Saturday, August 3, 2002
M A I L  B O X

Lethargy versus hard work

THIS refers to "Why bother to work hard" (July 13) by Khushwant Singh. Of late, the writer seems to have run short of good topics for his weekly column and consequently he goes on about prescribing wrong medicines for his fellowmen. As if eroding people’s belief in the concept ‘you reap as you sow’, was not enough (June 29), he goes a step further to dissuade people from hard work by lauding lackadaisical attitudes and speaking disparagingly about labour and hard work.

This is in sharp contrast to what Jawaharlal Nehru used to insist upon by saying, "aaraam haraam hai". Nations progress only by dint of hard work. Sanskrit maxim, "Siddhir bhavati karmaja" (success comes through work) also says the same thing.

However, if the writer gives more marks to the person endowed with the virtue of true contentment in comparison to a workaholic, he is right. The only pitfall to be avoided is that the ‘sour grapes’ syndrome should not be confused with a sense of contentment.

RAM VIR, Faridabad


Fruits of one’s labour

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s "You don’t always reap as you sow", (June 29).

The article is a reflection of how an average Indian thinks these days. However, it is not entirely appropriate. Would any responsible parent like to quote the example of the politicians the writer has mentioned to his children?

VINISH GARG, Panchkula

Shakespeare in Bengali

This letter refers to Khushwant Singh’s column, "This above all" (June 29). It is rather amusing to know that though the writer has been "curious to know if Shakespeare has been translated in other Indian languages and his plays put on the stage", he has heard of any being put on the Kolkata stage". I would like to inform him that on March 8, 1919, Othello, translated into Bengali by Sri Debendranath Basu, was staged in the erstwhile Star theatre. Right from 1890, a large number of Shakespeare’s plays have been regularly translated into the Bengali. Sourendranath Mukherjee translated Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, Two Gentlemen from Verona, Cymbeline and As you like it. Jatindramohan Ghosh translated King Lear, while Romeo and Juliet was translated by the famous 19th century Bengali poet, Sri Hemchandra Bandopadhay (Banerjee). Twelfth Night, or What You Will, was translated by Pashupati Bhattacharya.

Debendranath Basu translated Anthony and Cleopatra, while Julius Caesar was translated by Jatindranath Tagore. All these plays were translated during 1890-1920.

Girish Ghosh, doyen of the 19th century Bengali stage, mesmerised audiences with his performance as Macbeth, which he himself directed.

Shakespeare’s appeal to the Bengali heart has not ebbed till date. It might be mentioned that the famous actor-director, late Utpal Datta, acted in and directed Chaitali Rater Sapno, a translation of Shakespeare’s A Mid Summer Night’s Dream in the 1990s, which ran to packed houses for several months at a stretch in Rabindra Sadan, the premiere theatre of Kolkata.

Another highly popular Bengali play, Srimati Bhanjankari, is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

Besides these illustrious persons, countless (and nameless) local clubs and theatre groups, as well as students of schools and colleges, put up Shakespeare’s plays regularly on the stage, both in original as well as in Bengali translations.

R. DATTA RAY, Jalandhar

.................................... This feature was published on July 27, 2002