What’s the common denominator that equates Anne Boleyn & Mother Teresa, who existed four centuries apart, to each other. Nothing really; except that they were both exceptional women, in their own right, during their lifetime, in their respective eras; and ofcourse, today’s date – 25th of January.

Anne Boleyn

One of my favourite periods in History happens to be that of the Tudor/Elizabethan period. As a school kid I really enjoyed all the historical stories from the British medieval period onwards, and all the drama behind Royal palaces of the eras of glamour, grandeur and elegance. I’ve been a lover of Art, Literature and Cinema since I can remember, and always considered myself an artiste with an ‘e‘. Thus ‘History’ too, to me was like studying literature, full of great stories than actually happened. Anne Boleyn was a true heroine of the 16th century.

On this day, 480 years ago, the 25th of January 1533 – Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn got married, which marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of England. For Henry VIII to get married to Anne Boleyn, he had to divorce his first wife, a first in England at the time. Further marrying into a commoner, another first. This day was a happy day for the two, although Anne Boleyn’s thousand day rein as Queen Consort would end with her execution ’cause she couldn’t produce a male heir. Atleast they were truly happy and in love at the time they got married, and it wasn’t easy for the King to win her heart. 

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), a bio-pic on the turbulent love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, starring Richard Burton and Geneviève Bujold,  happens to be among my ‘Top-10’ all time favourite movies. Check out a couple of critiques I’ve written on this movie on my list titled ‘The Late 60’s’ and ‘Why I Love’ on IMDB. 

Mother Teresa

When I was studying in Delhi University, as an undergrad, I went on a study tour to Calcutta. This was in 97′. We went to see the slums as well and spoke to many a people there. Mother Teresa passed away on the 5th September 1997, and we went there in the cold December of 1997, so we missed her by three months. We saw her house, her tomb inside et al, and speaking to those slum dwellers, it was overwhelming. I was surprised to see how clean that area looked. She was truly a modern day saint to give her life completely and so selflessly for these people.

On this day, 33 years ago, the 25th of January 1980 – Mother Teresa was awarded the Bharat Ratna (India’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize), given to great people for their major contributions to India in various fields. Nelson Mandela was the first non-Indian to receive the Bharat Ratna (in 1990), after all Mother Teresa was considered an Indian by then. A great day for Mother Teresa and for her services to the India’s poor. 

Back in 94′, I bought Dominique Lapierre’s City of Joy, and read it by 95′, went to DU in 96′. City of Joy till date is my favourite novel ever. It dealt with the slums and lepers in Calcutta, and there was a bit about Mother Teresa towards the end of the book. It was fresh in my mind when I visited the Calcutta during the winter break of my second year. It was a nice experience being there, just wished I could have met the great personality herself. 

25th January 2013

Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense