Heer - Romance & Rebellion
Heer – Romance and Rebellion // A Punjabi Love Story on Valentine's Day
‘Heer Ranjha’ is arguably one of the most famous folk stories to have emerged from the state of Punjab, in the north-west of India; and it has often been likened to Romeo and Juliet, in that they are both tales of disapproving families and a romance that ends in tragedy.
This epic Punjabi love saga (immortalised by the 18th Century Punjabi Sufi Saint and poet, Waris Shah) has been referenced in abundance in a wide variety of Punjabi art forms: from songs, plays, poems and films, to name but a few. Popular themes often explored tend to range from Ranjha’s undying love for Heer, the striking beauty of Heer, and the notion of risking all for love.
The tale of ‘Heer Ranjha’ has stood the test of time, as it continues to provide the ultimate example of ‘true love’ for the love-sick Aashiq (crazed lover), as well as being the source of inspiration for the next Bollywood film or Punjabi song you’ll probably dance to at a wedding.
But could it be that ‘Heer Ranjha’ is more than just popular Punjabi folklore– what if there’s another message that has been overlooked?
We had the wonderful pleasure of collaborating with Rupy Kaur, a California-based artist, as she invited us to take a closer look at the story of ‘Heer Ranjha’, and specifically unravel the character of Heer at a deeper level.
Together, after some discussions and debate from across the Atlantic (love knows no boundaries!) we have attempted to redefine and understand this classic legendary narrative once more through exploring the significance of Heer as the authoritative-defying protagonist, and the possible impression Waris Shah intended for her character to deliver to an eighteenth century patriarchal Punjabi society.
Art by Rupy Cheema Tut - artbyrupy.com
Vocals by Grewal Twins