"‘Once upon a time there were Radha and Krishna, and Rama and Sita, and Laila and Majnu and also Romeo and Juliet’"

Krishna is the supreme Deity in the Hindu faith (see bookmark page 137). Radha, a gopi, or goat-herd girl, appears in the sacred script the Bhagavad Gita alongside Krishna as his supreme beloved. She is also acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess, for her ability to control Krishna with her love.

 

Rama and Sita are also principal characters in the Hindu faith, whose marriage is recounted in the epic religious text Ramayana. During their marriage Sita is kidnapped by Ravana the demon king and held hostage on his island, Lanka. Her husband, Lord Rama, searches for her, eventually engaging in battle in order to rescue her. Following the battle, the people of the kingdom lit their path home with rows of oil lamps, to celebrate their return after 14 years in exile. This legend is now one of the reasons for the celebrations of the five day Hindu festival of Diwali, popularly known as the "festival of lights".

 

Laila and Majnu, are a couple in an classical Arabic and Urdu folk tale based on the life of Qays ibn al-Mulawwah ibn Muzahim, a Bedouin poet. After meeting Laila Muzahim falls passionatly in love with her, only to be driven mad when her father refuses to allow them to marry. From then on he came to be known as Majnu, meaning ‘madman’.

 

Poetry attributed to Muzahim on his love Laila, includes the verse:

“I pass by these walls, the walls of Layla

And I kiss this wall and that wall

It’s not love of the houses that has taken my heart

But of the One who dwells in those houses”