Laila and Majnu

Early morning today, while reading Laila Majnu — an age-old love story turned into a stunning musical in the walled city of Lahore at Dawn website, I attempted to look for a video of the theatrical musical performance at the grand Haveli Barood Khana. There were only few still photos. So, I tried searching for it on the YouTube. Couldn’t find it.

I was a little disappointed. My curiosity about Laila Majnu –a tale of two childhood lovers, dates back to good old childhood thru youthful days–in Khulna and Karachi. At that time, the ‘social media’ in these places was the neighborhood and the school/college ecosystem. These were potpourries of imaginations, abstractions, gossips, half-truths, half-lies and ‘you know what’ kinda things–we call such ‘disinfos’ and ‘deep fakes’ now a days.

Laila Majnu (Qays and Laila) were for real though. They weren’t allowed to unite due to socio-economic differences (cast, creed, ethnicity, rich, poor, etc).

A friend of mine in Islamabad, Dr. Arjumand Faisal (of Gallery 6), reminded me a month or two ago that I had once said to him in the early 70s: “I didn’t know Khulna was my fiancee. I am heartbroken at the thought of being separated from her.”

Both Khulna (Laila) and Karachi (Majnu) got married off –and are doing great separately.

BUT when (real) Laila was married off to someone else due to family pressure, Qays had become obsessed with her and people started calling him Majnu, loosely translated as “crazy”…In his obsession with Laila, Qays devotes himself to writing verses about his profound love for her. My perennial curiosity made me seek for more info. I ran into few vlogs about them on the YouTube:

Laila Majnu Birthplace

Laila Majnu Meeting Cave

Laila and Majnu Real Grave

Laila Majnu Mazar on India-Pakistan Border (Anupgarh, Rajasthan)

Laila and Majnu were not just two beings. Their legacy is about human beings and their construct for beingness, togetherness–just as 72+/- percent of the Earth being the ocean and the land being 28+/- percent–they are coexistential, inseparable. –Irshad Salim from Karachi