The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, February 20, 2000

Indian beauty goes public

THIS refers to the article "Indian beauty goes public" (Feb 6) by V. Gangadhar, which describes the position of beauty contests in our country. The modern woman is free to do what she likes, and her parents do not interfere, they even help their children in making their future. Today most of the young girls from high society, middle-class homes, are participating in beauty contests. Young girls between 15-20 years are interested to join this profession, because there is lot of money to earn.

However, besides beauty contests a number of fashion shows are being organised in every country and India also on different level every year. In selected cities of India, it has become a matter of routine for the audience to witness shows featuring country top models.

The market flooded with the most modern beauty aids and internationally known firms are freely marketing their products. Even villages and small towns have beauty parlours and beauticians. They make big money through bridal make up. The awakening in the beauty business has also come as a boon to ad industry. Most cosmetic firms spend a fortune on advertising which helps in the growth of the country’s economy.

  In the past parents were also actively involved in the beauty contest. They did not allow their children to wear scanty clothes. But today times have changed. The young generation lives in the world of satellite television that features fashion prominently. Now girls are forced to wear swim suit by their organisers in order to attract audiences. In this situation how many young girls can get satisfactory place in the beauty business?



We Indians are mere imitators of the Western culture and way of life. In fact our craze for everything foreign, has changed our life style and this is also affecting the psyche of the younger generation, that has started aping the West by discarding Indian culture, customs, festivals, dress, language and heritage. A lot of coverage is given, mostly by the English media, every year to Valentine’s Day, despite the fact that the said day does not jell with Indian traditions and social system. Now it is the turn of beauty contests and fashion shows, which are even being held in small towns.

These beauty shows and contests have in fact transcended the realms of healthy competition and have become a big business. T.V. has not only enabled people around the world to follow the action live, but has helped the MNLS and corporate giants to advertise their products, thus reducing these beauty contests and fashion shows to mere commercial ventures, and is also instrumental in polluting the minds of our teenagers with negative aspects of the Western culture.

We should instead follow the positive aspects of the Western culture such as hardwork, discipline, work culture and live for indigenous goods.


Relevance of Gandhi

Reference Bharat Dogra’s article: "Now we need him more than ever before" (Spectrum: January 30, 2000). Even while facing the challenge of globalisation, the relevance of Gandhian Economics and its great virtues hold good. The Gandhian emphasis on self-reliance on the village community and stress on complete harmony with the need for environmental protection in very much valid proposition in our context — globalisation or no globalisation. In any case, globalisation is not going to embrace hundred per cent of our population — especially people below the poverty line may not even feel its impact and they have to rely upon "Gandhian Economics" to bring about their prosperity and ensure their well-being and welfare. The Gandhian economics enlightens us as to how development choices should be made keeping in mind the poorest and the weakest and further recommends that while the basic needs of all people should be met, there should also be consciousness regarding placing a limit on consumption.

Economic Index is not always co-related with happiness index. One may be but yet remain always happy. On the other hand, a rich man may not necessarily be happy. Those who view and evaluate "Gandhian Economics" from materialistic level may not get impressed with its philosophy but the kind of real challenges a developing country like India faces, it is only Gandhian responses which can help as us out. We should not continue to make the mistake of falling into trap of IMF/World Bank loans and MNCs Foreign Investments and live in a virtual world but instead adopt Gandhian economics and live in real world.



Bharat Dogra’s "Now we need him more than ever before" (Spectrum, January 30) was well-timed. The world is sitting on a volcano which may burst anytime. We have the global military powers, the USA, a slightly weakened yet a power to reckon with, Russia, a belligerent armed-to-the-hilt, China which is the enemy of democracy known to have killed the democracy lovers on its own soil, not long back.

It’s only Gandhian ahimsa, purity of mind and thought and his philosophy where both rich and poor can live in a give-and-take spirit that can save mankind from disaster. Marx gave the clarion call: "Workers of the world unite". Why should the workers of the developed, under-developed and developing nations unite? Why should American workers, for instance, share the misery of Indian workers?

Both Marx and Lenin decried religion. They called it the "opium of the masses". Times have changed. Now religion is the only nectar that can save mankind from death and destruction. It’s only Gandhian ahimsa that can save man from nuclear weaponry. Suffice to say Gandhi is more relevant today than he ever was.

In India over 18 million children work, child legislation notwithstanding. Women are burnt alive, they are molested on roads, in public buses, they are raped in custody. Women in flesh trade are on the increase. Half of the country’s population starves.

What is the exit-door from this blind alley where men, women and children are groping in darkness? Politicians must shed all extravaganza, all pomp and pageantry which Gandhiji held ad "synonymous with vulgarity". Bapu wrote in the Harijan in 1938 virtually a code of conduct for our rulers. They should hold power lightly, not tightly. They would wear crowns of thorns, not of roses.

