The Story of Doda and Balach

27 May

By: M. Longworth Dames

There was a certain Buledhi who dwelt in the land of Sangsila; he had much cattle but no son. And in that place he grew a crop of millet,1 One day as he walked round his millet he saw that a herd of cattle had been eating it. He searched for their tracks on all four sides that he might see whence they had come, but not a single track went outside the embankment which surrounded the
field,2 although the herd had grazed on the millet inside. The next day when he came he found that the millet had been eaten again, and again he followed the tracks, but they did not go outside. Then he made a smoky fire and left it burning by the millet, that the cows might come close to the fire, as is the custom of cows. On the third day when he came he saw that the cattle after grazing on the millet had lain down by the fire. Then he knew in his heart that this herd had come from heaven. There were nineteen cows ; he drove them off and brought them home, and gave them to his wife, whose name was Samml, saying, ‘ This herd is thine, for when I die my heirs will not give thee my other cattle.’ Then he moved away from that place, and came to live under the protection of Doda Gorgezh, and said to him, ‘ When I die let my heirs carry away the rest of my cattle, but this herd is Sammi’s. Do not then give them up to anyone, they are under thy protection.’ One day Samml’s husband died, and the heirs came and demanded the cattle. Doda gave them all the rest of the cattle, but not Samml’s herd. The next day the Buledhls came and raided that herd. Doda pursued and overtook them at Garmaf Daf, and there they fought.3. Doda was killed by the Buledhls, his tomb is still there. Then the Buledhls came again and raided a herd of camels belonging to Rals, son of Doda’s uncle. Rals, with his brethren Kawri, Chandram, Tota, Murld and Summen pursued and overtook them and gave them battle, but they were all slain there together with Rals. Only one of the brethren was left, Balach, a poor-spirited man. Balach then went to the shrine of Sakhi Sarwar, and for three years he fetched water (carried water pots) for the pilgrims. After three years were past, one night he saw a vision. Sakhi Sarwar came and roused Balach, saying, ‘ Go and fight with the Buledhls.’ He arose and bought him a bow, and at night he left it unstrung. When he arose in the morning, behold, his bow was strung. Then Sakhi Sarwar gave him leave to depart, and said, ‘ Now thy bow is strung, go and smite the enemy.’ So Balach went and waged war upon the Buledhls. He had but one companion, Nakhlfo his brother. (They had the same father, but Nakhlfo’s mother was a slave- girl.) No one else was with him. They fought in the Sham and Nesao, in Barkhan, Syahaf and Kahan,4. for in those days all that country belonged to the Buledhls. When men lay down to rest at night in their homes they would discharge their arrows at them ; three-score and one men they slew.Then the Buledhis left that country and settled in the plains. 5. When Balach became old he lived at Sangslla, and a band of Buledhi horsemen came and slew him there, and lost one of their own men as well. It happened in this wise. When the Buledhls came they said to Balach, ‘Balach, pay that money that you carried off!’ Balach replied, ‘ Come nearer, I am deaf.’ So they came nearer and again demanded it. Then Balach said, ‘ In the days when I had money you never asked for it, but now that it has all dropped away from me you come and demand it.’ He had a razor in his hand and he plunged it into the belly of the Buledhi, saying, ‘ There is your money,’ and killed him. Then they fell upon Balach and slew him. It was thus that the Gorgezh and the Buledhls fought.


1.^Zurth ; the Arabic dhurrah, Indian jawar (Holcus Sorghum).
2.Every field is surrounded by a lath or embankment to keep in the water which is let in for irrigation when the hill-torrents are in flood.
3. This is the subject of the first of the ballads which follow. Garmaf Daf is the Hotwater Pass. There are several places which bear the name Garmaf. This one is near Sangsila, in the Bugti country.
4. That is in the country now occupied by the Mam, Bugti, Khetran and Gurcham tribes.
5. The Buledhls, or Burdis, still live in northern Sindh, near the Indus.


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