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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Adam Khan Durkhanai


Once upon a time, in Swat, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-Din Akbar, there lived a charming young lady named Durkhanai. She was known for her exceptional beauty and intelligence. Her father, Taus Khan, had a heart filled with love for her and defied the norms of the time by allowing her to to be tutored at home. Durkhanai observed strict purdah, following the customs of her community, and sat under the guidance of wise elders and local servants.

Word of Durkhanai's intelligence spread throughout the village and reached the ears of a young man named Payu Khan. Although he had never seen her, the stories of her bright eyes and remarkable qualities enchanted him, and he fell deeply in love with her in his dreams. Payu Khan's father noticed his son's longing and inquired about his distress. Payu Khan revealed his feelings and his father, touched by his son's emotions, decided to propose to Durkhanai's father for her hand in marriage. Taus Khan, recognizing the good reputation of Payu Khan's family, accepted the proposal.

One day, a grand wedding celebration took place in upper Bazdara, and Durkhanai was eager to attend. Although her father had reservations due to concerns that she might attract unwanted attention, her loving aunt convinced him to let her go under her watchful eye. Durkhanai, shy yet filled with inner excitement, graced the occasion with her presence. As the melodious tunes of music filled the air, Durkhanai's heart was captivated by the enchanting sounds of a legendary instrument player named Adam Khan. She yearned to catch a glimpse of him and, with the help of her cousin, she managed to steal a moment to exchange glances with him. Their eyes met, and it was love at first sight, witnessed by many captivated onlookers.

After the wedding, Durkhanai returned home, but her mind was consumed by thoughts of Adam Khan and his mesmerizing Rabab melodies. Her days became half-hearted, and her appetite diminished as all she desired was to be in Adam's presence, to hear his heartwarming conversations and witness his skillful play. Adam, too, found himself lost in the memory of Durkhanai's radiant face, her fair complexion, sharp eyebrows, and the beauty mark that adorned her visage. He believed her to be the most exquisite creation in the world. However, when Adam expressed his love to his father, he was met with anger. His father reminded him that Durkhanai was already betrothed to Payu Khan, and entertaining thoughts of her as his bride was forbidden.

As Durkhanai's impending marriage drew near, her and Adam's pallid and dispirited appearances caught the attention of their concerned friends. To grant them one last meeting before Durkhanai's marriage, their friends devised a plan. In secrecy, they arranged for Durkhanai and Adam to meet in the hujra, where lessons were held. Despite the bribes and the fear of being caught, their friends successfully orchestrated the encounter. In that precious moment, Durkhanai and Adam exchanged small gifts as tokens of their love.

Durkhanai eventually married Payu Khan, but her heart remained troubled, and she could not bring herself to engage with him. She longed for Adam's presence and yearned for his affection. Meanwhile, Adam was tormented by the same anguish, replaying memories of Durkhanai's captivating face repeatedly in his mind. His father witnessed his son's suffering and admonished him, emphasizing that he must not entertain thoughts of Durkhanai anymore. Despite their separation, their love persisted.

In an attempt to ease the burdens carried by Durkhanai and Adam, their friends devised a plan to reunite them for one last meeting. Durkhanai's cousin, aunt, and friends managed to convince Payu Khan's family to let Durkhanai visit the hujra once more. There, Durkhanai and Adam, overwhelmed by their emotions, shared a heartfelt reunion and exchanged keepsakes.

However, the course of their love story took a tragic turn. Payu Khan, infuriated by their elopement, organized a search party and pursued them relentlessly. A fierce fight ensued between Adam's and Payu Khan's friends, resulting in the loss of one of Adam's companions. Adam, filled with grief and guilt, wandered the jungle aimlessly like a vagabond.

During his wanderings, Adam encountered a group of monks from a distant land. Weary and in a destitute state, Adam received their compassion as they offered him food, water, and healing for his wounds. Deeply moved by their kindness, Adam decided to accompany the monks on their spiritual journey. Over time, he confided in them about his suffering and heartache. The monks, touched by his story, decided to assist him and led him back to Payu Khan's house.

Payu Khan graciously welcomed the monks into his home and offered them hospitality, unaware of their connection to Adam. One of the monks sensed the presence of intense grief and suffering within the household. Payu Khan shared the story of his wife's abduction, and the monks insisted on meeting her. Despite her reluctance, Durkhanai was persuaded to join them in the hall. As she laid eyes on Adam Khan in his altered state, a sense of calm washed over her. Payu Khan, deeply impressed by the monks and their wisdom, decided to accommodate them in his garden. Days passed, and the monks felt compelled to continue their spiritual quest, while Adam returned to his father's home.

Adam's father, Hasan Khan, determined to bring solace to his son's tormented heart, arranged a meeting with a beautiful lady named Gulnaz. As Adam shared his grief with Gulnaz, she listened attentively, realizing that he was not in a state to be married. Understanding his feelings for Durkhanai, Gulnaz left the village without informing anyone.

Payu Khan, worn down by Durkhanai's constant dissatisfaction and melancholy, decided to marry another woman. Consumed by guilt, he realized that he was the reason for the tragic fate of both Durkhanai and Adam. In remorse, he buried them side by side in his garden.

Years passed, and as fate would have it, the graves of Durkhanai and Adam were accidentally unearthed by some workers. To their astonishment, they found the lovers still locked in each other's embrace. Overwhelmed by the sight, the workers separated them, buried them once again, and left them undisturbed.

Centuries later, the graves were discovered once more, and this time, when they found Durkhanai and Adam embraced in eternal love, they decided to let them remain together, as a testament to the enduring power of true love.

And so, the tale of Durkhanai and Adam Khan, two souls entwined by love and separated by destiny, stands as a timeless reminder of the strength and intensity of love that transcends time itself.

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