21 June 2007

searching for role models - Scheherazade

Perhaps, not many of us have heard of Scheherazade who was the daughter of the Grand Vizier (Chief Minister) to Sultan Shahriyar, who for three years had taken a bride each day only to be killed the next day. The killings were done out of revenge to his Queen who had betrayed him. One day, Scheherazade told her father that she wanted to marry the Sultan. Her father was horrified but eventually yielded. With the connivance of her sister, Dinazad, she survived each day by telling the Sultan tales up to their most interesting point but would suspend the finale for the next day. These tales were eventually called the 'Arabian Nights'. Scheherazade's stories were told in a span of 'one thousand and one nights'. Finally, the Sultan convinced of her greatness spared her the gallows. It has been said that by telling her stories, Scheherazade saved herself, her people and also the Sultan from becoming a monster.

Scheherazade might prove to be a controversial role model, but she imparts a powerful image difficult to ignore.

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