In Search Of Heer ~ Manjul Bajaj

“In Search Of Heer” is a re-telling of the iconic story of Heer-Ranjha. Ranjha, unappreciated by his mother, is cheated out of his rightful inheritance by his brothers. On hearing about the peerless beauty of Heer, he falls in love with her, sight unseen. He leaves home in search of Heer. On the way, Ranjha suffers trials and tribulations but remains steadfast in his love for Heer. Beautiful, mettlesome Heer Syal is an oddity amongst the women of those times. She rides, has learnt fighting, is outspoken and refuses to follow the diktats of society. Supported by her father, she rejects the role of a meek and demure damsel. The meeting of Heer-Ranjha is the meeting of soulmates. Heer-Ranjha are bound in their hearts and in the eyes of God, but not in the eyes of men. They cannot escape the rules of society and the machinations of Heer’s evil uncle, Kaido. Heer is married despite her unwillingness, while Ranjha wanders in search of a way to be united with Heer again. However, finally, true love triumphs and Heer-Ranjha are together forever.

Heer-Ranjha is a timeless classic. Immortalised by Waris Shah, the story of star-crossed lovers is known to every child in Punjab. What sets this re-telling apart is the imaginative way the prose has been presented. There is a touch of whimsy when the pigeons, crow and goat take turns as narrators. These mute characters express the heartache and love of Heer-Ranjha eloquently. They seem to understand the true love between Heer-Ranjha better than the other humans of the story. The malevolence of Kaido sends shudders down the reader’s spine. When you read Kaido’s story, you are reminded of people who, in saintly garb, poison the minds of the people against humanity.

Set in the times of Akbar, “In Search Of Heer“, has a very contemporary feel with a strong core of feminism. The desire of Heer to rise up against the rules of society is true even now for countless young girls who want more but are bound by society. The character of Heer’s mother and mother-in-law show how women usually have no choice when it comes to making their own life decisions. Women have to choose between following their spirit or having a life of safety.

Kaido’s character shows how easy it is to use religion to poison the minds of people. Basic decency and humanity are sacrificed in lust for power. Since time immemorial rules have been created by men for women. Rules, usually created by people who have evil in their hearts. These rules, made either in the name of religion or society, are used to subjugate and enslave women. Kaido’s character is a metaphor for how the women are blamed for the sin in society and the price women pay.

Heer-Ranjha’s is a love story, but it also makes the reader aware of the ills of society. “In search of Heer“, shows a mirror to society. Whether society wishes to see its reflection is a question for another day.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon for August,2021.

12 thoughts on “In Search Of Heer ~ Manjul Bajaj

  1. So happy to read this post, Harshita. Manjul Bajaj is a fabulous writer and a friend. I am going to be picking up this book soon. As always, so love your detailed and balanced review.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s