PILU (16th-17th Century)
All that is known about Pilu is that he was a contemporary of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru. Two compositions of a very different kind are attributed to him: one, a collection of songs in a melancholy tone like that of a recluse or a hermit; and the other, the \’var\’ or the lay, of the love of Mirza and Sahiban which has no overtones of Platonic intent. Perhaps, Bawa Budh Singh is not altogether wrong in suggesting that there might be two different persons of the name of Pilu. Pilu, the hermit, is said to have gone to Arjan Dev to get his compositions included in the holy Grunth, but Guru Arjan Dev did not oblige him because of his cynical attitude towards this world.
On the other hand, the \’var\’ of Mirza and Sahiban is a tragic love story without a trace of Platonism in it. In the Platonic tradition of love in Punjabi, it is considered a story of imperfect love, while the love stories of Hir and Ranjha, and Sohini and Mahival are considered stories of perfect love. It seems that Pilu who wrote the romance of Mirza Sahibun was a different person, and he was the man given fulsome praise by two later romance writers, Hafiz Barkhurdar and Ahmed Yar, who were staunch Muslims at the same time.
The romance of Mirza and Sahiban, as narrated by Pilu, is truly the characteristic of the tragedy of romance in Punjabi life where a woman is denied the right to choose her husband independently and the choice of parents is imposed on her. In this story when Sahiban runs away with Mirza, who is her first cousin, against the wishes of her father, the lovers are pursued by Sahiban\’s brothers and kinsmen, who overtake Mirza and kill him after which Sahiban kills herself. The lay is composed in \’dohiras\’ and the language touches the heart of the Punjabis for its beauty of expression and depth of pathos. Therefore, the praise lavished on the poet by his two successors seems well-justified.
1. Amarjit Singh, Punjabi sahit da itihasâ€ ”Qissa kal. Amritsar, 1981.
2. Mohan Singh, A History of Punjabi Literature, Amritsar, 1956.
3. Sekhon, S.S. and K.S. Duggal, A History of Punjabi Literature, Delhi, 1992.