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Old Thursday, December 12, 2013
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Default Mastain Taukali ( Mast o Samo )

Mast Taukali : The great Baloch poet.


Taukali was born in 1825 in Mandek Band area near Kahan. He belonged to Loharani (Shirani) branch of Mari tribe. His father’s name was Lal Han (Lal Khan). Taukali’s mother died in his infancy, his father passed away when he was just 13/14 years old. He had a brother named Peeruk. The original name of Taukali was Sohrab Khan, which was changed to Takali due to namesake with a family member of the tribal chief. After his father’s death, Taukali came to Maawand where he was fostered by a man named Balochaan.
In a fateful day Takali met his destiny and became Mast (frantic); roaming in Rastarani area with his intimate friend Bahar Khan, caught in a storm, they searched a shelter to take cover and ended up reaching Sammo’s haven-tent. They were welcome. Sammo was alone. The catastrophic weather was persistent to unearth the tent. The newly-wed Sammo was running one end fastening her tent and to other shielding her household belongings. The errant wind blew away the covering chador of rain-soaked Sammo and the ingenuous Taukali was thunderstruck glimpsing the heavenly drenched body. Lightning kept on flashing, thunder rumbling and the shocked Taukali staring the beauteous icon. Sammo’s family gathered at night. They entertained their guests as per traditions. But Taukali did not eat nor did he sleep at entire night. His friend Bahar Khan wondered what’s wrong with Taukali, he asked him but Taukali was bewildered and speechless. At morning Bahar Khan marked his serious situation and again asked him “have you been bitten by any snake?” Mast replied spontaneously “The housewife has captured my heart; I am of no use anymore”. This was a calamitous day of 1858. It is said that Taukali was on a war expedition when this happened, but it is not true. Though Taukali did have some sort of weaponry with him on the occasion and he wanted to keep it away from rain. As he says it in a Ballad stanza “Bro Hamoda Ke Hayma ey Hairi; Hathyaar Hondi Bant Mani Meeri” (go there where is a blessed tent; so that your worthy weapons are safe). He portrays the whole episode in detail in his poem; how he sealed his fate.
Sammo was from Kalowani clan of Marri tribe. Sammo’s father’s name was Bashkia and one of her brothers’ name was Dilmurad. Sammo was married to a man named Biwargh (Bibargh) who was from Rahmkani branch of Marri tribe. Sammo had one son, who died in early childhood, and two daughters. Sammo died in 1880 in the month of Ramadan and she was buried in Makhmaar area. Sammo was not a typical gorgeous woman. But love has no bounds; Taukali fell in love with the simple married woman. As it is said regarding true love “to love to love, not to love to be loved”, Taukali never tried to approach his beloved Sammo or expected to earn her love.
As saying goes ‘the first sight of love is the last of wisdom’ the naďve Taukali was no longer Taukali; he became Mast. And people began calling him Mast Taukali or Mast en Taukali (frantic Taukali). He lived a vagabond’s life, wandering here and there. His days were passing in company of Sufis, poets and saints. Shrines were his dwellings.
As Plato says “at the touch of love everyone becomes a poet”, soon Mast’s poetry started traversing heart to heart and people to people. He was always seen in shrines. Some allegedly marvelous workings and phenomenal deeds earned Mast the fame of a saint in populace, who pursued Mast seeking his favour and prayers. There were several miraculous events attributed to Mast. Once, Sardar Jamal Khan Leghari intending for hajj, took Mast along for the voyage. Mr. Leghari was in a habit of testing Mast’s saint-like miracles. In the middle of journey Mast was thrown in the sea as ordered by the Sardar. When they reached Mecca they found Mast there alive. Mast foretold the tribal chief that he would die seeing the trees of his village on return. Though Sardar blindfolded himself to avoid sighting the trees and Mast’s curse, but died reaching his village consequently.
Mast never rode horses. He said that he was forbidden by Sammo and she would be worried losing my footprints on earth owing to horse riding. In a cave at Jandaran Mountain Mast made a tent-like house and said that it was now Sammo’s home; it still exists there, whenever its any wood-stuff is dismantled people replace it with a new one. In Dera Bugti city there is an old and big stone, called Mast’s stone. Once Mast was going to Dera Bugti, he pointed at the stone and said “O Sammo’s stone, come with me” and the stone followed him drag-rolling. Nawb Akbar Khan Bughti had a shirt (Kurta) and a stick believed to belong to Mast. Taukali was a man with medium build or of short height and he always called himself Sammo Beli (Sammo’s companion).
Mast Taukali died in 1896 (though 1892, 1895 and 1895 are also maintained as his death year). Mast fell ill while he was travelling in Pazha area, his family and friends were intimated. They came, stretched Mast off on a charpoy, when they reached Tambo area he died. Mast Taukali was to be buried on Tekil Mountain as per his will, but the camel taking his corpse was reluctant to go anywhere else other than Maidangri area, where he was buried. The tomb of Mast Taukali is now a popular shrine and all traditional festivals and rituals are performed there.
Mast Taukali was not only an eminent poet of Balochi but also a great Sufi of the era. As Sufis believe that by purifying their hearts they get close to God. For Mast, Sammo’s love was the pathway to get there. Sufis say that they see the divine presence in everything, Mast found it in Sammo. He says in a stanza:
“Nindo’n Kahan a Bitago’n Kohaani Marri; Wa Raza Beet o Bahaanag Sammo e Kuth ey” (I am an ordinary Marri of Kahan, not to speak of my status; it was Allah and His acceptance I earned, Sammo was a mere means).
Reference: Numerous sources, which I sought help and information from, may be named in citation for this article but the main source was the book “Mast Taukali: Sakhsiat aur Fun” by Dr. Shah Mohammad Marri.
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