him.

It was Heer, and Ranjha got a job herding her father’s cattle. One thing led to another, and Heer fell hopelessly in love with Ranjha. She was captivated by the beautiful music he played on his flute.

For the next few years, their secret affair went on wonderfully until, one day; they were caught. Kaido, Heer’s uncle informed the family about their affair, and Ranjha was exiled from the village.

Lost again, he wandered across Punjab, travelling from city to city till he met a band of joggies. Ranjha decided to relinquish the material world and dedicate the rest of his life to the Lord.

The new pious Ranjha returned to Takht Hazara, and Heer’s parents agreed to their marriage. The young lovers rejoiced at this revelation, but fate had something else in store for them.

Kaido conspired to poison Heer to sabotage the marriage. Clueless, Heer ate the food laced with poison. When Ranjha found out about this, it was already too late. Struck with grief, he decided to end his life. He ate the same food and died. Their corpses lay next to each other, and the lovers were now united in death.

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