Do you think that Guleri and Manak love each other in the story "Stench of Kerosene" by Amrita Pritam?

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In the story, Guleri and Manak are married; however, Guleri appears to be barren and so cannot bear any children for Manak. Meanwhile, Manak's mother finds a second wife for her son while Guleri is away visiting...

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The answer to your question will depend upon your personal opinion and perspective.

In the story, Guleri and Manak are married; however, Guleri appears to be barren and so cannot bear any children for Manak. Meanwhile, Manak's mother finds a second wife for her son while Guleri is away visiting her family. Obedient to his mother and tradition, Manak complies with what is required of him, but he finds no joy in his new wife.

Eventually, however, Guleri hears of Manak's second marriage, and she responds by dousing herself with kerosene and setting herself on fire. Guleri dies, possibly because she cannot imagine sharing Manak with another woman. For his part, Manak becomes grief-stricken when he hears the news. He goes about his daily chores mechanically and appears to pay no attention to his new wife. When a son is born and then brought to him, Manak screams for the baby to be taken away. He exclaims that the child smells of kerosene.

A possible reason for Manak's reaction is that thoughts of how Guleri died are still fresh in his mind, and he has yet to recover from his overwhelming grief at losing her. I would argue that both Guleri and Manak's reactions constitute the evidence you need to decide whether they love each other or not. Although Guleri's commitment to her yearly excursion may suggest indifference, her decision to kill herself can hardly be termed a dispassionate one.

You may well know of the obsolete Hindu ritual of sati, where widows burned to death as a symbol of their fidelity to their deceased husbands. In this story, Guleri commits suicide by fiery death after hearing of Manak's second marriage. It can be argued that Guleri's manner of killing herself can be seen as a statement of her love for Manak.

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