Waris Shah

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Waris Shah (وارث شاہ)
Waris Shah.jpg
Born 1722
Jandiala Sher Khan, Sheikhupura, Punjab (Present day Pakistan)
Died 1798
Malka Hans, Pakpattan, Punjab (Present day Pakistan)
Occupation Poet
Genre Sufi poetry
Notable works Heer Ranjha

Peer Syed Waris Shah (Punjabi: وارث شاہ, ਵਾਰਿਸ ਸ਼ਾਹ) (1722–1798) was a Punjabi Sufi poet of Chisti order, renowned for his contribution to Punjabi literature. He is best known for his seminal work Heer Ranjha, based on the traditional folk tale of Heer and her lover Ranjha. Heer is considered one of the quintessential works of classical Punjabi literature. The story of Heer was also told by several other writers, including notable versions by Damodar Das, Mukbal, and Ahmed Gujjar, but Waris Shah's version is by far the most popular today.

Background[edit]

Waris Shah was born in Jandiala Sher Khan, Punjab,(Present day Pakistan) into a reputed Syed family. His father was Gulsher Shah. Waris acknowledged himself as a disciple of Ustad of Kasur. Waris's parents are said to have died when he was young, and he probably received his education at the shrine of his preceptor. After completing his education in Kasur, he moved to Malka Hans, a village twelve kilometers north of Pakpattan. Here he resided in a small room, adjacent to a historic masjid, now called Masjid Waris Shah. His mausoleum is a place of pilgrimage today, especially for those in love. The mausoleum complex was completed in 1978 and is a mixture of the Lahore School and Tughlaq Architecture.

Shakespeare of Punjabi language[edit]

Waris Shah is also called Shakespeare of the Punjabi language because of his great poetic love story, Heer Ranjha. it is said that through this story of romantic love, he tried to portray the love of man for God (the quintessential subject of Sufi literature).

He was a consummate artiste, deeply learned in Sufi and domestic cultural lore. His verse is a treasure-trove of Punjabi phrases, idioms and sayings. His minute and realistic depiction of each detail of Punjabi life and the political situation in the 18th century, remains unique. Waris Shah sublimated his own unrequited love for a girl (Bhag Bhari) in writing romance.

Many verses of Waris Shah are widely used in Punjab in a moral context. One of the more popular is

"Waris Shah; Naa adataan jaandiyan ne, Bhavein katiye poriyan poriyan ji"

(Waris Shah says: A man never abandons his habits, even if he is hacked to pieces)

Portrayal in Media[edit]

Waris Shah's life has been fictionalised in Punjabi films. In 1964 a Pakistani film titled Waris Shah featured Inayat Hussain Bhatti in the title role. In 2006, a Punjabi movie Waris Shah: Ishq Daa Waaris on the life of Waris Shah was released in India. Waris Shah was portrayed by Gurdas Mann.

Excerpt from Heer Waris Shah[edit]

These are the opening lines[1] from Waris Shah's rendering of Heer:

Translation: First of all let us acknowledge God, who has made love the worth of the world, Sir,
It was God Himself that first loved, and the prophet (Muhammad) is His beloved, Sir

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ From the book Heer Waris Shah (Chatur Singh Jeevan Singh) in Gurmukhi.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

"Great Sufi Poets of The Punjab" by R. M. Chopra, 1999.