Another, More Tragic Namesake

…women are more likely to be killed at home by their spouse, ex-boyfriend, or some other intimate… [link]

That statistic was made in reference to this country, but I think I’ll be forgiven for wondering if it is applicable everywhere. SM reader 3rd Eye submitted a story to our News tab; it does not have a happy ending. It involves a couple named Shah Jahan and Mumtaz, though this Mumtaz wasn’t anywhere near as adored as her namesake.

Shah Jahan Ali, in his late forties, has been arrested on the charge of murdering his wife after he found her drinking with two young men at home late last night.
Neighbours at Dinhata’s Village I, who often joked about the couple’s names, said Shah Jahan suspected the comely, 30-year-old Mumtaz of cheating on him.
The murdered woman had one thing in common, though, with the Mughal queen remembered with the world’s most famous monument to love. Neither was born Mumtaz, both being given that name by their doting husbands. [link]

The victim, a divorcee, was born “Khaimala Roy”. She received her new name after converting to Islam, to marry Shah Jahan, her second husband. He sounds like a real catch:

The already married man would spent some five days a week with Mumtaz at Village I and the remaining two days with his first wife in Navina.
“I knew Mumtaz was a woman of loose morals. Still, I fell in love with her. I had told her there will be no affairs, but she didn’t listen,” Shah Jahan is believed to have told the police.
Yesterday, the youths had fled at the sight of him and the couple had then quarrelled through the night. The police said that in the early hours, Shah Jahan slit Mumtaz’s throat. [link]

Then, he went to his first wife’s home, where he was caught after Mumtaz’s family reported the heinous crime.

Shah Jahan punched a sub-inspector and tried to flee. After the police caught him, the villagers gheraoed the force and tried to free him. [link]

Can I get a hearty “WTF” for that last, bolded bit? I know, I know…a woman’s life is worth so little, especially when she smells like dishonor.

In case you didn’t know about the original Mumtaz:

Empress Mumtaz, whose real name was Arjumand Banu, too, was Shah Jahan’s second wife and the favourite among the nine he ultimately married. They lived in wedded bliss for 19 years before the 38-year-old Mumtaz, while delivering her 14th child, died in 1631. [link]

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Off Topic (and yet not, considering this suddenly bookish thread): I liked Mumtaz until I read The Feast of Roses. Then I found her annoying. Nur Jahan, all the way.

210 thoughts on “Another, More Tragic Namesake

  1. you put forth the idea that societally imposed restrictions on female behaviour are designed to ‘protect’ women.

    I meant in the sense of protecting them from a bodily investment. The potential risk far outweighs the male potential risk, I didn’t mean protect in the sense of “making sure she’s a good girl” or anythinig constraining like that. Secondly, you are positing that it’s a male centric view, I disagree, because if anything, one could argue that men right now wish for much lower thresholds for women to engage in sexual activity. That’s why “getting lucky” is called “getting lucky” To say women are just drones walking around following rules men set for them is a bit derailing, dont you think?

  2. I think we’re talking at cross-purposes here, HMF. I’m talking about social mores that dictate that a woman may face a beating or worse if she leaves her husband’s house without his permission; I think you may be talking about dating scripts that allow a certain amount of coyness to women. If that’s the case, I probably agree with you, to a certain extent.

  3. I think we’re talking at cross-purposes here, HMF. I’m talking about social mores that dictate that a woman may face a beating or worse if she leaves her husband’s house without his permission;

    Seeing that the couple was Muslim, the local Muslim views regarding proper punishment for such (perceived) behaviour would have to be examined as well.

    The Islamic legal system(s) say various things from place to place, time to time.

