Golden Sakhees II

Blogs Literature and Culture

  • Sakhees in form of Questions and Answers…. Interaction with Folk Wisdom of Thar Desert

  • Don’t groan my dear wife while giving ghee to the horses. They facilitate humans where there swords are exchanged and heads are cut away

By Noor Ahmed Janjhi

Folk literature is the literature of masses therefore it depicts realities of life, naturalism, human characteristics in the light of greater context of nature. Human being excels the other creatures because of bestowal of knowledge and expressing power regard image, concept, thought, memory and experience. The creation of human being is also unique and interesting. Man has tried to tell about the scenic beauty of nature, and the nook and corner of universe through his basic knowledge called reason or aql (عقل). All the other disciplines of information and knowledge are developed by humans through this fundamental niche of knowledge. The development of the knowledge and information is going on in this way. Human being has been bestowed by Almighty Allah with this faculty of fundamental knowledge and it contains all of the skills and expertise for living a life. That is why human being is able to live without getting any schooling or formal education. He learns by his inherent basis of knowledge and operative structure of learning by doing. All the achieved knowledge is based on the basic bed of the knowledge. All of the skills of human being develop on this basic mainspring of the knowledge.

Folk literature depends on the basic source of the knowledge and reveals many points about it. Through the expression of folk literature, we know and wonder that such minor neuron cells are manifesting pearls of knowledge and gems of wisdom. How the explorations of the folk literature lead towards the information regarding stars, satellites and steroids twinkling in the sky. In this way curiosity of human being is increased and he moves ahead to explore new vistas of nature and comes up with the information of the secrets of universe. Folk literature is such a clear and beautiful mosaic of human endeavor. Folk stories, tales, tales with poetry, dooha  (ڏوها), riddles and other forms of folklore have been remained a strong means of human expression. As the riddles reveal many flowers of language and culture so the wisdom is reflected from goorrha (ڳوڙها), hemariyoon (هيماريون) and gurchelo (گر چيلو). How that tradition of question and answer started, it is unknown but it seems that people had shared their ideas, theses and antitheses through these questions and answers. It is a sophisticated way of discussion. They had not beaten about the bush about their personal or social matters. If a person had shared any interested thing then the others also had tried to surpass him. It developed a culture of polite and wise interaction and also developed a narrative of wisdom. The narrative paved the way for ice-breaking and motivation. In this way the journey of human being remained continued. There are some points of wit and wisdom discussed in some questions and answers in the Sakhees.

It is said that the husband asked his wife to prepare for giving ghee to his riding horse. The preparation and extraction of ghee from butter is a process to be executed by women. So they own the ghee and its exchange amount. The ghee was extracted on every Thursday and taken to the shop to buy essentials from there in the days of barter economy. There was no frequent flow of cash in those days. Cash economy was introduced by the market to run the business even by taking loans. The ghee was an important item and exported in the days of barter economy so women cared a lot for it and did not allow to abusing it. The wife showed reluctance when the husband asked to give the ghee to the horse. Observing the reluctant response of the wife, the husband said;

ڪره ڪر م ڪامڻي، گهوڙان ڏيتي گهي

جت کنا ،کنوين،سر اُترين، اُٿ سورها رکين جي

(Don’t groan my dear wife while giving ghee to the horses. They facilitate humans where there swords are exchanged and heads are cut away)

He stops his wife from the groaning during giving the ghee to the horses because the horses have been companions of humans since time immemorial and the husband describes a scene of the fight where there swords are exchanged and the heads are cut away- in such a terrible situation the horse sooth human soul. The horse has been part and parcel in human journey of civilization. It is mentioned in Rigveda as a great source of sacrifice ‘Ashvamedh’. The horse is treated and honored mostly. The horse is buried by wrapping up in cloth as of human being burial. The scientific wisdom behind the tradition is there develops the rabies in the flesh of dead horse.

