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- Jan 7th, 2012, 08:53 AM #1
Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai - 18th Century Sindhi Sufi Poet conveyed message of women empowerment through his poetry and depicted strong characters like Sassi, Sohni, Moomal, Sorath, Leela, Noori in his kalam. Marvi (Maruee in Sindhi)- One of the seven Soormis (heroines) of Shah Latif is a distinguished character and her story relate to struggle, self determination and loyalty for her people and homeland compared to other female characters of 'Shah jo Risalo' which are mainly surrounded by romance for only one person.
Bacground of the characters
It is a story of the times when Umer Soomro used to rule over Thar (pertains to 13th Century). In the village of Maleer (not to be confused with Maleer Karachi) a shepherd named Palini used to live with his wife Maduee. They had a small farm also. They used to look after their herd, cultivate their small piece of land and led a contended life. They had hired a farm boy named Foghsen.
They had a daughter named Maruee. Even at the time of birth she was as beautiful as a fairy and as she grew in years she grew in beauty also. Her fame as a very beautiful girl spread far and wide. As she entered her youth Foghsen was infatuated by her. In spite of being a mere farm hand he had the audacity to ask for the hand of Maruee. This infuriated Palini and he was immediately sacked and Maruee was betrothed to Khetsen. Thus spurned and guided by fire of jealousy and to seek revenge for affront suffered, Foghsen approached Umer Soomro the ruler of Umerkot which was known after the name of its ruler Umer though in fact this fort was founded by Amarsingh Rathore. (Umer Kot now also referred to as Amar Kot. The place where Mughal emperor Akbar got refuge after his defeat from Sher Shah Suri. It is said that Akbar was born in Amar/ Umer Kot).
Foghsen incited the rulers’ lust by giving vivid descriptions of the beauty of Maruee. He said that the place of such a beautiful lady was only in the palace of the ruler where due to all the comforts and luxuries her beauty would bloom. The ruler was naturally quite impressed by Foghsen’s narration of Maruee’s beauty. He wanted to posses her. Umer Soomro the ruler guided by Foghsen went to Maleer in disguise. When they reached outskirts of Maleer incidentally at that exact time Maruee was going towards the well to fetch water. At the sight of her beauty Umer was quite intoxicated; while Foghsen hid behind trees, he approached Maruee as a thirsty traveler. As Maruee came near to give him water he immediately picked her up on his camel and quickly rode to Umerkot.
Longing of Mauee for her homeland
At Umerkot she was kept virtual prisoner. She was enticed, cajoled and threatened, but to no avail. Ruler Umer Soomro praised her beauty, professed deep love, promised to make her reining Queen, but all the allurements of good –luxurious clothes, food, status and all luxuries failed to shake her resolve that she belonged to her clan- her own native people and she would not marry any one else except Khetsen a person to whom she was betrothed to.
In the word of Shah Latif the immortal poet of Sindh, She said:
I will not accept any other husband,
For me that, wearing coarse garments is handsome,
Even if uncouth he occupies the place in my heart.
This infuriated Umer Soomro and she was consigned to prison. She was abducted during winter season; nearly six months elapsed and rainy season came. She would sadly count the seasons and would picture the life of her kinsfolk at her village of Maleer and pine for them. She bore her adversity with stoic fortitude for she knew that her poor kins were not able to rise against the King. She did not waver in her resolve. She did not change into royal garments, did not clean herself and her beauty appeared soiled, to this she became utterly oblivious. Instead she said, (in the words of Shah Latif):
I would not use your oil; my heart is attached to my kin,
Why should I listen to any one, ultimately I belong there.
This is not the way of my kin folks,
To exchange daughter for the sake of Gold,
While at Umerkot I shall not sour this tradition, The love of hutment cannot be exchanged for a palace. Having failed in all his endeavors Umer resorted to shaming her by saying. “You crave so much for your kin folks but all this time they have not even cared to send any message to you. It is futile for you to continue to remember them, pine for them and entertain any hope of rescue
from them.” Maruee was unshaken in her resolve. She did not even look at all the allurements and luxuries kept before her. She would prefer her simple food to the royal feast and the wild flowers to costly scents offered by the ruler.
