Yousuf Khan and Sherbano is a Pashtun folktale penned by Ismaila Ali Haider Joshi. The folktale is set in the beautiful Swabi District. Yousuf Khan was a young man fond of hunting. Every day he would take his father’s dogs and walk towards the Kharamar Hills where game such as deer and partridge were in abundance.

On his way to the hunt, he would cross Sherbano’s village and of course a chanced meeting of the two was inevitable. The instant attraction converted to love but fate would not let them unite easily.

Yousuf Khan’s cousins conspired against him and confiscated his deceased father’s lands. They hatched such a plot against him that he was forced to leave his native town for India. India in those days was under Mughal Emperor Akbar’s rule.

Yousuf Khan was recruited as a soldier in Akbar’s army. Soon he was given the command of a small contingent. Yousuf Khan then received a message that his cousins had forcibly arranged Sherbano’s marriage with another man.

Yousuf Khan reached his hometown with his soldiers in the nick of time to stop the wedding. Yousuf Khan slew some of his cousins and the rest begged for mercy. Yousuf Khan then married Sherbano and the two were leading a happy life.

One day Sherbano asked Yousuf for some game to cook. Yousuf Khan took his two cousins and went towards the Kharamar Hills; his cousins seizing the opportunity killed him. When Sherbano came to know about this, she went to the hillside and took her life. Thus ends the love story of Yousuf Khan and Sherbano.

A famous version of the story was put to verse by poet Ali Haider in the 1960s and was turned into a film, Yousuf Khan Sher Bano, released in 1969.

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