India is a land of tales, myths and not to forget, LOVE STORIES! But taking a break from regular love stories that we have come across so many times at so many places and in so many books, let’s have a glance at some intriguing unknown fascinating love stories of India which I bet many of us won’t know about.
Rabindranath Tagore-Victoria Ocampo
Who doesn’t know the national anthem of India but very few people know that there was a chapter in the life of its creator, Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, which is unknown to many of us. He too had a story-a romantic one- that never witnessed a happy ending. Yes , you read that right.
Victoria Ocampo was a talented beautiful woman who later became the publisher of a literary magazine Sur. Victoria met Rabindranath much later in his life. Besides the admiration for Tagore, she was in love with him and it is quite clear that he too had a romantic interest in her. Their correspondence, though continued for years, Tagore, it seems never reciprocated her the way she wanted-’romantically’- and always confined the relationship into an intellectual one. Whatever were the reasons behind shunning such feelings, it is evident that they never had a love life together and Tagore couldn’t even see his Vijaya(that’s what he called her) in his last moments of life.
A year before his death in the year 1940, one of the poems in his Sesh Lekha(Last writings) is believed to be about her-
‘How I wish I could once again find my way to that foreign land where waits for me the message of love!….Her language I knew not, but what her eyes said will forever remain eloquent in its anguish.’
Baz Bahadur-Rani Roopmati
If you ever visit Madhya Pradesh, do not forget to visit Rewa Kund reservoir of Mandu which still recites the passionate love story of Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati.
It was the time of medieval India when Roopmati’s captivating voice completely mesmerized the Sultan of Mandu, Baz Bahadur one day and after beholding her face he got completely charmed by her beauty and proposed her to marry him. She agreed. But like many timeless classic tales of love, this too had an ugly twist. When knowledge of Roopmati’s beauty reached ears of Adham Khan, general of emperor Akbar, he tried to capture Mandu and when Baz Bahadur realized he couldn’t defeat Adham Khan, fled.
Now the sorrow of Roopmati knew no bounds and instead of surrendering herself to the lust of Adham Khan she swallowed poison and left the world.
In due course, Baz Bahadur also ended up joining Akbar as his loyal servant as a mansabdar.
This is an unfortunate story of a woman who sacrificed her life because she couldn’t let any other man touch her but at the same time it is a story of a helpless man who fled, leaving his love, to save himself. We can question Baz Bahadur’s actions but we don’t know what was in his mind when he left his wife and fled.
It was Baz Bahadur’s last wish to be buried abreast his beloved Rani Roopmati, and the death which separated them once, at last commingled their love.
It is believed that if one shouts “Roopmati” at their tomb, the voice reverberates as “Baz Bahadur”.
“When Baz Bahadur proposed Roopmati for marriage she agreed with a condition that he would construct a palace for her from which she could see river Narmada. It was this place from where she would sing everyday after their marriage, facing Narmada and her love Baz Bahadur would hear her enthralling voice and see her bewitching beauty. That place is Rewa Kund of Mandu!”
Jahan Ara- Nicholas Ballantyne
Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal’s love story is known to the world in the form of Taj Mahal but do you know the unknown love chapter in the life of their eldest daughter Jahan Ara?
Nicholas Ballantyne was a squire to sir Thomas Roe, former ambassador in the court of emperor Jahangir, father of Shah Jahan.
In contemporary records, it has been stated that there was a strange bonding between Nicholas Ballantyne and Jahan Ara, the first lady of the empire. Though it was forbidden for a royal woman to meet a stranger and that too a non-royal foreigner, it is believed that Jahan Ara and Nicholas Ballantyne would meet and talk at length and there were also some occurrences of exchange of letters between them. It is also recorded that there were rumors about their brewing bond but at last, knowing his fate, it is said that Nicholas left for London forever, never to see Jahan Ara again.
Whatever truth is there in the story of these two entities bound by their duties, it will always be a mystery as to what was their bond and whatever it was, they apparently faced the separation and a miserable end of their beautiful relationship.
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay- Dheeru- Kalidasi
If you think that it was Shahrukh Khan or Dilip Kumar who immortalised the portrayal of a doomed lover in Bollywood adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel Devdas, take a halt and read the real story.
It was in the streets of bhagalpur, where the story of Devdas was scripted long back. Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, who penned the immortal love story of Devdas, it is said, had written his own tragic love tale in the book Devdas. Sarat’s childhood girlfriend Dheeru was his love interest but eventually married someone else. It is said that Sarat spent three nights in a stable outside her sasural just to have a glimpse of her. Like his great book, Chandramukhi also came in his life. Kalidasi of Jogsar area was the real life Chandramukhi who found her love in him.
Unlike Devdas of the book, Sarat did not succumbed to tragic death but his own story of love was indeed incomplete yet beautiful and is one of the most fascinating love stories which mesmerised the world when came in the form of fictitious Devdas.
Rani Roopba-Rana Veer Singh
Adalaj stepwell near Ahmedabad is an extremely beautiful stepwell which can enthrall the visitors but what is more beautiful is the extraordinary tale of sacrifice and true love behind this magnificent edifice.
Rana Veer Singh of Vaghela dynasty, in the medieval period, ruled this territory then known as Dandai Desh. His wife Rani Roopba was an extremely beautiful woman and loved her husband more than anyone in the world.
