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River Indus: Flow of life – Part I

By Raza Rumi:

Along its 1,800-mile course, the Indus joins cultures from the steppes of Central Asia to the arid plains of the South Asian subcontinent. It affects patterns of thought and behavior, shapes expressions of culture and provides inspiration for art. The hopes and aspirations of its people are reflected in stories and elaborate myths, transmitted through the consciousness of successive generations by bards and story-tellers. It is important to mention that the Indus Valley Civilization originated in the fertile plains of the Indus River, in the third and fourth millennium BC. This civilization, or the Harappan Culture, was coeval with the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and is recognized as the third major civilization in the history of humankind. Mohanas, the boat-people of the Indus valley, still live along its banks, near the shrine of Khwaja Khizr and elsewhere. They traverse the mighty river on boats which have remained essentially similar in design to those depicted in the art of the Indus Valley Civilization thousands of years ago.

To the Sindhis, it is known as “Purali”: the capricious river whose floods can make and destroy civilizations

Alice Albinia in her excellent book Empires of the Indus: the Story of a River reminds us how the Indian subcontinent derives its very name from the great river. The ancient Sanskrit language referred to the Indus as “Sindhu”. Later, the Persians entitled it the “Hindu” and through the subsequent eras, it finally came to be known as India. Albinia has painstakingly researched how the Indus region excited the imagination of Europeans from early antiquity. The lure of the Indian subcontinent had reached the West even in the time of Alexander the Great, and ever since then, exotic tales of this enchanting land have spurred on the ambitions of many a great conqueror.

Sohni meets her tragic end in the Indus which up till recently had been a facilitator in her love-story, but suddenly becomes the ultimate obstacle in allowing it to continue

The multitudes of peoples who live along the banks of the Indus know it by a number of names. To the Sindhis, it is known as “Purali”: the capricious river whose floods can make and destroy civilizations. Further up the course of the river, the Pashtuns refer to it as the ‘Nilab’ (blue water), ‘Sher Darya’ (Lion River) and ‘Abbasin’ (father of Rivers). The mountain people of Baltistan know it as ‘Gemtsuh’ (the Great Flood), or ‘Tsuh-Fo’ (the Male River). […]

Love Stories of the Risalo of Shah Latif – Noori Jam-Tamachee

Contribution by Naveed Siraj

The Risalo of Shah Latif is divided into chapters called Surs which are composed on the lines of musical notes. Each sur is based on symbols taken from stories which are part of Sindhi folklore. Sur Kamod in the Risalo of Shah Latif is based on the love story of Noori Jam-Tamachee:

Noori Jam-Tamachee

King Jam Tamachi was a Samo ruler of lower Sind at the end of the 14th century A.D. While on a shooting expedition, he chanced to see a fisher girl named Noori, falling madly in love with her and offered to married her, his love for her blind to the social disparity between them.

When they returned back to his capital, he was made aware of the general disapproval of this match. He merely observed that the detractors did not know her as much as he did. In order to display her character and appease the cynics, one day, he announced to his queens, that he would take one of them for a ride on an outing. […]

May 1st, 2008|Sindh, Soul, South Asian Literature, Sufi poetry, Sufism|6 Comments