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- Romantic Intimacy
Three of the most controversial political relationships of all time
We all remember great leaders for their patriotism, courage, national pride, leadership qualities. But considering the fact that they too are humans, one cannot imagine their life being deprived of love. Love indeed knows no boundaries, no barriers and even Gandhi said, ‘We should all learn to love our enemies’. So here are some unusual but interesting love stories of history….
Hitler and Eva Braun – We all may see Hitler as a monster, ruthless fanatic who wanted nothing but total political and military control over the entire world. But to him too there was a ‘softer’ side. His apparent mistress to be, was the closest non-political person around him. Now there have been a few controversial women in Hitler’s life like his half-sister Angela, who he held responsible for his mother’s death, Angela’s daughter and his niece, Geli Raubal, who shot herself in 1931 under unknown circumstances, but most sources claim that Hitler used to molest her, and of course we have Eva Braun. Eva and Hitler’s relationship status is a complex matter to understand. This is because; Hitler ‘loved’ her, but didn’t want to marry her. He explained it as this – “If I marry Eva now, I will no longer remain appealing to the German masses. It is the same as in case of a movie actor, if he marries; all the other women who adore him and idolize him lose interest in him and no longer find him attractive.” Eva on the other hand had quite different thoughts about Hitler. She hated him. She attempted to commit suicide quite a few times but failed. She never liked the atmosphere at the Berghof (Hitler’s private residence). She used to pass time playing with her pet rabbits and Blondie, Hitler’s dog. After her ‘death’ in April 1945, her secret diary was discovered from the Berghof which showed the appalling truth, about her life with Hitler. She wrote, “Sometimes, he hates me so much that he can’t stand the sight of me and would love to shoot me, and sometimes, he would only pretend to love me, as if I was an object of pleasure”. She was allowed to be present during visits from old party associates. She was banished as soon as other dignitaries of the Reich, such as cabinet ministers, appeared at the table. Hitler obviously regarded her as socially acceptable only within strict limits. Sometimes, she was so intimidated that she did not dare leave the house for a walk. Well, we can’t actually call this love between these two, but it certainly seemed so when they were alive, and even when they died, together.
Jawaharlal Nehru and Lady Edwina Mountbatten – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India, and Lady Edwina Mountbatten, wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, sounds like an unlikely couple but was definitely a true one. This was a love affair which profoundly influenced Indian history. Nehru along with negotiating with Lord Mountbatten, the independence of India, also had "a special relationship" with Lord Mountbatten’s wife, Edwina. The relationship between her and Nehru may have been more than sexual, or may not have been sexual at all. Nehru's relationship with Lord and Lady Mountbatten was to say the least unusual. Edwina was born in 1901, to a high class family of London where she was a leading member of London society at the time of her marriage. Lord Louis Mountbatten described the relationship between Edwina and Nehru as ‘oh so sweet’ and said that they really dote on each other in the nicest way. Mountbatten, although, found the relationship useful as he used Edwina to influence Nehru on policy matters during the transition from British colonial rule to independence. Edwina and Nehru met about twice a year after the British left India in 1948, usually once in London and then her mother would include a visit to India in her overseas charity tours. On her death in February, 1960, Nehru dispatched an Indian navy frigate to Edwina's funeral at sea off Portsmouth, England, and the sailors cast a marigold wreath into the ocean for her.
Cleopatra and Marc Antony – Fiercest of Enemies on the battlefield, be vary of each other’s growing influence, Romans and Egyptians fought the hardest and the bloodiest battles in there time. But, apparently, love knew no enmity between Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh of Egypt and Marc Antony, the greatest Roman general, only second on command to Julius Caesar. Queen Cleopatra was born in 69 BC and was the only Ptolemaic ruler who learnt Egyptian. She was not only a beautiful woman, but also very charming and seductive. She was a descendant of Alexander, the great and was destined to be the last leader of the dynasty of Ptolemy I. She was not an Egyptian, but of Macedonian decent. She was known for beauty as well as intellect. She was known to be an expert in nine languages and an expert mathematician. She did become Julius Caesar’s mistress but after being assassinated, rumours floated that she had helped in the plot. This made Marc Antony, Caesar’s best friend to summon her to his headquarters. A lot of people may not be knowing this but a common trait of Cleopatra and Mark Antony was that they were both loyal to Caesar. Both of them had met earlier during the reign of Caesar. When Cleopatra crossed the Mediterranean to see him, they both fell in love. Later, he accepted her invitation to visit Egypt. The Romans however didn't appreciate their love affair, but despite all the threats, Cleopatra and Antony married at Anatolia, Syria in 36 BC. But Octavian, Antony's arch rival for power in Rome, was wary of the power of Cleopatra and Antony. What annoyed him the most was that Antony gifted Cleopatra much of the Middle East - Egypt, Cyprus, Crete and Syria, as a wedding gift. She, together with Caesarion, her son, was the ruler of these countries. Octavian, a blood relative of Julius Caesar, unable to stand this ‘insult’ declared war against Antony in 31 BC. But Antony lost the battle and apparently Antony got false news of Cleopatra's death and was completely shattered. With no reason to live, he fell on his sword and died. Another theory suggests that he along with Cleopatra fled to Egypt, when they lost the battle. But Octavian arrived there too and to escape punishment, Antony committed suicide. Cleopatra was shattered on hearing the news of Antony's death. She was taken as a prisoner of Octavian and held captive. Eventually she also died in captivity.