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Sunday, December 19, 1999

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Learning to deal with desertion

THIS refers to the article: "What after desertion?" (December 5) by Nonika Singh. The provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act can come to the aid of deserted women but was brought out in his write-up— "The crux of the matter doesn’t hover around the passing of the decree but in its execution". Scores of women, especially in rural Punjab have become victims of such unfortunate divorce.



We remain blinded by the lustre of dollars and pounds. We continue to use our daughters as passports for self-aggrandisement. The problem can’t be solved because girls, especially in rural Punjab, lead a cloistered existence. In this highly competitive world only trained persons can find a firm footing. In rural Punjab the days of purdah are not yet over. Girls need to be well-equipped to take legal action against their errant husbands. The fairer sex must join hands and rub shoulders with the men folk to meet the demands of the space age.

Kainthan (Dasuya)

How resilient are you

This is with reference to Taru Bahl’s write-up "How resilient are you"? Misfortune is very often a blessing in disguise. A resilient person derives full advantage from it. Every adversity is a trial for him.

Adversity is a stern test of all that we are worth. We know that we can develop a part of our body through exercise. There are faculties of the mind, of the spirit, as those of the body. Unless we exercise them, we cannot train or develop them. Adverse circumstances give exercise to all our faculties. A resilient person puts his best foot forward, and inch by inch gains back, by hard struggle, the lost ground. Resilience brings to the surface many qualities and faculties lying latent within us. When we win back our position, we are changed persons, no longer vague about our ideas, or weak in our will or listless in our bearing. It is indeed the trial by fire.

A resilient person fights with his back to the wall and he fights best. The heroes in history like Guru Gobind Singh and Rana Partap had to fight hard and against very powerful adversaries. Some of them had even to go without food for days together. But they fought very well. Indeed, adversity brings out what is best in us. In the days of prosperity we sleep and enjoy and know not what we are.



This refers to Taru Bahl’s article titled "Towards a more humanistic society" (November 28). Humanism is a system, which recognises basic human values. It implies absence of atrocities and injustices perpetrated on mankind. But the human race is incurably confrontationist. Man discovers the most inane of reasons for picking up a fight with his fellow beings. Where there are no reasons, he invents them. Belief, caste, religion and nationality have all caused blood to flow in the world.

Communal and caste conflicts are common in India. Most riots take place when the police decides to look the other way while anti-social elements loot the innocent and the weak. Is this humanism?


Of books and book lovers

Apropos of R.C. Sharma’s article "Of books and book lovers" (December 5), happy is the person who acquires the habit of reading. He secures a lifelong source of pleasure, instruction and inspiration. He never feels lonely or bored.

Ruskin calls books "kings treasures", treasures that are filled not with gold, silver and precious stones, but with riches more valuable than these — knowledge, noble thoughts and high ideals. The man who does not read books is indeed poor and empty in his life. Reading gives the highest kind of pleasure provided we choose the right kind of books. Someone has aptly said: "The books are the most faithful friends. Our friends may change or die: but our books are always patiently waiting to talk to us. They are never cross, peevish or unwilling to converse, as our friends sometimes are.



The more advanced a person is, the greater delight he will find in reading. Man is a civilised creature and this civilisation has been built by his reason and imagination, which finds expression in books.

Literature is a branch of knowledge inseparable from life. In it, we can discern a deep and lasting human significance. Literature brings us face to face with the subtle realities of life. English literary giants like Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Browning Donne, Hardy and many more attract our attention.

Profit and pleasure are the two hallmarks of sustained reading. A personal library in a home accounts for a well-read and knowledgeable family. A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company, a counselor. Lucky indeed is the country where the leaders are fond of books or are men of letters. The nation would be in the safe hands of learned people rather than in the hands of illiterate.

Books and friends should be few and good. One should be careful about the books one reads, and of the company one keeps. You know you have read a good book, when you turn the last page and feel if you have lost a friend.

SAS Nagar

Man’s world no more

The article "A man’s world no more" by Mohinder Singh (November 28) was aptly entitled. Traditional values, although universal, kept on changing, though to a lesser degree. Modern man has become wiser about feminine attitude. He is not biased any longer towards his better-half. He doesn’t regard her as passive, acquiescent, timid, emotional, and traditional.

If a husband helps his wife at home, it shows his love and affection for her. It has enhanced his personality in a positive direction. With a few exceptions, today, men would rather confide in their wives.


Evolution of carols

Apropos of ‘Evolution of carols" by Shiv Darshanlal Sharma (December 5), the word carol is derived from carole meaning a circular space, initially carol being a song that accompanied dancing in a circle.

Interestingly carols were sung for various reasons — for asking for beer as well as for God’s blessing! The English clergy came to call them Marcionite carols i.e. carols of mixed English and Latin words.

The popular carol Come All Ye Faithful was probably written by John Francies Wade as a rallying call to Jacobites, inspiring them to prepare for the 1745 landing of Bonnie Prince Charlie in Britain.

As late as 1800, only two carols were officially approved for singing in English churches namely While shepherds watched and Hark the Herald Angels Sing, the later being composed by Charles Wesly while he walked to church on a Christmas day.

The famous German carol Silent Night (Stille Nacht) was composed hurriedly with a guitar accompaniment when the church organ broke down.

Police permission is needed by organised carol singers for collecting charity in Britain, under the 1939 House to House Collections Act.


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