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