A story of the Crushed Bride Back To Main Page

The Bride-Crushing-Stone

A Khowar Folk Tragedy

Translated By Fahim Ahmad Khan

Hundreds of years ago, in Mastuj, a local man of some importance, gave his daughter’s hand in marriage to a wealthy but much older person from a distant valley.

When the day of wedding approached; the surrounding areas were overwhelmed with euphoria in the air. The whole town was packed with guests, and people thronged to the bride’s house in large number to revel in the joy of the upcoming union.

The groom with his followers arrived with much show of wealth and grandeur. Some invitees had transfixed their eyes on the horsemen, while others were preoccupied with the horses adorned with silver, gold and intricate embroidery. In short, all eyes were wide opened over the grandeur and splendour of the big event.

But in spite of the extravagant social event and colourful wedding arrangements; the bride, whose marriage was being celebrated with pomp and show, seemed uncomfortable and hopeless. Signs of discomfort and unwillingness were visible on her face, but she couldn’t express her displeasure with the marriage. As per local customs, women were not allowed to disagree with their parent’s decisions, and no one paid heed if a girl did so. Amidst the ceremonies and rituals, the day eventually came to an end.

At dawn, the wedding procession embarked on its journey towards the groom’s village. The bride was clad in her wedding dress; adorned with multi-coloured beads, wearing jewellery made up of precious stones, pearls, hammered necklaces, rings, earrings and amber pendants. Everyone at home bid her adieu with teary eyes.

As soon as the bride stepped out from her ancestral house, she wept her heart out. In fact, she didn’t like her groom and wanted to end the marriage but was out of choice.

In the horns of dilemma, she lifted her hands in prayer and plead the Almighty in the state of deep distress to either end the marriage, or take her life.

Outside the village, the procession had to pass under steep hill. Here her prayer got answered; and an enormous rock rolled down the hill and crushed the bride, burying her deep into the earth. The ill-fated newlywed’s amber jewellery scattered into the air like grains of sand and a large portion of it sunk beneath the stone. The locals claim of finding pieces of amber up to this day; even my own father had found some while returning from his school.

The huge rock still lay there as a living witness to the tragic incident; and the place still bears the name, ‘Shabok Shakhaini’’(Bride-Crushing-place) in Mastuj and is situated near ‘Noghor’ (The Royal Palace).

Faheem Ahmad Khan

The Author

Faheem Amad Khan has done his Masters in English Literature and M.Phil in development Studies. He has been writing in a number of journals on development issues. He has got a taste for literature too. Faheem Ahmad Khan is from Mastuj, Chitral and living in Abbottabad.
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