Qissa Kahaani Banaam Kamroop and Kalakaam

Anisur Rahman

The love story of prince Kamroop and princess Kalakaam, being one of the most popular stories of India, has been narrated variously in various languages of the world. There are several retellings available in French, German and English, apart from those in Indian languages. It is quite remarkable that in Persian and Urdu alone there are as many as thirteen poetical renditions of this story in each of the two languages. The most popular rendition of this story in Urdu came from Tehsinuddin in 1757.

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Once upon a time there lived a king called Rajpatt in Udaipur. He had no heirs. He thought that sages and dervishes would find him a solution. So, he spread out a lavish treat for them. In that assembly of spiritual men, a particular dervish offered him a fruit called shriphal for his queen called Sundar Roop and said that if she consumed this fruit, she would be a mother in due course. As expected, the queen got pregnant after consuming the said fruit. Interestingly, six minsters of the king who did not have their heirs found it useful for their wives also. So, when their wives consumed this fruit, they too got pregnant. In due course of time, all of them were blessed with sons. 

Following the grand birth celebrations, King Rajpatt and Queen Sundar Roop chose the name of Kamroop for their prince. The pundits examined his horoscope and predicted that his stars were not favourable in the adolescent period of his life and that he was destined to suffer before achieving his peace and happiness. This was a disturbing prediction. The king decided that prince Kamroop would be kept in a grand palace and he would be constantly accompanied by the six sons of the minsters who too were born as a result of their mothers consuming that fruit. All possible arrangements were made to bring them up with all care and comfort. In spite of this, the destined had to happen and it happened when the time came.

When prince Kamroop reached the age of twelve, he had a romantic dream where he met a damsel of the exceptional kind. Interestingly, she was none else but princess Kalakaam herself.

As luck would have it, princess Kalakaam also had a similar dream where she too happened to meet an exceptionally charismatic young man. Interestingly again, this prince was none else but prince Kamroop himself. 
When prince Kamroop woke up, he found himself totally preoccupied with the thoughts of princess Kalakaam. She became his obsession in no time. Prince Kamroop spent his nights without sleep and became the picture of a forlorn lover.

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When king Rajpatt came to know of his condition through the son of a minister, he found himself in a tizzy. A number of yogis, fakirs and spiritualists from far off places were invited to help find the whereabouts of the young princess who had driven prince Kamroop to such a state. When none could succeed, a Brahmin who looked uniquely endowed with great spiritual powers came forward to help. He meditated for a while and finally came up with princess Kalakaam’s address.

Interestingly, this Brahmin was none else but the one sent surreptitiously from Serendip by the princess herself to make things easier for the meeting of the two craving souls. The path was laid out clearly now. Prince Kamroop set out with all his six companions for Serendip to meet princess Kalakaam.
The journey was long and arduous. There were many hazards waiting on the way. A terrible storm raged in the middle of the journey which wrecked their ship. The companions lost touch with each other.

Prince Kamroop could reach a coastal area on a raft with great difficulty. He spent his night in a jungle which happened to be in the territory of Triya Raj Rani Rawata. When Rawata saw this young and handsome prince as a godsend gift on her land, she fell in love with him at the very first sight. Prince Kamroop had become prey to her magical spell. He got so deeply enchanted by her that he started living with her and almost forgot princess Kalakaam. When things exceeded limits, princess Kalakaam appeared in her dream one night and rebuked him for being so fickle in love.

Reprimanded in time, prince Kamroop thought of getting rid of Rawata as early as possible. One day, he escaped from her clutches but the story was not yet over. There was yet another trap waiting for him. This time, he became a victim of a fairy’s seductive manners. Since this fairy was loved by a demon, the demon felt extremely jealous of prince Kamroop and threw him into the sea to get rid of him. He struggled against the raging waves and was ultimately swayed to the bank of Serendip which was his ultimate destination. 

Serendip was actually an island inhabited by swindlers and deceivers who behaved cruelly with prince Kamroop. They sat on his back and flogged him to carry them from one place to another. As prince Kamroop had to seek his release by any means, he thought of an ingenious plan. He extracted the juice of grapes and made strong wine for them.

When those swindlers and deceivers consumed this wine, they lost their consciousness. This was the right time for prince Kamroop, and all others who were enslaved, to kill them and escape but there was a problem still left to be solved. One of his companions, Mitrchand, had been enslaved by a monster and he was not in a position to move out.

Luckily, however, this giant had become a sympathiser of Mirchand with the passage of time and had promised to help him with his magical lock of hairs whenever he was in crisis. When prince Kamroop and Mitrchand were talking to each other, another companion appeared there. He had been turned into a parrot and had ultimately become a human being once the thread from its feet was untied. He too had been a victim of a fairy from whose clutches he had escaped.

During the same time, that Brahmin also appeared who had given the fruit of shriphal that had enabled the mothers to bear their offspring. This Brahmin gifted them another gift of a magical stone that could successfully take them through all adversities. 

A few days later, other companions of the prince also appeared after suffering their shares of misery. One of them was a carver and designer of buildings and the other one a physician. All of them now moved towards Serendip. On reaching there, both the designer and the physician joined king Kaamraj’s service who was the father of princess Kalakaam.

The designer made designs for the king’s palace and the physician treated the princess Kalaakam to cure her of her suffering. He told the king that the princess had been bit by love-bug and was suffering in separation. The king asked the designer to paint the images of prince Kamroop at different places in the palace which could assuage her. He followed the command with sincerity. 

King Kamraaj was, however, constantly preoccupied with the idea of seeing princess Kalakaam happy. So, he took the ultimate decision of organising a swayemver where princess Kalakaam could select her bride in a traditional manner by putting a garland of pearls around the neck of the most appropriate suitor.

This was the time for prince Kamroop to make his move. He sent one of his companions to the princess Kalakaam in the form of a parrot who told her that prince Kamroop would appear at the swayemver in the guise of a faqeer. Now, princess Kalakaam knew very well what she was supposed to do. When the appointed hour came, she put the garland of pearls around the neck of the faqeer instead of a king or a noble. This act of princess Kalakaam turned king Kaamraj furious. 

The time had come now for prince Kamroop to unravel the mystery. So, with the help of the giant’s gift of the lock of hair and the Brahmin’s gift of the magical stone, prince Kamroop could materialise all wealth and worldly possessions that suited the pride of a prince. When king Kamraaj came to know that the person who was chosen by princess Kalakaam was not a faqeer but a prince, he was overjoyed. He accepted him as princess Kalakaam’s bride. 

The time had come now for prince Kamroop to go back and reunite with his parents along with his wife. After traversing a long distance, when both of them reached king Rajpatt’s kingdom, they were accorded a royal reception. This is how a great story of love, filled with many tests and tribulations, came to a happy end.

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