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Godmen galore

I read Khushwant Singh’s article,”Godmen and devout” (April 16, Saturday Extra), with interest. Not only the illiterate and the rank and file but also the elite members of society face some insecurity or the other. That’s why they turn to and treat the so-called ‘babas’ as divine personalities. Many successful people and celebrities, both national and international, are honey-trapped by these godmen and have been in their clutches.

I think these so-called godmen should be asked to crack burning social problems like poverty, intoxication, prostitution and corruption with their ‘spells’ and ‘skills’.

T. R. Wadhwa, Dhuri




This is with reference to Khushwant Singh’s “Godmen and the devout” (April 16) lamenting that Sai Baba’s worshippers include several persons of high calibre. I am convinced they have genuine and valid reasons to do so. I like to proffer a personal experience.

On June 6, 1976, Sai Baba was invited to the Defence Services Staff College premises at Wellington (Nilgiris) where I was undergoing the course as a young Major. By then Baba had sufficiently been vilified as a controversial figure by his detractors both in India and abroad. I too was totally confused about his credentials.

On the fateful day while my wife was extra keen to attend this function, I was hesitant due to the prevalent controversies. In the end I agreed to attend just on one condition, namely, the Baba would accept my challenge to help me overcome my addiction with cigarettes (I was smoking more than 30 cigarettes per day).

We attended the discourse. I clicked a couple of Baba’s pictures with my box camera repeating the challenge in my mind. Baba didn’t even look at me. On return to our quarters, however, the unbelievable happened: I did not have my usual urge for a cigarette. For both of us, that was a miracle. But then, I have not smoked till date – an incalculably huge saving for me, both financially and health-wise!

India abounds in godmen because of our enormously rich cultural, religious and spiritual heritage spanning hundreds of millennia. Westerners flock to our spiritual teachers literally in droves to find peace, love and the real meaning of life. Our doubting Thomases themselves would do well to emulate our traditions – totally a ‘win-win’ situation.


Importance of Urdu

Daagh Dehlavi’s couplet quoted by S. D. Sharma (“Lament for lost era”, Spectrum, April 10) actually reads thus: Urdu hai jis ka naam hameen jaantey hain Daagh/Hindustan mein dhoom hamaari zubaan ki hai.

Urdu was so popular then that even masons, green grocers and scavengers wrote beautiful verses in this language. It came into being as a hybrid language to be used as a medium of communication between people speaking different tongues and does not belong to any particular community. Many celebrated Hindi poets and writers have enriched it. A poet has rightly said: Hindu hai na Muslim hai, Riza mazhab-e-Urdu/Donon hee ki aaghosh mein ye phooli phali hai.

Apparently, it was about Urdu poetry that justice Anand Narain Mulla said: Khoon-e-shaheed sey bhi hai qeemat mein kuchh sua/fankaar key qalam ki siyaahi ki ek boond (A drop of the ink of a poet’s pen is more valuable than the blood of a 

Recently, Faiz’s couplet --- Qafas Udaas a yaaro saba sey kuchh to kaho/kaheen to baihr-e-khuda aaj zikr-e-yaar chaley – quoted by Justice Markandey Katju in his judgment led to the release of a prisoner from a Pakistani jail. Seeing its significance, Urdu should be taught as a compulsory subject at least in government schools and colleges.

Bhagwan Singh, Qadian



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