Saturday, October 7, 2000
M A I L  B O X

Managing a delicate relationship

This refers to Aruti Nayar’s thought-provoking article why does the mother-in-law occupy such a huge mindspace in the Indian psyche (September 23).

The writer has posed a ticklish question — why does the relationship between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law preoccupy us so much?

The answer lies in India’s social history. The mind of the people has been conditioned over the centuries in such a way in traditional India that they think that women are dependent on men for their survival. During childhood, a woman is dependent on her father, in youth on her husband and in her old age on her son. This perception gives an exalted position to the man in his role as father, husband, or son in the Indian social structure. That is why Indian mothers are relatively more possessive and over-protective of their sons.

If both the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law change their attitude of suspicion towards each other, a solution may be found of this conflict.




The writer has emphasised a need to make some adjustments in order to maintain peace at home.

If both the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law keep in mind the tips mentioned by the writer, their relationship can be fulfilling and harmonious.

Ambala City

Forgive and forget

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s weekly column "This Above All" (September 23). His critical analysis of the art of forgiving and his justification of his own actions in such circumstances were a treat to read. His approach of teaching a lesson first and than forgetting rather than forgiving is quite pragmatic.

It is too much to expect anybody to stick to this ideal in the world of today. It can only be tried as a one-time experiment and nothing more. Further we get attracted to and acquire only those virtues that bring us recognition, rewards or at least ensure reversal or end of the wrong done to us. But with that rarely happening and one’s noble gestures being more often than not taken as acts of cowardice, practical adjustments are justified.



Forgiveness demands priority. It means choosing the thing that is the most important for us and then organising our lives so that we do it. Priorities force us to discipline our sentiments, our time, our choices. We must first and foremost forgive ourselves. We forgive willingly and joyfully when we are at peace with ourselves. Forgiveness demands poise, patience, self-control, fortitude and sympathetic understanding towards others. Sometimes the greatest contribution we can make is to forgive and forget.


Conserve forests

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s write-up "Dire warning" in this above all (September 23). All species are dependent on each other and if one is destroyed, the other dependent on it dies. Nevertheless we go on cutting down trees to make furniture, firewood and cremate bodies of dead persons; we kill tigers, deer, wildfowl and snakes. We spray our fields with poisonous insecticides. In short, we are digging our own graves.

The statistics make a chilling reading. It is estimated that 89 per cent of the forests in India have been plundered in this century alone and the remaining 11 per cent are facing a similar threat. Every minute about 30 hectares of an evergreen forest is destroyed in some part of the country. Environmentalists warn that if this trend is not arrested, the time may not be too far when most of the forest cover will disappear, dealing an irreversible blow to ecology. According to one estimate, a tree generates Rs 5.3 lakh worth of oxygen, recycles Rs 6.4 lakh worth of soil, creates Rs 10.5 lakh worth of air pollution control and Rs 5.3 lakh worth of shelter for birds and animals. Besides, it provides flowers, fruit and lumber. So when one tree falls or is felled, the city or the village loses some thing worth Rs 32 lakh.


Chandigarh’s architecture

It was a pleasure to read the two thought-provoking articles on Chandigarh’s architecture — one by Syed Shafi and another by Jeet Malhotra very recently.

The concept of EPUs by Jeet Malhotra is very good. We should try to develop it further by involving more and more people . If implemented, it can go a long way in improving the infrastructure of the country.