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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Trees in our folktales

This is a painting by Sabir Nazar showing Heer Ranjha in heaven.

In this painting, Ranjha is riding a buffalo (with its udders full of milk, it symbolizes mother earth). Casually sitting on the broad haunches of the buffalo and playing a tune on the flute, Ranjha symbolizes man’s creativity. He is also a passionate and loyal lover.

And the tree in this image symbolizes eternity.

Heer Ranjha is the most widely read folktale of Pakistan. It is one of the most popular tragic romances of the Punjab about Heer [an extremly bold and beautiful woman] and Ranjha [an adventurous young man] along the banks of River Chenab.

Ranjha comes to Heer’s village where she offers him the job to take care of the cattle. Heer becomes mesmerized by the way Ranjha playes flute and they fall in love. Heer’s jealous uncle Qaido catches them and Heer is forced to marry another man "Saida Khera". She elopes with Ranjha and eventually gets caught and poisoned by Qaido. Ranjha wails and mourns as Heer’s grave opens and Ranjha lies beside her in an eternal embrace.
You can read the full details of the story here.

Trees have always been considered sacred and get a prominent place in our folktales. And in this folktale, Ranjha is often shown under the shade of a tree playing a flute and taking care of Heer's cattle. Eventually, Heer becomes mesmerized by the way Ranjha plays his flute and falls in love with him.

No doubt, Sabir Nazar has beautifully illustrated this scene.

Sabir’s first show was held in 1995 at Lahore Art Gallery, featuring a mixed collection of works. Sabir started his career as a cartoonist working for Friday Time in 1991 and designed the famous three horses in Defense. His work revolves around social and symbolic subjects and his cartoons affect his paintings to a great extent, which highlight political changes.


Image credited by:

Heer ranjha by Umair Ghani

1 comment:

Grumpy said...

I have always loved trees. They is something spiritual about them. Thank you for sharing from the folklore of Pakistan.

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