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THE DIWAN AND THE DANCER

 

In Queen Ahilya’s inner circle there was a diwan, a minister of whom she was particularly fond. His name was Boliya Sarkar Chatri. She found him so remarkable that she offered him one of her relatives, a princess from Indore, in matrimony: but the diwan was smitten with a beautiful and loving dancer. He loved her, she loved him; but he was a Hindu, she was Muslim, and so in any case it was impossible for them to marry.

Nonetheless, the diwan wanted to do whatever he could for the dancer and so told her that she could ask any favour of him.  “I only want one thing,” she replied, “to be buried across from you.”

Of course, the diwan accepted. He had his lovely tomb built while he was still alive because one was never sure that heirs would honour you after your death; it was wise to take precautions. And he also had a temple built for Shiva so that the tomb would never be destroyed or desecrated. And, of course, he had the beloved dancer’s tomb erected opposite. “That way,” she told him, “from your tomb, you shall see me in mine dancing for you for all eternity.”


by Prince Michael of Greece