The wife reacts with much more wise answer to her husband. She argues that the deer runs faster than the horse. What the ghee is given to it? It eats small soft and bitter leaves of ak plant. She says it in a Sakhee:

ڪٿا ڪرڪو نه سهي، هرڻ ڪيسا گهي کاءِ

اڪ ٻٽوڪي لوئان جهڙي، توئي تُريان آڳڙ جاءِ

(Don’t disturb me with dear. What the ghee is given to dear? It eats soft bitter leaves of ak plant in hot days of summer. However, it runs faster than the horses.)

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai has appreciated the characteristic of the dear in his poetry and said that the dear and Huma bird both run fast in universe. He attributes the frequency of running of both of them to Sassui, a struggling character in his poetry.

جيئن سو هرڻ هما، سرگردان هن سنسار ۾

هي پيرنه رکي پٽيين، هو سر ڌڙنه ڌري ساه،

جيڪس تن مُلا، سسئي سورپرائيا

In another Sakhee, there are some questions asked and answers given to those questions. It reflects reasoning faculty of humans. The four questions are asked in the Sakhee. Firstly, what is more liquid than water? Secondly, what is heavier than earth? Thirdly, what is more scorching than fire? And fourthly, what is blackish than antimony? These are the points move human thinking to think it over and to search the answers accordingly. The Sakhee reads as follows;

جل سي پتلا ڪون هي، هي ڪون ڀومي سي ڀاري

اگني سي تيز ڪون هي، هي ڪون ڪاجل سي ڪاري

(What is more liquid than water? What is heavier than earth? What is more scorching than earth? What is more blackish than antimony?)

A sensible folklorist becomes anxious to respond it and it becomes a challenge also. He tries to search and explore a surpassing item of the same genre. He comes with a beautiful and witty rejoinder to it. It is inculcated in a Sakhee as;

جل سي پتلا خيال هي، پاپ ڀومي سي ڀاري

اگني سي تيج ڪروڌ هي، خواري ڪاجل سي ڪاري

(Thought is more liquid than water. Sin is heavier than earth. Wrath is more scorching than fire. Disgrace is more blackish than antimony)

It means the thought is more liquid than the water and sin surpasses the earth in weight. It is much scorching than the fire to be in wrath. Defamation and disgrace makes more blackish than the antimony. These pearls of wisdom narrate a good lesson and moral too. The thought moves faster than the water and sin becomes a heavier obligation than the earth on human conscience People got lessons from such Sakhees and couplets.

A Sakhee of comparison tells us about the degree of superiority. There is no limit of excellence in world. However, people develop comparisons to understand the things in dichotomy. There is such a comparison shown. The three questions are asked as: What is more excellent – Origin or Reason? What is more excellent? Caste or Creativity? What is excellent – Day or Night?

اصل ڀلو ڪ عقل ڀلو، ذات ڀلي ڪ ڏات

ڪ تو ڪهي ري ڪامني، ڏينهن ڀلو ڪ رات

It is asked about the excellence in different things. There has been a strong caste system in the subcontinent and the reflections of it can be seen in this intangible heritage too. It is asked about the comparative excellence between the origin and reason. The caste is better or the creativity? The day is better or night? The response to these questions developed by the folklorists leads the listeners and readers to wit and wisdom. It was appreciated by common people also as it contained a good learning thought. It is said as;

اصل سي عقل ڀلو، ذات سي ڀلي ڏات

اگهاڙان را عيب ڍڪي، او ڏينهن سي ڀلي رات

(Reason is better than origin. Creativity is better than caste? The night is better that it provides a shelter and cover to many a human activity worth not to be seen.)

The reason is much better than the origin. The caste and creed are nothing but a social tag. Creativity excels the caste and if it is used to express the truth then it enjoys a sublime state. The night is such a garment that provides a good cover to human being for sleep and other activities of privacy and seclusion. There is no superiority with any caste. Reason and intellect takes humans to higher status. There is no real greatness with any form of caste, creed or tribe. The creativity takes human being to unexplored vista of universe and bestow with innovativeness, renovations, inventions and discoveries. All the human development follows this train in the greater framework of nature. The night has got appreciation because of its covering characteristic. In this way these golden Sakhees enrich human intellect, wit and wisdom.


Noor Ahmed Janjhi is a senior educationist based in Tharparkar. He is author of several books on folk literature of Thar.

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