Lilan Chanesar: A Heart-Touching Sindhi Love Tale

Lilan Chanesar (Sindhi: ليلا چنيسر‎) is famous traditional love tale which dates back to the period of Jam Chanesar, one of the Soomra rulers in the fourteenth century of Sindh Thatta, Pakistan. It has mostly been retold in the languages of Sindhi and Persian.

The wife of King Lilan Chanesar, spoiled and pleasure loving Lilan Chanesar, is impressed by another woman’s necklace worth 900,000 rupees allowed the owner of necklace to spend 1 night with her husband. Angry that he had been ‘sold’ King Chanesar divorces Lilan, who has to undergo huge procedure of purification until she is once more acceptable in the presence of her husband.

The story also occurs in Shah Jo Risalo and makes part of 7 famoustragic romances from Sindh. The other 6 tales are  Sohni MeharNoori Jam TamachiUmar MaruiSassui Punhun Sorath Rai Diyach and Momal Rano usually termed as Seven heroines of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

Story of Lilal Chanesar

Raja Lilan Chanesar was a famous ruler of the Soomra dynasty, who governed the Deval kot, n historical city of Sindh near the Thatta. He had a pretty queen Lilan, who was very fond of Diamonds and Jewelry.

Contemporary to him was Rao Khengar, who governed the Lakhpat in the area of Kutchh, in the state of India. He had only one daughter Kaunru, who was very attractive and committed or engaged to her cousin Utmadi. Being the mere daughter of Rana Khanghar and Mirkhi, she was too spoiled. She was very much proud of her beauty and was always used to worry about her looks.

Once her friend Jamni, who was the sister of Utmadi, annoyed Kaunru about her behavior, claiming she was pretending as if she would be the queen of Chanesar. Kaunru was really hurt and informed her mother that either she would marry the King Chanesar, or otherwise she would commit suicide. Her parents got frightened, but they were aware of the fact that the King Chanaesar was already married and loved his queen Lila very much.

After discussing with her husband, Mirkhi and Kaunru disguised themselves as traders and left for the city of Dewal. There they tried to consult Jakhiro, the King’s minister, and inquired him to assist them. He promised that he would try to force Chanesar to marry Kaunru.

When Jakhiro told the whole scenario to Chanesar about Kaunru, the King lost his temper and informed him that he should not talk like that in future. In the presence of Lila, he could not even consider about any other lady. Jakhiro gave his apologies to Mirkhi and Kaunru and informed them that there was no expectation, and that it was hence useless for them to make another attempt.

Kaunru and her mother put on very simple and ordinary dresses to disguise themselves and went to the palace of Lila. There they inquired Lila to hire them in her service, as they had left their state because of the poverty. Lila felt pit on them and hired them as the personal servants. Kaunru was inquired to organize Chanesar’s bed daily. Time passed without any expectation of success.

One day as the Kaunru was making ready the bed for the King Chanesar, tears dropped from her eyes. Lila, who had stepped into the room unnoticed, observed the tears of Kaunru. She inquired the reason for the tears. Kaunru told her that at one time, she was also a princess and had lived a very beautiful and luxurious life like her. She told her that rather than utilizing lanterns and lamps she utilized to light her palace with ‘Naulakha Har’ (a necklace worth 900,000 rupees).

At first, Lilan Chanesar wasn’t in a condition to believe her but she soon became curious to see that necklace. When Kaunru showed the necklace to her, Lila inquired her for what cost she was ready to part with it. Kanuru told Lila that she would offer her necklace free of cost to her but only in one condition. Lila became very impatient and inquired. Kaunru informed her that the necklace would be hers if she would merely let her spend 1 night with the King Chanesar.

When the Queen Lila spoke to King Chanesar he denied accepting such condition. One day, King Chanesar came home after a party and was extremely drunk. Queen Lila considered it her golden opportunity and she permitted Kaunru into her bedroom.

In the morning when King Chanesar woke up, he was very shocked to see Kaunru rather than Queen Lila sharing his bed. He was very furious and was almost about to leave the room, when Mirkhi told him that the Queen Lila had sold him to the Kaunru in return for the ‘Naulakha Har’. Chanesar took all this as an insult and humiliation to be exchanged just necklace.

As his revenge, he deserted the Queen Lila and married Kaunru who had offered so much sacrifice for him. Lila apologized, cried and begged but the King Chanesar denied listening to her, claiming that she had preferred jewelry instead of him and that now he had no love for her any more. Queen Lila after giving up all expectations left his palace and went to her parents. There she spent her remaining days in repentance.

Jakhiro who was the minister of the King Chanesar was engaged to 1 of the girls from the family of Lila. But they denied giving her hand to him after the fate of the Queen Lila. The minister then approached Lila who interfered but inquired him to bring King Chanesar on his marriage, to which he hurriedly agreed.

On the event of Jakhiro’s marriage, King Chanesar came along with the bridegroom party. Lila with other girls welcomed the whole party with dancing and singing but her face was veiled. King Chanesar was impressed at their performance and he was particularly intrigued at the dancing and the voice of the one girl whose face was veiled. King Chanesar forced and begged the girl to unveil her face as he was not able to bear the situation any more. As soon as the Lila unveiled her face, King Chanesar fell down on the floor and lost his life. When Lila saw this incident, she also died.




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