Hyderabad: 27 January 2022: Shah Abdul Latif was more in love with the idea of being in love than with love itself. Similarly, Shah Latif’s love is not for one woman but for the female ideal. His Risalo contains a number of heroines — Sohini, Sassi, Marvi, Moomal, Leela and Noori. Their adventures are dramatic at one level, allegorical at another.
We know that the heroines represent mankind and the masculine beloved is a symbol for God. Sohini is determined to cross the river to meet her beloved, even at the risk of drowning. But at the highest level of spiritual ecstasy, Shah Latif tells us, is not to be united with one’s lover but to lose oneself, not to reach the other bank but “to merge in the swirling waters of the river itself”. A modern Punjabi poet Munir Niazi expressed it thus: “Kuch shehr dey log vi zalim san; Kuch sanoon maran da shauq vi see.”