Saturday, August 25, 2001
M A I L  B O X

The thread which binds

APROPOS of Satish K. Kapoor’s "The thread which binds" (August 4), it is true that the festival of Raksha Bandhan dates back thousands of years, although its form has undergone a change. It originated when the wife of Raja Indira, the King of Gods, tied the first rakhi to her husband to serve as an amulet of preservation in the war against demons.

The custom led to many interesting events in history, often causing a turn in warfare. The offer of a rakhi to Porus by the daughter of a Greek General changed the course of the war. The importance of rakhi grew a great deal in the times of the Rajputs. There are stories of Rajput princesses and Mughal emperors that show how evil designs gave way to affectionate relationships with the bond of rakhi.


Case for drinking

In his write-up "A case for moderate drinking" (August 4), Khushwant Singh has remarked that the word sharaab is derived from aab (water) and shar (mischief) and although the Koran denounces sharaab as haraam, it holds out a promise to the believers that they will have it in Paradise.

Sharaab, in Arabic, means any drink — even simple water and sherbet. It is an original word and is not derived from aab and shar.

According to Soorat Al-Maaidah (5), the votaries of Islam are forbidden to take wine. In Soorat Mohammad (47), it is mentioned that in the Paradise, promised to the righteous, there are canals of wine, a delight to those who drink. Here wine means sharaab-e-tahoor, i.e. the holy non-intoxicating heavenly beverage and not the alcoholic liquor.



Khushwant Singh has tried to quote scriptures to defend the indefensible. Whether wine was used as an ingredient of ‘gods’ cocktail’ or it enhanced a yogi’s mystical experiences or even if it is used in Jewish and Christian religious rituals, there can be no doubt that drinking has caused socio-cultural and material destruction. Many a home has been ruined and promising talent rendered futile under its impact.



In the article, the writer mentions Dr Honinberger, who prepared brandy for Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a Hungarian. To my knowledge, he was a German. The brandy was a mixture of raw spirit, crushed pearls musk, opium, gravy and spices. Exact proportions of these the good doctor left obscure.

New Delhi


Drinking in either form, moderate or extreme, is ruinous. It destroys our health, wealth and reputation. Gandhiji denounced it, saying it destroys human body, soul and mind.

The writer says that drinking in moderation creates social bonding. But the truth is that such bonding is only with drunkards. It certainly does not help a yogi enhance his mystical experience. In fact, the consumption of liquor minimises the benefits of yoga.


Phoolan Devi

Apropos of "A dacoit or a dasyu sundari?" by Khushwant Singh (August 11), Phoolan Devi’s is a very engaging but tragic tale. It seems as she was a product of unfortunate circumstances and unwise social mores. Why should a woman be married against her will?

Phoolan Devi’s story exhorts women to assert themselves. They should not submit to the will of their families to be transferred like chattel from one house to another. They must have a dominant role in shaping their lives, including choosing their husbands.


Reading handwriting

This refers to "Read yourself in what you write" by D.C. Sharma (August 4).

In the West, graphology is being increasingly used by banks and industries in the recruitment process, as this science provides reliable clues to the writer’s (i.e. employee’s) mind. Moreover, it is an economical and simple method of personality analysis.

In European countries, graphology is taught as a subject at university level.