Bhalwa – Where Marvi Lived

Major attraction and one of the claims of the Sindh folklore to fame is the village Bhalwa where anyone’s curious sense may be at its peak.

Marvi — Sindhi heroin famous for her chastity and patriotism – lived in village. Just on the periphery of the village is a shed where it appeared that a tea stall had been set up during Marvi’s melo (festival of Marvi). A few steps away is the “Marvi jo Khooh” (the well of Marvi) from where she used to provide water to her goats and sheep and where Umar Soomra had caught a glimpse of Marvi and had become so head-over-heels that he held the girl against her wishes. Lost in the magnificent stronghold, Marvi’s longing for her native terrain gave birth to one of the most moving folklore of Sindh. Her tale has been immortalized by great Sindhi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. It is an integral part of our oral and folk heritage. Most Sindhi girls know all about Marvi. Ironically, Marvi is credited only with a dilapidated and poorly written sign in Sindhi and English languages.

Marvi has been treated in a manner as any other national legendary character. There is nothing inspiring about the village these days. The physical venue — old well — had been plastered over and totally replaced by an unmarked cemented structure, an absolutely uninspiring job. At the moment, the well is dry and no Marvi can come there and have her pitcher filled. All that is seen left of Marvi is her undying desire and ache for what is no longer there.

A mela organized here in her name has become one of the biggest social and business events in the Thar area. Local cultural committee organises the annual mela of one of the celebrated figures of Thar, with traditional zeal and enthusiasm. But the committee has no resources. Thousands of Tharis participate in the two-day mela. Scores of camels and horses are brought to the mela from various villages to take part in races. Malakhro (wrestling) also is held on the occasion. The stalls under shamyanas or in huts made of straw are set to do the business.

One resident of Bhalwa said, “We Tharis realize that a nation which loses its connection with history soon loses its identity. Hence, we gather here to pay glowing tributes to Marvi, the legendary woman.” Sadiq Faqir, Karim Faqir, Ustad Hussain Faqir, Yousuf Faqir, and Jeendo Khaskheli among other vocalists of Thar mesmerize the fans of the mela with their folk songs.

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