and His Message - G. M. Syed
Reserved to Sain Publishers Sehwan Sharif,, Sindh ©
of Shah Latif’s Poetry
The following are the important features of Shah Latif's poetry.
SUR Kalyan (A musical tune)
It is fully representative of Sindhi nationality. Love for Sindh and every
thing, which belongs to it, is its important element. With the exception
of the tragedy of Karbela almost the stories and characters in it are Sindhi.
The language which has been used in his poetry, ipw"t from some reference,
is purely Sindhi, to the extent that some of the words which have now become
archaic, are not quite easy to understand.
The third important feature of Shah Latif's poetry is that in the tradition
of Hindi poetry he has visualized woman as the lover and man as the beloved.
The approach is contrary to the tradition of Persian and Arabic poetry.
All the folk tales and their characters, which he has presented in his
poetry, from the point of view of their end, are tragic.
His poetry never arouses people for an immediate gain and transitory success,
rather teaching man to sacrifice temporary gain to achieve an enduring
aim is the real spirit of his poetry.
Like Mathanvi of Maulana Rome, he does not ever convey moral lessons by
narrating entire stories. He has not narrated even one of the folk tales
completely, which constitute his poetic work He has rather presented the
characters partially and has projected some of the incidents and situations
from specific angles. In other words he has used the well-known stories,
characters, incidents and situations in the form of a symbol or a metaphor
and thus adopting this mode of expression he has conveyed his message by
establishing a relation of the put with the present and future. Here are
some examples to elucidate this point.
In the first part of this tune after stating his belief in Pantheism,
he has mentioned the lovers and men of vision in the subsequent parts,
who have noble aim and for the achievement of which they are prepared to
make all kinds of sacrifices. He has divided the lovers into two groups.
First those who are sincere in their aims and possess a spirit of sacrifice,
who never care for their lives, never attach any importance to being put
into confinement and chains. They bear wounds but never complain. When
offered the chalice of poison, instead, of evading it, they are anxious
to drink it. They never lose their perseverance even when their head is
lifted on the point of a spear after being severed from the body. They
consider the cross as their ornament. They consider it a cause of disgrace
to turn away from the path of loyalty. For them, there exists no distinction
between a comfortable bed and a cross. Speaking about these people Shah
Latif expresses his feelings in the following verse:
The cross is an ornament for those who are inspired with a sincere
sentiment of love. For them, it is disgraceful to turn away from this sentiment.
Manfully and boldly, they advance toward the place of execution.
The other group of lovers and those who are distinguished by their weakness
and delicacy. They have chosen for themselves the road to safety and security.
They are not prepared to adopt the arduous path of sacrifice. Drinking
is the part of their character, but when they are faced with danger to
their lives immediately, they fly from it. Calling these people weaklings
Shah Latif gives expression to his thoughts in the following verse:
How can these insincere seekers realize the significance of
wine. When the wine sellers lays the dagger in front of them they are scared
to death. Only those who are prepared to sacrifice their life can know
the proper way to drink.
Sur Aiman Kalyan
In this musical tune Shah Latif mentions excesses and tortures inflicted
upon the people and their trials and tribulations and denitrifying those
who struggle for the salvation of the country and the people. He says:
The healthy cannot understand the predicament of the sick. Those
who fall on the ground burdened by this sickness (signifying love) can
never use again. Thy cry for their beloved, their nights are spent in shedding
Those who seek companionship of the physicians, they are soon
cured of their illness.
Learn you, the sick-man, to sit in the company of physicians, so
that you are healed of your illness. If you really seek, salvation cast
off your evil habits.
While trying to identify’ the virtues and qualities of the sincere leaders
he also counsels the people to be warned against being trapped by the designs
of selfish, self seeking and hypocritical leaders:
I became a prey to the quacks arid did not find a perfect physician
for my ailment. I was totally devastated by the charlatans.
He counsels the leaders of the nation to march forward with determination
and to face all unfavorable situations with courage, and spurring their
spirit of sacrifice, he says:
Learn from the moths how they let themselves be consumed ill
fire. The way they hurl themselves into the fire is an evidence that the
fire of love in fact consumes them.
Advising the leaders of the nation to be warned, he expresses his thoughts
in the following verse:
It is not an expression of true love that you try to have a
glimpse of your beloved from a hiding place. There is nothing but hypocrisy,
that instead of being restless for your beloved, you go to sleep without
The objective, in the view of the mystics is one God, and for the patriotic,
the freedom and progress of the nation. At one place comparing this with
the moon, which signifies here a borrowed beauty and impressiveness, he
Addressing the full Moon, he asks him to shine in her full beauty.
But despite all her beauty, he says, she bears no comparison with his beloved.
Her entire beauty is the one, which his beloved has bestowed upon her.
(The beloved stands for God, in this verse).
At another place considering the Moon as his messenger, he projects
the majesty and glory of his beloved in the following verse:
Addressing the Moon, he asks her to turn her attention toward
his beloved. He requests her to intimate him about his miserable condition,
and to tell him that he, the poet, is always waiting to have his vision.
At one place comparing the spirit of action to a camel, he expresses
his restlessness to attain to his destination, which is his beloved:
Addressing his camel he say's, it is the time of the night and
he has a long and arduous journey before him and they are travelling to
meet his beloved, therefore he should not slow down. But, he says, obstacles
and impediments in his journey will further spur in him the desire to meet
At another place addressing his camel, which stands for the spirit of
action and adventure, as his guide, he further says to excite him to action:
Oh my dear camel, do not forget your pedigree, because your
ancestors are famous I would really be grateful, if following the tradition
of your ancestors, you do me a favor.
Life has been compared, in this tune, to journey in a deep and vast
ocean, in which the raveIers are confronted with many storms, whirlpools
and terrifying waves. In this adventurous journey he counsels the patriotic
as the envoys of truth to achieve their objective through faith, penitence,
prayer, dedication to the objective, percussion, acquisition of necessary
information and equipment and finally by plunging into the depth of the
ocean. He says:
Only yesterday, in the expectation of northerly winds
fair for their journey, the nomads of the sea unfurled their sails. Oh
God, protect them, that even the edge of their oars is not damaged.
