SOCIETY

If you want it all, donít have kids
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Y
OU will remember her from last yearís Alan Sugar series, The Apprentice. Saira Khan was the runner-up, an Asian Muslim businesswoman, mouthing a stream of business platitudes to give even tough Alan Sugar a headache. She was recently on the radio talking about herself again. She is 35 and childless.

Legacy of a visionary
The important historical gurdwaras in Delhi were constructed under the supervision of Sardar Baghel Singh, head of the Karorsinghia misl. This is the first of a nine-part series on each of these gurdwaras. In this article, K.S Bains maps the life and times of Baghel Singh
G
URU Gobind Singh, while leaving for Nanded, divided the Sikh into 12 misls and broadly allocated their areas of operation. Whereas misls operated independently in their own areas under the respective misldars, together they constituted Dal Khalsa under the leadership of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.

Women need mobiles more
A
new study on the top 10 things women canít live without is sure to break the hearts of men, and send them straight to the pubs to drown their sorrows, for it has found that men are the last on their wish list.

Top








 

If you want it all, donít have kids
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

YOU will remember her from last yearís Alan Sugar series, The Apprentice. Saira Khan was the runner-up, an Asian Muslim businesswoman, mouthing a stream of business platitudes to give even tough Alan Sugar a headache.

She was recently on the radio talking about herself again. She is 35 and childless. (It must drive her family mad. There is no room on any shelves for Asian women who have not married and procreated even by 25.)

She is concerned, she says, but really, these children, were she to plan them, get their making and birthing into her busy, busy Blackberry, would they not cost too much and reduce her earning power and the money she must make? Donít have them, please, I wanted to advise her, you donít understand parenthood. Be good to yourself and your unborn kids and stay unattached to everyone except your own over-ambitious self.

There are many other modern young British women who are caught in the same conundrum ó to have it all is to lose it all, that is what they fear.

And rightly. When you have a child you surrender to inner and outer forces that nobody can prepare you for. You are never again likely to be the person you once were ó and I donít just mean the tight, flat belly.

Professional women are today mothers and high-fliers, but donít let any of them say it is easily done. That is a lie they must tell the world to stop misogyny destroying their aspirations.

Thankfully, nature has given most of us parental instincts that conquer the exhaustion, panic and losses through a surge of love for the children.

Nothing I have possessed or experienced can compare with the ecstasy of maternal passion. What I fear, though, is that the instinct is weakening in modern women.

Our culture, with its emphasis on material values and on narcissistic pleasures, may be selecting out the breeding impulse which gives us untold capacity for sacrifice, altruism, self-annihilation and drudgery. More and more women are delaying families, perhaps because too many genuinely canít see themselves giving up anything for their tots.

All they understand is money ó and if you calculate the financial costs, it is indeed a folly to have children. If a woman has a child at 24, she loses `A354,000 (sterling) over her lifetime and, as we were told that the blighters cost thousands of pounds from the day they arrive (nappies, clothes, four-wheel prams, not counting the free breast milk) to the day they leave, later and later these days.

For those like Saira, it makes perfect sense to refuse parenthood and buy expensive handbags instead. How they must laugh at the fecund sisters willingly entering enslaving motherhood.

A new report by the think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research has bad news for the state. This lot of non-or late-reproducing women means there is likely to be a shortage of 90,000 babies, and a potentially disastrous demographic crisis in 20 years.

But pressing non-maternal ladettes or aspiring divas to lie still and conceive for Britain is the worst imaginable solution. The children would suffer and society would too, overrun by little repro divas and ladettes incapable of giving anything to anyone, let alone us old pensioners freezing in our flats.

ó By arrangement with The Independent

Top

 

Legacy of a visionary

The important historical gurdwaras in Delhi were constructed under the supervision of Sardar Baghel Singh, head of the Karorsinghia misl. This is the first of a nine-part series on each of these gurdwaras. In this article, K.S Bains maps the life and times of Baghel Singh

Sardar Baghel Singh (1765-1802)
Sardar Baghel Singh (1765-1802)

GURU Gobind Singh, while leaving for Nanded, divided the Sikh into 12 misls and broadly allocated their areas of operation. Whereas misls operated independently in their own areas under the respective misldars, together they constituted Dal Khalsa under the leadership of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.

Sikhs had been making incursions outside Punjab and had levied ĎRakhií and ĎKamblií taxes as far as Saharanpur, Hardwar and beyond. On March 11, 1783, they entered the Red Fort and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, as Head of the Dal Khalsa, occupied the throne in the Diwan-e-Am. However that did not last long as they quarrelled among themselves.

The Mughal Emperor, with the help of Begum Samru, arrived at an understanding with the Sikhs. The negotiations took place with the help of Sardar Baghel Singh, head of Karorsinghia misl. An agreement was arrived at under which the major portion of the Sikh army was to withdraw from Delhi and Sardar Baghel Singh had to stay back, with his force, to build gurdwaras at seven historical places connected with the Gurus.

Of all Sikhs leaders at that time, Sardar Baghel Singhís influence was the greatest and he played a major role in establishing the identity of Sikhs in Delhi.