India must give prime place to peace and harmony with its neighbours. Nevertheless, China plus Gen Pervez Musharraf make a potential threat to our unity and integrity, and our armed forces must always be kept in full readiness to tackle these bullies.


Changes needed

Apropos of Subhash C. Kashyap’s write-up "Changes needed for better governance" (January 23), there is no denying the fact that constitution is the vehicle of a nation’s progress. It should reflect the best traditions of the nation, it has also to provide a considered response to the needs of the present and to possess enough resilience to cope with the demands of the future. A constitution, at the same time, has to be a dynamic thing not for one or two generations but for succeeding generations also. Thus the making of a constitution calls for the highest statecraft.

Fortunately for us, those entrusted with the task of framing the Constitution of India were aware of their historic role and the supreme importance of the assignment. At a time when politics signified an attachment to certain values, an adherence to certain convictions, and willingness to suffer if need be, for those values and convictions, the Constituent Assembly represented the best talent and the cream of those in politics in the country.

Politics has undergone a sea change since then, as aptly lamented by the author, which has necessitated to have a second look at the Constitution. We should not be averse to amending the Constitution with a view to eliminating and overcoming the difficulties which might be experienced in its working during the course of years and making it subserve the nation’s needs. But at the same time we must also heed a note of caution that not every encounter with a difficulty should make us think of amending the Constitution.

There is a move to set up a new Constituent Assembly to "restructure" the Constitution. But the question is: Do all the worrisome issues the nation faces and for which the government is condemned day-after-day require amendment of the Constitution for solution? Does the Constitution have to be "restructured" to control the present high graph of prices or to reduce the outrageously widespread area of corruption? Must the Constitution be amended to get work out of government or public employees? Do we need another Constituent Assembly to enforce law and order or to break politician-criminal nexus? These are only a few examples of unsatisfactory governance. To make the Constitution a scape-goat for our administrative and political failure is an inexcusable escape from reality which cannot food the nation any more.

There are, however, two matters in respect of which, in my view, an amendment is required. One relates to the blatant misuse of Article 356 for the imposition of Presidential rule in the states and the other is needed for devolution of financial power to the states.

Finally, I would like to quote few lines from the valedictory address to the Constituent Assembly by its Chairman Dr Rajendra Prasad: "....If the people who are elected and capable and men of integrity and character, they will be able to make the best even of a defective Constitution. If they are lacking in these qualities, no Constitution can help the country. After all, a Constitution, like a machine, is a lifeless thing. It acquires life because of the men who made it, control it and operate it."


Masters of melody

This is with reference to the letter published in Spectrum (February 6) in response to my article titled "When Masters of Melody Ruled the Roost" (January 23). I am sorry to write that instead of correcting my omissions in the article, Mr Sharma has himself erred on several points.

K.L. Saigal: It is incorrect to say that P.C. Barua introduced Saigal to the industry. In fact R.C. Boral composed the music for ‘Mohabbat Ke Aanso’ — the first film of legendary singer released in 1932. In the film ‘Chandidas’ released in 1934, Saigal rendered ‘Premnagar mein basaaongi ghar main, (a duet with Uma Shashi), Tadpat beete din rain’ and Prem ki ho jaikar’ under the baton of R.C. Boral. A year after Chandidas came Saigal’s most accomplished film ‘Devdas’, Saigal love-lorn, defeated and doomed Devdas, Saigal immortalised himself as no other star-singer before or after him by singing songs under the baton of P.C. Barua.

Talat Mahmood: Mr Sharma’s observations are incorrect even in the case of Talat Mahmood. In fact, Talat Mahmood was first introduced in film ‘Raj Laxmi’ released in 1945 in which Talat rendered two songs ‘Jago musafir jago’ and ‘Tu sun le matwale’ under the baton of Robind Chaterjee and Dhiren Mitra. ‘Ay dil mujhe aisi jagha le chal jahan koi na ho’ was sung by Talat Mahmood for Dilip Kumar in film ‘Aarzoo’ under the baton of Anil Biswas much later in 1949.

Vanijairam faded out after the ‘Guddi’ number ‘Bole re paphihara’, and Sharda did much damages to film music by engineering a rift between Shankar and Jaikishan. These two artistes were nowhere in the industry during the 50s and the 60s. They did not deserve to be bracketed with the stalwart singers mentioned in the article.

‘Aahen na Bharin shiqay ne kiye’ a quwali from the film ‘Zeenat’ released in 1946 was sung by Zohrabai, Noor Jehan and Kalyani. This quwali was written by Naqash and composed by Hafeez Khan. Instead of this quwali I mentioned other evergreen songs of Zohrabai and Noor Jehan in my article.

I agree that due to paucity of space some leading composers, singers and lyricists who contributed substantially for the development of Hindi film music, could not find place, in my article. I am sorry if I hurt some one’s feelings by this inadvertent omission.