Cast your eyes on the sea, there is water and water irk
whichever direction we see. Oh God, protect them against hitting the shoals
of the islands. May none of the ships or even a plank be damaged. May no
harm come to the ship of the poor.
Those who are equipped with truth and justice, there is a tidings
of joy for these virtuous people in the Holy Qur'an and for the hereafter.
They are the only people whom God has steered through the sea.
Those who make their faith as the source of strength, only they
can pass safely through the dangers of this life.
It is through repentance that the virtuous, passing through
all kinds of storms, reach their destination.
Those who set sail with their faith in God, no harm can come
to them from the stormy waves of the sea.
My riend, your ship will never be wrecked in the sea, if you
keep awake and keep your eyes open.
The divers have drawn the pearls from the depth of the sea.
Only the experts can understand the real value of diamonds,
simply by looking at them. You always need the opinion of the experts to
evaluate the diamonds.
Only the experts can understand the real value of diamonds,
simply looking at them. You always need the opinion of the experts to evaluate
You must understand that you should be well prepared with
all the safety gear when you launch your ship on the sea, because no one
will come to your rescue at the moment of danger.
To be well-informed:
Oh Sailor, be well informed through the men of learning, so
that you may steer your ship successfully in the voyage of life.
Counsel to remain on guard:
Get some equipment and secure it in your boat Thou negligent
man, are you aware that the sea waves can spell your disaster. Then why
are you careless. You will never know when these waves can sink your boat
Counsel regarding the permanent values:
Bargain for the equipment, which does not lose its value. No matter
where you take it, it should maintain its value. Always deal in such business,
which is ultimately profitable for you.
In this musical tune Shah Latif in the style of the sailors, has selected
such patriotic and honorable elements as his subject, who become homeless
in the service of the nation and the country. For years, they suffer the
advertisement of imprisonment and exile fight the dangers of storms; due
to which the people of their household live in a state of fear and uncertainty.
With hearts beating they pray for their security and make offerings to
ensure their safe return. Interpreting their feelings Shah Latif expresses
himself in the following verse:
Of what relation I am to the boatman. If there is one, it is
only that of grief and sorrow. My beloved has gone on his journey, leaving
me behind to suffer in the fire of hope.
Here on the seashore I am passing my days in the memory
of my beloved. It is real torture to my soul when the past memories are
My beloved begins to talk about the next journey, Immediately
after he has returned. His indifferent attitude has poisoned my life.
On sea and on land I light the lamps as an offering. I tie the
buntings on the bushes and trees hoping for the fulfillment of my desires.
My only desire is the return of my beloved without wasting any more time.
Never develop a relation of love with those whose home is the
sea. They travel on the sea with their sails bulged out, they leave behind
deep wounds and suffering.
So, my beloved, have you forgotten your promise. It is only
yesterday you came, and now your are preparing for your next journey.
In this musical tune, using Sohni as a symbol, he has made his subject
the people who not only have an objective before them but also the spirit
to achieve. He desires to explain that unless there is an objective, the
seeker has no significance and if the objective is not achieved ~e seeker
remains unholy, and when he does achieve it he is thoroughly cleaned. But
achievement of noble aims is not easy, for in the struggle to achieve it
one has to go through the darkness of trial, the whirlpool of suffering,
terrifying rivers, and riding the unbaked pitcher. (In the romantic folk
tale, Sohni and Maenwal, Sohni tries to cross the river, supported by an
unbaked pitcher to meet her lover across the river-of course she drowns)
During these terrifying trials, only the dedication to the achievement
is the greatest source of guidance. In addition, this love and dedication
strengthens the nerves, consoles and urges on the travelers, and leaves
an impression on the mind that one can never escape death. But only that
person is really triumphant who lays down his life in the search of his
He counsels love for the objective:
My mind does not entertain any thought except that of
Maenwal, my mind is obsessed with his thought only. I remember him every
moment of my life.
He expresses his thoughts about the fact that life does not signify
anything without an objective:
Without the union with her beloved, Sohni is not only imperfect
but also unholy. She can only be cleansed and purified when she can sit
in the company of her beloved.
Referring to the obstacles in the way of the acquisition of the objective,
The dangerous wave continues to rise in the sea (the world)
and throws the swimmers and the boatmen violently against the islands.
My God, help me to steer myself through such dangers until I reach my destination.
In the following verses, Shah Latif describes the level and significance
of the ruler in his action and love for the acquisition of his objective:
If Sohni had not plunged into the river in her love for Maenwal,
no one in the world would have heard her name.
Just a fiery particle of love made her mad. She gave her life in the way
of love. She is not dead, she is a martyr:
Addressing her friends Sohni says, "My friends, my soul has
been awakened by the music of the hells around the necks of Maenwal animals.
I have no words to describe the sweetness of their music. The beloved to
whom I have dedicated my love, calls me."
Referring to the unlimited and unending difficulties, which come in
the way of the acquisition of the objective, Shah Latif says:
There is no limit to suffering and anxiety in love. Love is
a mystery which only love can unravel.
Even if I see my beloved on the doomsday, I shall believe that I
have met him today. I shall then deserve to be congratulated at this union.
While counseling the seeker to keep advancing to achieve his objective,
brushing away all the obstacles in the way, he does not lose sight of the
elements standing in the way. In addition, addressing them he gives a warning
in the following verse:
Addressing the river Maenwal says, how could it drown his Sohni,
who was his objective and love. He tells the river that on the doomsday
he will raise his voice against it for justice.
Then he says in the following verse:
Does not be so proud Oh River, you will have to answer for the wrong
you have done. Remember that the days of your revels will not last forever.
Just in one single shock, you will be startled out of your ecstasy.
