Saraiki literature is the literature if the Seraiki language (sometimes written as Siraiki) which is mostly spoken in central Pakistan. There are some 40 million people for whom it is their first language. Seraiki has a very rich tradition of oral literature but rather less of it was historically committed to writing.
Historically, the most celebrated poet in the Seraiki language is Khawaja Farid (1845 – 1901). His poems were written in a form of verse known as Kafi, a form rooted in a tradition of singing of poetry. Kafi should unite sound, imagery, feeling and subject matter. The following is an English translation of a few lines of one of Farid’s poems:
The beloved’s intense glances call for blood
The dark hair wildly flows The Kohl of the eyes is fiercely black
And slays the lovers with no excuse
My appearance in ruins, I sit and wait
While the beloved has settled in Malheer I feel the sting of the cruel dart
My heart the, abode of pain and grief A life of tears, I have led Farid
Of the contemporary poets, most notables are ‘Ashu Lal Faqir’, ‘ Rifat Abbas’ and ‘Shakir Shujabadi’. Their poetry is immensely popular in the Saraiki region of Pakistani Punjab including Multan, Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rahim Yar Khan Regions.
In the present day, Ismail Ahmedani is probably the most celebrated novelist and fiction writer. Ahmedani has done much to promote the Seraiki language as a language for modern fiction writing.