THE STORY BEHIND THE FESTIVAL:
SUNDAR MUNDARIYE. HO!
A story in the lighter vein!
There is a large tract of semi-arid terrain lying between the rivers Chenab and Ravi called the Saandal Bar. (It now falls in the districts of Sheikhupura and Faislabad.) The people of this area were known to provide the stiffest opposition to the Muslim marauders.
They never paid any taxes; rather, they openly defied the authorities and indulged in looting the royal caravans and treasures. ‘Saandal’, a warlord of Bhatti Rajput clan led these tribals.
Prince Jahangir, the heir apparent, fired with zeal to prove his prowess carried out campaigns to consolidate the Mughal authority in the region. He captured and executed Saandal and his son, Farid. Their skins were peeled off and hung at the Delhi Gate of the Fort of Lahore to instill a sense of fear amongst the rebels.
However, the son of Farid, Abdullah or Dullah as he is fondly called, remained unfazed and continued his defiant activities. Dullah earned notoriety in the eyes of authorities. He, looted the wealthy landlords and Imperial officers and distributed the booty amongst the poor. He came to be regarded as a father figure for the distressed and oppressed and became a living embodiment of the chivalrous and secular, socio-cultural character of the region.
Dullah was the contemporary of yet another Super Human, Poet Divine, Sri Guru Arjan Dev, the Fifth Sikh Guru, who sacrificed his life at the altar of humanity at Lahore.
It is believed that Dullah had restored the prestige of an innocent girl whose modesty was outraged by a Mughal General. Dullah had adopted this girl as his daughter and arranged her marriage in the Jungles of ‘Saandal Bar’. As there was no priest nearby to chant the Vedic Hymns and solemnise the marriage Dullah had lit a bonfire and composed an impromtu song: Sundari Mundariye. The bride and the groom were asked to take pheras of the bonfire as Dullah sang this hilarious song.
The ‘ho’s are in chorus.
Sunder mundriye ho! ( Oh, you pretty lass)
Tera kaun vicharaa ho! (Who is your protector, you pitiable one? )
Dullah Bhatti walla ho! (There’s this man called Dullah, from Village Bhatti)
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho! (Dullah’s getting her married as his own daughter)
Ser shakkar payee ho! (He gave 1 kg sugar!)
Kudi da laal pathaka ho! (The girls is wearing a red suit!)
Kudi da saalu paatta ho! (But her shawl is torn!)
Saalu kaun samete ho ! (Who will stitch her shawl?)
Chacha gaali dese ho! (Her Uncle will scold her)
Chacha choori kutti ho! (The uncle made choori (a Punjabi dish)!
Zamidara lutti ho! (The landlords ate it!)
Zamindaar sudhaye ho! (Dullah gave the landlords lots more to eat!)
Ginn-ginn bhole aaye ho! (Lots of innocent guys came)
Ek bhola reh gaya! (One innocent boy got left behind)
Sipahee pakad ke lai gaya! (The police arrested him!)
Sipahee ne mari itt! (The policeman hit him with a brick!)
Phannve ro te phannve pit! (Now, you may cry or howl!)
Sanoo de de lohri te teri jeeve jodi! (Give us our Lohri & may you live long as a couple!)
Til (Sesame seeds) and Rewari (a form of sweet jaggery in Punjabi) are meant to keep the body warm. These two terms Til+ Rewari combined to form Tilrorhi, which eventually was corrupted to – Lohri.