In this musical’ tune Shah Latif has given the good news to the people
to remove the chains of enslavement from the neck of the country, to re-enkindle
their spirit of determination and courage to rid themselves of fear and
terror which tend to turn them into weaklings and to eliminate the hoarders
and black marketers. At the same time he has conveyed to them the news
to let them hear the echo of revolution in the paralyzed atmosphere of
the homeland, the thick clouds from the North which promise to bring heavy
rains to the, thirsty land, for the farmers to put their hands on the plough,
to end the suffering and pain, to let the fellow country-men to savor success,
for the grain to be available cheap, tile coming of refreshing rains, the
hollows and pools to be over-flown with water and the pitchers to be filled
to the brim with milk and butter. This entire musical tune is infused with
the spirit of revolution. Primarily, in this tune, Shah Latif has extended
consolation and encouragement to the humanity suffering in impoverishment
and enslavement, and gives them the message that this drought of oppression
will come to end. The day is not far that the drums of revolution will
sound and the hearts will be enlivened with a new spirit. Using Sarang
as a metaphor for Revocation Shah Latif says:
Addressing the rains he says that take consideration for those
who are thirsty, let he land be refreshed with water. Let the people have
easy access to food, and let the whole country relish the joys of prosperity.
Addressing the poor people of his country, he says:
You, who despite being poor, are endowed with the wealth enshrined
in your land, look at the ~y overcast, it is pouring, drive your cattle
out, and go set up your homes where people have made their habitation.
God is great, He is merciful, never be unhopeful of his love and mercy.
Continuing he says in the following verse:
The rains have come, the sky is overcast, the birds are
singing melodiously and the farmers and other laborers have taken their
instruments of work. Today my beloved (my God) will pour all his blessings
He continues in the same strain in the following verses:
God has commanded clouds to load themselves with rain. There
Is lightening and the rains have started. The hoarder will sell goods.
At high price, so that they can make illigal profit. May these greedy people
are eliminated from this society. All are completely absorbed in the praise
of God, because all look toward him in their pain and adversity.
Some of the scholars who have conducted research on the works of Shah
Latif do not agree that he is the author of Sur Kedaro verses. In their
opinion the major potion of these verses are contrary to the principle
of Shah Latif that the tales and characters external to Sindh should be
included in Sindhi literature. But due to the following reasons in my opinion
Shah Latif has definitely chosen the’ incident of Karbela as the subject
of his poetry, and the major portion of the Kedaro verses have -been written
The suffering in the course of martyrdom, are a source or pride
for those who die like martyrs. Only the wise can understand the truth
about the incident of Karbela, in which Imam Hussain and his companions
quaffed the cup of martyrdom. This incident is replete with great wisdom.
The dispute, which existed among the religious scholars, during the period
of Shah Latif, about whether there, should be mourning or not during the
month of Muharam, Shah Latif supported the religious scholars who were
in the favor of mourning.
The successors and descendents of Shah Latif have continued the tradition
of mourning till today. The turban of Shah Latif, one of his relics is
black in color and his followers and caliphs also wore the headdress of
Shah Latif selected mostly tragic themes for his poetry, and since the
tragedy of Karbela is an extraordinary incident in the history of Islam,
it was quite natural that he did not consider choosing this theme contrary
to his principle. Shah Latif was definitely influenced by the extraordinary
character of this tragedy. For a majority of people to unite against Imam
Hussain in violation of all canons of justice was something which did not
impress Shah Latif favorably? Despite the fact Imam Hussain was not well
equipped against the enemy he aid not surrender to the government and a
superior power. Shah Latif has expressed admiration and praise for those
who confronted the enemy on the battlefield in defense of justice and has
condemned the cowardly, and has counseled the true and the just to go through
trials and attain a place of honor. He says:
Then be says:
Stay away, my friend, from the people who are engaged in military
conflict against the descendents of li and are bent upon creating chaos.
They belong to the party of Yazid. Always keep away from them.
Then it is followed by the verse given below:
Not every one is brave and courageous on the battlefield. The
really valiant are those who do not desert the field out of fear. Rather,
without caring for their lives, die fighting against the enemy.
The following verses carry the same strain of thought:
Whom God loves embrace martyrdom on the battlefield. He allows
them to be inflicted with pain and trials. God’s will is done in whichever
manner he desires. It is a mystery beyond the limited human understanding.
The following verses have a strange mystery in the manner the spouse
prays for her husband:
Oh dear husband! May you never return from the battlefield.
May you die as a martyr and I shall mourn for you. But my friends will
laugh at me if you come back alive.
The vultures were looking for food since long. At last, their
anxiety came to end when the valiant entered the battlefield. The brave
soldiers are never afraid of war, and are always prepared to lay down their
lives for truth.
To kill, to inflict wounds, to rear horses, to inquire about
the welfare of friends, are the characteristics of the valiant. These are
the people who never refuse to enter the sport in which there is clash
Only those women are really triumphant and happy who weep and
wail bitterly. My friends, it is only through this mourning that their
ancestors have been elevated to the position of honor. Because their dear
ones have earned the honor of martyrdom in the battlefield.
You! the coward, you have escaped from the field of battle.
You will face nothing but humiliation in front of your friends. Only those
women are honored’ whose men are martyred. You can get from them nothing
except abuse for this poltroonery.
Sur Sassi Aabri
In this musical tune, Shah Latif has mentioned, especially Sassi, Punnu,
the hills of Kech Makran, the jungles, moreover the brothers of Punnu and
Sassi’s parents in-law. If all these elements are taken as political symbols,
Sassi stands for the oppressed people, Punnu for a brave and determined
national leader, the Kech Makran hills for the independent and progressive
country, and the brothers of Punnu and Sassi’s parents-in-law stand for
the forces of antagonism which stand in the way of the progress and prosperity
of the people. The jungles and mountains will be visualized as difficulties
and temptations, which stand in the way of the achievement of the objective,
and suffering and pain as guides in this enterprise.
