Mirza-Sahiba : Rebels of love

Very less is known, written and narrated about the estranged lovers from Punjab. A story lost in dusty pages of history is on brink of getting engulfed in anonymity. Historians, poets, folk musicians have praised the love stories of Laila-Majnu, Heer-Ranjha, Sohni-Mahiwal through their stories, poems and ballads. So why is the love legend of Mirza & Sahiba been sidelined? Historians have blamed Sahiba for her folly who couldn’t balance her emotions between her family and her doomed lover Mirza.

A beautiful painting depicting love of Mirza and Sahiba
A beautiful painting depicting love of Mirza and Sahiba

Mirza Khan was an exceptional archer of his times who could equal even Arjuna & Eklavya. His arrows would shoot like missiles on his opponents. Such was the greatness of his valor. Galloping on his horse, this brave warrior had attracted the attention of several beauties in his tribe. Sahiba was no less than a nymph, a beauty who won the attention of several admirers. According to legends, Mirza and Sahiba were far off cousins and connected to blood relation. As per the Indian tradition, this relationship would never be accepted. Especially the brothers of Sahiba never approved of relationship of Mirza with Sahiba. Mirza had affection of Sahiba since his childhood days and this affection blossomed into a passionate love.

When Mirza discovered that Sahiba was forced to get married to another person, he sneaked in Sahiba’s house and took her away without leaving any clue of his whereabouts. Sahiba was happy to elope with Mirza. But this happiness was short-lived. Burning with fury, the brothers of Sahiba chased for Mirza.

The twist in this tragic story came when Sahiba broke away the arrows of Mirza because she knew that none of her brothers would be spared by the weapon of Mirza. It was her dilemma that led her to take this drastic decision. On one side she was concerned about her family while on other side, she also was concerned about Mirza. It was this indecision that claimed the life of Mirza. Mirza was traced by Sahiba’s brothers and killed by them miserably. Realizing that his arrows were broken, Mirza knew he was outnumbered. Even in this odd hour, he gave a tough time to his opponents with his bare hands but was no match to them. He was killed by the arrows of Sahiba’s brothers.

Legends say that Sahiba couldn’t bear this scene and she too died heartbroken besides her beloved Mirza. Some stories also say that Sahiba was killed by her brothers. According to legends, it is been said that Mirza and Sahiba got physically intimate during their journey of escape. Their intimacy was the reason why historians looked down towards Mirza and Sahiba as disgraced lovers. According to my thoughts, Mirza and Sahiba were one soul in two bodies. History was partial towards their love. Had Sahiba kept the arrows safe, Mirza wouldn’t have died defenseless.

The grave of Mirza and Sahiba at Danabad is isolated. Very few people go to the site to pay respects to these star crossed lovers. The legend of Mirza and Sahiba transformed into a major motion picture – Mirzya featuring Harshavardhan Kapoor and Sayami Kher as the doomed couple. The movie switches between two timelines – the actual story of Mirza & Sahiba as well as the modern day lovers – Adil Mirza (a stable boy) and Suchitra, an aristocratic girl. Will these lovers meet the same fate as Mirza & Sahiba forms the crux of the story

The 2016 movie - Mirzya is based on tragic love story of Mirza & Sahiba
The 2016 movie – Mirzya is based on tragic love story of Mirza & Sahiba

I highly appreciate director Rakesh Mehra for picking up this forgotten story of Mirza-Sahiba. History is witness that lovers like Mirza and Sahiba have always fallen victim to hate in name of honor killings. Everyone knows of Romeo & Juliet but has hardly heard of Mirza and Sahiba. I hope that after reading this heart breaking story of these lovers, people will definitely visit the grave of ill-fated lovers – Mirza and Sahiba.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Zoeb says:

    A beautiful write-up Prashant. This wonderful summation of the complex and passionate story of Mirza-Sahiban is just what today’s generation of cinema-goers who have next to zero knowledge of our classical tradition of romances.

    As an interesting aside, ‘Mirzya’ is not the first time that writer Gulzar has reworked the classic myth in a modern context. There was a song in ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, called ‘Heer’ composed by A.R Rahman, sung by Harshdeep Kaur and penned by Gulzar. The lyrics of that song were about a girl in love who desired to be Sahiban, whom a Mirza would take away with him, rather than a Heer who would only be left pining for her true love endlessly. It is magical that the wordsmith has now returned to the same myth and has done a fabulous job, aided by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra…

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