I happened to see a photo on Facebook today. It says:
“Romeo died for love, Valentine died for love, Jack of Titanic, Samson from the Bible, Hercules, Achilles, and even Jesus died for love.”
And then it goes on to say that there is not a single woman who died for love. It challenges women to come with at least five names of women who died for love. I had a strange feeling towards this post. First I felt that it was a challenge to women. A few minutes later, I thought, “This post (most certainly made and circulated by men) is an example of stupidity. It was probably made by an arrogant teenager, who does not care the contributions of women in the world history and even in his life or an ignorant adult, who does not know anything.” But if it was intended to be a challenge, I said to myself, that it is indeed a good question. It checks the intelligence of his girl. This article, thus is an information to those who do not know the answers (or pretend not to know) and a help from my side who would like to get answers.
I have limits, though. I can’t tell anything from the Bible or the Iliad, whose characters appear above. I am unable to provide answers related to the history and literature I do not know. I’ll try my best in providing information of the five women I have known from the history of Nepal, and Nepali, English and Sanskrit literatures.
I guess I had given primary information about her on my previous article. She comes back to show that hers was one of the most painful sacrifices for her love.
Sati, according to the Hindu Puranas was the daughter of Prajapati (King) Daksha and Virani. She was married to Shiva, the Lord of the Lords.
For the reasons that Shiva wandered around Kailash (his abode) on improper clothes taking narcotics, Daksha disliked Shiva. On one Yagya (a sacrificial worship) he did not invite Sati and Shiva but invited all his son-in-laws. When Sati knew of this through Sage Narad, she goes to the Yagya and quarrels with her father. He keeps humiliating Shiva, though. Unable to listen to those words, she sacrifices herself on the burning pyre set up for the Yagya. She burns slowly to death until her body is recovered by Shiva himself after a huge war against the soldiers of Daksha.
This story has been altered by Amish Tripathi in the last book of The Shiva Trilogy. Sati, the wife of Shiva, fights with Daksha, the King of Meluha because he had been using the love of her life in suppressing the poor people of other neighboring countries. When she comes to know that Daksha has planned to kill Shiva, she fights the Egyptian killers. At the end of extremely violent and gory fight, she dies. Shiva comes later to bring about the destruction of Daksha and his country.
Muna is a famous character from Muna Madan, an epic poem by Laxmi Prasad Devkota. The plot follows Madan going to Bhot (Tibet) while Muna awaits at home in Kantipur (old name for Kathmandu).
Madan gets ill on the way returning back home. He is stranded is about to die when a Bhote (resident of Bhot) finds him and saves his life.
At home, however Madan’s friends tell Muna that he has died. Unable to suffer the pain of loss, though false, she dies before Madan comes home. Muna and Madan reunite in the heaven, after Madan dies a few days later.
3. Rajendra Laxmi
If you talk about love and leave away the love for motherland, you are misinterpreting love. This brave woman survived the custom of Sati (I have discussed it on my earlier article) because of her child to extend the territory of Nepal.
After the death of Pratap Singh Shah, the eldest son of king Prithvi Narayan Shah, she took over the responsibility of unifying the small states into a bigger Nepal. Initially, helped by Bahadur Shah- her brother-in-law, she united the eastern states and some of the western states as well. Fighting the unhelpful courtiers and family members, she continued the campaign. By the time she died, Nepal had its eastern territory up to Sikkim and western up to the Kali Gandaki river.
4. Julia Rana
It’s just been some days I have read about her. Born in the Rana family, she was the love of Martyr Dashrath Chand.
Dashrath Chand was a friend of Dharma Bhakta Mathema (another martyr) and was employed at the home of General Rudra Shumsher. There Julia and Dashrath met and both knew sometime later that they loved each other. Rudra Shumsher had agreed upon their marriage but the wedding was cancelled twice because of the deaths in the families. Later, the then Prime Minister, Juddha Shumsher got against Rudra Shumsher and he was exiled from Kathmandu. Almost a month after the exile, Julia died of TB. It was said in that article that Dashrath Chand did the rituals a husband does at the death of his wife and her death also ignited in him the anti-Rana views.
5. Juliet Capulet
My question to the creator of that challenge is- how can you separate Juliet from Romeo? If you have read this world famous work of Shakespeare, you will know that Juliet dies not once but twice- once in a pretence to bring Romeo back and in real when he dies. The pretence is made by the use of medicine (anaesthetic?) but Romeo gets a wrong message to find her dead. So, how could you dare to say that only Romeo died for love.
That’s all from my side. But as I write, I also ask a question- what is the definition of love in that Facebook post? It surely is not only the romantic love between a man or a woman. Jesus is an example for the love of humanity. If he can be included, why not include the names of Mother Teresa and her followers, Florence Nightingale, Eleanor Roosevelt, Benajir Bhutto and so many women who have spent their lives for the care of humanity? If sacrifice is what you call love, almost all women would be included. Women have sacrificed their parent’s house and comfort, changed their surnames, given up their jobs and interests, have died everyday and yet, have smiled just for you and your family. So if your girl or wife adds her name in that list, don’t get surprised. She has given a lot of things just for your happiness.