Just as saccharin is the essence of sweetness, in the same manner suffering
and pain are the essence of love in which lies the real happiness. In order
to achieve the objective people have to be inured to the difficulties,
calamities, adversities and mischance. Without sacrifice and temptation,
the achievement of the objective is nothing but an illusion. Only those
people can achieve the objective who are inspired with a sincere spirit
and determined to trample the mountain under their feet.
The initial disappointments bring us closer to our expectations. However,
there is the need of the kindness of the Baluch, which Shah Latif has used
as a figure of speech. Not only, the apparent struggle is essential in
this course, but also the ability to search one’s soul. Wisdom is an essential
element as the part of practical struggle, and a state of obsession along
with wisdom. Those who rely only on their wisdom will cease their struggle
in the middle of their efforts. Many are the friends in your prosperity,
but there are hardly any friends in adversity. But those who are endowed
with the courage and determination to pass through temptation, they are
thoroughly justified in their determination to set about their journey.
Those who are not capable of going through trials, quite naturally they
are constrained to follow a different and easier path. This is hardly the
business of the people who are not prepared to take this course seriously.
To be oblivious about one’s objective and to sit idly is not at all desirable.
Only those people can understand it who never stops in this journey:
If you really love your beloved, the difficulties in the journey
have no significance. If you act like the messenger, who shuttles between
the two points, you will never reach your goal.
Oh Sassi! search every corner of your house. Why do you
wish to go far, he is very much the part of your own self.
Those who are not endowed with love and do not have the experience
of separation, how can they reach their goal. Only the ostentatious exhibit
their sentiments to the world.
Let those friends of mine give up the thought of the journey
who seek pleasure and comfort. Only they can go through the sufferings
of a journey through deserts and mountains whose hearts are driven with
the sentiment of love.
Only the one who lived with the memories of her beloved, Punnu,
the loveless people cannot stand before her. The fortunate those who are
sincerely determined to reach their destination..
Oh Sassi, give up this laziness and lethargy and continue moving
ahead, leaving all thoughts behind. Your only objective should be reaching
Punnu. Do not stop, otherwise you will be engulfed by dust and sand.
Now travelling alone I shall go to Punnu. In my way stand, high
mountains and I have to negotiate difficult roads. But, if I continue to
have the memory of Punnu in my heart. I have no fear of my loneliness.
I am not one of those whose hearts are filled with fear when
faced with the challenge to cross the deserts and the mountains. I shall
follow the pattern of the people for whom arduous struggle is a way of
This musical tune also deals with the theme of Sassi and Punnu, but
illustrating different subjects. What are the m~ to achieve the objective,
and what are its advantages. Demonstration of courage, to be prepared to
die before the death, to continue the journey without caring about the
extremities of weather, being able to withstand the agonies separation,
restlessness in love, are the emotions which hi been visualized here. These
are the sentiments, which pain us well as comfort. Observe these sentiments
expressed in following verses:
Those who are not sincerely fired with love for Punnu, and are
devoid of love and sincerity are easily tired before they can reach Punnu
(The beloved). However, those who are sincere in their love, the mountainous
paths turn into pleasant highways. My friends are shortsighted and misguided
because they are not true in their love. Oh! Sassi, the daughter of the
priest (Pundit) considers yourself fortunate even if your body reaches
Kech in shreds.
I found renown when I met my valiant beloved (Punnu); otherwise,
who had heard the name of Sassi, merely the daughter of a Brahman. How
fortunate I am, that not only in Sindh I am also known in the foreign lands.
Only the woman who does not take anything with her, can see
her beloved, only she is blessed with being united with him, not with them
who are busy in self adornment.
Sassi does not sit down after getting tired, but she continues her journey.
She has completely deprived herself of all the comforts of the cool shade
of the trees or anything that to human comfort.
Oh Sassi! Do not let your energies and spirit turn stale by
idleness. It is great deal better to die in your search for your beloved.
Don 't let your determination be shaken by doubts and misgivings. The real
pleasure is indeed in the struggle for the achievement of the objectives,
rather than the achievement itself.
Sassi does not sit down comfortably after she is tired; rather
she renews her efforts for the journey. She has deprived herself of the
comforts of the cool shade of the trees.
She is a lone woman. She finds her way to Punnu guided
by the trees and birds, and sets about on her journey. In her helplessness,
she prays to God for again being united to her beloved.
The grief of the lovers reaches such a high pitch that
even the sounds of music reflect their mourning soul. Only the determination
of the unhappy lovers can prove a remedy of their malady.
My whole youth has been spent uselessly without seeing my beloved.
The high mountains stand between me and my beloved. For a miserable creature
like me, great achievements are beyond my power. My whole life has been
spent in the deserted mountains and desert, calling my beloved.
In the deserts and wilderness, the voice of Sassi sounds like
the music of the instruments of music. As a matter of fact, this is the
voice of love, but for the people it is merely the voice of a week woman.
In this musical tune, also Shah Latif has expressed different sentiments
with reference to Sassi and Punnu. At one place identifying the elements,
which are the cause of Sassi’s suffering and agony, he says:
Sassi says that camels, the brothers of her husband and the
mountains, all have been the cause of her suffering and agony. She has
been a victim of all these elements, which have been the cause of her unhappiness.
At another place, in the manner of Sassi, Shah Latif counseling farsightedness
to the seeker says that if we act wisely, and the dangers are anticipated,
if we remain on guard against hypocritical friends we can easily avoid
any future calamities. He says:
Oh Sassi! when the caravan of camels had encamped at your place,
why did your not tie the feet of camels with the strands of your hair.
Had you done that you would not have been wandering in the mountains and
To trust strangers and aliens is a dangerous weakness of the credulous,
which Shah Latif did not like. Holding the simplicity and credulity of
Sassi responsible for her tribulations, Shah Latif expresses himself in
the words of Sassi in the following verse:
Strangers can only be strangers. They can never be sincere and faithful.
