Story of Chanesar and Lailá.

A girl named Kaunrú, daughter of the powerful and renowned Raná Khangár was betrothed to her cousin. Being incomparably beautiful, the young lady gave herself great airs among her asso­ciates. At that time no one could be compared to Chanesar, of Dewal, for beauty of person, store of wealth, extent of territory, or force of authority, and an alliance with him was earnestly desired by many beauties. One day a girl named Jamní, one of Kaunrú's companions, said to her, tauntingly, “Perhaps you en­tertain thoughts of being married to Chanesar, since you practice so many fine airs, and are so affected.” This taunt pierced Kaunrú's heart, and without even having seen Chanesar's face, she became desperately in love with him, and almost beside herself. When Marghín, her mother, found this out, she apprised Ráná Khangár of it. As a matrimonial alliance with Chanesar was the greatest honour of the day, and there seemed no way of accom­plishing that except by stratagem, the Ráná advised Marghín to take their daughter in the garb of a merchant to Chanesar's town, without letting any one know of her so doing, and before Kaunrú should become the victim of despair, and thus perhaps Chanesar himself might become ensnared in the net of good contrivance. Agreeably to this recommendation, Marghín set out with her daughter and some merchandize, crossed the river Parpat, and leaving her own country of Dhat, soon entered the Dewal territory, and arrived at the city where Chanesar lived. She sent a message through a gardener's wife, to Jhakra, Chanesar's Wazír, intimating her desire for a union. Chanesar—devoted to Lailá, whose beauty and charms might excite the jealousy of the celebrated Lailá—re­turned for answer that he wished for none but Lailá, bade the gardener's wife beware of bringing more such messages to him, and directed the new comers to be sent away, lest Lailá should hear of them, and be annoyed. On being informed of this, Marghín sold her merchandise, and went one day into the presence of Lailá, in the garb of a poor stranger beggar woman, saying:—“Adverse cir­cumstances have driven me and my daughter far from our own country; in spinning thread we have no equals, if you will kindly take us as your slaves, we will so serve you as to merit general approval.” Lailá took them both, and was pleased with their work. After some time, the arrangements of Chanesar's bed­chamber became Kaunrú's special charge. Kaunrú one night thought of her own country, and of her splendid position there, and her eyes filled with tears. Chanesar, seeing this, asked her what was the matter. She answered that she had raised the wick of the lamp, and then scratched her eye with the hand with which she did it, which brought the tears into her eye. On hearing this, Lailá was very pressing to learn the truth, and Kaunrú, after much pressing, said, “The truth is, I am the daughter of a sovereign, of such wealth, that the lustre of his jewels serves him for night-lights; hence the smoke of the lamp confused my brain, and the recollection of past days entered my head, and I wept that they were no more.” Lailá asked her for proof of the truth of this pre­tension; she instantly produced a most delicate dress, such as Lailá had never seen, with a necklace worth nine lakhs of rupees. Lailá was charmed with such precious rareties, and desired to have them. Kaunrú and Marghín said, “We will give them on condition that you give us Chanesar for one night.” As most women are wanting in understanding, she agreed to the terms, and one night, when Chanesar was drunk, she made him over to Kaunrú. Chane-sar passed the entire night in unconsciousness, and when he awoke in the morning, was astonished at finding who it was he had in his bosom. Kaunrú's mother was all night on the alert as to what should happen. Finding in the morning that her daughter's object was not accomplished, she began muttering from behind the curtain, “how strange it is that Lailá should sell such a husband as Chane-sar for a mere necklace! and that he should be ignorant of this; it is not fitting that a man should again consort with such a wife.” Chanesar hearing this, looked lovingly on Kaunrú; she told him the whole particulars of her story from beginning to end. He then said:—“Since the case is thus, be of good heart, for I am no more Lailá's, and I will love you with my whole heart.”

On Lailá hearing of what had taken place, all her stratagems were futile, her constant union was changed to utter separation After the lapse of a long time, she returned to her paternal village, and passed her time in solitude. Before this affair, a girl from the family of Lailá had been betrothed to the minister Jhakra; but after what had happened to Lailá her relations would not give the girl to him. As he was bent on the match, he tried many devices to bring about the marriage, but all in vain. Lailá sent word to him that if he could by any means contrive to bring Chanesar with him, she would pledge herself his desired marriage should take place.

On receiving this message, Jhakra, with much ado, persuaded Chanesar to accompany him to Lailá's village. Lailá changed her dress, and putting on the garb of a woman who bears the message of assignation, veiled her face, and entered the presence of Chanesar, when she spoke reproachfully of the relation in which he stood to Lailá. During the conversation, she played off some coquettish airs, and captivated Chanesar without his knowing who she was. As all Chanesar's abandonment of Lailá, and unkindness too, arose from jealousy, and he was in reality as much attached to her as ever, on the remembrance of the joys of the time of his union with her he became beside himself, and said, “O sweet-tongued girl! thou thyself art the rarest of beauties! How long wilt thou talk of Lailá? Speak to me of thyself, for my heart yearns to thee!” She replied: “How can the heart love one faithless as thou?” On hearing her speech, Chanesar wished to tear her veil off; but Lailá, who was herself her own messenger, at the very height of his ardour, unveiled herself with her own hand. When Chanesar saw that she was indeed Lailá, he suddenly drew a cold sigh from his sorrowful heart and expired. On seeing this, Lailá, too, uttered one groan and fell down lifeless. The pair were burned according to custom, and their strange story is well remembered by the people, and is the theme of a popular and moving song in the Sindí tongue. Idra'ki Beg-Lár composed a Persian poem on this story; the present writer, for fear of prolixity, has satisfied himself with relating thus much of it.

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Nawwáb Muríd Khán.

He was by birth the son of a Rája, and newly converted to the Muhammadan faith. In the year 1099 H. (1688 A.D.) corresponding with the 31st of the reign, he was appointed to the government of Thatta. It is said, that several thousand Rájpúts accompanied him. When he arrived at the ferry, he learnt that it was necessary to pass through the butcher's shambles where cows were slaughtered, before he could reach the citadel. So he despatched a message to Kází Muhammad Husain, the Kází of the city, saying that he had with him a large body of Hindú Rájpúts, and requesting him to remove the shops of the cow-slaying butchers from the passage of the bazar, lest they should give offence to his followers, and some dis­turbance should arise. As the institutions of the king, the defender of the law, were not tolerant of the threats and menaces of such persons, the most worshipful Kází, that very night, directed the butchers to double the number of their usual stalls, and place them on both sides of the roads. When the governor heard of this, seeing it would be useless to act in opposition to His Majesty, the defender of the faith, he was compelled to pass according to the fashion ob­served by his predecessors. He remained two years in Thatta, during which his army gave much trouble to the Musulmáns. Upon a representation made by the chief residents, a royal order was received directing him to abandon his ridiculous crotchets and consider himself removed from the government of Musulmáns. When he was dismissed, he remained for some time at the fort of Tughlikábád, better known as Kalánkot, as he found the air suited to the complaint under which he was suffering, of weakness of sight. The king, out of regard to him, did not oppose this arrangement, but when his successor arrived at Thatta, he was summoned to the court. Some of the present defences and build­ings of the fort of Tughlikábád are of his construction.