In the words of Shah Latif:
My bare threads are more than the gold chain,
Don’t offer silks to poor cowherds O, Umer!
Even a fold of my own upper garment is dear to me.
She entreated Umer to free her so that she may return to her native place and pour water of her soil on herself. She further told Umer that when she would die in his captivity her body should be sent to her people so that she may be buried in her native soil.
In the words of Shah Latif:
While pining for my land, were I to breathe my last,
My body be handed over to my people,
May the creepers of my native soil cover my body,
I would live though dead, if buried at Maleer.
Maruee returns to her homeland
All this exasperated Umer. He was all the more sullen. At that time his nurse who came to know of the situation rushed to Umer and told him that Maruee and he had par taken the milk from the same wet nurse and thus they are in a way brother and sister. On hearing this Umer was horrified at the enormity of the crime he was to commit. Immediately he sent a camel rider to Maleer to Maruee’s parents and asked their forgiveness and gave money and gold to Maruee as behooves a brother.
Maruee returned to Maleer with her parents. As Maruee had remained with Umer at his palace her betrothed Khetsen was uspicious about her chastity. Even in the community Maruee could not get the respect due to lingering doubts.When Umer heard this he came with army to Maleer. This led to her people abandoning their huts. Maruee went to Umer and told him that he had first committed the crime of abducting her and on the top of it he has attacked them which is totally unfair. Even if they suspected me they were not wrong. How would they know that I am still pure? Now you must go back to your palace.
End of Story
Hearing this Umer felt ashamed and offered to undergo any trial to prove the truth. Maruee said I am the one who is under suspicion therefore I will face the test. An iron rod was put into fire when that rod was red hot Maruee stretched her palm and held the same in her hand and emerged unscathed. Then Umer the ruler also insisted on the same test and emerged pure. This convinced every one and Maruee and Khetsen lived happily ever after till ripe age.
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Will add more about the music and cultural depiction of Marvi's character through drama, movies, etc.
- Jan 7th, 2012, 09:37 AM #2
Song: Parchan Shaal Panhwar (Marvi's wish that her relatives could accept her after all what happened to her).. Beautiful poetry of Shah Latif sung by many singers from time to time. Here are some famous versions of this song:
(1) Sung by Muhammad Yousuf (showing story in background)
(2) Sung by Abida Parveen (Amazing singers. I could understand soul behind the poetry after listening to this version. Abida Parveen is simply out of this world)
(3) Sung by Sanam Marvi & Rahat Fateh Alikhan (most favourite of new generation)
- Jan 7th, 2012, 11:25 AM #3----
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- Jul 18, 2009
Nice.. so what happened to Foghsen?
- Jan 7th, 2012, 11:47 AM #4
It is not mentioned in the story, but I think he must have left the village after the kidnapping of the girl.
BTW you made me think that in all the folk tales the story ends with the end ( be it death or reaching their destination) of main charcters and the writers of these stories don't tell us further about the villians of the stories. For example, we don't know what happened to Kaidoo after the death of Heer. We don't know how the father of Punhoo treated his brothers after Punhoo died. Same is the case with Sohni's husband, we don't know what happened to him after Sohni was drowned in Chennab.
- Jan 7th, 2012, 01:16 PM #5----
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- Jul 18, 2009
Hmm yeah that's true. Umar-Marvi is very popular in Sindh. I remember reading it in my Urdu Lit. and also there was a drama on this story.
- Jan 7th, 2012, 01:30 PM #6
Yes PTV Karachi produced a drama based on this story. will add further details soon.
- Jan 7th, 2012, 04:35 PM #7
Coming to the media projection of this folk tale, probably first Sindhi movie that was made in Pakistan was 'Umer Marvi' released in 1956.
