Translation by: Dr. Muhammad Adil
Folktale adopted from book “Hindko Lok Kahaniaan i.e. Hindko Folktales”
By: Mr. Mukhtar Ali NAyyer
This folktale is the legend of an immortal love of Taimur Shar (Ruler of Durrani Empire who choose Peshawar as the winter capital of his kingdom) and a royal maid Bibi Jan to whom he loved with all his heart due to her intelligence, thoughtfulness, constructive advice, suggestions and opinions in kingdom’s affair.
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Prince Taimur Shah, the second child and the eldest son of Ahmad Shah Durrani (Ahmad Shah Abdali) was crowned after his father, thus he became the second ruler of the Durrani Empire. After taking over the charge of the kingdom he met a beautiful royal maid Bibi Jan. Taimur Shah was extremely fascinated with Bibi Jan. During getting together with her he was surprised with her abilities, intelligence, and broad vision. He was so amazed that he decided to marry her.
Gradually both Bibi Jan and Taimur Shah began to meet in Nazar Garden near Balahisar Fort. To begin with, the dates were only love-filled but with time, Tamiur Shah used to consult her and took her advice in the affairs of the Kingdom. Thus not only the rebellious tribes around him but Mughals also got fed up. They let their informants know who was behind all these plans. Is this Taimur Shah himself or someone else is also using his/her brain? Informers found that Taimur Shah had a royal maid Bibi Jan and Taimur Shah didn’t act without her recommendations.
Mughals designed a plan to get rid of Bibi Jan. They planned to provoke Taimur Shah’s wife with the help of a wicked woman against Bibi Jan.
On the other hand, Taimur’s interest and love for Bibi Jan were increasing day by day. Other royal maids were also jealous of her. They used to talk untruth about her and ill news flies to space. The flattering to the queen was of that level that to make queen happy they used to make a joke of Bibi Jan and called her “Beejo” (a female monkey) as Taimur Shah used to call her “Bibo”.
Taimur Shah’s wife was afraid of the relation of his husband with that beautiful royal maid but she couldn’t express her fear on her tongue. When the Mughal’s woman aroused the suspicion, the queen was ready to take Bibi Jan from her way. The informants increased in the palace. The queen was always on the lookout for her.
Bibi Jan was in love with Taimur Shah. She had fully devoted herself to him. She was restless without him. Sunk in the ocean of love, she was unaware of what was happening around her. Love and red nose can’t be hidden. She didn’t know the conspiracies against her. In the palace, every other person had become her enemy. Oblivious of her surrounding, she used to date and chat with Taimur Shah in Nazar Garden. They not only had their secret love talks but also discussed the affairs of the kingdom. Bibi Jan was an apple of Taimur Shah’s eye.
The very detail of each of their meeting was provided to the queen. The woman sent by Mughals was grinding oil on the burn. This enmity and envious made the queen, ready to do everything. When that evil lady of Mughals felt that the iron is red hot and now she could hit it, she gave a small poison bag to the queen.
“What’s this?” the queen asked in a doubtful way.
“This is the solution to your problem, a relief to your pain” the mean woman laughed wickedly.
“I couldn’t get you” the queen was still in a state of surprise.
“Your highness, this is pure and dangerous poison. A sip of it and Beejo (Bibi Jan) would be expired” she laughed shamelessly, “and Taimur will again be yours”.
“What, if she survived?” queen was hesitating.
“Impossible, this is not a yogi’s tip, it’s a royal version your highness”, she replied.
The queen was not even a bit conscious due to jealousy that she would have asked from which king and royal family this version belonged. Burning in the jealousy and enviousness, she went to the women’s quarter of the palace. She called off her maids and ordered them to tell Bibi Jan to meet the queen before going to Nazar Bagh. The maids stood in Bibi Jan pathway and the queen waited in her room.
Bibi Jan was well-groomed that day and was looking very beautiful when she got out of her room to leave for Nazar Garden to meet Taimur Shah. She had decided to talk about their marriage with Taimur Shah. She knew that this marriage will end the enmity of others living in the palace. But destiny had decided something else. As soon as she stepped a little forward the queen’s maids told her the queen’s order. She frowned but was helpless and couldn’t do anything. She silently moved to the queen’s room.
The queen’s room looked awful that day. The maids left Bibi Jan there. Both the ladies were left alone. The queen was very angry. There was a bowl in front of her. Bibi Jan kept silent for a while and then said, “Any orders your highness”.
The queen shouted,” Bibi Jan, I believe that you are well aware of my status”.
“You are right Madam”, Bibi Jan replied.
The queen asked in the same anguished tone, “Who am I?”
Bibi Jan responded, “You are the queen of his highness King Taimur Shah”.
Queen looked into Bibi Jan’s eyes, “And who are you?”
She was shocked, “Me, I am a despicable maid”.
“My order?” the queen shouted once again.
“The maid’s foremost duty”, Bibi Jan replied
Queen questioned, “My right?”
Bibi Jan replied with dignity, “To even sacrifice my life for you”.
Queen said in a ruthless manner, “Than I order you to pick up this bowl and drink it”.
Bibi Jan became frightened and darkness fell before her eyes. She was looking at the queen in distress.
Queen shouted, “Did you not listen to my command?”
Tears fell from Bibi Jan’s eyes. She muttered, clasping her hands, “I beg for a little respite”.
Queen got angry, “No, you have to obey my order now”.
Bibi Jan cried, “Your highness, I request you to please don’t test my submission to you”.
Queen said seriously, “Obey my order”.
Bibi Jan had a glance at the queen, moved forward, picked the bowl up, and drunk the poison. As soon as Bibi Jan sipped in the poison, there came drowsiness in her eyes and staggering in gait. Her body was trembling but the nasty queen’s anger hadn’t finished yet. She said, “Now you may go to your Taimur Shah”.
Bibi Jan barely reached Taimur Shah in her dying state and fell to his feet. Taimur Shah didn’t consider it and asked, “Oh my darling, why are you so late today?” Bibi Jan had no answer and was silent. Taimur Shah said, “I am talking to you”.
Bibi Jan holds his feet, “Please save me. I don’t want to die, your highness”. He immediately sat down and supported her in his arms. He was shocked to see the blood coming out of her mouth, “What happened to you my life. Bibi Jan, say, say something”.
Bibi Jan replied, “Nothing your highness, nothing”.
Taimur Shar cried, “No, something bad happened to you”.
“It’s enough for me that you cared about me”, Bibi Jan smiled and breathed her last in his hands.
Taimur Shah’s world became colorless. He had no interest in life now. Queen thought that after Bibi Jan everything would be all right but her plan collapsed. All the castles built in the air were destroyed. Murder would always be out and so the Taimur Shah also came to know that who killed Bibi Jan. Taimur Shah stopped going palace. It was the enemies who took all advantage of the situation. No one was there to give some fruitful advice to Taimur Shah like Bibi Jan. The empire weakened. Rebellions aroused and the enemy began to succeed.
Even after the death of Bibi Jan, the people used to call her “Beejo” in front of the queen to make her happy. That’s why her tomb is still remembered as “Beejo’s Tomb”. The tomb of Bibi Jan is still there in the ancient Wazir Bagh (Wazir Garden) of Peshawar. Among people it is commonly known as “Beejo Di Qabar” i.e. Tomb of Beejo or “Burj-e-Beejo” i.e. Tower of Beejo. Taimur Shah made that tomb magnificently at that time in the Greek-Styled architecture.