Pere Pavandee Saan Chavandee Saan…

Ruins of Bhambhore
Above: Ruins of Bhambhore
(photo submitted by Dr.Amir Abbas Soomro) 

I have always loved the above Sindhi, ancient folksong. There was a time when I could sing reasonably well, my husband would then, request me to sing the above ‘kalaam’ It goes something like this:

‘Pere pavandee saan Chavandee saan
Rahee vanyu raat Bhambhor mein

Which means:

I will fall at his feet and implore him to stay the night in Bhambore

Utha ta Aareeya Jaam Ja
Vaagoon vathandee saan, chavandi saan…

Which means that the camels are from ‘Aareeya Jaam’
So I shall hold on to the reigns and implore him to stay the night in Bhambhore

Chaddhee ta jabal chot te
sadraa kandee saan, chavandee saan…

Which means: that I shall climb on mountain tops and cry out to stay the night in Bhambore

Sartyoon Shah Lateef chavey, lochey lahandee saan

Which means that Shah Lateef (poet, mystic) says that I shall find him…

These folk songs were addressed to the Lover as well as to the Lord…

It is a beautiful song, and I have always wondered about Bhambore. As I was reading: “Among the Believers” by V S Naipaul, I came across a mention of it. I was fascinated by the story, so sharing it with you…

An excerpt from:

‘Among the Believers’ by V. S. Naipaul


….Chach rules for forty years. It is Chach who repulses the first Arab attack, a sea attack on the port of Debal (which might be Banbhore) On Chach’s death, the kingdom passes to Chach’s brother and then to his son, Dahar… Dahar consults an astrologer who predicts good fortune but this clouded by what the astrologer says about Dahar’s sister. The man Dahar’s sister marries, the astrologer says, will rule the kingdom…So Dahar goes through a marriage ceremony with his sister. Much is made of this incident, though it has no important sequel. It serves only -in this Persian Arab narrative-to stress that the kingdom of Sind is morally blighted, and the cause of the dynasty of Chach cannot prosper. Attention shifts now to the Arabs…After the failure of the first two expeditions against Sind, the third Caliph, Osman or Uthman (644-56) orders a detailed report on the affairs of “Hind or Sindh”-its rules of war, its strategy, the nature of its government, the structure of its society… “O Hakim,” the caliph says, “have you seen Hindustan and learnt all about it?”

“Yes, O commander of the faithful” 

“Give us a description of it.”

Its water is dark and dirty. Its fruit is bitter and poisonous. Its land is stony and its earth is salt. A small army will soon be annihilated there, and a large one will soon die of hunger… Towards the end of the seventh century Hajjaj becomes governor of “Iraq, Sind and Hind…Hajjaj’s army is defeated by King Dahar’s son… Hajjaj selects 6000 experienced soldiers from Syria, appoints as general his 17 year old son-in-law, Mohammed Bin Qasim…

The army- with a full complement of pack camels and camel men-is to go by land. King Dahar died in battle and the sister Dahar had married for the sake of his kingship burned herself to death with other women of her household. Dahar’s real wife was bought by Bin Qasim with part of the loot of Sind. And Dahar’s two daughters were sent in charge of Abyssinian slaves to the caliph. They were admitted into the caliph’s harem. He allowed them to rest for a few days. Then he asked for them to be brought to him at night. He wanted to know who was the elder; he wished to take her first. The elder was called Surijdew. When the caliph tried to embrace her she jumped up and said: May the king live long! I a humble slave am not fit for your majesty’s bedroom, because the just amir, Mohammed Bin Qasim, kept us both with him for 3 days and then sent us to the caliph. Perhaps your custom is such, or else this disgrace should not be permitted by kings.”

The caliph bit his hand. He immediately ordered a letter to be sent to Bin Qasim, ordering him to put himself in raw leather and come back to the chief seat of the caliph.

Bin Qasim did as he was told. He died within two days. The body when it came to Baghdad, was displayed by the caliph to the daughters of King Dahar. “Look,” he said, “how our orders are promptly obeyed by our officers.”

And then Durijdew said said she had lied, to be revenged on Bin Qasim. She and her sisters were both virgins; they had not been touched by Bin Qasim. The caliph immediately ordered the two sisters to be buried alive in a wall. From that time up to our own days, the banner of Islam has been rising higher and higher and gaining greater and greater glory day by day.

With that apparent inconsequentiality the narrative ends…