Noor ul Huda Shah (inspired from this folklore) written Sindhi drama Maruee (Sakina Sammo playing the title), where she kept all the characters and situation of this folk tale but in early 90s Sindh. The story revolves around a poor girl from Thar who joined University for getting Masters degree in journalism, but has to face difficulties due to feudalism and finally kidnapped by her friend Laila's brother Umer Soomro. The drama was a big hit and keeping in view the popularity, it was again produced in Urdu where Ghazal Siddique played the title.
The story has also been adopted for theater from time to time.
- Jan 8th, 2012, 04:48 AM #8
Documentary about Marvi's village and the well where she was abducted by Umer Soomro.
Documentary about Qilla (fort) at Umerkot where Marvi was kept as prisoner by Umer.
- Jan 8th, 2012, 01:42 PM #9
Very informatic thread. Thanx 4 shairingNever explain urself to any1 The person who likes u doesn't need it &The person who dislike u won't believe it
- Jan 11th, 2012, 02:15 PM #10
Maruee / Marvi is very common name in Sindh. The way this charcter is portrayed by Shah Latif in his poetry encouraged people of Sindh to name their girls after this patriotic and courageous lady. Marvi= Maruee literally means full moon. Two famous ladies from Sindh today's generation knows are Marvi Memon and Sanam Marvi.
Marvi is also commonly used name for places related to girls and ladies. Sindh University's girl hostel (Marvi Hostel) is also named after this soormi (heroine) of Shah Latif.
Last edited by muqawwee123; Jan 12th, 2012 at 12:07 AM.
- Jan 11th, 2012, 03:54 PM #11
Nice info.Never explain urself to any1 The person who likes u doesn't need it &The person who dislike u won't believe it
- Jan 12th, 2012, 12:52 PM #12
Some lines from Shah Jo Risalo (Sur Maruee). Its mostly about feelings of Maruee for her relatives and homeland during her imprisonment.
Last edited by muqawwee123; Jan 13th, 2012 at 10:18 AM.
- Jan 12th, 2012, 12:58 PM #13
Muhinjho Mulk Malir Way
O Jaidhiyoon maaN KiyaaN wisariyaN
(My homeland is Maleer
O Friends! how can I forget it)
Abida Parveen singing Shah Latif's Sur Marvi
- Jan 12th, 2012, 06:10 PM #14
Very nice. It is real story?You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.Dr. Seuss
- Jan 13th, 2012, 12:04 AM #15
Yes. Its a real story as there is the archeological evidnece of places mentioned in the story. There may be some differences as to the events mentioned in the story.
- Jan 13th, 2012, 09:45 AM #16
Nice shairing Muqawwee123Never explain urself to any1 The person who likes u doesn't need it &The person who dislike u won't believe it
- Jan 13th, 2012, 12:54 PM #17
Maruee missed her homeland(Maleer) and her people, friends, relatives (Shah Latif collectively refer them as Maroo) in prison a lot. She remembered simple food (when she was offered delicious dishes by Umer Soomro). She kept her simple dress dearer over the costly garments she was asked to wear which she refused. She kept remembering the rainy days of Thar (Maleer) and only requested Umer that if she died in his prison, her body should be buried in Malir in clothes that were given to her by her parents because by this her soul will be happy.
This song 'Laghe Dhakhan ji Heer' purely depicts Maruee's longing for her homeland.
Laghe Dhakhan ji heer
Marro Muhinja Meer
Aaa hit Band main Bandiyani
(Referring to breeze coming from south i.e. from Maleer, Maruee remembered her lucky Maroo who could enjoy that breeze in Maleer and became sad when she finds herself in prison away from Maroo & Malir)
- Jan 13th, 2012, 01:15 PM #18
After getting kidnapped and being separted from her ppl (Maroo), Maruee has only one thing in mind. What had happened to her Maroo in her separation, how would they have spent their days, nights, rainy season and other occasion.
Abida Parveen sings Maruee's feeling (in words of Shah Latif as below)
Muhnjay La'ee Maroo Runna kiyan na hoonda
MooN Kaa'n abaana
(My Maroo's must have wept for me
My parents must have cried for me)
Palaw, paand, jin ja
Daman tin ja bhina kiyan na hoonda
(Their clothes must be wet with their tears in my separation)
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