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Rambling on: Noori Jam-Tamachee Re-visited; Love Stories of the Risalo of Shah Latif

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Noori Jam-Tamachee Re-visited; Love Stories of the Risalo of Shah Latif

A new addition in the family demands that i revisit this blog entry from the past. So here it goes:

The Risalo of Shah Latif is divided into chapters called Surs which are composed on the lines of musical notes. Each sur is based on symbols taken from stories which are part of Sindhi folklore. Sur Kamod in the Risalo of Shah Latif is based on the love story of Noori Jam-Tamachee

Noori Jam-Tamachee

King Jam Tamachi was a Samo ruler of lower Sind at the end of the 14th century A.D. While on a shooting expedition, he chanced to see a fisher girl named Noori, falling madly in love with her and offered to married her, his love for her blind to the social disparity between them.

When they returned back to his capital, he was made aware of the general disapproval of this match. He merely observed that the detractors did not know her as much as he did. In order to display her character and appease the cynics, one day, he announced to his queens, that he would take one of them for a ride on an outing.

All the queens put on elaborate makeup and their best clothing, but not Noori. She put on her old family garment, perhaps the one she wore when the king had first seen her. When Jam Tamachi visited the queens, she smiled at them and moved on. When he saw Noori, in her simple attire, he was greatly impressed. He nodded her approval at her and led her by the hand to the royal carriage.

When they were alone, he enquired from her about her dress. She tells him that the dress reminded her of what she inherently was, and what she owed the king for her elevation. The king was charmed with her simplicity and sincerity and the legend of their happy lives have become part of the Sindhi folklore immortalized by Shah Latif.

[Taken from Agha M. Yaqoob's 3 volume translation of the Risalo with minor editing]

the kafi describes the scene of the King Jam Tamachee falling for a simple fisherwoman Nooree, marrying her despite her humble attire, her demeanor, her poverty

I am linking a youtube url of the kafi which starts at 2:20. I have not found the refrain in the Risalo but as the other verses are from the Risalo, perhaps Ustaad Manzoor Ali Khan selected this one line from a version that I am not aware of. There are also some other lines not in the risalo and have not translated them.

The track starts at 2:20

toon samoo, aaonn gandree, moon main aib n lakh
mohenjay hin haal jee, tokhay sabh parakh
karan raba, mataan maangar matee-ain

[Refrain] Khuta keenjhar keenaray, tamboo tamachee jaam jaa

Sabh sameeyoon, sabh soomeyoon, sabh-na gichee-in-a haar
Pasan khatir pireen-ana jay, vicha-yaaon vaar

[Refrain] Khuta keenjhar keenaray, tamboo tamachee jam jaa

Jaaraa ain kharaa, maal-a janeen ja mad-a
tayee sain samay kaya, heeraan janeen had-a
Jam partai-n lad-a, sayeed chavay

[Refrain] Khuta keenjhar keenaray, tamboo tamachee jam jaa

you are samoo royalty
I am a mohanee, a fisherwoman
full of countless blemishes
my poverty and condition, you are all aware

in the name of the lord,
do not forsake me for my predicament

[refrain] the royal entourage of jaam tamachee arrives at the banks of keenjhar

the princesses in the harem,
decked up with flowers in sweet splendour
all eager for Jaam's approval, yearning his favor

[refrain] the royal entourage of jaam tamachee arrives at the banks of keenjhar

foul smelling fishing nets and baskets
as their sole possession
this poor lot
prince jaam has accepted as kin
for the sake of love

[refrain] the royal entourage of jaam tamachee arrives at the banks of keenjhar

Sufi interpretation of the story of Nooree-Jaam Tamachee is that the Lord accepts as chosen ones, those who lead simple lives. Simplicity and humility are dear to the Lord and these were the qualities of the Prophet. I rather like the obvious, the direct story telling of love between a man and a woman beyond social mores and stigmas


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