Here we have a collection of stories, folktales, and legends from Pakistan. We have shared writing, oral tellings, songs, and visual art to illustrate how stories move between different places, people, and forms. It is through the various tellings that we come to understand that these stories are not fixed in time and have a life force of their own that makes facts fluid, and interpretations multi-faceted.
Reth Aur Reghistan focuses on collecting stories and folklore from Sindh and interpreting them through poetry and sculptures. Learn more about us and what we do.
Projects We Love!
We’ve discovered and connected with some other incredible creatives, projects and organizations sharing folklore and stories from Pakistan.
- Dastaangoi: A collective, contemporary exploration of Pakistani history and culture.
- Karachi Beach Stories: A radio project that looks at oral histories and experimental sound to explore the complexities of Karachi’s coastline.
- The Hidden Djinn: Rabia Chaudry explores the fascinating history, context and world of the djinn in her podcast series.
- The Karachiwalla: Journalist Farooq Soomro writes about places, people, architecture and stories from Karachi.
- Sindhi Sangat: A collection of stories from Sindh available in English.
- Sindhi Adabi Board: A large archive of folk stories available in Sindhi collected by the late Sindhi Scholar, N.A. Baloch.
Folk stories from Sindh have been passed down for thousands of years, with some of the most famous ones being of the Seven Queens. These stories were shared orally for centuries and spread across the areas of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Some of the queens (Moomal, Marvi, Leela, Noori, and Sorath) are included under this section of Sindhi folklore, while Sasui and Sohni are under the category of Balochi and Punjabi folklore, respectively. The provincial boundaries have shifted over centuries, and stories belong to many different areas. Sufi saint and poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai collected many oral stories in the 17th century and compiled them in his Shah Jo Risalo. Read more about how these stories are shared through music at Bhittai’s shrine in Bhit Shah.
- Moomal and Rano: Story by Sindhi Sangat | “Dastaan-e-Moomal Rano” (song) by the Sketches | ”Moomal Rano” (song) by Fakir Juman Shah
- Umar and Marvi: Story by Sindhi Sangat | ”Umar Aon Weendro Pucha” (song) by Abida Parveen
- Leela and Chanesar: Story by Sindhi Sangat | Sur by Sindh Culture Government of Sindh
- Noori and Jam Tamachi: Story by Sindhi Sangat | ”Aayo Jam Tamachi” (song) by Abida Parveen
- Sorath and Rai Dyach: Story by Sindhi Sangat
- Jhulelal: Story of Jhulelal by Shewak Nandwani | Oral Telling (Hindi)
- Laal Shahbaz Qalandar: “Laal Meri Pat” (song) by Abida Parveen | “Darvesh” (documentary)
- Ho Jamalo: Story in Dawn | "Luddi Hai Jamalo” (song) by Ali Sethi and Humaira Arshad
- Mir Khan’s Neighbour: Story by the Sindhi Adabi Board
- Sindbad (Lord of the Sind River): Article by Kallie Szczepanski
- The Tale of Four Dervishes: Story by the Sindhi Adabi Board
Stories from Karachi
Compared to the centuries-long legacies of the stories of the Seven Queens, most stories from Karachi only go back a couple of centuries. Karachi grew from a small fishing village of the Kolachi tribe in the 18th century to a city of 14 million people today. The story of Mai Kolachi is one of the most popular origin story for the city, but other figures such as Moriro and Mokhi have left their mark in Karachi as well.
- Karachi History: Article by Haroon Khalid
- Churail: Article by Sadiya Ansari in VICE
- Jinns: The Hidden Djinn
- Mai Kolachi: Stop-Motion Animation by Matteela Films
- Mokhi and Matara: Story by the Friday Times | Oral Telling by Tasveer Sandeelo | Story by the Sindhi Adabi Board
- Moriro and Mangermach: Story by the Karachiwalla
- Manghopir: Sheedi History in Sindh | Article by Nadeem F. Paracha | Photos of Manghopir’s shrine by the Karachiwalla
- Sasui-Punhoon: Story by Sindhi Sangat | Song by Master Ibrahim | Song by Abida Parveen
- Hani and Shah Mureed: Story by the Daily Times
- Sohni Mahiwal: Story by Sindhi Sangat | ”Paar Chanaa De” (song) by Noori and Shilpa Rao | Portfolio by Anem Syed
- Heer Ranjha: Story by Multo | “Heeray” (song) by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Aima Baig
- Mirza Sahiban: Mirza Jat (film, 1967) | Sahiban (article) by Nirupama Dutt
- Sher Dil: Story by Pratibha Nat
Folklore from the North
- Saif-ul-Maluk and Badi-ul Jamal: Oral Telling | Story in Windswept Words | "Saif-ul-Malook" (song) by Arieb Azhar
- Adam Khan and Durkhanai: Story by Mumtaz Nasir and Dr. Wilma
- Yusuf Khan and Sherbano: Story by Salman Rashid