- Paperback: 238 pages
- Publisher: Createspace Independent Pub; 1 edition (7 September 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1484994221
- ISBN-13: 978-1484994221
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,38,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Heer Waris Shah Paperback – 7 Sep 2013
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About the Author
The author was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, and has always loved Punjabi poetry, especially Heer. He has lived in the United States of America for forty five years, and has previously published in the fields of fiction (short story), psychology and politics.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Thanks to the translation of Dr. Butt it can now be appreciated in all its beauty and inspirational force by all English speaking people. It constitutes a welcome addition to the literature on romantic love, fitting squarely in the same league of evergreens, like Romeo and Juliet. It testifies cogently to the unity of the human race and the universality and everlasting nature of the human heart and its stirrings, its heights and its debasements alike.
The poem tells a love story in which the sublime heights of love and beauty are epically pitted against the dark forces of hatred, pettiness and jealousy. Just like in Romeo and Juliet, love and life succumb in the end, in a drama that is heart rending, but unavoidable, since the highest and most sublime love always take the lover into the reaches of death. Love knows no limits, no other value is above it, not even one’s own life. In another example of extreme love, the cross of Christ, self-immolation is made for the sake of love of others. Both witness to the vicinity of love with death, with the power of archetypal, epical imageries.
The association with epics is indeed justified in the case of Heer by its style, betraying its genesis as an oral poem. The story , kept alive with a constant infusion of new characters and changing scenarios, betrays the hand of consummate story tellers, used to keep the attention of a live audience. Not unlike the Homeric poems, Heer circulated in oral form for a long time, before being set into writing.
The characters are indeed epic heroes that remain etched in the mind of the reader, both inspiring and challenging, with their example of sublime love, and the purity of their quest for each other’s embrace.
However, this embrace is not a merely “romantic” one. It is the metaphor for a quest for transcendence and total surrender of the self, or in other words, of man’s quest for God. It therefore recalls to mind, in addition to Romeo and Juliet, that other love poem long interpreted in the Christian tradition as a metaphor of man’s mystical union with God: the Song of Songs of the bible. In Heer, the geographic-cultural setting indeed suggests a happy union and mutual interbreeding of the two great religious traditions of the region: the Muslim and the Hindu. The stress on mysticism and quest for transcendence typical of the latter fits squarely here with a Sufi (re)interpretation. The notes provided by the translator provide an invaluable help to the reader in navigating his way through the metaphors used in the text, as well as in understanding specific details that would be lost to a westerner.
In conclusion, one should be thankful to the translator for allowing access to this text, a hidden gem now unveiled and shining, for all to admire its poetic beauty and be inspired by its eternal truth.