The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, January 28, 2001

Laughing at ourselves

THE two anecdotes narrated under the sub-title "Ticketing titters" in the write-up "Laughing at ourselves" by Amar Nath Wadehra and Randeep Wadehra (January 7) were very interesting.

One Maulana Giraami, a famous good-humoured poet of Hoshiarpur boarded a train without purchasing a ticket.A ticket examiner (TE) inquired about his ticket. He slapped him, saying "Have you, the saucy chap, forgotten the days when I visited your father? You were a tot then. How is the old guy? Convey my salaam to him". He had since died, the TE replied. The Maulana made a hypocritical show of grief and said: "May his soul rest in peace. He was a very pious person". The TE begged his courteous indulgence. At the next station he served the poet and his friends with hot tea. Actually, the Maulana neither knew the TE nor was he with his father’s friend.

"Humour oils the creaking wheel of life". It is the faculty to see the amusing side of life and reflect the taste and wit of a person. Thackery considered it a "mixture of love and wit". While a humourless person suffers from sadness and depression, a good-humoured one always remains happy and cheerful and does not easily lose his temper.


One day, Mirza Ghalib was sitting in a book shop. An Iranian youth asked for a collection of his verses, saying: "Een qurumsaaq khoob mey goed" (This cuckold writes very good poetry). The Mirza smiled and said "Khuda ki qasam sachchi daad aaj hi mili hai" (by God, I have received honest praise only today). Faani Badauni had rightly said: Zindagi zinda-dilli ka naam hai/Murda-dil kya khaak jiya kartey hain.


Friends for life

"Remaining friends for life" by Taru Bahl (January 7) made me nostalgic for the good old times and brought back a surge of memories of my best friends.

This nostalgia fired by the curiosity of my teenaged daughter to know more and more about their mother’s friends led to an unending tale of memories buried deep in my heart. The vivid recollection made me realise what I had missed by not making any effort to contact them.

Our lives become routine and in the process we developed new relations in our new roles but the place of our friends can never be usurped by any one else.

This article was an eye opener, especially because at this time of the year sending a new year greeting to an old friend is the best way to rekindle the flame of friendship.


Extraordinary vistas ahead

With reference to Hari Jaisingh’s article on the eve of our entry into the third millennium "Extraordinary vistas ahead" (December 31), the revolution in new technology has ushered in a fundamental challenge, converting the information society into a knowledge society. The world is marching at a superfast speed, taking gigantic strides towards unexplored areas. The impact of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation is bound to effect many parts of the world. Extraordinary vistas decidedly await the developed countries and some of the developing ones, too.

Even after more than five decades of Independence food, shelter and clothing are still beyond the reach of half of the population of the country. Illiteracy and poverty go hand in hand, says Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen. We have failed miserably in taking the light of literacy to all the houses of India.

On May 11 last year, our population touched the 100-crore mark and during the next 240 days, more than a crore new births have taken place. By the end of 21st century our population will be more than 200 crores.

Our immediate targets are compulsory check on population and the universalisation of elementary education. If we achieve these, the extraordinary vistas would definitely be within our reach and the third millennium will find this subcontinent free from biases and imbalances such those between urban and rural, rich and poor, male and female, upper caste and lower caste and secular and conservative.


When home is hell

This refers to the article: "When home is hell" by Mohinder Singh (January 14).It is rather disturbing to note that 56 per cent of women interviewed under the NationalFamily Health Survey supported the use of force to "discipline" wives in certain circumstances.

If this was not enough, there is another very disturbing news for those who are agitating against wife-beating. This is new theory propagated by Laura Doyle — the most controversial anti-feminist to emerge in America. She is promoting the philosophy that women are happiest when they obey their husband at all times. This may cheer up the tribe of husbands the world over but this blind advocacy of complete surrender of a wife to her husband is rather unreasonable.

It is pity that middle class homes are prone to violence. Although I agree that police and courts can, at best, play a supportive role yet there is a crying need for a sustained action to train judiciary and make police sensitive to this issue. We have to change the prevailing mindset that the bread-earner (in most cases, the husband), makes rules for the house. Empowerment of women will also go a long way in wiping out this abuse. It is high time that special mechanisms to provide support to victims of violence are put in place.

We need a new set of special laws to address this problem. We must strengthen the National Commission for Women both at the Centre and state levels and provide them the much-needed teeth and also gear up the mechanism of family courts to enable them deal with this problem more effectively. The victims of violence — the housewives suffer in silence. The society must restore the balance of this historically unequal relationship between husband and wife.

New Delhi

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