  4. I’m talking about social mores that dictate that a woman may face a beating or worse if she leaves her husband’s house without his permission;

    Do you mean leave in a temporary or permanent sense? And yes, I’m not talking about these types of restrictions – because these aren’t strictly sexual in nature, they’re more of a “showing face to society/ what will the neighbors think?” line of reasoning. Where as women I think have a naturally evolved instinct to prevent them from having strong sexual activity proclivities, as their biological risk is higher. This could also explained as to why women aren’t immediately “turned on” by looks alone. Although it seems that way most of the time.

  5. Where as women I think have a naturally evolved instinct to prevent them from having strong sexual activity proclivities, as their biological risk is higher. This could also explained as to why women aren’t immediately “turned on” by looks alone. Although it seems that way most of the time.

    There is a widely held Indian belief from ancient (or at least medieval times) that women are 9 times lustier than men. The statement saying such is in some purana, sutra, tantra or vedic supplement.

    In line with this the Bhagavat Purana relays that Kardama Muni had to expand himself into 9 forms to sexually satisfy his wife – the famous Devahuti, mother of Kapila, incarnation of Vishnu (more on the topic and some commentary here http://www.gaudiya-repercussions.com/lofiversion/index.php/t1576.html )

    Much discussion has been generated within the Vaishnava community worldwide regarding this topic and what exactly is meant by 9 times more lusty than a man.

    One theory is that women have a capacity to enjoy sex more than a man (muliple orgasms, etc).

  6. Sarah – I suppose I should have put “personality problems” in quotes as I was referring sardonically back to what someone had said about people blaming the victim for his or her “personality problems.” I get you, believe me. I’ve been at the receiving end.

  7. “Human behaviour has evolved in many many layers with many more variables at play than the simple sperm and egg numbers game.”

    SP, human behavior will never evolve beyond the sperm and egg numbers game…that’s the point of evolution..Just witness the rise of Hayden Panettiere :)

  8. Anyone notice how the man cheated on his wife and married this other woman and called her Mumtaz. also he continued to live with his first wife.

    The very thing he did to his wife, his wife is not allowed to do to him, and he ended up killing her.

    That the social set up he lives in thought he was justified in doing what he did.

    Anyone bring up the issue of multiple spouses for Muslim men runs one way only? Anything special about that?

    And despite all these facts/ data, we are supposed to condone “cultural differences”

    C’mon, give me a break…

    many many double standards here…

    Crimes of passion indeed.!!!What if the first wife, poisoned the man when she found out he got himself another wife?

    Oh Pleaze….

  9. The Feast of Roses was great, but if you liked Nur Jahan in The Feast, check out the prequel, The Twentieth Wife. The Twentieth Wife starts off Mehrunnisa’s tale.

  10. Anyone notice how the man cheated on his wife and married this other woman and called her Mumtaz. also he continued to live with his first wife. The very thing he did to his wife, his wife is not allowed to do to him, and he ended up killing her. That the social set up he lives in thought he was justified in doing what he did. Anyone bring up the issue of multiple spouses for Muslim men runs one way only? Anything special about that? And despite all these facts/ data, we are supposed to condone “cultural differences” C’mon, give me a break… many many double standards here… Crimes of passion indeed.!!!What if the first wife, poisoned the man when she found out he got himself another wife? Oh Pleaze….

    The double standards of polygamous cultures have been discussed for centuries and in my own recent experiences talking to men who come from such backgrounds, they always cite the differences in male and female anatomy and psycho-sexual differences as a justification for polygyny over polyandry. For instance;

    Having more than one husband at a time does not benefit a woman because she would be getting pregnant too often and then controversy over the paternity of various babies would ensue (although one polyandrous community in India has figured out a solution to that – rotation of co-habitation with the wife — where there is a will, there is a way.)

    Women “naturally” desire to be intimate with one long-term partner whereas men “naturally” desire to have as many sexual partners as is possible for them. This argument supposedly has evolution and modern day men-mars-women-venus pop psychology behind it.

    There are usually greater numbers of women than men in any given population and thus polygyny affords all women a guaranteed husband, despite the possiblity of low numbers of men.

    The arguments are many.