Love comes in all sizes, shapes and forms. With Valentine’s day approaching, here is a list of love stories that will inspire you to hold your valentine close and tell them how much they mean to you. Make this Valentine’s day count!
7 Most Important Lessons From Immortal Love Stories
1. Laila and Majnu
This is one of the most popular folk tales of love circulating around India. You might be surprised to find out that Majnu’s actual name was Qays. In this story, Qais and Laila meet as kids and fall in love quickly. Once everyone around them finds out, on being separated from his love, Qays stops eating and essentially becomes a hermit, alienating himself from the rest of society. That’s when people start calling him Majnu, or a mad person. He later tries to win over Laila in the war between their two tribes and defeats her tribe eventually. Laila’s father still refuses to wed the two, and Maju has to carry out living without his beloved. It is said that the two are eventually reunited in the afterlife, as they were buried side-by-side.
Lesson: You must fight for your love.
2. Anarkali and Salim
The romance of Anarkali and Salim was immortalized in the black-and-white Bollywood film, Mughal-e-Azam. This is another popular tale you may have heard of. Anarkali is a dancer who performs in Akbar’s court and eventually catches the eye of his son, Prince Salim. When Akbar gets wind of their affection for each other, he tries all sorts of things to derail their relationship. However, Prince Salim wages war against his father for trying to separate them. Unfortunately, he gets defeated by his father’s large army. Anarkali then makes a sacrifice that immortalizes their love. To save Salim’s life, she gives up her own and is buried alive in a brick wall of the palace.
Lesson: Sacrifices are key in a relationship.
3. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
Shah Jahan and Mumtaz met as teenagers when the Mughal empire was at its height. Even though Shah Jahan had several wives, it is said that Mumtaz was his favorite one of all. They had 14 children together, so it’s not hard to see why. Thousands of laborers worked day and night for almost twenty years to create the monument that would become one of seven wonders of the world. Even when he was banished by his son, Shah Jahan would look at the Taj Mahal and reminisce of his love every day until his death.
Lesson: A labor of love goes a long way.
4. Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie and Clyde were two cons who lived during the time of the Great Depression in the 1930s. The lovers are known in popular culture, being immortalized in songs like ‘97 Bonnie and Clyde’ by Eminem. It has also inspired movies like Tarantino’s ‘True Romance’. Even though Clyde was already an established criminal when Bonnie met him, she still decided to accompany him through their many heists. The two were captured and killed together in 1934, and sadly enough, were not allowed to be buried together. Together till the end, that’s what true love really entails.
Lesson: True love means accepting the person with their flaws included.
5. Cleopatra and Mark Antony
Like many of the other love stories on this list, this too is one that ends in tragedy. The romance of Egyptian queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony is one of the oldest love stories. Their love story was even written about in a Shakespearean play. Both the pharaoh and the general ended up taking their lives after his army was crushed by the Romans. Cleopatra took her own life with the help of an asp bite. According to legend, the two lovers were buried together, but the whereabouts of their tomb still remains unknown.
Lesson: Loyalty is essential in a relationship.
6. Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte
Their passionate love letters truly encompass all it means to be in love. Despite the fact that Napoleon was six years younger, Josephine could not help but fall in love with the ambitious general. It is said that they met at a gathering in Paris, and were inseparable ever since. She even helped Napoleon manage his extensive empire, a partnership that went beyond just the romantic. However, a string of affairs rocked their otherwise solid relationship, and their marriage was later annulled. Napoleon went on to re-marry and had a son with his second wife, Marie Louise.
Lesson: Age is just a number, and love is blind.
7. Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII
Henry VIII is notorious in history for his ruthless reign. He fervently pursued Anne Boleyn, who was the second of his six wives, and even went to the lengths of divorcing his first wife to get her attention. However, as was in his nature, he had Boleyn decapitated a few years into their wedding, for she was not able to produce a male heir for his kingdom.