The muse that amuses
THIS refers to Rajnish Wattas’s ‘I muse to amuse’ (August 26). What proof could the writer give to prove that humour seems to have vanished from present-day journalism and literature? He rightly laments the excessive dose of political analysis and lofty editorials in newspapers and magazines. Political mud-slinging and verbal duels take most of the space in newspapers. Gone are the days when one expected wit, humour and pun in the speeches of political leaders in the Parliament. Modern journalism, including cartoons, fail to come up with anything humorous.
There were times when the weekend magazine of a newspaper would bring humorous writings, stories and jokes. But today it is no different from the main section except that there are multi-coloured photos on glossy paper.
While the writer has made an objective and convincing study of humour in literature in a historical perspective, it is ironical that the claim ‘to amuse’ has remained prosaic and unfulfilled. A good opportunity of reviving humour or at least creating some humour has painfully been lost. The writer fails to make his readers laugh, in spite of his writing about great humorists whose very presence would have tickled the readers.
Ved Guliani, Hisar
Though humourous writing is a very difficult art, it makes one’s moroseness vanish.
There is no doubt that humour appeals to the heart. Again, humour-writing is not contrived or artificial piece of writing. R.K. Narayan is an epitome of humour of simplicity.
Hans Raj Jain, Moga
The learned writer has written, "There is a perception that humourous prose is not significant as serious writing. Also, that stories which make one laugh cannot be as great as stories that make one cry." I think the perception is not true as far as a majority of readers/critics are concerned. Most of humorous books have attained great success and they are still read.
Serious writing cannot take the place of humorous writing and cannot be called better only on the basis of its seriousness, even a tragedy becomes more powerful if it is written with a touch of humour.
Shri Bhagwan Bawwa, Rewari
Did Netaji actually die in 1945?
This refers to V.N. Datta’s article "Did Netaji actually die in 1945?" (August 19). If there is one single aspect of India’s Independence that continues to intrigue people, it is the death of Subhas Chandra Bose that has been the subject of one of the most enduring controversies of Independent India, and the mandate of two commissions of enquiry — the Shahnawaz Committee and the Khosla Commission — since then. Neither arrived at any conclusion, though each made several recommendations.
Then late in 1999, the Vajpayee government, too, constituted a panel — the Justice M.K. Mukherjee Commission to enquire into Netaji’s death. Whether or not it is headed in any particular direction is not known.
The Mukherjee Commission is said to have spent most of its time (over 25 months) just unravelling red tape! Now that it has started functioning actively, perhaps, we can look forward to more fruitful contribution than that of the last two.
In hindsight, the two commissions — one of which went out of its way to suggest that Bose was only a pawn — were for some compelling reason careful not to do their job well. And the answer is possibly every bit as intriguing as the very ‘disappearance’ of Bose.
K.M. Vashisht, Mansa
The question of Subhas Chandra Bose’s death continues to plague the minds of the common people of India even after 54 years of Independence. I agree with the writer that the rulers before and after Independence adopted a casual attitude towards the mystery of disappearance of Netaji. Many people still believe that he is alive. Our national dailies also reflect the same sentiment as they carry articles and controversial reports about his doubtful end from time to time. Ordinary people who have little knowledge of history have come to spin a large number of tales and myths about Netaji. All this shows the tremendous popularity Netaji enjoyed among the masses. The struggle of his life inspires every Indian. "You give me your blood and I shall give you freedom" — these words of Netaji will always keep him alive. He will never die in Indian history. Those who sacrifice themselves for the sake of their nation and motherland are never forgotten by the common people.
Raj Bahadur Dehati, Rewari
The article was a well-researched piece on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s life as also his death in an air crash in 1945. The BJP government has needlessly appointed the Justice J.C. Mukherji Commission to once again go into the question of Netaji’s death.
What more could the Mukherji Commission say what has not been said by Justice G.D. Khosla who took four years to confirm the death of Netaji on August 18, 1945.
Appointment of any commission (s) after the evidence of Dr Tameyoshi, who attended on Netaji and said he died on August 18, 1945 is just an exercise in futility which would only mean wasting the country’s resources.
S.S. Jain, Chandigarh
It’s really sad that till today we do not know that really happened to Subhas Chandra Bose. It because not even a single investigation carried out so far has been thorough enough and all sorts of rumours still persist. We Indians, particularly our politicians, do not want emotionally-sensitive issues to die down. This case is a classic example of our psyche. As a nation it is really a matter of shame for us that even we today we do not know what really happened.
B.M. Puri, Solan