One of the most popular tragic romances of the Punjab, Heer Ranjha is set in district Jhang.
Heer Ranjha is one of Punjab’s most popular and widely read and sung folktale. As with most of the province’s folktales, it is a love story, set in the town of Takht Hazara in the district of Jhang, on the right bank of the river Chenab. The story revolves around Dheedo, commonly known by his sub-caste Ranjha, who is the son of a Chaudhry. Upon the death of his father, he becomes the target of his brothers and sisters-in-law, and so leaves home to wander the Punjab. It is on his travels that he comes across the beautiful Heer from the Siyal tribe of Jhang. The rest of the story is a series of agonies the lovers must endure in their struggle for union with each other. In the end, Heer is poisoned by Ranjha’s family, and Ranjha dies of heartbreak.
Considered one of the oldest Punjabi tales, Heer Ranjha has achieved the status of immortal legend, rendered to life by countless poets. The earliest rendition in writing was recorded by Hari Dass, during the reign of the first Mughal Emperor Babar (1556-1605). The foremost of these renditions, however, was written by the renowned Punjabi poet Waris Shah. Born in the Sheikhupura district in Jandiala Sher Khan in 1722, he completed his version of Heer Ranjha sometime in 1766. He has been called the Shakespeare and Saadi of Punjab.
Nadiem, Ihsan H. Punjab: Land, History, People. Lahore: Al-Faisal Nashran, 2005.