Puran Bhagat: Illustrations from early 1900s

I have with me a version of the legend of Puran and Loona with “illustrations by native hands.” It was told by a Punjabi bard from Murree to a British missionary in the summer of 1881. The bard’s name was Gharal. Maybe that was his last name but that’s all we have.

Now the story is of course important and should be compared to the few texts of Qissa Puran Bhagat that we are lucky enough to have in original verse but it’s the illustrations that interest me more.

“Native Hands” is all the credit the British collector and editor of the book gave to the Punjabi artist who drew the illustrations. Can’t say that I am surprised. They were used to take things from us after all. Anyway, let’s focus on what we have here: a local imagination of how Puran, Loona, Salwan, SundraN and Gorakh Nath must have looked like!

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Bonus, two pictures of the Puran’s well that I took in January this year during my travel. Head over to Dawn to read the entire travelogue.

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Sohail Abid   /   April 4, 2015

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