Mirza Sahiba’s Story
A long time ago, in the village of Khewa, a town in the Sial Territory of Punjab, there was a woman who gave birth to a baby boy. Unfortunately, she died after giving birth so she was not able to give milk to her son. However, there was another woman nearby who had recently given birth to a girl. This woman took it upon herself to help the little boy. She fed this boy as she did her own daughter.
Thus, as is the custom for such occasions, these two children became “milk siblings” because they were given the same milk to drink. Later as the children became adults, the girl, named Fateh Bibi, got married and moved a day’s journey on horseback away to the village of Danababad near present-day Faisalabad. Fateh Bibi married a man named Wanjal and they had a strong son named Mirza.
Meanwhile, Fateh Bibi’s milk brother, no longer a boy but a man named Khewa Khan, stayed in his village. He also married and had a daughter named Sahiba.
When it was time to enroll the young children in school, Mirza’s parents had decided to send him to his “milk uncle’s” house so he could get educated there. Sahiba’s father enrolled her and her “cousin” into classes to learn the Quran together since they were of the same age.
Mirza did not know that his “cousin” Sahiba was such a beauty one can only dream of beholding. He did not notice her at first when he came to Khewa to study because they were just children. But as the two children grew into adolescence, feelings of love began to blossom between the two.
One day, while walking back from school, the adventurous, young Mirza took a different path home. On that street there was a bazaar. Here he saw Sahiba buying some vegetables for her family. He watched as she asked for various squashes and leaves to cook. When the merchant began to weigh her purchases, he weighed out extra because he was lost in her beauty. Mirza, too, was transfixed by her gracefulness and raced all the way home fueled by love.
As he grew older, Mirza learned to be a skilled horseman and archer. He rode on a powerful steed named Bakki who swiftly maneuvered through the land. Mirza was so skillful that every arrow he shot would willfully go exactly where he wanted. Sahiba only grew more and more beautiful with time.
Soon, their love began to blossom. Mirza could not live without his Sahiba. They were lost in their own world. Once, when Sahiba had pronounced her lessons incorrectly, her maulvi beat her with a chimmak. This thin branch gives a person a burning sting when swatted with it. As Sahiba received her punishment with the chimmak, she spoke to the maulvi.
“Why are you burning me with this punishment when I’m already burning with love?”
Sadly, their days of blissful love did not last. Sahiba’s parents found out about the love affair and sent Mirza back home to his parents. Not too long after that, they arranged Sahiba’s marriage to a man named Tahir Khan. He was from the same town. With Mirza back home, Sahiba’s parents were able to prepare for the wedding without any interruptions.
Sahiba, via her friend, a Brahmin named Kammu, sent word of her unfortunate marriage to her darling Mirza. As soon as he heard of this, he made plans to leave. His family tried to stop him but he would not succumb to their pleas. He had to go. Before Mirza left, his father, seeing that there was no other way, went to Mirza and told him that if he went, then he must be sure to return with Sahiba or else it would bring great dishonor. With those words, Wanjal gave his son his blessings to pursuit his love.
“Chal, my Bakki,” Mirza, equipped with his bow and arrows, commanded his horse to ride on to the village of Khewa.
Mirza reached Sahiba on the day of the wedding right before the ceremony was about to proceed. He opened to door to the room Sahiba was waiting in and entered secretly. He admired her; she was dressed in bright red wedding clothes, her delicate hands darkly painted with mehndi. Without waiting another moment, he held her hand and took her away with him on horseback and rode until he thought that they had reached a safe distance. Tired, he decided to rest by under the shade of a tree while his sweet Sahiba watched over him.
Meanwhile, back at the wedding party, Sahiba brothers called for her to come down to proceed with the ceremonies. When she did not come, her brothers realized that something was wrong. Sahiba’s brothers, the jilted bridegroom, and other male cousins rode on horseback in search for Mirza and Sahiba.
Sahiba, while keeping watch over her slumbering beloved, feared that her brother would soon catch up. She did not know what to do. If her brothers came and Mirza woke up then her brothers would be sure to die at the hands of Mirza’s quick arrows.
With the hope of her brother taking pity on her, Sahiba reached Mirza’s quiver and broke each sharp arrow it contained in half. She believed that no blood would be spilled this way. Suddenly, Sahiba’s brother and relatives found the couple under the tree. With one quick shot from Sahiba’s brother’s bow, Mirza awoke to an arrow piercing his throat. Mirza reached for his arrow and saw all the broken pieces. He looked up at Sahiba, searching for an answer in her face but was struck with yet another arrow, this time in the chest. Sahiba threw herself over him and together, they died.