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Mian Muhammad Bakhsh (1830-1907) was born in a town named as Chak Thakra, Khari Sharif (Distt Mirpur of Azad Kashmir). Chak Thakra was the part of the Punjab, before the British invasion. He is one of the many famous Sufi poets of the Punjab and Kashmir. He wrote his poems and works in his mother tongue: Punjabi.

Mian Sahib’s great grandfather belonged to a clan Paswal Gujjar. He came to Khari Sharif from village Chak-Behram of Gujrat, Punjab. Gujrat is an adjoining district to Mirpur, Kashmir.

The Sufi saint wrote almost 18 books during his life span of around 77 years. Though, he was a multi linguistic yet he preferred to follow the Indus Valley's Sufi tradition of writing in the language of the masses; Punjabi. Most all his books are written in Punjabi except one - “Yari” - that is written in Persian.

Interestingly, his Punjabi writing style is the blend of different prevalent dialects particularly the amalgam of the major dialects of the Eastern and Western Punjabi (*Charhdi* and *Lehndi* or *Purbi* and *Pachmi* dialects).

To express future tense he uses both the popular expressions *“jaasaan & Jaavaan gaa*” as *jaasaan* is familiar in the Western dialect of Punjabi and *jaavaan gaa* in the Eastern dialect of Punjab, just like as in English where one can find ten ways to express future time.

The most famous book written by Mian Bakhsh, at the age of 33, is “Safrul Ishq” (the journey of Divine Love), which is commonly known as “Saiful Maluk”. The name Saiful Maluk is the main character of the romantic tale of an Egyptian prince and fairy princess Badiul Jamal. Sufi poets usually use such characters and allegories derived out of the tales to express the relationship between disciple and Master.

Mian Sahib eloquently expresses the reason for writing this book in the cover of a romantic tale. Just go to this verse:

*“baat Majazi, ramz haqaani, wan* wan*aan di kaathi*

*Safrul Ishq kitab banaai, saif Chupi wich laathi”*

In the above verse, he uses metaphors of sword and sheath for *Ishq-e-Haqiqi *and* Ishq-e-Majazi*. Mystic secrets are like a sharp blade sword which is veiled in the wrap of a romantic tale.

He says that Safrul Ishq (Journey of Divine Love) can be understood by knowing a romantic tale. A lover is involved fully in the love of beloved, the same way a devotee (seeker) is involved in the Divine Love.

It seems as the saint’s conscious effort is to create understanding the relationship between the Creator and creation.

The author is a research scholar of Punjabi language and Sufi Poets of the Punjab. He can be reached at: punjabiwisdom@gmail.com