On a hapless day, his kingdom was attacked by Mohammad Begada, a ruler of neighbouring territory. Rana was killed in the battle, leaving his beloved wife forlorn. When Begada saw Rani Roopba’s irresistible beauty, he proposed to marry her. She agreed but only time and Rani Roopba knew what was in her mind. She expressed to Begada that she would marry him only on a condition that he would first complete the construction of adalaj which her husband had commenced. He agreed.
The day came when adalaj was there in front of the people of Dandai for their benefit and Begada was getting ready for the wedding ceremony. But Rani Roopba was missing from her palace. Begada sent all his troops to find Rani but it was too late.
The queen circumambulated the stepwell and jumped into the well. She ended her life because her love Rana Veer Singh was not with her. She exemplified the true love by not allowing anyone else to come near her after her husband. Now it was open that she had agreed just to make sure that the dream of her husband comes true and the people of the territory get water facilities.
Mohammad Begada on the other hand, it seems truly loved Roopba and hence did not order to vandalize the stepwell.
The story of Rani Roopba and her immense sacrifice is not just a tragic love story but also restores our faith in true love.
James Achilles Kirkpatrick- Khair-Un-Nissa
Who would have thought that one day, one of the britishers-whom we always think looked down upon us-will fall in love with a girl of Hyderabad in the 18th century. But it did happen.
James Achilles Kirkpatrick, a british resident was a young man who was a resident in the palace of the Nizam of Hyderabad. Khair-Un-Nissa, on the other hand, was a cousin of Mir Ali, disciple of Aristu Jah who was the prime minister of the Nizam and also a close associate of the Nizam.
After facing much resistance initially by both British power and Nizam, they eventually married but it was not a happy end. Kirkpatrick’s early demise completely devastated Khair. Her kids were already sent to their grandfather in London. She had no one as a stalwart. But as if it was not an end to her agony. Henry Russel, another britisher tried and came close to her and after some time betrayed her and married someone else. However she breathed her last in Hyderabad residency, as a stranger in her home where she once lived with her husband and kids with full glory and extreme happiness. This story not just tells about the tragic end it has but also about how helpless one can be in love.
Kacha was the son of sage Brihaspati, sage of demigods. Devayani was the daughter of Shukracharya, sage of demons. Then how did it all happen?
It all started with a mission that Kach was sent on to. The mission was to become the disciple of Shukracharya to get the secret knowledge of resurrecting the dead. But in the process, an innocent love story brewed. It is said that Devayani loved Kacha and Kacha also would spend all his time with her in the hermitage. Other demons did not like it and after many attempts to kill him, finally burnt his body and mixed his ashes in liquor and made Shukracharya drink the liquor. Now, on Devayani’s request, Shukracharya started the rituals to bring Kach back from death and in the process, Kacha tore the body of Shukracharya and came out of his body. Kach’s mission was accomplished as he had imbibed the knowledge of resurrecting the dead(by listening to the process from stomach of Shukracharya) and first thing that he did was to bring Shukracharya back from death who died in the process as he came out of his body.
After few days when Devayani proposed him to marry, Kacha refused as he believed that they were more like siblings as the source of their birth had become one-Shukracharya(as Kach had come to life from Shukracharya’s body only).
Weeping Devayani finally cursed him but her sorrow did not lessen. Kach did not say anything but left for heaven again. He left, may be because he was not allowed to make relationships on the mission but he was to imbibe the knowledge which was his task.
Nobody knows what was in his mind but this was indeed an end of a beautiful love story. This story from the epic Mahabharat is definitely a tragic love story which left the lovers lonely and dejected.
Every girl wants a prince charming right? But this story is about a girl who rejected even the proposal of demigods just to be with her husband who was very much older, blind and unsightly.
Sukanya was a princess who once mistakenly poked in sage Chyavan’s eyes mistaking them to be a part of anthill and to pacify him, Sukanya’s father king Sharyati gave him his daughter in marriage.
Now one day when Ashwini Kumaras(twin demigods) saw Sukanya bathing, mesmerised by her beauty, they asked her to marry one of them and to leave her ugly, old and blind husband. When she refused, they also promised to restore the youth and sight of Chyavan so that she could identify and choose either him or one of them. Sukanya, being a faithful wife rejected their proposal. When she told everything to her husband, Chyavan asked her to request Ashwini Kumaras to do what they had told her.
As promised, on request of Sukanya, Ashwini Kumaras restored the sight and youth of Chyavan. Now-when all three men came in front of Sukanya after taking a bath in the river and asked her to identify Chyavan, Sukanya identified Chyavan-as only his footprints were there on the ground and not those of Ashwin Kumaras as they were demigods-and chose him only.
Her rejection of heaven for hermitage and that of demigods for an old, blind and ugly husband does not only make her an epitome of womanhood but also shows her unconditional love for her husband. It proves that love has got nothing to do with physical appearance as many of us believe.
The Chyavan-Sukanya love story is one forgotten love story but definitely one of the sweetest and fascinating love stories we have in our mythology.
AND YES, if you think you have heard name of Chyavan before-He is the same genius of ancient India who is responsible for the Chyavanprash that we eat today to boost immune system and for longevity.
So this was a sneak peek at some forgotten yet fascinating love stories from the land of our country which I hope you all enjoyed and would remember as many of them definitely restores our faith in true love and true relationship.