There is nothing in the hearts of my husband’s brothers except falsehood,
but they maintain this pretense of pleasant behavior. But the morning sees
the caravan disappear.
At one place, in the words of Sassi, he identifies the elements, who
in complicity with one another become the cause of trouble. All these elements
serve as a symbol. Shah Latif says:
The camels, their masters, the camel drivers, and the brothers
of my husband, all of them are my enemies. Even the air is my enemy, since
it has obliterated the foot-prints of my beloved (Punnu) The sun is my
enemy because it rose late, when they took away Punnu, and I went on sleeping.
The moon is my enemy because it had set early. Look at my miserable condition
that on that very day, like birds, I went early to bed.
At another place viewing the caravan coming from Kech as the symbol
of the message of freedom, he says:
Look, what a beautiful caravan of camels has arrived from Kech.
How beautifully these camels have been adorned. In every word, they speak
and the gesture they make, the camel drivers look fascinating.
Counseling about fighting bravely all the obstacles and temptation on
the path of achievement of the objective, he says:
Sassi says, that she has successfully traveled the road where
there are impassable mountains and wildernesses. This is the road on which
even the men of wisdom lose their wits. But she triumphed in this venture
through the inspiration of love. One who has Punnu as his guide no fear
can stand before her.
Although it is essential to trust your companions in the journey of life,
but a blind faith can only be harmful. Shah Latif describes this truth
in the following manner.
My dear friend, do not trust the promises of Punnu. Wish I had
not gone to sleep and would have held him firmly within my arms. Punnu
and his brother did not show any liking for me, but perhaps some evil-minded
person had solemnized my marriage.
In this tune, also Shah Latif has expressed the feelings attributed
to Sassi and Punnu. In its first part, he counsels to continue the journey
by shaking off negligence and lethargy. He says:
You negligent and indifferent Sassi, give up laziness and idleness.
Why are you still intoxicated with sleep. Shadows have gone up and found
their goal. Then wake up lest you have to cry for help in the mountains.
In the second art addressing the elements, which cause pain, he advises
them to awaken their conscience. He says:
Oh the mountains speak a word of consolation to those who are
stricken with grief. The people, who are separated from their beloveds,
ask them again and again. Speaking to the stones he questions, where is
the justice to injure the feet of the people.
In the third part encouraging the intensity in the dedication to the
achievement of objective, he says:
Whatever I am, I am the handmaid of Baluch. Baluch will not
listen to me, the miserable creature as I am. I am n~ worth the shoes,
he wears. It is not within my power to forget the chiefs of Kech.
At one place speaking about the people who are nonchalant toward rief
and pain, he considers them belonging to a different class. How can they
ever be sympathetic toward those who are grief-stricken. He says:
The women who are not disturbed and grieved at the separation
from those they love, how can they share the rief of others. In fact, they
shed only crocodile tears. Those who really suffer, it becomes amp]y evident
from their appearance.
How may I weep for my beloved, because my feelings are hardly
capable of the love of Punnu. In my way stand the ‘trees of the forest
which injure the traveler. I am confronted with my enemies. You can hear
the cry of the love-stricken in the craggy mountains.
This musical tune is also dedicated to Sassi and Punnu as symbols. The
struuggle and determination which is required from the seeker for the achievement
of his objective is described in the following verse:
My friends, I do not desire even one of you to accompany me,
because the path I tread is wild and deserted. It is a long journey ahead
and there is hardly any hope of water. Anyone in this journey wishing him
ill as a consequence of the trials of the journey would not be tolerable
At another place counseling to continue the struggle to the end for
the achievement of the objective, he says:
For the purpose of reaching my beloved I would not even hold
my life dear. I am prepared to see my body in shreds, but my beloved leaving
me alone, has turned my home untenanted
Describing the restlessness, the dedication for the objective and going
through temptation, he says in the manner of Sassi
Mother, I am treading the ground which is burning my feet with
its heat, while in my heart is raging the fire of Punnu’s love. And I am
the one going through both these fires.
At one place describing Sassi in conversation with her mother, advising
the seekers of the objective, not to lose heart in their hitherto futile
struggle, he says:
Addressing her mother Sassi says, "Oh mother, do not clean
the cotton with any trust in me. I suggest you to throw away the spinning
wheel. That prince of the mountains, my Punnu, for whom I went through
all these sufferings, has gone to Kech, leaving me here.
At one place illustrating the significance of Punnu, or the noble aim,
what he stands, Shah Latif says:
Those who love their beloved from the depth of their heart will
not abandon him. Even when he hides himself from their view, they never
release his hand.
At another place, he pays tribute to the seeker of a noble aim, in an
interesting manner in the following verse.
Sassi, how could you establish a relationship with a man belonging
to a distant land, had you lost your wits when you accepted an highlander
as your spouse. Oh, the daughter of the Brahmin, you had considered the
love of the Baluch a trivial matter.
At another place holding the trials and tribulation as argument in favor
of the sincerity of the objective Shah says:
Sufferings of my love have shown me the way to my beloved. My
sufferings guided me until I was united with my beloved.
For a great collective aim a true revolutionary party will not come
into existence until all those who are inspired with the spirit of getting
salvation from oppression and tyranny are united. Shah Latif expresses
this principle in the following verse.
No one can divert them from their course who are inspired with
their objective of love. Those who cry and bewail are revealed through
their very appearance. The women who have no aim in their lives only act
in a futile manner. On the contrary the love stricken weeps and wails.
At one place describing the dedication and struggle, to achieve a noble
aim, he says:
Any friend of mine who would love, the manner in which I have
loved the Baluch Chief, she would be restless to see him and she will have
to travel on difficult paths of the mountains.
Then he counsels those who are engaged in a struggle to remain united:
Oh Sassi, never be separated from the caravan of your
beloved, lest it disappear from your sight when it has crossed the maintain
and you are left behind. Then you would find it difficult to rejoin the
It is through making a sacrifice that a noble objective is achieved.
