Sassi

Sassi painted by Chughtai


The love story of Sassi and Pannu is a Sindhi folk tale written by Abdul Latif Bhittai.

The story starts with Sassi, the daughter of King Adam Khan of Bhambore. At her birth, the astrologers predicted that she was a curse for the royal family’s prestige. The king ordered that the child be put in a wooden chest with a ‘taweez’ (amulet) tied on her neck and thrown into the river Chenab. The chest was seen floating by Atta, a poor washer man. The washer man believed that the child was a blessing from God and took her home and adopted her as his child. Many years passed by and the king did not have another child. He decided to marry again. He had heard the tales of the beauty of Sassi so he summoned her to the palace.

Sassi
Sassi painted by Chughtai

Sassi was still wearing the amulet, which the queen mother had put around her neck. The king recognized his daughter immediately on seeing the amulet. The pent-up sufferings of the parents flowed into tears. They wanted their lost child to return to the palace and bring joy and brightness to their lives. However, Sassi refused and preferred to live in the house where she had grown up.

Sassi did not go to the palace but the king presented her with abundant gifts, lands and gardens where she could grow and blossom like a flower. As all the rare things of the world were within her reach, she wanted to acquire knowledge and sent for learned teachers and scholars. She made sincere efforts to increase her knowledge. During this time, she heard about the trader from Gajni, who had a garden with a monument, the inner portion of which was enriched with exquisite paintings. When Sassi visited the place to offer her tributes and admire the rich art, she instantly fell in love with a painting, which was a masterpiece of heavenly creation. This was the portrait of Prince Pannu, the son of King Ali Hoot of Kech.

Sassi became desperate to meet Pannu, so she issued an order that any businessman coming from Kech should be presented before her. There was a flutter within the business community as this news spread. Someone informed Pannu about Sassi’s love for him. He disguised himself as a businessman and came to meet Sassi. They both fell in love at the first sight.

Pannu’s brothers developed an enmity for Sassi. They followed him. On reaching the town, they saw the marriage celebrations of Sassi and Pannu in full swing. They could not bear the rejoicing. That night the brothers pretended to enjoy and participate in the marriage celebrations and forced Pannu to drink liquor. When he was dead drunk, the brothers carried him on a camel’s back and returned to their hometown.

The next morning when Sassi realized that she was cheated. She became mad with grief of separation from her lover and ran barefoot towards the city of Kech. She had to cross miles of desert land. The journey did not end. Some people say that she was taken away by a windstorm. Some say that she was swallowed by the desert. Some also say that she was taken by flames and reduced to death.


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