Author : Rtn. Gangaram Shamdas Purswani(P.H.F)
Sassi Punnuh or Sassui Punhun (Sindhi: سَسُئيِ پُنهوُن, ) is a love story from Sindh and Baloch folklore. The story is about a faithful wife who is ready to undergo all kinds of troubles that would come her way while seeking her beloved husband who was separated from her by the rivals.
The story also appears in Shah Jo Risalo and forms part of seven popular tragic romances from Sindh. The other six tales are Umar Marvi, Sohni Mehar, Lilan Chanesar, Noor Jam Tamachi, Sorah Rai Diyach and Momal Rano commonly known as the Seven Queens of Sindh, or the Seven heroines of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai..
Mir Punnhun Khan (Mir Dostein Hoth) is the son of Mir Aalii, son of King Mir Hoth Khan, ancestor of the Hoths, a famous Baloch tribe inBalochistan. King Hoth was son of Mir Jalal Khan, ruler of today’s Balochistan (Pakistan) region in the 12th Century, and father of Rind, Lashari, Hoth, Korat, Talpur and Jatoi.
Sassi was the daughter of the Raja of Bhambore in Sindh (now in Pakistan). Upon Sassi’s birth, astrologers predicted that she was a curse for the royal family’s prestige. The Raja ordered that the child be put in a wooden box and thrown in the Sindhu River. A washerman of the Bhambore village found the wooden box and the child inside. The washerman believed the child was a blessing from God and took her home. As he had no children of his own, he decided to adopt her.
Sassi grew up to be as beautiful as the fairies of heaven. As Bhambore laid on trade route to Thatta, caravans would pass through it regularly and Stories of her beauty reached the young Prince of Makran, Punnu. Punnu became desperate to meet Sassi. The handsome young Prince therefore travelled to Bhambore. He sent his clothes to Sassi’s father (a washerman) so that he could catch a glimpse of Sassi. When he visited the washerman’s house, he came face to face with young girl and they fell in love at first sight. But as the Prince was not from their caste, Sassi’s father was dispirited, hoping that Sassi would marry a washerman and no one else. He asked Punnu to prove that he was worthy of Sassi by passing the test as a washerman. Punnu agreed to prove his love. While washing, he tore all the clothes as, being a prince, he had never washed any clothes; he thus failed the agreement. But before he returned those clothes, he hid gold coins in the pockets of all the clothes, hoping this would keep the villagers quiet. The trick worked, and Sassi’s father agreed to the marriage.
Punnu’s father and brothers were against his marriage to Sassi (Punnu being a prince and she being a washerman’s daughter) and so, for their father’s sake, Punnu’s brothers traveled to Bhambore. First they threatened Punnu but when she didn’t relent, they tried more devious methods. Punnu was surprised to see his brothers supporting his marriage and on the first wedding night of their brother with fake enthusiasm, they pretended to enjoy and participate in the marriage celebrations and forced Punnu to drink different types of wines. When he was intoxicated they carried him on a camel’s back and returned to their hometown of Kech/Makran.
The lovers meet their end
The next morning, when Sassui got up, she realized that she got cheated. She became mad with the grief of separation from her lover and ran barefoot towards the town of Kech/ Makran. To reach it, she had to cross miles of desert. Alone, she continued her journey until her feet were blistered and her lips were parched from crying “Punnhun, Punnhun!”. The journey was full of dangerous hazards. Punnhun’s name was on Sassui’s lips throughout the journey. She was thirsty, there she saw a shepherd coming out of a hut. He gave her some water to drink. Seeing her incredible beauty, he tried to force himself on Sassui. Sassui ran away and prayed to God to hide her and when God listened to her prayers, land shook and split and Sassui found herself buried in the valley of mountains. When Punhun woke inMakran, he could not stop himself from running back to Bhambore. On the way he called out “Sassui, Sassui!” to which the shepherd told Punnhun the whole story. Then Punnhun also lamented the same prayer, the land shook and split again and he was also buried in the same mountain valley as Sassui. The shepherd repentant, became caretaker of their grave. The legendary grave still exists in this valley and can be found at Lasbela. According to myth. It is placed exactly at the spot wherethe lovers disappeared under ground. Needless to say, it is proudly protected by the locals, who are always more than happy to narrat its story to visitors. As the ruins of Punnu’s Fort, they are located even further, in Turbat. Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai sings this historic tale in his Sufi poetry as an example of eternal love and union with divine. But according to the famous tale by Hashim (poet) (hashim shah) Sassui dies while crossing the desert.
The Kech Makran is located along the Makran Coastal Highway in Baluchistan, Pakistan. The fort of Punnhun whose construction dates back to 6000-8000 BC is located there.
The British musician Panjabi MC references the tale of Sassi in his 2003 song Jogi. The King of Qawali, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, mentions Sassi in a verse of one of his most famous songs “Tum Ek Gorak Dhanda Ho” written by the poet Naz Khialvi.
Sufi Azmat, Daim Iqbal Daim, Mian Inyat Ali (QasoorMand) & Sain Sardar Ali Sardar also famous Punjabi poet, & written this story in Punjabi
Tombs of Sassi Punnhun
Sassi and Punnu’s alleged graves is located near Lasbela, Balochistan 45 miles away in the Hub range to the west of Karach.