It is in concurrence with this view that Shah Latif expresses himself in
the following verse:
Sassi, if you had died yesterday, you would have been
united with your beloved, because none can achieve this aim and at the
same time desire to live.
Soon or late man ceases to exist. When I too have to die, why
then, I should not die in the path of love. My friends I would have to
let my blood be shed, if I desire to be united with him.
Those who are engaged in a struggle to achieve noble aims, bear all
torture and adversity with a smile on their lips, that even those near
them can not judge them going through any suffering. In the manner of Sassi,
Shah Latif has described this experience in the following verse:
Who can ever know that my whole night has passed in worry and
anxiety. The daughter of the Brahmin has been wounded simply by one look
of the Baluch (Punnu). Sassi and her suffering, both are in a state of
Grief and sorrow are the ornaments of happiness, and is the
reason that I sacrifice my joys over my grief. When I cling to my grief,
I believe that I see my beloved beside me.
For those who have noble aims before them suffering is the part of their
lives and the selfish and the opportunists, with their eye on the transient
benefits enjoy a sound sleep. Describing this truth, Shah Latif expresses
Being misguided I continue to wander without my beloved, Punnu.
Any one who speaks of love will only invite trouble like me.
Oh my dear mother, the sufferings in the mountain are dearer to me
than the comforts and joys of Bhambhor. Your tempting invitation to live
in Bhambhor smacks of falsehood. My heart and soul are firmly attached
to the Baluchis (Punnu and his people)
The spirit which is inspired by truth and justice Proudly confronts
all trouble, which stands in the way of freedom Shah Latif, identifies
this truth in the following manner:
Their tattered garments evidence the suffering and grieving
humanity. They travel on the roads of pain and suffering unaccompanied,
and never let others share their affliction.
Five important names occur in this musical tune. (1) Rai Diach (2) Junagarh
(3) Suratth the queen of Rai Diach, (4) The famous musician,
Bejal and (5), the neighboring Raja Anerai,
Assuming these names as symbolic, the mystics explain these names in
the following manner. Bejal stands for the perfect guide. When he recites
the name of God, Rai Diach who stands for his follower after
being impressed sacrifices his ego. Suratth symbolizes the evil self, which
prevents Rai Diach from making this sacrifice. Anerai signifies that voice
of ecstasy at whose suggestion Bejal play on his instrument to test the
truth and sincerely of Rai Diach and Junagarh stands for this world.
If we attempt a political interpretation of this tale, Rai Diach is
the symbol of a true and patriotic servant of the country and the nation
and Junagarh will stand for the society or the state. Suratth would be
considered as form of persuasion to indulge in selfishness and opportunism.
Bejal will stand for public opinion, and Anerai an evil minded political
leader whose main objective is to misguide the public opinion.
In this musical tune presenting the example of a true national leader
In consonance with this Idea, Shah Latif has characterized him as a man
who deeply respects public opinion, and knowing that selfish people in
promoting their class interests have turned public opinion against him,
he yields to the public demand, not showing stubbornness like willful dictators.
The spirit of sacrifice, generosity and complete conformity of word and
deed are his main characteristics. His conduct helps to explain the force
of the public opinion. Using Bejal as signifying an honest and a wise orator
and representative, Shah Latif emphasis the point that except his established
aim he is never prepared to accept even a most valuable offer. There is
a remarkable identity and resemblance between music and public opinion,
both are capable of leaving a lasting impression. If both are used in an
effective manner they leave indelible impression on society.
There can be a fixed value of the traditional musicians and representatives,
but the object of attention of Shah Latif are those musicians and people’s
representatives whose specific aim is high moral conduct, whose basic desire
is to achieve eminence through their musical talent rather than hankering
after money. They do not make the people the victim of exploitation, but
make the dictators and kings their target. It is the business of their
life to roll the crowns. In the following verse, Shah Latif expresses his
feelings for such freedom fighters:
If I place one hundred tunes in one side of the scales and Bejal's
Chang (a musical instrument) in the other, Bejal’s instrument
will outweigh the hundred tunes. If the heart is empty of the beloved’s
remembrance, then this human frame is no more than a skeleton.
If there had been more than one tunes in my body, I would have
sacrificed them one after the other over you.
Sur Burvo Sindhi
In this musical tune, there are Ibbiyat (verses) consisting of different
emotions and situations, which can be considered different from the point
of view of their themes. For example, the following verses are worth noting
which depict the experience of separation from the beloved:
Today my thirsty eyes have once again remembered my beloved,
and they are shedding a constant stream of tears. They never seem to stop.
The desire of seeing the beloved is never satisfied simply by seeing people.
Most of the people remain far even when they are so close,
but those whom we love remain close even when they are far. There are some
who never come in our mind and there are others we never forget. Those
we love firmly remain fixed in our minds.
People desire worldly wealth, while I have the desire only for my
beloved. I sacrifice all the wealth over my beloved. His name arouses a
sensation of pleasure in my heart.
Sur Momal Rana
In this musical tune, Shah Latif has made a famous folk tale of a princess
named Momal, her magical gardens, palaces and her lover Rana Mendhra as
the theme of his poetry. Whatever their interpretation from the spiritual
view point, but when they are viewed in political perspective, Momal appears
to us as an image of a clever and crafty political acrobat, who exploits
the people through his duplicity by making false promises and involving
them in intricate and inextricable situations. The people belonging to
the affluent class are easily trapped due to their greed and selfishness.
But as compared to them, Rana, who is the image of a wise and sincere national
leader, overcomes him through his stead fastness and wisdom, and when he
triumphs through his wisdom, he is deservedly rewarded with the blessings
of colorful garments, green shawls, variety of perfumes, wealth and all
that ensures his comfort and pleasure. It is for the acquisition of these
sources of pleasure that greedy and selfish people are caught in the trap
of Momal. But people like Rana never become a prey to this greed even when
they have acquired all these things and totally disregarding them advance
toward the achievement of their ideal. Politics soon entangles the people
of wealthy class in its tempting trap. Referring to this truth Shah Latif
Momal is so beautiful, tempting and alluring that the people
belonging to the affluent lass and nobles easily become her victims. Rano
has tried to scare the leading Hindu priests and pious men, but they have
always become a prey to Momal’s looks. Momal preys upon those who wear
crowns, and those who possess one or the other remarkable quality.
