I recently read the plot summary of the story of Shireen and Farhad, or Shireen and Khosrow, depending on which way you look at it. I always thought it was a fairly straight forward story, given that I’d always heard of it along side the epic love stories of history. But to my horror I recently discovered that it was far more convoluted and complicated than I had imagined, involving monarchs who seem to exist in a constant state of travel between capitals, itinerant sculptors, murder and faux murder plots, suicide, and a son who wanted to marry his father’s lover.
This new report isn’t a love story, but it did remind me of Shireen and Khosrow in that it’s a bizarre and highly unexpected tragedy from all quarters.
News reports say that a bride in Uttar Pradesh had been “auctioned” for Rs 22,000. A person that news reports repeatedly refer to as a “youth” named Mukesh “purchased” his wife from an agent named Monu in Bhagpat district. He was supposed to pay the agent a sum total of Rs 22,000, but could only gather a portion of that amount before the wedding (some reports say Rs 15,500, while others say he paid Rs 17,000, but I suppose it doesn’t matter).
When he was unable to pay the remaining amount to the agent, Monu, who seems to be in the business of trafficking women, returned and took the woman away. Mukesh then committed suicide by hanging from a tree.
It’s an utterly bizarre story that only gets sadder and more complicated. News reports detail two other women that were found to be with Monu, and reference his work as a trafficker, which only makes you think about all the other many women who are trafficked and “auctioned” like this on the daily to the highest bidder. I mean, on the one hand, you read reports of brides being “auctioned” to the highest bidder, and on the other hand, in the same week, that a woman dies every hour in India due to dowry related violence. It’s like there’s no winning for women, no matter who’s paying the money.