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Humshehri: Thinking Pakistan's History

Thinking Pakistan's History

Hani & Sheh Mureed

Urdu Version

A 15th century Balochi folktale that tells the tale of Sheh Mureed, an immortal saint of the Baloch.

Last Updated: 26 Jul. 2015

Background

This tale concerns two important Balochi figures, Sheh Mureed and Mir Chakar Rind. Sheh Mureed, the son of a Balochi chief, was engaged to the beautiful Hani. Mir Chakar Rind, the Great Chief of the Rind tribe, also sought to marry Hani. Through a clever trick, Mir Chakar forced Sheh Mureed to give up Hani and thereafter married her himself. Sheh Mureed left his country and only returned 30 years later in the guise of a traveling mendicant. He managed to win back Hani but left her again because he was no longer concerned with this life. The Baloch consider him to be an immortal saint. Numerous versions of this folktale are told.

Story

Hani and Sheh mureed 1
Mir Chakar Rind

Mir Chakar ruled over his tribe from his capital in Sibi. His territory was vast and the men loyal to him were many. His constant companion and friend was Sheh Mureed, the son of the Chief of Kahiri tribe. Sheh Mureed was renowned as a great swordsman and a skilled archer. His special bow of steel was so heavy that only he could string an arrow and shoot from it. One day, as both friends were returning home from hunting, they stopped in the town where their fiancées lived. But as was the custom, they were not allowed to meet the woman they would one day marry, so they decided to visit the house of each other’s fiancée. Mir Chakar went to the house of Hani and asked for water. Hani sent a silver bowl of water with straw floating in it. Puzzled, Mir Chakar drank carefully so as not to swallow the straw. Meanwhile Sheh Mureed went to the home of Mir Chakar’s fiancée and asked for water. As there were no straws in his bowl he gulped it down quickly to quench his thirst and immediately became sick. When Mir Chakar found Sheh Mureed in this state he understood Hani’s wisdom in preventing him from drinking water too quickly on an empty stomach. He was captivated by her intelligence and decided that he would make Hani his wife.

One day Mir Chakar arranged a feast to which he invited many important folks. As the meal progressed, Mir Chakar called upon all his guests to make a vow that they must fulfill. One chieftain promised to kill anyone who touched his beard, while another swore he would never return a she camel that joined his herd. Wanting to outdo all others, Sheh Mureed swore that if ever anyone came to him for a favor, he would fulfill it. Later, Sheh Mureed gave a party that was attended by a group of musicians. These musicians asked Sheh Mureed for a favor to which he readily agreed. Unknown to him, the musicians were under the orders of Mir Chakar. They requested that he renounce his engagement to Hani. Horrified, Sheh Mureed offered them his sword, his bow, his horse, anything but that. The musicians began to mock Sheh Mureed and he realized that if he did not comply he would be forever dishonored. Upon hearing of this incident, Hani rebuked him, telling him that the honor of a woman is not something to be exchanged. Mir Chakar quickly sent his proposal of marriage and shortly thereafter he married Hani.

Hani and Sheh mureed 2
Sheh Mureed having lost Hani

Sheh Mureed could not bear seeing Hani as someone else’s wife and he took to writing poetry that expressed his love. The enemies of Mir Chakar had their musicians memorize these poems and recite them. Thus all the Baloch knew that Sheh Mureed was in love with the new wife of Mir Chakar. Sheh Mureed’s father tried to reason with him but when all else failed, he beat his son in the company of other nobleman. Sheh Mureed decided to leave and joined a group of travelers who were making their way to Mecca. He stayed in Mecca for 30 years, worshipping and writing his poetry.

Upon his return he joined a group of mendicants. One day they visited Mir Chakar’s home. Hani recognized him but kept it a secret. The Rind nobles had arranged an archery competition behind Mir Chakar’s house and Sheh Mureed asked to participate. Since he was still in his beggar clothes, with his long tangled hair down to his waist, the nobles were amused by his request. To mock him they gave in to his request. But soon their mockery turned to amazement when Sheh Mureed broke bow after bow. A nobleman then suggested that this beggar should try the bow of Sheh Mureed. Sheh Mureed was able to shoot three arrows, one after the other. The nobles became suspicious that this beggar was Sheh Mureed. Upon confirming this, Mir Chakar offered to divorce Hani so that she could marry Sheh Mureed. Shortly thereafter Sheh Mureed and Hani were married. But the next day Sheh Mureed, who was no longer concerned with worldly matters, chose a white camel from his father’s herd and rode off into the unknown.

Find out more

Websites

Badalkhan, Sabir. “Lord of the Iron Bow: The Return Pattern Motif in the Fifteenth-century Baloch Epic Hero Sey Murid.” Oral Tradition 19.2 (2005): 253-98.


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