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Heer Ranjha

Heer Ranjha has become established as a well known romance with tragedy, among the four others in Punjab. The others are Sassi Punnun, Mirza Sahiba and Sohni Mahiwal. Heer Ranjha has plenty of narrations in poetic form, the one written by Waris Shah in 1766, named Heer, being the most well known. This is a story depicting the intricate love story between Ranjha and his beloved Heer. Others, who have also penned down poetic forms of this story, are Mukhbaz, Damodar Das Arora and Ahmed Gujjar, apart from a few others.

Love Story And Its Character

Heer was considered to be a very beautiful lady, who belonged to a rich family of Jats in the clan of Sayyal in the village of Jhang in Punjab. On the other hand, Ranjha belonged to the Jat community, from the clan of Ranjha, with his first name being Dheeda, while the surname was Ranjha. Among a family of four siblings, Ranjha is the youngest, living in the Takht Hazara village, along the Chenab River. He was the favourite among the sons of his father and used to play flute, unlike his brothers, who used to work in the lands. Ranjha left his home, after a quarrel amongst his brothers over land. As per the version of Wazir Shah, Ranjha had to leave home, because he was refused to be given food by the wives of his brothers. Somehow, he came to the village where Heer lived and here he fell in love. At this time, Heer offered Ranjha a job of looking after the cattle of her father. Listening to the way Ranjha was playing the flute, Heer was mesmerized and finally was in love with this boy. Gradually they started meeting in secret, which lasted for many years, but eventually, they were detected by Kaido, who was the uncle of Heer and jealous by nature. Her father Chuchak and mother Malki also came to know about this affair. Under pressure of the family and local mullah, Heer had to marry Saida Khera.

Now, Ranjha’s heart broke down and started roaming the countryside all alone. This is when he meets the Jogi, Baba Gorakhnath, who had established the Kanphata sect meaning the Pierced ear of Jogis at a place called Tilla Jogian, meaning the Ascetics Hill, which was situated about 50 miles towards north of Bhera, a historic town, in Punjab’s Sargodha district. Ranjha ultimately went on to become a Jogi, pierced ears and took renunciation from the world of materialism. He started reciting the name of Alakh Niranjan and went throughout the state of Punjab, finally reaching the village, where Heer was currently residing.

Tragic End of Love Story

When Ranjha came to the village of Heer, they both decide to get married and under the blessings of Heer’s parents. But, Kaido, the uncle who was always jealous, put poison into the food on the wedding day, which was consumed by Heer. When Ranjha hears about this, he goes to the help of Heer, but she had already consumed the food and died. Once again, Ranjha was heartbroken and he also consumed the sweets which were poisoned and died near Heer.

Both Heer and Ranjha were then cremated in the hometown of Heer, Jhang. This place has become a common site for many lovers, who arrive here to pay their homage at the mausoleum.

Waris Shah's Version of Love Story

According to some beliefs, it might have been that the Heer and Ranjha’s poetic description had an ending, which was happy, but probably, the sad end, as in the above description, was formulated by Waris Shah, which actually made this epic a legend to go by. From the very beginning of the poem, Waris Shah had stressed deeply about the quest of God by humans.

Love Story in Film & Shows

Poem of Heer and Ranjha, which had epic proportions, was captured on screen in form of movies.

  • Some of the movies made prior to partition were Heer Ranjha in 1928, which starred Zubeida, and a few others with the same title in the years 1929, 1931 and 1948.
  • Those, which were made some decades later were Heer Ranjha in 1971, which starred Priya Ravjansh and Raaj Kumar and Chetan Anand directed it. Another movie was of the same name in 1992 and one more in Punjabi in 2009, where the Punjabi actor and singer, Harbhajan Mann played the lead. There are also some versions made in Pakistan, such as the 1970 Heer Ranjha, which had Masood Pervaiz directing it, with Ejaz Durrani and Firdous starring in it and songs were rendered by Noor Jehan, Sowarn Lata and Inayat Hussain Bhatti starred Heer and one more by the name of Heer Sial, which had Bahar and Sudhir in the lead.
  • There was also a Heer Ranjha short act, which had Sanaya Irani and Barun Sobti in the lead, which was incorporated in Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon, a soap of fame in Indian television on 3rd April, 2012.
  • In the movie Raavan in 2010, Gulzar penned a song Ranjha Ranjha, which was a reference to the Heer Ranjha story.
  • The movie Rockstar by Imtiaz Ali in Bollywood in 2011, also captured the story’s essence.
  • In 2013, Heer Ranjha was aired as a TV serial by Shahid Zahoor in PTV Home.

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