Sohni Mahiwal

Sohni Mahiwal  one of the most popular tragic romances of Punjab. Izzat Baig, a wealthy trader from Bukhara (Uzbekistan), is completely enchanted when he sees the beautiful Sohni and sends his companions away without him. He takes a job as a servant in the house of Tula, and Sohni falls in love with him. When they hear rumors about the love of Sohni and Mahiwal, Sohni’s parents arrange her marriage with another potter without her knowledge. His “barat” (marriage party) arrives at her house unannounced and her parents bundle her off in the doli (palanquin). Izzat Baig renounces the world and lives like a “faqir” (hermit) in a small hut across the river. Each night Sohni comes to the riverside and Izzat Baig swims across the river to meet her. When he is injured and cannot swim, Sohni begins swimming across the river each night, using a Ghara (large earthenware pitcher) as a float. Her husband’s sister follows her and discovers the hiding place where Sohni keeps her earthen pitcher among the bushes. The next day, the sister-in-law replaces the pitcher with an unbaked one which dissolves in the water. Sohni drowns in the river; when Mahiwal sees this from the other side of the river, he jumps into the river and drowns with her. According to the legend, the bodies of Sohni and Mahiwal were recovered from river Indus near Shahdapur and are buried there.

The love of Sohni and Mahiwal caused a commotion within the Kumhar community. It was not acceptable that a daughter from this community would marry an outsider, so her parents immediately arranged her marriage with another potter. On the day the “barat” (marriage party) of that potter arrived at her house, Sohni felt helpless and lost. She was sent off to the husband’s house in a Doli (palanquin)

While the rumours of their romantic rendezvous spread. One day Sohni’s sister-in-law followed her and saw the hiding place where Sohni kept her earthenware pitcher. She informed her mother, Sohni’s mother-in-law, and instead of telling Sohni’s husband (who was away on a business trip), the women decided to take the decision in their own hands and finish the matter. The next day, the sister-in-law removed the hard baked pitcher and replaced it with an unbaked one. That night, when Sohni tried to cross the river with the help of the pitcher, it dissolved in the water and Sohni drowned. From the other side of the river, Mahiwal saw Sohni drowning and jumped into the river to save her and drowned as well. Thus, the lovers were reunited in death.


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