Tuesday, October 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Humour & linguistic differences

THIS refers to Punam Khaira Sidhu’s beautifully written middle “Malwa versus Majha” (Oct. 8). There are many more interesting anecdotes about Malwa doing rounds in Majha as under.

1. The primer prescribed for teaching Punjabi alphabets contains “Oora” for “ooth” (camel), “Haha” for “hal” (plough), “ghagha” for “gharra” (pitcher) etc along with the photographs of a camel, a plough and a pitcher at the right places. But students in Malwa recite them as “Oora” for “bota”, “Haha” for “munna” and “ghagha” for “mut” as the camel, the plough and the pitcher are known in Malwa.

2. In the olden days some men from Malwa went all the way to Amritsar to pay homage at the Darbar Sahib and enjoyed free langar and repeated dips in the holy “sarowar” during the summer heat for many days. They liked it so much that after almost six months they started on a similar pilgrimage to Amritsar again. When they boarded the bus with an old Perkin engine at Harike after crossing the boat-bridge over the Sutlej on foot, the conductor asked them, ‘’For which place do you want the tickets?” They replied, “Guru Ki Nagri” as they had forgotten the name of Amritsar by then. The conductor issued them tickets for Tarn Taran, which is also a “Guru Ki Nagri” on the way to Amritsar. When they reached the Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran, they saw that a “miracle” had happened as the temple building was on one side of the “sarovar”. They said loudly, “Oh! Guruji, you are great. In summer you are in the centre of the tank and in winter you are out of it.”




3. Once a devotee from Malwa went to the Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, and stood in a queue for taking parsad. He noticed that everybody were receiving the parsad with both hands cupped together and eating it. When his turn came to receive it, the edible parsad made of wheat flour had finished and they had started giving a “Kaner” flower to everybody which a devotee had presented a basketful. This man took the parsad (flower) and started eating it. As the flower tasted bitter, he spat it out, thinking that definitely something had gone wrong somewhere. Bewildered, he looked at other people and realised that instead of eating, they were placing the flower in their turbans as a decorative piece. He stood in the queue again in order to rectify the mistake. When his turn came second time, the stock of flowers had finished and they started giving a mango instead. This person took the parsad (mango) and put it in his turban.

4. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was against recruiting Malwais in his army but that was the only major avenue of employment in those days. So they tried their best to sneak in somehow. The Maharaja would ask every candidate for recruitment to count loudly up to 20 in Punjabi in a breath. But there was a trap in it as Malwais would pronounce 11 as “gyaraan” in stead of “yaraan” and get caught. In order to enable Malwais to hide their real domicile, their well-wishers had advised them to tell the name of their village as “Valtoha” as it was the biggest and the most famous village of Majha. But at the time of interview they would forget this word and would, instead say loudly and confidently “Kadaha” and get caught. Incidentally, both these words pertain to two different cooking utensils and both are big ones.

Sqd. Ldr. B.S. Khehra, Patiala

MISTAKES: The correct word for the Punjabi dialect of Majha is not “Maijhailese” but “Majhi”. As one who belongs to Majha is called “majhail’ and the dialect he speaks is “Majhi”.

Second, “dudh-patti’ and ‘chah’ are not synonymous, but two different drinks. Third, Gurnam Singh, a former CM, was not a Majhaile, but Malwai hailing from Quila Raipur, near Ludhiana.

By nature, the Malwais are generally introvert, passive and rather pessimistic believing “whatever is, is right, “whereas majhails are extrovert and active, and above all, dashing believing in “eat, drink and be merry”. But the writer has topsy-turvied these traits.

Surjeet Mann, Sangrur

Why burn Ravana’s effigy?

If we turn the pages of history, we find that Ravana’s action was nothing as compared to the atrocities committed by Taimur, Nadir Shah, Ghaznavi, Changhez Khan and others. The massacre in Jallianwala Bagh, the ill-treatment meted out to our people under French and Portuguese rule are fresh examples of brutality. Even today there are merciless killings of innocent people by terrorists in temples and other holy places. There are hundreds of Ravanas in our country, who are engaged in anti-national and anti-social activities like corruption, smuggling, hoarding and black marketing. Why then the effigies of these people are not burnt? Why are they not flogged and shot to set an example for others?

There is no law of the land which permits repetition of the same punishment. Ravana has already been severely punished for his wrong-doings as his kith and kin were killed in the battlefield before his eyes. His kingdom was usurped.

Our holy and sacred books say that Ravana was no ordinary man. He was a great warrior, intellectual (having read the Vedas and other holy books) and a great worshipper of God. He had great reverence for Sita, and never looked at her face. He was so considerate a person that he himself premed duties as a Brahmin on two occasions. First, he performed “Victory Yagya” for Rama (when in exile) which, in fact, meant “defeat” for himself. Second, at the time of building of Rameshwaram Bridge, he performed “Shiv Poojan” for Rama. After “Yagyas” and “Poojan”, Ravana give “ashirwad” to Rama for victory.

When questioned why he gave his blessings for his defeat, prompt came the reply: “He was first a Brahmin and when he returns to Lanka he will again be Lankeshwar and fight with all his might.” Such was his greatness.

M.L. BATURA, Karnal

Rise in rape cases

There is hardly any day when newspapers do not carry a report about a rape of a girl/woman.

The Headmaster of a welfare school for Scheduled Castes sexually abused a 10-year-old girl student (“Headmaster held for sexual abuse”, October 4).

An incestuous uncle raped his 15-year old niece for several days. She became pregnant (“Girl raped by uncle”, October 4).

A five-year old girl was allegedly ravished by an unidentified person at Malerkotla (“5-year old raped”, October 6).

A bus conductor confessed to have raped two minor girls and strangled them (“Conductor held for raping, killing 2 minor sisters”, October 7).

A school is a temple of the goddess of learning. By his outrageous act, the Headmaster has brought disgrace to the pious profession of teaching. Is the honour of girl students safe where such rogues are posted?

There is a Persian saying: “Aan kheshtan gum ast kera rahbari kunad” (He himself has gone astray. How can he guide others?). Alas, “Jo ik nigaah sey kartey they khaak ko akseer/kahaan gaye voh mo’allim voh mehrbaan ustaad” (Where have gone those kind podagogues and teachers who transformed dust into elixir with a single look at it?).

The morally depraved people, who commit heinous crimes like rape, are not worthy of being accepted in society. They should be straightaway ostracised.

Quite often indecent advertisements, plebeian songs and the gestures of guys and gales, wearing scanty dress and capering in objectionable poses on TV are deserving of scorn. These pander to the lower passion of unscrupulous people. These should be stopped.

Religious institutions and social organisations should enlighten the people, who have declined below the moral standard of a civilised society on the proud cultural heritage of India and the necessity to maintain virtuous conduct and character.



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