A Celebrated Sindhi Folk Tale: Noori Jam Tamachi
Noori Jam Tamachi is one of the seven romances in Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s most famous ‘Shah Jo Risalo’. The other six are Lilan Chanesar, Momal Rano, Sohni Mehar, Sorath Rai Diyach, Sassi Punnhun and Umar Marvi. Noori Jam Tamachi is the only story which has a happy ending and personifies lasting love. Noori is one of the Seven Queens or the seven heroines who have become symbols of bravery, commitment, character, loyalty and zeal throughout Sindh.
Famous Ruler of Sindh: Jam Tamachi
Jam Khairuddin Al-Maroof Jam Tamachi bin Jam belonged to the Unar tribe of Sindh. He was a Samma King, who ruled Sindh very successfully and justly. The Samma Dynasty were Baluchi and Rajput Muslims who ruled Sindh, parts of Punjab and Baluchistan from 1351 to 1524 AD. They left a great mark on Sindhi architecture the most enduring example is the Makkli Necropolis, one of the largest burial grounds in the world, spread over an area of 10 square kilometers.
The Keenjhar Lake in Sindh
There was once a small village near Keenjhar Lake. Most of the villagers were dark complexioned due to working long hours in the sun, as fishing was their means of livelihood. However there was one exception i.e. Noori who had a fair complexion that shined as bright as a full moon. That is why she was named Noori meaning ‘shining light’ and was also quite a beauty. Noori loved spending time near the shimmering blue Keenjhar Lake, and was very fond of her village as well.
How Noori Met King Jam Tamachi
Now the woods surrounding the village were a great hunting spot and King Jam Tamachi was very fond of hunting. On one such outing he became rather tired and decided to take rest at the village. Upon hearing of the King’s arrival, the entire village started to prepare. Noori was very curious to see the King as she had not seen royalty before, and had heard that they were dressed in gold adorned with countless ornaments. The King came by the lake, and as soon he and Noori looked at each other, they instantly fell in love, and that was the beginning of Noori Jam Tamachi. Much to the surprise and joy of the village, the King asked for her hand in marriage.
After their marriage the King was very impressed by her simplicity, humbleness, and gentle manners. They stayed a few days in the village, but then the King wanted to return to the Palace…Noori felt very sad to leave…so he promised that she could visit from time to time.
The Jealous Queens
He had six other wives, and they all belonged to the Samma clan. Almost immediately Noori had become the King’s favorite; this made them feel very jealous and they thought that she did not deserve to be part of the Royal Family. So they sought to poison his mind against Noori. He paid no heed to what they mostly said, but there was one particular accusation that created a doubt in his mind. For some months they had been telling him that Noori was stealing jewels and passing them to her brother to take back to the village. Even his confidants had told him that they had seen the brother leave the Palace with a wooden box in his hand. So with a heavy heart the King decided to witness with his own eyes.
The Wooden Box
Thereby Noori was utterly surprised when the King and his guards appeared out of nowhere when she was giving the box to her brother! The King asked her to hand over the box to his guards. Then he walked over and lifted the lid, but to his amazement instead of jewels he found a few fish bones and breadcrumbs. He turned around with a big smile on his face as he asked Noori what it was. She explained that she did not want to forget the simple foods she was used to eating in her village, so she had asked her mother to send something whenever her brother visited. The reason she had not told him was because she did not want to seem ungrateful for all the luxuries she had. Jam Tamachi was deeply touched by this, and never again did he listen to what his other wives said.
Noori Jam Tamachi Still Remembered
Over the years Noori became the beloved Queen of the kingdom, as she was modest and kind. Sadly she died while Jam Tamchi was alive. He made a white tomb in the middle of her beloved Keenjhar Lake, where they had first met. Even today the love story of Noori and Jam Tamachi is still remembered – the fisherman’s daughter who married a King.