The golden culture of Saraiki Waseb


Saraiki Waseb areas consisting of bordering areas of Dera Ismail Khan to Moro. Almost 99% population in Saraiki region is Muslim. Islam came to this region with the Arab conquest of Sindh in eighth century. Majority of Muslims are Sunnis while Shia population is also in considerable size. The region is home to many Sufism. There is a saying in Persian that Multan is the ‘city of dust (because of its sandy climate), summer, beggars and graveyards’ (Gard, Garma, Gada o Goristan).It is also called as the city of saints. The city has been a focal point for many religions, in particular becoming a central abode for Sufism, the mystical side of Islam. The city has attracted Sufi saints from far places of the globe. Multan has been the centre of Suhrawardiyya, one of the major Sufi orders, called as Tariqa. It has the shrines of Hazrat Baha-ud-din Zakariya and Hazrat Shah Rukn-e-Alam. Uch Sharif has been the centre of Qadiriyya Sufi order. Allama Iqbal said that this region cannot be empty form spirituality referring to the two great Sufi saints of Saraiki region, Khwaja Ghulam Farid and Muhammad Suleman Taunsvi. The tomb of Hazrat Sakhi Sarwar in Dera Ghazi Khan is also very popular shrine in Pakistan.

Saraiki language, literature and poetry: The literature of this language is so much recent because the name of the Saraiki came into being long after the creation of Pakistan. Saraiki language was standardized in the 1960s so no written Saraiki literature existed before that. The recent Saraiki is famous for its Sufi poetry. Shakir Shujabadi is very well recognized modern poet. Jaanbaz Jatoi has been a famous poet and has left a poetical book after his name. Kausar Jatoi and Shedu are famous poets of Jhuggi Wala.  Dr Javaid Laghari chairman of Higher Education Commission from Saraiki Waseb commissioned research on the publication of the Saraiki Dictionary. The Saraiki Research Center was also established in Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan. Saraiki area from Jand to Morro is rich in folklore.

Saraiki Wearing: People usually wear the national dress of Pakistan Shalwar Kameez. The traditional male dress is Lungi,  suthanr shalwar or Ghayiroli Saraiki Shalwar with Chola Kameez and they put on Rumal, Shaal, Chadar or Ajrak on shoulder while Patka or topi on the head. Women wear bochanrr, Chunni, Chunri, ghagra and Shalwar Kameez.

Cousine: Flowers of Sohanjna (Moringa oleifera) is one of the most famous vegetable dish in Saraiki Waseb. Sohan Halwa is traditional sweet made by boiling a mixture of water, sugar, milk and corn-flour until it becomes solid.

Traditional sports: Deeti Danna is one of the famous traditional sports especially for boys in rural areas along with other sports like Baandar Killa, Pittu Garam , Stapu and Kabaddi, Datthi Ghori, Assu Panju etc.

Art and music – Jhumar and Poochhra: Jhumar  is the traditional Saraiki folk dance. It is a lively form of music and dance that originated in the Multan and Balochistan. It is slow and rhythmic. The songs evoke a quality reminiscent of swaying. The content of these songs is usually love with emotional songs. The Jhumar is a dance of ecstasy. Jhumar is performed usually at the wedding ceremonies. It is a living demonstration of the happiness. The dance is mostly performed by the Balochi and Saraiki people of Southern Punjab. The emphasis of Jhumar is recreating the gaits of animals and birds. The movement of animals, the ploughing of the field, sowing of seeds and harvesting are shown in the original progression. The dance is also performed in circle with the tune of emotional songs. Poochhra is also performed mostly on weddings.

Culture of Charpai,  khatt  and Hamacha: Charpai and Hamacha means a big heavy wooden bed wooven with wanr which are ropes made of date-tree leaves or Koondr long leaves.  We can find these Hamachas in every chowks, baithaks and wisakh of Saraiki Waseb where people sit on in the evening to discuss their daily personal, social and political issues in friendly environment. The biggest charpai of the world is in Dera Ghazi Khan according to Guinness World Records.

Ghughu ghora art and crafts as cultural Saraiki symbol: The community making papier mache and earning livelihood with using of this art is living as nomadic community in all over Saraiki Waseb. This community does not live at any single place; they make different things, objects and toys like parrot, camel, sparrow, elephant, axe, hand fan, flower vases, dugdugi and horse with paper mache art and sell these things in the local events, festivals, melas and Urs to meet their living expenses. Traditionally made in Multan, Ghughu ghoras are horse-shaped decoration pieces and toys made with colorful pieces of paper and sticks and stand about two feet tall are the best example of traditional toys made with chewed paper to sale in different exhibitions and traditional fares in Pakistan. There are number of indigence nomadic groups in Multan who have different family setups, cultures and professions that differ from each other. There are an estimated less than 100 families living in Multan belonging to different castes. Ghughu Ghora is the most popular form of papier mache art in Multan. The families are living in surrounding areas in temporary huts. They use to migrate to live close to the events to sell their ghuhu ghoras. They have unique culture and set social norms within the casts. (by: Ahmad Mujtaba)