Hammal and Mahganj

Hammal and Mahganj is a Baluchi folk tale which portrays one man’s sacrifice for his religion and his people.  

The Historic Port of Kalmat Ruled by Sardar Jaihand

On the coast of
Makran, there is a very old port called ‘Kalmat’. It was quite famous in
Baluchistan due to its greenery. The ruler of this area was a very brave Sardar
named Jaihand, thereby he was well known all over. During that time the
Portuguese had established their authority from Zenjebar to Baluchistan and
Amman. They attacked areas near the coast but as they knew about Jaihand’s gallantry,
they dared not attack Kalmat directly, though they did rob the boats coming
from and going to Kalmat.

Hammal:
The Son of Jaihand

Hammal was the son
of Jaihand; who was as handsome as he was courteous. However he had a great
fondness of hunting in the nearby forests. For this reason many poets called
him ‘Gorkush’ and ‘Zehamjin’ and praised him in their poetry. However when
Jaihand became old, he expressed his wish for Hammal to marry in his lifetime. Since
he was an obedient son he agreed to marry the girl of his father’s choice.

The
Marriage of Hammal and Mahganj

Then Jaihand arranged for him to be married to a beautiful girl called Mahganj, who was also their relative. Soon Hammal began to love her very much. After their marriage he continued with his hunting and life went on peacefully. He was also blessed with two sons. But then his father fell ill and died. So now he became the new Sardar. He managed very well and so the area prospered due to his efficiency and bravery.

The
Capture of Hammal

Now he would often
go on boating excursions with his friends. On one such outing, they
unfortunately met with a huge storm, which resulted in their getting lost. They
drifted for a week and on the 7th day they reached the coast of
Amman, where there was a big establishment of the Portuguese. A great fight ensued
between them. Hammal’s companions jumped from the boat leaving him alone to
fight the pirates. He managed to kill several of them, but got wounded in the
process, so he was eventually captured. The pirates thought that their Sardar
would be happy with them for bringing him alive. Hammal was very sad that his
friends had deserted him, so he composed a poem and asked the clouds to take it
to his mother and wife, so they would know what had happened to him.

Hammal
Impresses the Portuguese Sardar

Hammal was
presented before the Sardar, who was deeply impressed by his looks and charisma.
He asked his men where they had brought him from, and they told their story. He
was then taken to prison. After some time the Portuguese Sardar recalled him,
and asked about him. Hammal told him that he was Sardar of his own tribe. The
Portuguese said that he would appoint him as his officer and marry him to any
beautiful girl of his choice, but on the condition that he would have to
relinquish his religion and never to return to his land.

Hammal
Refuses the Sardar’s Offer

Hammal said that
he would never give up his religion at any cost. The Sardar got very angry and
ordered that Hammal be put in solitary confinement without any food. Now the
Portuguese had a beautiful daughter, who had seen Hammal and taken a great liking
to him. She bribed the guards in letting her meet him and took some food with
her too. Hammal was in deep thought, but when he became aware of her presence
he was very surprised and asked who she was and why she had brought him food.
So she told him who she was and that if he accepted her father’s conditions, she
would marry him and they would live blissfully. Hammal told her he would do no
such thing as he was already happily married. He also refused to eat the food
she had brought. Feeling utterly insulted she told that she would take revenge
for his behavior.

The Separation of Hammal and Mahganj

On the other side
Mahganj and his mother were extremely sad and distressed. Mahganj also
consulted a fortune teller who told her that Hammal was in prison in a faraway
place and there was little chance that he would return. Mahganj became even
more miserable when she heard this.

Hammal
is Given another Chance

After a few days
the Sardar called Hammal again and told him that he was willing to give him
another chance. However his daughter was present there and she spoke against
him. She told her father that he seemed to be a very dangerous man and should
be killed, because if he was spared he would come back and fight with them.
Even after hearing these accusations, Hammal gave the same reply as before.

The Tragedy of Hammal and Mahganj: Hammal is Executed

This enraged the Sardar and he ordered for him to be executed. Hammal addressed the winds and asked them to tell his mother and wife that he loved them. That he had remained faithful to his people till the end; and was sacrificing his life for them.

Reference:

Zubairi, Jameel, ‘Folk Tales of Baluchistan’, Royal Book Company (2002)