Sohni Mahiwal

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Sohni Mahiwal or Suhni Mehar (Punjabi: سوہنی معینوال‎, ਸੋਹਣੀ ਮਹੀਂਵਾਲ; Sindhi: سهڻي ميهار‎) is one of the four popular tragic romances of Punjab. The others are Sassi Punnun, Mirza Sahiba, and Heer Ranjha. Sohni Mahiwal is a tragic love story which reverts the classical motif of Hero and Leader. The heroine Sohni, unhappily married to a man she despises, swims every night across the river using an earthenware pot to keep afloat in the water, to where her beloved Mehar herds buffaloes. One night her sister-in-law replaces the earthenware pot with a vessel of unbaked clay, which dissolves in water and she dies in the whirling waves of the river.

Sohni Swims to Meet Her Lover Mahinwal LACMA AC1999.127.3
Sohni Swims to Meet Her Lover Mahinwal LACMA M.72.2.1

The story also appears in Shah Jo Risalo and is one of seven popular tragic romances from Sindh. The other six tales are Umar Marui, Sassui Punhun, Lila Chanesar, Noori Jam Tamachi, Sorath Rai Diyach and Momal Rano commonly known as Seven Heroines (Sindhi: ست سورميون ‎) of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. Shah begins the story at the most dramatic moment, when a young woman cries out for help in the cold river, attacked by crocodiles. The whole chapter (Sur Sohni) is merely an extension of this dreadful and yet hoped-for moment when the vessel of her body breaks and she, faithful to her pre-eternal love-covenant with Mehar, will be forever united through death.

Sohni is one of the favourite folktales both in Sindh and Punjab.