THE FASCINATION OF LAHORE WITH LEGENDS
HEER RANJHA SWAYEDTHE CITY ALL THE TIME
Every day recitals around the city gardens
Romantic tales are part of the international folk lore. Countries cannot do without a story or two. The story of Heer Ranjha is said to be around five hundred years old and is said to be first written by poets like Dhamendar Dass Arora.The tales are simple in nature. The futility of achieving true love in this temporal world abounds in such themes. The romance of Heer of Siyal with Ranjha is no exception. It was an ordinary story till somebody outside Lahore gave it its spiritual touch.
Two poets are responsible for taking Heer Ranjha to new heights. One is Syed Waris Shah, resident of a village near Sheikhupura, of course just on the outskirts of Lahore. And the other is Baba Hiyadatullah, a Punjabi poet of Mohalla Chabuk Sawaran, who also gave the romance a new lease of life with his own rendition.
The efforts of late B.A. Qureshi Sahib made the mausoleum of Syed Waris Shah a place of pilgrimage again. A water well dated with an Akbari inscription speaks of the old heritage of the place itself. Once famous all over Punjab, Baba Hiyadatullah is lesser known today. Reputed to have attained an age of 120 year old, he was submerged in controversy by his nephews and grandchildren. That generation (someone of them ) embraced the religion of Ahmadiyah and broiled the poor Baba Hiyadatullah in the same controversy. Although Ahmadiyah texts speak of Baba Hiyadatullah as an Ahmadiyah and yet they state that they have no BAIT record of him. It is a frivolous claim made by his daughter’s son, putting the old poet in jeopardy. M.A. Rahman Chughtai who was a next door neighbour of the poet, narrates in his writings, that Baba had often told him of his immense love for the Prophet and his belief in the finality of Prophethood (Check Dabistan mussavari book).
In any case Waris Shah and Hiyadatullah made the recital of Heer Ranjha on the lips of Lahore. In various gardens and city places, men used to sit and recite the poem, amongst the applause the persons sitting here. Many wept when they heard the poem. Various people in their memoirs have recorded such happenings in the city So it was natural for artists of Lahore to illustrating the same. We present here a few illustrations bdone by a Lahore Artist in 1276 AH and published in Lahore in book form. We also include some works done by the artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai. The artist was very fond of listening to the recital of Heer Ranjha and used to travel places to listen to them. The whole mohalla and Chughtai Sahib eulogized the Baba, who coined the term ‘dholi chardain marian Heer cheekan’. Allah bless those talented persons!