QASIM AND LADI
A ROMANCE OF SIND
All is fair in love and war
Everyone has heard about the story of the advent of Islam in this region. And everyone has their own view on it. Obviously for us Muslims, Muhammed bin Qasim is the hero, not because he was a Muslim, but he came in form of undoing wrongs committed here. The Muslim women who had requested to be rescued and how they were rescued by this young man, a mere 17 years old. Many ethnically bound here equate Dahir as their hero, for limited ethnic reasons. Here Qasim was the good guy, and it can be judged from his behavior here. No less that the people of SIND worshiped him as a hero and made a life size statue of him in the chowk of their major city. But here we are talking of a love affair.
The Queen of Sind was love smitten by the looks of Chach. Chach was father of Raja Dahir. Ladi was a product of a love affair. Astrologers had predicted that Raja Dahir’s sister LADI would marry a man, who would rule Sind with full might. A superstitious Raja Dahir ended the speculation by marrying his sister himself, to become that all powerful ruler. But that was not to be so.
Raja Dahir had given instructions for all the ladies of the Royal harem and wives of the courtiers to be beheaded immediately if defeat of the Hindu army was imminent. Warriors watched over these ladies and when the news came of their defeat, the slaughter of the Hindu ladies started by the Hindus themselves. Ladi threw herself from her camel onto those on the ground who were meant to behead her, and in this ruse, they were dazzled to the extent, that it gave time to Arabs to save Ladi from slaughter. The captors took her in their possession.
Muhammed bin Qasim found out about the capture of Ladi, and sought permission from the Caliph in purchasing her from her captors (laws governed behavior). When the permission came, he bought her and made her his wife. The prediction was coming true. Ladi had seen the softness in the looks of Qasim, and Qasim had seen the demure of this exceptional lady. It seems love had happened at first sight.
The Chach-nama gives us flashes of incidents here and there. It also give us a flash of a sister of Raja Dahir ‘Bai’ burning herself and all the other ladies in a fire ritual in a room. It is not clear if Ladi and Bai are two characters or same persons. The death of the lady Bai is mysterious.
We are also told about how Ladi confused the warriors outside the ramparts by mounting a camel and in black dress going for a ride. It was considered a deliberate tactic in favour of the Arabs. If Chach nama had survived in full, we would have had all the information required, but even in the annals of one of the greatest battles in the history of the region, it is intermersed with a love story. The love story of Qasim and Ladi. The end is not known, nor we hear of their children. But it is a ballad for folk singers for all times.