Punjab has always combated invaders. Therefore the truth of life became a reality like blood in one’s veins. All this inculcated in the lovers of Punjab not only an appreciation and periscopic sense of beauty but also the courage to gift life.
The action became two dimensional: while on one hand mortal love gained the stature of worship of God; on the other hand, it lent courage to defy religious constraints. The beautiful truth is that for centuries the saga of the folk lovers which immortalizes the memory of Heer, Sohni, Sahiban, Sassi, and others has been handed down from generation to generation.
Their memories are still alive as they had died for love and not because their lovers had died for them at the alter of love. They rebelled against the conventional norms of society. These women who loved did not treasure their body or soul: they sacrificed everything for love.
The roots of this philosophy are embedded in the poetry of Waris Shah who believed that the world existed on love. He says:
be thankful to God
For making love the root of the world
First he himself loved
Then he made the prophets
His beloved ones
It is this belief which endowed the woman of Punjab with a romantic soul and filled it with the conviction of truth and gave her the courage to speak. Therefore we do not come across any love story which portrays a woman pining to death or quietly nursing her love within her bosom. In all the love tales the women are volatile and have dynamic characters.
The famous love legends include:
Waris Shah’s composition, the love story of Heer Ranjha takes a pre-eminent place, in what may be called the ‘qissa’ literature of Punjab. It is the story of the youngman and a youngwomen.
Sassi was another romantic soul, the daughter of King Adamkhan of Bhambour. At her birth the astrologers predicted that she was a curse for the royal family’s prestige. The king ordered that the child be put in a wooden chest with a ‘taweez’ tied on her neck and thrown into the river Chenab.
Sohni was the daughter of a potter named Tula, who lived in Punjab near the banks of the Chenab River. As soon as the Surahis (water pitchers) and mugs came off the wheels, she would draw floral designs on them and transform them into masterpieces of art.
Mirza–Sahiban, a love-lore is a treasure of Punjabi literature. It is a romantic tragedy. Sahiban was another love-lorn soul. Shayer Pillo raves about her beauty and says,” As Sahiban stepped out with a lungi tied around her waist, the nine angels died on seeing her beauty and God started counting his last breath.