Status of Consensual Relationship in Heer Waris Shah

I want to write something on how Heer Waris Shah elevates the status of consensual romantic/sexual relationship to the same level as marriage. In Waris Shah’s Heer, love becomes the only social contract necessary between two individuals in a relationship. And Heer becomes the voice to argue against the conservative interpretation of religion towards romantic relationships.

This may sound like a modern idea but here we have Waris Shah saying it loud and clear in/around 1750s. And this book has been read in local gatherings throughout Punjab since then.

Remind me if I forget, I want to write something on this.

After she’s married off, Ranjha becomes a Jogi and travels to the town of her in-laws. Upon realizing that the Jogi in town is Ranjha, Heer goes to meet him. The details of this meeting leak out and become the talk of the day and these are the verses where Waris Shah is accused, by some, of being “indecent” in his words.)

Illustration by an unknown Punjabi artist c. 1890.

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