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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Samandar Khan and the Rajkumari

In a time long ago, when India's lands were marked by mighty empires and tales of conquests, there lived a valiant warrior named Samandar Khan. He was a commander under the rule of the formidable Ahmad Shah, who led raids and conquests across the vast subcontinent.

One fateful day, Ahmad Shah commanded his trusted general, Samandar Khan, to plunder the opulent capital of a certain Raja. The palace of this Raja held a treasure that Ahmad Shah desired, but as often happened in such turbulent times, the cost of ambition was often measured in the suffering of the innocent.

As the dust of raiders' horses settled within the grand palace, Samandar Khan, a figure of strength and determination, made a choice that would change the course of history. With daring audacity, he seized the Raja's beloved daughter and carried her away, mounted on his trusty horse.

Upon discovering the fate of his cherished daughter, the distressed Raja dispatched his plea to Ahmad Shah, lamenting the tyranny and abduction that had befallen his family. Ahmad Shah, a ruler known for his sense of justice, demanded Samandar Khan to release the Raja's daughter, for it was a crime that could not be tolerated.

However, Samandar Khan, a man of unyielding independence and fearless defiance, chose to ignore the sultan's orders. He stood tall and placed his sword and shield before him, an unmistakable sign of disobedience. The audacity of the commander-in-chief defied the authority of his sultan, and in doing so, he disrupted the grand design of empire.

Faced with Samandar's bold resistance, Ahmad Shah wrote a message to the Raja. The sultan expressed his regret that he was unable to force the return of the Raja's daughter, as Samandar Khan had eluded his grasp. With the camp of Ahmad Shah now vanishing into the distance, Samandar and the Raja's daughter became fugitives, and they were bound by an unusual connection.

Despite the circumstances that brought them together, or perhaps because of them, Samandar Khan and the Raja's daughter became close. In time, they grew accustomed to one another's presence, and the young woman found herself sleeping with her head upon the knees of her captor.

Then, fate intervened in their tumultuous journey. One night, as Samandar lay in deep slumber, the Raja's daughter devised a plan. Silently, she removed her knees from beneath his head and tenderly placed a pillow in their stead. With great care, she mounted a waiting horse, hoping to slip away unnoticed.

As she rode away from their camp, the sentries on duty, taking her for Samandar on a nightly patrol, allowed her to pass without interference. It was a moment of perfect timing, for the stars of the night concealed her escape.

When Samandar awoke and discovered her absence, he was struck with disbelief. The young woman had managed to elude him, leaving him bewildered and uncertain of his next move. In a flash of determination, he mounted one of his sepoys' horses and embarked on a relentless search to find her.

Venturing into the unknown, Samandar followed the winding path through dense jungles and looming shadows. He spotted the Raja's daughter at last and, determined to capture her once more, he approached her with resolve.

But she warned him, "Stay back, or you shall suffer harm!" Ignoring her caution, Samandar drew nearer, driven by an unyielding desire to have her by his side once more. She held true to her word, defending herself by wounding him, and he fell to the ground, overcome by the pain.

In her mercy, the Raja's daughter left two vials of healing ointment beside the injured warrior. Anyone who applied it to their wounds would find relief. And then, she left him behind, setting out on a path unknown.

The Raja's men eventually found Samandar, unconscious and weakened. With the aid of the ointment, he began to recover, his strength returning. With newfound determination, Samandar Khan decided to escape from the camp and venture into the territory of the Raja, whom the young woman had now married.

In this unfamiliar land, he sought a place to live, adopting a humble disguise that would hide his true identity. Near the roadside, he kindled a fire, portraying himself as a humble and solitary ascetic. In time, the people of the land began to know him as a saintly figure.

One evening, as the sun dipped below the horizon, the Raja's daughter strolled through the palace gardens with her companions, while her husband remained oblivious to the past she carried in her heart. She noticed a flickering fire in the distance, an inconspicuous light on the roadside.

Realizing that the hermit by the fire was none other than Samandar Khan, she made a daring decision. Separating herself from her attendants, she approached him in secret. With a heavy heart, she bestowed upon him a precious necklace, adorned with jewels worth a king's ransom.

Samandar Khan, still concealed by his humble guise, accepted the gift and the silent message that accompanied it. She whispered her warning that he must leave without delay, for if her husband discovered him, his life would be in grave danger. And just as quickly as she had appeared, she disappeared into the night.

Samandar Khan, however, was not content to remain in the shadows. He plotted with an old woman who agreed to help him on his quest. He promised her the priceless necklace as a reward if she led him to the quarters where the Raja's daughter now resided with her husband.

Guided by the old woman, Samandar concealed himself within the confines of the Raja's palace. He waited patiently, biding his time. During the night, as she remained with her husband, he grew displeased with her for some reason. In a fit of anger, he kicked her, cruelly deeming her as having been tarnished and her honour stolen.

He repeated those hurtful words once more, and in response, she let out a heavy sigh, her voice laden with sorrow. With an aching heart, she whispered, "Oh, how I wish I had wed Samandar, for he was the one who showed me such kindness."

Upon hearing her heartfelt confession, Samandar Khan could no longer remain in hiding. In a surge of wrath, he revealed himself, his heart now aflame with the passion that had burned within him for so long. With a single decisive blow, he brought the husband's life to an end. He then whisked away the Rajkumari, and together, they rode away.

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