By birth Baghel Singh did not belong to the Karorsinghia misl. He was a Dhaliwal Jat from Jhabal, Amritsar District. Some historians believe he belonged to Malwa. After a difference of opinion with his brothers he left his own place and joined Krora Singh. Due to his devotion and excellent work, Sardar Krora Singh at the time of his death expressed a wish that the misl should be headed by Baghel Singh.

Krora Singh died in Tarawari in 1765. After the ceremony of his taking over as Head of misl were completed, he proceeded further and reached Dek Kumher. Raja on seeing a large Sikh force sought peace. He invited Baghel Singh to his fort. There he was treated with great honour and was lavishly entertained. After receiving nazarana from the Raja he came back and retired to Doaba-Bist-Jalandhar and establish himself well in the area that now constitutes of Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr districts.

Later he extended his influence in Haryana and made his headquarter at Challondi in the Karnal district. He remained for 12 years in the areas that now constitute Panipat, Rohtak, Jind and Gohana. Some of these he ruled directly and remaining through his nominees.

Baghel Singh entered Delhi at the head of 40,000 troops in March 1783, and established himself in the areas now called Malka Ganj, Subzi Mandi, Hauz Qazi etc. Rights were granted to Baghel Singh for constructing seven historic gurudwaras. He established his headquarters at what is now known as Tis Hazari. He was entrusted with maintenance of law and order and collection of octroi to meet his expenses and raise funds for the construction of gurdwaras. For this he could charge 6 annas in a rupee from the octroi income.

He constructed seven gurdwaras. He maintained good law and order. His horses patrolled the city streets day and night. The citizen saw the kind of peace and order which they had not experienced for decades.

The construction of seven gurdwaras was completed in seven months, as stipulated in the agreement and he retired from the capital in early December 1783. At the time he had sufficient force in the city and was enjoying great prestige and goodwill of the public. He had the necessary force and could have decided to stay on and continue his control of the city. He stood by the agreement and left Delhi at the end of the stipulated period.

No meeting had taken place between Baghel Singh and the Mughal Emperor Sah Allam-II in this period. Baghel Singh had ensured exemplary behaviour of his troops, carried out his duties in a dignified way and treated the local population with due respect. The emperor expressed a wish to meet him.

Sikhs had pledged never to bow before any Mughal ruler. Bowing before the Emperor was part of the court etiquette. Baghel Singh also insisted that he would be accompanied by a posse of armed men. Another condition was that when his procession passed through the city no one should make any undignified remarks against Sikhs.

The emperor accepted these conditions. The day and the time was fixed for the meeting. The Emperor announced to the population that they should behave properly, preferably keeping themselves indoors. Butchersí shops must be closed on that day.

On the appointed day, he started from Sabzi Mandi. Mughal drummers, marched in front announcing the approach of the Sikh procession. Behind them were Mughal mace-bearers. Baghel Singh, fully armed, sat on the elephant in a decorated howda. Sikh soldiers, on caparisoned horses, escorted the procession.

As a sign of royalty a Ďchathí of peacock feathers was constantly waved over his head by a sewadar. The procession entered the Red Fort and Baghel Singh with his followers was taken to the emperor in Diwan-e-am. He himself did not bow before the Mughal emperor but the obeisance was performed by the guides on his behalf. He was offered a chair by the prime minister. The emperor was presented bows and arrows on behalf of Baghel Singh. The Mughal Emperor offered him Khillat, a necklace of pearls, as also a caparisoned elephant and a horse. Other dignitaries accompanying him were given appropriate royal honours. After the meeting, he retired from Delhi to his headquarters at Chillondi.

An agreement was entered into between him and the Mughal Emperor that 12.5 per cent of the octroi of Delhi would be regularly sent to him. In return, he would ensure that the Sikhs did not attack the capital.

Later, Baghel Singh retired to Doaba and settled at place called Hariana, now in the Hoshiapur district of Punjab. After shifting to Hariana, Baghel Singh remained alive only for two years. He passed away in 1802. There stands up the smadh of Sardar Baghel Singh in Hariana, District Hoshiarpur. It is only appropriate that Tis Hazari should be named Sardar Baghel Singh Tis Hazari.

Top

 

Women need mobiles more

A new study on the top 10 things women canít live without is sure to break the hearts of men, and send them straight to the pubs to drown their sorrows, for it has found that men are the last on their wish list.

The poll, of 3,500 women by sex shop chain Ann Summers, found that a staggering 73 per cent of British women need their mobile phones, hairbrush and credit cards more than they need men.

Even when it comes to raising children, it seems that women donít consider men to be an essential part of kidsí lives, for 62 per cent said they would consider raising their kids as single mothers. As for sex, well that activity also seems to be taken care of by the sex toy that four out of five girls now claim to own. Ann Summers boss Jacqueline Gold joked that as all women seemed to need men for was to take out the garbage and change a plug, her company would soon start working on a sex aid that did just that.

"We are now working on a sex aid that can take out the rubbish and change a plug," The Sun quoted her, as saying. The list for the ĎTop Ten Things Women Canít Live Withoutí as per Ann Summers is: Mobile phone, Hairbrush, Credit Card, Handbag, Vibrator, Hair straighteners, Lip Balm, Lipstick, Heels and Man. ó ANI

HOME PAGE

Top