Waris Shah’s composition, the love story of Heer Ranjha takes a pre-eminent place, in what may be called the ‘qissa’ literature of Punjab. It is the story of the youngman and a youngwomen, which did not receive the sanction of society in the shape of marriage, a major theme of literature, music, dance and drama not only in Punjab, but everywhere in the world.
The story prformed in the form of an opera as well as a ballet is very typical. Heer was the daughter of a feudal landlord Chuchak Sial from Jhang. Before her sacrifice for Ranjha, she proved herself to be a very courageous and daring young girl. It is said that Sardar (Chief) Noora from the Sambal community, had a really beautiful boat made and appointed a boatman called Luddan. Noora was very ruthless with his employees. Due to the ill treatment one day Luddan ran away with the boat and begged Heer for refuge. Heer gave him moral support as well as shelter.
Sardar Noora was enraged at this incident. He summoned his friends and set off to catch Luddan. Heer collected an army of her friends and confronted Sardar Noora and defeated him. When Heer’s brothers learnt of this incident they told her,"If a mishap had befallen you why didn’t you send for us?" To which Heer replied," What was the need to send for all of you? Emperor Akbar had not attacked us."It is the same Heer who, when she is in love with Ranjha, sacrifices her life for him and says, " Saying Ranjha, Ranjha all time I myself have become Ranjha.
No one should call me Heer, call me Dheedho Ranjha."
When Heer’s parents arranged her marriage much against her wishes, with a member of the house of Khaidon, it is Heer who plucks up courage during the wedding ceremony and reprimands the Kazi (priest)." Kazi, I was married in the presence of Nabi (Prophet). When did God give you the authority to perform my marriage ceremony again and annul my first marriage? The tragedy is that people like you are easily bribed to sell their faith and religion. But I will keep my promise till I go to the grave."
Heer is forcibly married to Khaidon but she cannot forget Ranjha. She sends a message to him. He comes in the garb of a jogi (ascetic) and takes her away. When Heer’s parents hear about the elopement they repent and send for both of them promising t get Heer married to Ranjha. But Heer’s uncle Khaidon betrays them and poisons Heer.
In this love tale Heer and Ranjha do not have the good fortune of making a home. But in the folklore sung by the ladies, Heer and Ranjha always enjoyed a happy married life.
It was Heer’s strong conviction, which has placed this tragic romantic tale on the prestigious pedestal along with Punjab’s religious poetry.