Shartiyun Aain Ta

Allah, you’ve made lovers
Of many different kinds
One waits on the path
Another wakes all night…

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, the deeply loved Sindhi Sufi poet of 18th century, spoke through the famous tragic love legends of the Punjab and Sindh region. In this song Latif speaks in the voice of Sasui, whose beloved Punhoon has been wrested away from her on the morning following her wedding night by Punhoon’s kinsmen angered by the cross-community marriage. This is a well-known song sung by many different singers in the oral traditions of Shah Latif, which straddle both sides of the border between Pakistan and India.

Sasui is a Brahmin girl abandoned at birth by her parents and raised in Bhambhor by a childless Muslim washerman and washerwoman couple. Her crime is to fall in love with a stranger called Punhoon, who is King Aari Jaam’s son. For this crime, her punishment is to have her husband abducted on the morning following her wedding night! He’s plied through the night with alcohol by his brothers and then put on to their camels and taken across the desert, back to where he came from. Sasui, determined as steel, sets off alone across the hot desert, without any supplies, in the pursuit of her retreating beloved…

In this moment, Sasui is stepping into the harsh Thar desert when her friends try to stop her from embarking on this impossible journey. She brushes them off with the words of this song. She knows that the path to finding her Beloved, her truth, her own true self, cannot be without the necessary striving and suffering.

Allahu aasikan ji beli khalke kedi jaat
Hikda vithai hin vaat te, bya jaage saari raat
Pan vo dost ain bevafa jaat ja
Jo ko deey landhe nindhrun karin

Shartiyun aain ta vinyodi vinyo la
Muinjhodi pech Punhal saan
Muinjhodi lekh lakhanta

Allah miyaan, hede sheher Bhambhor mein la
Med miskeen ji manyodi manyo la
Shartiyun aain ta…

Allah miyaan, uth Aari Jaam ja la
Daaghan daan diyodi diyo la
Shartiyun aain ta…

Allah miyaan, shartiyun Shah Latif chain la
Laalun laal Latif chain la
Aahe andhar aavaan unyodi unyo la
Shartiyun aain ta…

Friends, Be On Your Way 

Allah, you’ve made lovers
Of many different kinds
One waits on the path
Another wakes all night
But those lovers are false
Who drift into sleep
At the fall of day

Friends, be on your way
My destiny is written
Friends, you go your way
I’m bound to Punhoon

Oh Allah
In the city of Bhambhor
Hear the plea of this poor wretch
My destiny is written

Oh Allah
Put shackles on the feet
Of the camels of Aari Jaam
My fate is sealed

Oh Allah
Shah Latif says, listen friends
The thirst within me is intense
I belong to desert ways

Translation: Vipul Rikhi and Shabnam Virmani

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About vipulrikhi

Vipul Rikhi writes, translates, sings, plays and performs. Find some of his songs, poetry, articles, stories and books at https://vipulrikhi.wordpress.com/.
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