Saturday, September 8, 2001
M A I L  B O X

When and where was Rama born?

THIS refers to the write-up on Shashi Tharoor’s novel Riot (August 25) by Khushwant Singh.

The writer seems to have made no effort to acquire knowledge about authentic Ramayana literature. Mentions of the incidents described in the Ramayana can be traced in the works of Bhas, Kalidas and others. A novel by Shashi Tharoor cannot be a proper source of information.

It is suggested that the writer consult the text of the Valmiki Ramayana as contained in its Critical Edition (Vadodra). In my view, works of Dr V.Raghvan, C.V. Vaidya, G.S. Altekar and Herman Jacobi cannot be ignored by anyone who wishes to find the truth about the life and times of Lord Rama.

Shyam Sunder, Jalandhar


The period between the close of the Rig Vedic period and the rise of Buddhism in India is known as the Epic Age. Many events described in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, occurred during this period.

The Ramayana is the oldest and the most renowned epic of the Hindus. It is believed that this important epic was written near about 3000 B.C. but many Western historians do not agree with this date.

However, it is an admitted fact that Ramayana was written much before the Mahabharata took place. So it can safely be said that the Ramayana was written sometimes between 200 B.C. and 1000 B.C.

O.P. Sharma, Faridabad

A greener tomorrow

This refers to the article "Towards a greener tomorrow" R.N. Malik and Anoop Kumar (August 25).

The authors have rightly said that Delhi is the greenest city in North India. The credit for this goes to Edwin Lutyens, who studied the existing flora and fauna of the country and then selected the trees to be planted in Delhi. The selected trees are well-suited to our agro-climactic conditions and are hardy.

In Chandigarh the tree plantation plan failed to a great extent mainly because of the selection of exotic flowering tree species.

We shouldn’t go in for such species for avenue plantation as live only for one or two decades and need replacement and don’t provide any shade in hot summer months. Our approach to landscaping should be based on having comfortable surrounding during the summer months. We should select trees that are evergreen or deciduous, which can provide shade in summer. The other important factor is the adaptability of the selected trees to our agro-climactic conditions.

S.P.S Dosanjh, Ludhiana

The brother-sister bond

Apropos Khushwant Singh’s "Reflections on the brother-sister bond" (August 18), history abounds in instances of women belonging to a different faiths sending raakhis to rulers in particular.

Rani Karmavati of Chittor sent a raakhi to Mughal king Humayum soliciting his help against Bahadarshah, the ruler of Gujarat. It’s another matter that Humayun who was busy fighting Sher Shah Suri forgot his duty towards the Rani who committed jauhar to save her honour when Rajputs lost the battle.

When Alexendar entered India, Rukhsana, Alexendar’s beloved, gave a raakhi to King Porus and sought protection for her much-loved Alexendar. King Porus had an opportunity to kill Sikander, but Rukhsana flashed before his eyes. Like a true Hindu he left Sikander who later captured king Porus. On being questioned how he should be treated, Porus said in bold words: As a king would treat a king. Alexendar returned to Porus the territory he had captured. And Porus presented to Alexendar Rukhsana who had been kept in good grace by her King Porus. Such are the bonds that tie brother-sister.

S.S. Jain, Chandigarh

Ignoble savage

This refers to "The ignoble savage" by Kuldip Dhiman (August 18). The writer has relied on various theories as expounded by Konard Lorenz who borrowed Freud’s hydraulic model of the brain and has argued that we have an innate drive to aggressive behaviour towards our own species and that upbringing can either turn us into highly intolerable beings or shape us into noble savages.

Basically man is an animal. With the advent of civilisation he was tamed to act in such a manner that he might not be aggressive at least to his own species. In spite of all social and legal sanctions against aggression man still remains a tamed animal.

In certain exceptional cases the gentle qualities of behaviour may remain consistent otherwise in the large majority of cases behaviour remains aggressive but it remains under check from fear of retaliation. Intellect works both ways: towards aggression as well as godly acts depending upon the environment one lives in at a particular moment.

Harjindar Singh Tangri, Faridkot

Phoolan Devi

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s write-up "A dacoit or a dasyu sundari?"  (August 11).

Phoolan Devi was exploited and brutalised. The savage treatment meted out to her by some upper caste Thakurs of Behmai, was an outrageous insult to the womankind. They not only raped her repeatedly, but also paraded her naked through the streets of their village. Phoolan did not take the humiliation lying down and avenged the same. She joined a gang of dacoits led by Baba Mustaqueem and killed 20 Thakurs.

However, the massacre in Behmai was as shocking as Phoolan’s murder in New Delhi.

Bhagwan Singh, Qadian