Heer Ranjha is one of the most popular folktale from Punjab. A blend of fact and rich imagination, it was written by Waris Shah in the middle of the 18th century and still continues to fascinate the readers.
The story revolves around Dheedo Ranjha and Heer Syal. Deedho Ranjha belonged to Thakht Hazara, a place near Sarghoda. His father was a land owner. Being the youngest son and his father’s favorite, he spent most of the time playing flute while his brothers toiled on the lands.
After his father’s death, the land was divided among the brothers; unhappy with the distribution, Ranjha left his hometown and headed towards Jhang. Jhang was the place where the Syal tribe lived. Chuchak Syal the ruler of the tribe had a beautiful daughter Heer.
Unlike other women of that time, Heer was rather headstrong. She was intrigued by the young handsome stranger who could play the flute so well and hired him to tend her father’s buffaloes. Ranjha on the other hand was enchanted by her beauty and so began a love story which later became immortal.
Heer met Ranjha when he took the buffaloes for grazing. Heer’s uncle Kaido reported this to her father who arranged her marriage to Saida Khera from village Rangpur. Despite her protest, Heer was married off to Kherra.
Ranjha became a jogi and went door to door searching for his Heer. He found her one day and with the help of her friends and sister in law, Heer eloped with Ranjha. The couple was followed by the members of the Kherra tribe who eventually caught them in the land of Raja Adli. After a trial conducted by a Muslim Qazi, Heer was given back to the Kherras.
Devastated by the decision Ranjha looked towards the heavens and asked for justice. Incidentally a fire broke out in the town and Raja Adli being a superstitious person ordered a retrial. Heer was then handed over to Ranjha and the two left for Jhang.
Reaching home they were welcomed by the Syal tribe who asked Ranjha to head back home and bring a proper Baraat (marriage Party) so that the marriage could be arranged with pomp and show.
Actually the Syal tribe had not forgiven Heer as she had smeared their name and decided to poison her. Heer died after eating poisoned food, the news of her death reached Ranjha who heartbroken, ate the rest of the poisoned food and died too. They are both buried in Jhang.