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A Wakhi Lament (Lus/Marsiya) Composed and Sung By Grandma Bibi Dawlat of Hunza Valley in “Eagle’s World Studio”

March 30, 2019

By Fazal Amin Beg
Lament in Wakhi is termed as Lus , which is so peculiar among hunza Wakhi community.among other Wakhi societies in China, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Russia as well as in Ghizer and Chitral districts in the Northern Pakistan, the lus may be prominatly known or distinguished by the Arabic/Persian term Marsiya. It’s interesting to note that such quality of on-the-spot poetry after a death of a person remained so prominent for centuries among the Wakhi community of Hunza.
Unfortunately, in the present context (especially after following the end up of the Hunza State 1974), such wonderful creativities of women have also been closed down in many ways and that are replaced, rather snatched, by the male counterparts and very few women (particularly the old ones) could be evidenced to hardly venture for the lament composition and/or singing. In contrast, after the death of a person, it has become a recent and tasteless tradition that uncountable male members would speak in words about the dead person, whether or not the speaker is acquainted about the personalities of the departed souls.
Bitterly encountering the loss of her brother in the 1940s, Grandma Bibi Doulat daughter of Arbob Adob Khon of Passu had composed and sung a lament for the first time during the death of his second brother, late Muhammad Sayyab Khan (a high level of brain of his time and a proactive partner of of his late father in the Gojal revolt of October 1940 against the suppressions of the rulers of Hunza). The sisters of Muhammad Sayyab Khan (late Grandma Bibi Dawlat wife of Salmon Ali of Passu and Grandma Bibi Nikbakht wife of Sadan Shoh of Gulmit), as key informants, informed that Muhammad Sayyab Khan had already known about his death time as he was one of the few literate persons of the valley who knew Persian and Turkic languages.
It’s worth mentioning here at this point that it was in the first week of October 2011, late Dr. Boghsho Lashkarbekov of Russian Academy of Sciences and I myself went to interview late Grandma Bibi Dowlat and record few folksongs. She generously shared with us in her inspirational voice three songs including an impressive lament (composed by herself), Sinisay (a famous women folksong of hunza Wakhi community) and a couple of stanzas of Bũlbulik(a famous women folksong of Wakhan). But when we left the settlement of Passu and were in Murkhun, Grandma Bibi Dawlat had passed away (when she was in her eighties) after three hours. She handed over the entrusted folksongs with us in trust and left for her eternal abode with jubilance. May God, the Almighty, bless her cheerful soul with eternal peace and happiness.

Lus Skẽ Biyomorz Muhammad Sayyob Khon
Cẽ Bibi Dawlat en

Ye ki maz̃he nũsetk ey, k̃hũ tilo-e tũkma ey
Z̃hũ tilo-e tũkmayi, chinor-e yem darakht ey
Ya k̃hũyishtep ya’r g̃hirn ey
Oh, I’ve lost my golden star,
My golden star was the high tree of Chinar,
His sisters shall get sacrificed for him.

Z̃hũ chinor-e darakhti, tilo-e tũkma ey
Ya tilo-e tũkmayi, z̃hũ dũr-e nishon ey
Ya k̃hũ dũr et marjoner wuz be g̃hirem ey
My tree of Chinar is the golden star,
The golden star is a memory of my beloved,
I’ll sacrifice myself for my pearl and coral.

Ya sang-e marmari, z̃hũ nungdor-e poygah ey
Ya z̃hũ mironayishtev, z̃hũ nungdor qũda ey
Ya z̃hũ nungdor qũdayisht , yaa z̃hũ dũr et marjon ey
The marble stone is the stair of my beloved,
Princely are my affine kinspersons,
My affine kinspersons are like the pearl and coral.

Ya shikari be porsi ye, dem hũnari be Tũrki ye
Ya k̃hũyep ya’r g̃hird ey, kũk̃htev ya’r slomchi ye
Ya k̃hũyep ya’r g̃hirde, z̃hũ Muhammad Siyob Khon ey
His Persian is so sweet and he’s well-versed in Turkic,
His sister shall sacrifice for him, everyone is respectful towards him.
His sister shall sacrifice for him, my Muhammad Sayyab Khan.

Watch the Same Lament on Eagle’s World Studio:

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