Krishna & Stanzen – Love prevails over prejudices towards disability
Today we bring you the story of Krishna Tashi and Stanzen Nyentak from Manali in our series – Inclusive Couples.
As a young girl growing up in Lahaul in rural Himachal Pradesh, Krishna Tashi Palmo never dreamed of getting married and having a family of her own. While her friends planned their weddings, her thoughts never went that way.
With 90% disability in her legs, Krishna was told by family members that no one would be willing to marry her. Added to this was the strong social disapproval as superstitions about disability are widely prevalent in this region.
So when a fellow art student showed interest in her, Krishna was at first suspicious and resistant. “I was studying traditional Tibetan art at a school in Patilkhul when I met my husband Stanzen Nyentak. He was not disabled and I never imagined that I would get married, as I knew what society thought”, she says.
“People would tell me openly that I was weak and imperfect because I was disabled, and my grandparents were traditional-minded and always discouraged me from having such thoughts”- Krishna Tashi Palmo
Stanzen persisted despite these challenges. They spent 10 years in a long-distance relationship, as he had to return to his village after they finished school, while Krishna stayed in Manali. They could meet just once a year, when he would bring her colours for her paintings. They would speak on the phone every day.
“I was very unsure and scared”, admits Krishna. “The distance and the disapproval was very hard to take, but my husband was ready and open. We knew society would not accept us, but we loved each other and gradually I became confident”.
Krishna and Stanzen got married in 2017, with the full approval and support of her family. Initially they were doubtful of his motives.
“They were curious as to why he wanted to marry me when I was disabled, but once they realised that he loved me, they gave us their backing” – Krishna Tashi Palmo
Stanzen’s family, however, is still unaware that they are married. He plans to tell them over a period of time. Today, they both work as full-time artists and are based in Manali.
“A lot of people ask me questions like, “Are we really married and whether she has a lot of money’. They are surprised that I chose to marry someone with a disability. Initially I would get angry but now I don’t bother. People even follow us around sometimes when we go out in public, but this is the general mindset and we have learned to ignore it” – Stanzen Nyentak
Read the other stories in our Inclusive Couples series: