Sassi Punnu is one of the seven popular tragic romances of the Sindh and four of the most popular in Punjab. The other six are Umar Marvi, Momal Rano and Sohni Mahiwal, Laila Chanesar, Sorath Rai Diyach, Noori Jam Tamachi commonly known as Seven Queens of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.Sassui Punnu was written by the Sindhi and Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai in (1689-1752).
Sassi was the daughter of the King of Bhamboor (it is in Sindh whose ruins can be seen today). Upon Sassi’s birth, astrologers predicted that she was a curse for the royal family’s prestige. The Queen ordered that the child be put in a wooden box and thrown in the river Indus. A washerman of the Bhambour village found the wooden box and the child in the box. The washerman believed the child was a blessing from God and took her home. As he had no child of his own, he decided to adopt her.
Punnun Khan, the son of King Mir Hoth Khan (Hoth, a famous Baloch tribe in Makran (Balochistan). King Hoth was son of Mir Jalal Khan main Baloch leader and elder of Talpur, Rind, Lashari, Hoth, Khosa and Marri people of today) of Kicham (Kech).
Sassi and Punnu meet
When Sassi became a young girl, she was as beautiful as the fairies of heaven. Stories of her beauty reached Punnu and he became desperate to meet Sassi. The handsome young Prince of Makran therefore travelled to Bhambour. He sent his clothes to Sassi’s father (a washerman) so that he could catch a glimpse of Sassi. When he visited the washerman’s house, they fell in love at first sight. Sassi’s father was dispirited, hoping that Sassi would marry a washerman and no one else. Sassi’s father asked Punnu to prove that he was worthy of Sassi by passing the test as a washerman. Punnu agreed to prove his love. While washing, he tore all the clothes as, being a prince, he had never washed any clothes. he thus failed the agreement. But before he returned those clothes, he hid gold coins in the pockets of all the clothes, hoping this would keep the villagers quiet. The trick worked, and Sassi’s father agreed to the marriage.
Punnu’s father and brothers were against the his marriage to Sassi (Punnu being a prince and she being a washerman’s daughter), and so, for their father’s sake, Punnu’s brothers traveled to Bhambhoor. First they threatened Punnu but when he didn’t relent, they tried more devious methods.Punnu was surprised to see his brothers supporting his marriage and on the first night, they pretended to enjoy and participate in the marriage celebrations and forced Punnu to drink different types of wines. When he was intoxicated they carried him on a camel’s back and returned to their hometown of Kech Makran.
The lovers meet their end
The next morning, when Sassi realized that she was cheated, she became mad with the grief of separation from her lover and ran barefoot towards the town of Kich Makran. To reach it, she had to cross miles of desert. Alone, she continued her journey until her feet were blistered and her lips were parched from crying “Punnu, Punnu!” The journey was full of dangerous hazards, which lead to her demise. Punnu’s name was on Sassi’s lips throughout the journey. She was thirsty, there she saw a shepherd coming out of a hut. He gave her some water to drink. Seeing her incredible beauty, dirty lustful thoughts came into his mind, and he tried to force himself on Sassi. Sassi ran away and prayed to God to hide her and when God listened to her prayers, land shook and split and Sassi found herself buried in the valley of mountains. When Punnu woke he was himself in Makran he could not stop himself from running back to Bhambhoor. On the way he called out “Sassi, Sassi!” to which the shepherd replied. The shepherd told Punnu the whole story. Then Punnu also lamented the same prayer, the land shook and split again and he was also buried in the same mountain valley as Sassi. The legendary grave still exists in this valley. Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai sings this historic tale in his sufi poetry as an example of eternal love and union with Divine.