|Saturday, July 21, 2001||
THIS refers to Gautam Kaul’s "The Gadar between real and reel history" (July 7). It is an established socio-cultural fact that a minority community reacts sharply at the slightest communal provocation for fear of being marginalised in the national mainstream. Such a reaction tends to grow stronger and more violent if the minority community hopes to get some moral support and sympathy from the neighbouring societies and countries. This has been, by and large, one of the major reasons for Hindu-Muslim riots in our country.
Hard-core fundamentalist elements would not allow any form of art and literature to deviate from their rigid stand. Had this issue of difference of opinion been limited to a healthy and creative debate, it would have been welcome. But what perturbs a right thinking person is the mob-violence instigated by the unscrupulous elements on both sides. Intolerance to new ideas and change in conventions has generally resulted in mutual hostility and further distancing of the communities.
Hence hostile reactions, be it to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses or Deepa Mehta’s Water and Fire or to M.F. Hussain’s paintings and now to the film Gadar are nothing but the dubious vested interests from both the communities playing upon the sentiments of gullible people.
Ved Guliani, Hisar
Why do real history and reel history get mixed up? I wonder why reel history cannot reveal real history? Why don’t our mainstream films dealing with issues related to the Muslims receive the endorsement of the Muslim community? Gadar is the latest Mumbai potboiler that has invited their protests. I fear that such repeated protests which films dealing with issues related to the Muslims attract may put a full stop to period films in general. I appeal to the audience to exercise restraint and behave in a dignified manner and indulge in a civilised form of protests when they find some- thing offensive in a film.
Onkar Chopra, Ludhiana.
Importance of bathing
This refers to the article "The importance of bathing" by Khushwant Singh (July 7) wherein the writer brings forth many interesting facts associated with bathing rituals in different countries and cultures.
He is right in pointing out that the Indian emphasis upon the ritual of a daily bath the first thing in the morning before any social engagements can be undertaken, is very significant. Our social norms as well as all religions attached great importance to it, for a clean mind lives in a clean body and physical dirtiness can’t conceivably promote spiritual uplift. Regular bathing means physical cleanliness, and hence less susceptibility to germs and infections.
Amritpal Tiwana, Kalka
Bathing is important in Hindu and Sikh culture because it metaphorically means the washing off of the sins of man. The holy tank of Guru Ram Dass in Sikhism or Har Ki Pauri in Hinduism stand for the purification of man’s life or the conquest of self.
The spiritual significance of bathing lies in making one’s life moral.
Hans Raj Jain, Moga
Case for rebellion
This refers to Jaswinder Sharma’s write up "A case for rebellion" (July 7). Kautilya’s Arthashastra, written about 2300 years ago, gives causes of unrest and rebellion.
He says that the greatest cause of the rebellion and unrest of the people is bad economic conditions. All people should have sufficient money and articles of food and other necessities. When there is a scarcity of these things, when people are impoverished, they rise against the king. According to Kautilya, the king should try his best to improve the economic conditions of his subjects and thus remove the main cause of rebellion/unrest.
O.P. Sharma, Faridabad
This refers to Khushwant Singh’s write-up "An astral encounter" (June 30).
There is no doubt that no astrologer has ever predicted national tragedies like assassination of Prime Ministers, cyclones, earthquakes, etc. Yet many people have faith in astrology. Many candidates for elections, before filing their nomination papers, consult astrologers, who predict their success, although only one person is returned from a constituency.
Humayun was conversing with astrologers on the roof of his palace, when he heard the call to evening prayers. While descending the stairs he fell down and died after a couple of days. No astrologer foretold the fate that awaited the king.
A famous Tunisian astrologer, Hassen Charni, predicted that Pope John Paul II would die in August 1998 and that the world would be shaken by nuclear warfare on July 17, 1999. Neither of the two things has happened.
On the eve of the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, Erika Cheetham, a leading authority on Nostradamus, predicted that the then Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, would emerge stronger than before. However, the Congress did not fare well under his leadership and could not form a government at the Centre. He was deprived of party presidentship and denied a ticket for the next Lok Sabha elections.
Bhagwan Singh, Qadian