Once upon a time….No, wait! My story does not begin in this manner. Have you heard of the phrase “happily ever after”? It is now time to read the other side of the story, i.e. ‘happily never after.’
Stories, you see, are extremely important in life. The reason is straightforward. Great stories make people feel something, and those feelings create strong bonds between the readers and the characters in the stories.
For today, I’ll just talk about two great love stories that never got completed.
Not all love stories last forever. But the ones that do, remain as examples for all lovers generation after generation. These stories renew and strengthen our love’s respect and faith in us. From Romeo and Juliet to modern Ram Leela, we’ve noticed a tragic ending to the stories because their love was never completed.
They did, however, show that true love is more powerful than anything else in the world. This is the kind of love that we all hope to find someday, but with a happier ending.
Beginning with the well-known story of Anarkali and Salim– according to legend, Salim, the son of the great Mughal emperor Akbar, fell in love with Anarkali, a beautiful girl known for her dancing abilities. Salim was captivated by her beauty and fell in love the moment he laid eyes on her. However, Anarkali, as a mere dancing girl, was considered low-born, and any relationship with them was frowned upon and strictly prohibited by society.
But love has no bounds. When the emperor learned that his son was in love with a commoner, he devised a slew of schemes to make Anarkali look bad in the prince’s eyes. When Salim learned of this, he declared war on his father and, after being defeated, was sentenced to death. This is when Anarkali steps in and renounces her love for him to save Salim.
She is then entombed alive in a brick wall right in front of Salim, bringing an end to their lovely love story. Even today, because their love was so exemplary, these two lovers are remembered and admired by lovers all over the world.
The second example is Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal’s love story. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had met Mumtaz Mahal at his royal complex’s marketplace. For the two, it was love at first sight, and he quickly made her his third wife. According to the records in Shah Jahan’s Iqbal Namah, the relationship with his other wives was merely a marriage status. But the intimacy, deep affection, attention, and favour he felt for Mumtaz far outweighed his feelings for his other wives.
Mumtaz accompanied Shah Jahan throughout India as his companion and trusted advisor. But she died during the birth of her 14th child, leaving the Maharaja devastated. The Taj Mahal was then built as an everlasting memorial for Shah Jahan’s love- Mumtaz. Besides, to ensure that no other living structure would ever rival the beauty of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan severed the artists’ hands, ensuring that nothing as beautiful would ever be built.
The love story that inspired the Taj Mahal is legendary and the epitome of love. This massive monument took 20,000 workers to build and took 22 years to complete. This magnificent structure is made of clean white marble and is set among lush gardens, complete with a massive reflecting pool that regularly does what no human has ever been able to do: duplicate the beauty of the Taj Mahal. This structure is still on display in Agra. Every year, 3 million tourists visit this eternal testament.
So, both of these stories ended on a tragic note, and perhaps these stories touched many people’s hearts and brought tears to their eyes. This is the tragedy’s defining feature.
What do you think would have happened if Anarkali had not died? Would she be allowed to live happily with Salim? No, because even if she lived, she would be denied the right to live with him due to her low caste. Because that ending wouldn’t be too emotional and intriguing, the story demanded a tragic ending to create a disturbing connection between the characters and the audience.
Similarly, the Taj Mahal would not have been built if Mumtaz had not died. And if it wasn’t built, ordinary love stories wouldn’t look so good, and we wouldn’t remember their love. As a result, the tragedy occurred. And so is tragedy required.
Tragedy purges some of our deepest feelings that have been dormant for a long time. After all, we all have memories of painful experiences that have left an emotional imprint on us. As a result, these stories strike a chord with our sadness. Hearing and feeling these stories is similar to taking an emotional shower. These stories are great because of love. Above all, the tragic ending is what makes these stories so powerful and memorable. These endings demonstrate that the story ends but not the love, which is the underlying message of tragic stories. Also, tragic endings are preferred because they are more realistic and subconsciously touch a part of the reader’s heart that he or she would otherwise ignore. If no character dies, it becomes obvious that the ending will be happy no matter what.
Since the storyline is always the same, the hero meets the heroine and they both fall in love. Also, as in any love story, there is a villain who causes the problem, but in the end, love triumphs over hate, the villain dies, and the hero and heroine live happily ever after.
But, unlike happy endings, tragedy deconstructs the love utopia that the readers have woven around the protagonists, which is what makes the storyline brilliant. This is what elicits their sympathy and draws them into the story.
Thus, unlike all other forms of drama, tragedy ensures that the love of separated people transcends time. And therefore, we grieve, we remember and so we believe, that love exists, and it remains for a long time, even after death, by which I mean forever.