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Bivaragh and the King of Qandahar’s Daughter

27 May

By: M. Longworth Dames

Blvaragh son of Bahar, one of the principal actors in the struggle between Mir Chakur and Gwaharam, is the hero. He tells the tale in the first person, and relates how he abducted the daughter of the King of Qandahar, and brought her back to Sevi. Also how he joined Gwaharam instead of his own Chief Mir Chakur, and how he pacified the Turkish King who came to take revenge.
The King alluded to is probably Shah Beg son of Zu’n-nun Beg Arghun who ruled at Qandahar at this period, and was frequently at war with the Baloches. It is probable that Blvaragh’s reason for taking refuge with Gwaharam rather than with Mir Chakur was that the Rinds were in alliance with the Turks, and unlikely therefore to give him any countenance in his escapade. For Blvaragh’s genealogy,In the ballads relating to the outbreak of the Rind and Lashari war he figures as the moderate man who endeavoured to restrain Mir Chakur’s rage. Modern tradition holds that Blvaragh had a son named Gishkhaur by his marriage with the King of Qandahar’s daughter, who is the ancestor of the Gishkhauri tribe.
Blvaragh son of Bahar sings : the lofty Rind sings : of his love he sings : how he brought in the princess he sings. In Qandahar is a garden, an ancient place, the abode and dwelling of kings. Wandering through the crowded streets I came upon a way, and at a window I espied a fair lady. I let forth a complaint from my helpless heart. In Persian words the fair one called to me, ‘ Come quickly, with that form, bring your flashing sword and your trusty shield.’ I went, trusting in God, with my royal steed. I repeated a text from the Quran (as a charm), a powerful word from God’s revelation. Distressed and dark in soul I went, through desire of my love’s golden necklace.
Under the palace I tied up my mare, and I climbed the walls, driving in iron pegs. I entered the private rooms, and with joyful heart I perceived my lady reclining on a golden couch. Seven nights and seven days I abode with my love. Then said to me the enchantress, the beauty and crown of her companions,’ Blvaragh, my prince of chieftains, my King bears great love for me, look that he does not secretly receive tidings of our doings, when he will leave neither of us two alive and well. If you have any manliness within your loin-string, it were well to carry me away to your own land.’ I understood my love’s speech, and she left all her possessions and her golden couch. When we came to the foot of the palace wall I unloosed my mare thence, and seated my love on the black mare’s shoulder. I turned my face back to the Bolan, and came to the walls of Sevi fort. Then said my fair enchantress : ‘ Bivaragh, my chief of chiefs, thou saidst to me : “I have mighty armies.” How many are thy Rinds’ swift mares? How many are thy Mlr’s bands of young warriors ? ‘ Then I replied to my love : ‘ Forty thousand men are Mir Chakur’s warriors, thirty thousand draw the sword for Gwaharam.’ Then said my lady Granaz : ‘ Which is thy friend, and which thy foe ? ‘ And I replied to my love : ‘ Chakur is my friend, Gwaharam my foe.’ Then said my lady Granaz : ‘ Let us go to Gwaharam the sword-wielder, for Chakur does not take his ease at his home.’ So we came to Gwaharam the sword-wielder, saying :
‘ Gwaharam ! Prince of Chiefs ! we have not halted till we reached you ; the spoils of the King are with us. If you will keep me I will abide with you ; if you will not keep me I will look for shelter elsewhere.’ Then said Gwaharam the sword-wielder : ‘Come! you are welcome, Mir of the Baloches, with your love to stay in welfare and safety.’ He arose and showed us a place to dwell in, he cleared for us a palace in the Chief’s fort. He gave us a bedstead and spread out the rugs, cups of silver, platters of gold. From one side came trays of pulao, from one side came roast meat on spits, from one side came flagons of wine. Neither did I eat of the food, nor my love. Most of it we threw away under the walls, and a little we left upon the dishes, and my lady Granaz said to me : ‘ Blvaragh ! you have become a Lashari. What saying is this ? You sit on a mat and are filled with wrath.’ I replied to my love : ‘ I will not eat, for the salt (of an enemy) is not good. That salt will one day become unlawful.’ I called a shopkeeper from the town, and a Minmin (i.e. a Khoja, a Muhammadan shopkeeper) came at once. ‘ If you wish to eat I will bring you something. ‘ ‘Bring some sweet scents that we may inhale them, bring garments that we may dress ourselves therewith.’ Seven or eight days I kept a tailor working, I became indebted in seven hundred pieces of silver.1 Then Gwaharam the sword-wielder took counsel, and sent a messenger (telling him to speak) thus : ‘ Tell Chakur the Ruler that a Chief’s business is not to play nor to act like a boy. Blvaragh has brought down agreat burden, he has the spoil of the King with him.’The King’s army passed out of the Bolan Pass, there was no room for the Amirs’ tents. The sun rose with battlements of gold, and Mir Chakur’s army set forth. Mir Chakur and Gwaharam took counsel together, and sent out the swift horsemen of the Rinds. ‘ Go forth ; circle round the head of the army and return (bringing news).’ Blvaragh said : ‘I myself will be your scout, be on the watch for three nights and days.’ I went forth trusting in God with my own royal steed. I came to the army, and fetched a compass about it, and tied up my mare close to the army. I repeated some powerful verses from the Qurans, some mighty secrets of the Almighty. I went on with my glittering blade, and came close up to the King’s tent. I was seen by Jago Khan the Turk, and I drew my glittering blade from its sheath, and struck such a fearless blow that it passed through like lightning in a thunderstorm. The King (God) protected me, and made my way clear. I cut through the strong tent ropes, and went through carrying my head on my shoulders. I came and saw the King of the army lying on a Turkish bedstead. I took the Turk by the hand and roused him (saying) : ‘ I am that Blvaragh who has been spoken of. It is I who have done this work of Shaitan. To forgive is the heritage of Kings. If thou dost not forgive me it is in thy own hands. That is thy sword, this is my neck.’ He called his trusty men for counsel, and for a little while they discussed the matter. Then the King presented me with a swift thundering steed, and clothed my body in red silk. The army struck its tents with stout ropes, and turned back by the Bolan Pass. I came to the fort of SevI and told what had happened in the Rind assembly. No man was held to quarter through me, nor had the Rinds a heavy battle to fight, nor the Lasharl to join in war. With joyful heart I stay with my love, and sport with her golden necklace.

1 The coin alluded to is doubtless the dirhem of the Taimuri dynasties, weighing about 80 grains.

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