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SohniMahiwaal: The Eternal Love Story

By Super

There are love stories that are meant to go on forever. A look at the exotic Sobha Singh's painting of 'SohniMahiwaal' is enough to entice you in to the legendary tale of the doomed lovers. Singh perhaps managed to depict the emotions perfectly in to his master piece, with a semi-conscious Sohni partially leaning on to Mahiwaal's shoulder and an earthen pot in her other hand. Her wet cloths cling to her body, revealing both innocence and despair of the situation, with river waters at their feet. The night is painted dark and unpromising with no moon, but the lovers meet, as they always did until death.

Somewhere between fact and fiction, lies the Folklore stories that are embraced through generations. Finally it grows to become a legend. One such legend is about a little village (present day Gujrat) near the river Chenab where a humble potter named Tulla lived. The potter's craftsmanship was well known through out lands, with his work wanted in North India and Central Asia. Soon, the potter and his wife were blessed with a girl child as beautiful as the moon. She was called Sohni (beautiful for Punjabi).

Sohni grew up in the perfect world of art and creativity, where the life was molded in to the dead clay as it is shaped in to earthen pots. She learnt the craft of kneading, molding, drying and baking of the earthenwares. Sohni's beauty was talked about far and wide, but it was also her talent as an artist that became the talk of the town. She would paint artistic floral designs on the pots once they were ready.

The potter's village was midway to Delhi and Central Asia, which was often visited by traveling caravans. It was one such caravan that bought a handsome young man 'Izzat Baig' to the village. Izzat strolled around the village and came up on Tulla's workshop where his eyes fell up on Sohni, busily painting newly baked pots. Izzat was captivated by Soni's enchanting beauty and was hypnotized by her. He began purchasing random pieces of pottery to spend more time at the shop. This continued for days to come until he was left with no money at all, but he could not get enough of Sohni.

When the day for his caravan to depart finally arrived, Izzat could not bring himself to leave Sohni's village and stayed back! He bought a home at the village and would visit Tulla's shop regularly, just to catch a glimpse of his love. Sohni gradually started to sense the attention of the mysterious visitor and reciprocated his love. They began meeting regularly, secretly.

Izzat was broke with no money and he took up odd jobs around the village to support himself. One such job was as a that of grazing buffaloes. The job earned him a new name,'Mahiwaal' (Buffalo-man) and it stayed with him until death and after. Rumors started to circulate the village about the secret love of Sohni Mahiwaal. Startled, Sohni's father got her married to another young potter against her will and she was sent away to the other side of the river.

Read More about 'Love After Death' in the next page

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Story first published: Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 17:56 [IST]
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