Comparing the selfish and sincere national leaders Shah Latif says:
No one is so handsome as Rano who is unique in manly beauty.
He has removed the cogwheels of doubt and uncertainty from their hearts.
I have no other concern except talking about him and remembering him.
Why does the magic of politics draw the people of wealthy class toward
them. Speaking about the allurements of politics, Shah Latif says:
The beauty of Momal and her friends is more valuable than
gold, they play with silver and perfumed lamps are lit in their homes and
whose beds are perfumed with musk. These are princesses whose bathrooms
are profusely perfumed. Their lovers are standing in a queue and are in
a state of great agitation. These princes have assumed the role of mendicants
in their love. Those who are love stricken. They are not far, they will
The sincere national leaders achieve success only through patience and
perseverance, the truth which Shah Latif expresses in the following verse:
Sodha, your patience is a source of guidance to the misguided
ones and persuades them to repent over their misdeeds.
The really sincere national leaders are indifferent to comforts and
pleasure which is possible through the power in the country. Shah Latif
The magical palaces cannot stand in the way of the true
lovers, nor they can be entangled in the alluring beauty of the ladies
and the maidservants of the palace. Such people leave these obstacles far
The true and sincere national leader is a rare and most valuable gift
in the national politics. They are not associated with politics out of
the desire to satisfy greed or avarice but for the welfare and progress
of the people and the country. They are supremely endowed with a delicacy
and sensitivity of temperament, and if suspicion is cast over their sincerity
and love of the people, forthwith they abandon politics. Then the politics
of the country and the people express their sense of loss after their departure
from the politics of the country. Illustrating this idea Shah Latif expresses
himself in the following verse:
Momal, had you considered your Rano (her husband) a plaything,
that you conciliated mean and contemptible people? He is displeased with
you because you made a. stranger your friend. You committed a breach of
faith and if you miss your beloved. He will never return to you.
I desire nothing except my Rano beloved). Fervently I
appeal to my beloved to return, without causing further suffering to me.
My beloved has vindicated me from my dishonor, from which I
was suffering. At last I have been blessed by God and I have been honored
with my husband..
My friends, my entire life have been disordered without
my Rano Soda. My beloved, my face has lost its color without you. I am
overcome with anxiety. I have been trying to find out your whereabouts
from everyone who meets me.
This musical tune is concerned with the description of the ideas and
character of the revolutionaries. Shah Latif expresses himself in their
praise in the following verse:
Oh my mother, I have seen those who have had a vision of God.
My words fail me to express my admiration for them.
He pays tribute in the following manner for the noble aims of the revolutionaries
and their struggle and noble mindedness to achieve their objectives:
These pious men go to such places where no one else can
go, nor anyone has knowledge about them. Their abode is the mountains.
The dedicated people go in search of a place, which has no bounds.
These pious men are wearing old shoes and they are completely
exhausted. But hey have achieved a goal where the greatest leaders cannot
reach. These indigent people are capable of reaching such goals.
The true and pious people have passed by me, then how can I
continue sitting comfortably. After a prolonged search they have been able
make the truth companion. Only these people are capable of searching this
destination where none other can go.
The essence of what has been mentioned in this musical tune in different
manners is that the true revolutionaries sustain themselves with scanty
means of living. To travel undaunted through the rough mountains is their
business, their feet bleed as a result of travelling on the craggy rocks.
They never experience restful sleep. They wander in the jungles and possess
nothing except their steadfastness and determination. The sky provides
them shelter and the earth is their resting-place. Facing the storms of
suffering and pain, they are completely absorbed in their dedication to
achieve their objective. They never waver in their determination in the
face of travelers or the length of their journey. Their skin is peeled
off their bodies in the journey but they continue to advance. They continue
to travel wearing the roughest and most uncomfortable shoes, where others
find it difficult to travel even a short distance. Especially highlighting
these qualities Shah Latif further renders a word of advice:
Oh man; do not follow the path of misguidance. Do not follow
the path the people do not like. Forgetting this path, come to me in the
garments of a Yogi (a Hindu ascetic) who has given up the material world.
Very rarely, a traveler chooses this arduous path. This is the
destination in the effort to achieve, ,which people mostly lose their wits,
but this in fact is the path which leads to the beloved. Only a very few
are familiar with this path.
In this musical tune Shah Latif mentioning the religious and moral guides,
divides them into two different groups. The one he calls Noori (who possess
spiritual light) and Naari (who are concerned with this material world):
There are all kinds of people in this world, both Noori and
Naari, but the people who have provided spiritual light to the world through
their personal sacrifice are tile ones without whom my life is incomplete.
After specifying this division, he mentions their different characteristics.
In his opinion Nooris never -seek comfort and pleasure. They are concerned
with their present situation; they eliminate their ego and remain quite
unconcerned with this material world:
Neither do they carry anything with them, nor do they possess
Totally disregarding the "part", they are concerned with the "whole".
They live a simple ordinary life without protecting themselves. They are
aware of the realities, but never divulge the mysteries, always hiding
their personality. They are not concerned with the evil or good in other
people. They always exhibit good will for others. They never hate anyone
and always make an attempt to put an end to malice with patience. They
elevate their person through eliminating their ego. Something, which is
a source of agony, is a cause of happiness for them. They light the fire
of love in the hearts of others, and never allow jealousy and hatred to
come near themselves. They never let go of truth and are free from the
pleasures of gastronomy. They accept anything with which their survival
is possible, and never go out with a begging bowl in their hands. They
are content even when they experience extreme pangs of hunger and never
solicit help from others. The idea of maintaining land, property and ostentatious
display of wealth never crosses their mind. They do not suffer from the
vice of self-love. They never consider this material world as their possession,
because the human spirit is above all the worldly desire. They never reveal
their inner self to others:
These pious men are neither seen smiling, eating nor talking,
and usually remain absorbed in deep thought. Such godly people are rarely
found, but if one is fortunate to see them, one should never fail to be
guided by them. When they leave, it would be well nigh impossible to benefit
from their company again.
As long as these pious people are here, you can share
your inmost thoughts with them. But when they have left for Hanglore, they
may never return. You would be fortunate if you ever have an opportunity
to see them again.
Shah Latif speaks of pious and godly people he had met and when he was
separated from them. He says:
Today there is no godly man in the inn, they have left. When
I remember them, I shed tears. Those spiritual people who held great attraction
for me have gone.
Shah Latif also gives an introduction to the personality and character
of such people whom he calls "Naari"
Those "godly men" are false who love eating heartily. They are
greedy and mean whose objective is to have copious food to eat, such men
perform all the rituals of piety and speak fulsomely about the miracles
they claim to perform, but fail to control human desire. They never can
be close to God. They specially pay attention to their appearance. Identifying
such false pretenders to piety.
Shah Latif says:
Such men who falsely claim to be pious, their thoughts are confined
merely to have good food and a comfortable bed. They never can attain the
nearness of God.
At another place he says:
The care and anxiety about food and drink these, so called,
pious men have, they will soon find their way to God, if they give as much
thought to this purpose.
In a very touching manner, Shah Latif has expressed the emotions of
sorrow and giief in this musical tune, for example:
My dear mother, my heart and soul has been devastated by the
grief of separation. Only the people who have an experience of suffering
and pain can move on the path of love.
My restless soul does not stop at one place like camels, because
I have vowed to remain faithful to my beloved, not end this relation of
My eyes are sleepless, I do not hope to enjoy the comforts of
My friend, my dear, if you desire to learn the lesson of love,
learns from the potter's furnace. Throughout the day fire burns in it,
but it never complains.
Sur Leelan Chanesar
There are four different elements of this folk tale, which are of vital
significance. Among them, three are characters, namely Leelan, Chanesar,
Konru and the fourth element is the necklace of pearls. The mystics consider
Chanesar as the "Truth" which is desired, Leelan the true seeker after
this ‘Truth’, Konru is the Satan and the necklace symbolizes greed and
But when we look at this story in a political perspective Chanesar stands
for the noble objective, Leelan for the national political leaders, Konru
for selfish and greedy politicians and the necklace symbolizes temporary
and superficial benefits.
In the way of the noble objectives of a national leader stand the selfish
interests, greed, transient honor and the craze for the acquisition of
power by the selfish politicians, and sometimes overcome by the superficial
emotions they become prey to the common human frailties, as a consequence
of which they have to go through humiliation and suffering. Shah Latif
offers a word of admonition in this situation.
Oh Leelan the diamonds which had aroused the feeling
of temptation in you in fact are not the diamonds, rather they
are insignificant stones, due to which, like you, many princesses in the
past have lost their fiends. Now they can do nothing except shedding tears
over their loss.
In political conflicts quite a large number of leaders, abandoning truth,
adopt temporary benefits, personal power and selfish interests. No doubt,
in this manner, they achieve transitory honor, but history provides the
evidence, that it is never lasting. Addressing the politicians of this
character Shah Latif says:
Oh Leelan, once again you yielded yourself to this greed and
avarice. You should be able to realize that this false necklace has been
the cause of Ignominy and humiliation of many in the past. What is the
result? Leaving you alone, your husband has caused you immeasurable suffering
While admonishing the selfish elements, Shah Latif also counsels those
suffering all kinds of trials for their punciples to remain steadfast in
That love is not sincere if on. looks for one’s own interests.
Leelan you must go and search for your husband (Chanesar), notwithstanding
the trials and sufferings you may have to go through in this quest.
At one place mentioning those who ultimately have to suffer disrepute
and ignominy because they sacrifice noble alms and principle over personal
benefit, Shah Latif says:
Leelan, you have been caught in the temptation at the sight
of this necklace and have assumed an attitude of arrogance People therefore
come and point at you a finger of accusation, which has rent her heart
and soul. It has ruined her youth and virginity.
Such shortsighted people, regarding themselves clever and crafty make
an effort to be fooling others, but ultimately when the truth reveals itself,
they themselves prove to be the worst fools. Addressing such people Shah
Leelan, you considered yourself very wise and Intelligent, you’
were also aware of your husband temperament, you thought you appeared very
beautiful in your ornaments, but which was an error of judgement on your
part. Those who are really, endowed with wisdom, ornaments do not befit
them, because they know the real condition of the heart. Your husband is
one of those who know the secrets of the heart. He knows what is real,
Expressing his sorrow over the political loaders who are under the illusion
of being wise, Shah Latif says, that the kind of wisdom the consequence
of which is remorse, it is better to be "Wise" ‘which may be the cause
of troubles, initially, but "ultimately" it brings about one’s triumph.
My ‘God I do not desire to be wise, because those who consider
themselves wise suffer at the end. It is through misunderstanding that
my beloved has shown kindness and generosity to me.
He was quite aware of the fact that most of the crafty manipulators,
trampling all ethical codes and principles acquire temporary wealth and
ostentation through flattery and hypocrisy. But none of them is ever permanently
successful. Many of them have ultimately suffered most painfully at the
Let no woman appear with grace and elegance before Chanesar.
I have now realized that this is not the time and place for such grace
and delicacy. If the beloved is ever displeased, he can make his woman
suffer the pangs of separation.
Addressing those shortsighted politicians who can not foresee evil consequences,
he speaks about their illusion of wisdom and craftiness. He says:
Leelan, the thread you have considered your necklace, has become
the chain of a slave around your neck. Chanesar, your husband, has withdrawn
his love from you, and now he loves a poor woman, Konru. May no wife become
the target of her husband’s contempt.
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