Saturday, November 23, 2002
M A I L  B O X

Worshipping the cow & how

THIS refers to "Worshipping the cow and how!" by Reeta Sharma (November 9). The writer rightly pointed to the hypocrisy prevalent in out society where only productive cows are worshipped and the old and sick cows are abandoned. The killing of five Dalits in Jhajjar district shows how politicians exploit the common man. And equally responsible was that frenzied mob which could not see through the politicians’ games.

The cow is considered sacred in the Hindu religion but the life of a human being is more sacred not only in Hinduism but in every religion of the world.

Manu Moudgil, Chandigarh

Art of conversation

Apropos of "Cultivating the are of conversation" by Khushwant Singh (November 9), although knowledge is necessary to make intelligent conversation but the importance of common sense cannot be underplayed. To acquire common sense, books are not necessary. This can be had by experience. However, a person should have some knowledge of the subject on which he converses. To acquire this, one has to make an honest and sincere effort.

P.L. Sethi, Patiala



The writer has rightly said that knowledge is vital for any kind of conversation. It, undoubtedly, looks awkward if you have nothing to say when in a group. The reason for this is often a lack of knowledge. Sometimes it could be a language. If one is not conversant with the language in which a particular discussion is being carried out, one tends to keep away from it even if one has ample knowledge.

It is good to maintain a balance between talking and listening while participating in a conversation. How one projects one’s views, one’s way of speaking etc, all reflect one’s personality.

Sumit Gulati, Chandigarh

Sant Kabir

This refers to "Thus spake Sant Kabir" by Khushwant Singh (November 2).

Kabir (1398-1448), a saint and a mystic of the Hindu Bhakti movement of the 15th century, was not only "influenced by the teachings of Hindu Bhaktas", but was also impressed by Islamic doctrines. He is, therefore, revered both by the Hindus and the Muslims. He is also regarded as the forerunner of Sikhism, which aims to coalesce and synthesise the essential Hindu and Muslim elements into a single creed and article of faith.

Kabir was by all accounts unparalleled for he was just not a poet in the ordinary sense of the term, but also the founder of a sect.

Kabir was a monotheist, who firmly believed that there was only one God.

His ‘dohas’ (couplets) know no regional barriers. These are expressions of the universal and all embracing Truth, and are sung all over India. Some of these have been translated exquisitely by Ahmad Ali. It is, indeed, gratifying to learn from Khushwant Singh that Kartar Singh Duggal has rendered Kabir in poetic form, and that his translation makes "pleasanter rendering’ than those of his predecessors.

Deepak Tandon, Panchkula

Fire-flies and glow-worms

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s observation on the absence" of fire-flies (jugnu) but presence of lots of glow-worms, in Kasauli in rain, puppy dogs and spiders" (October 19). Both fire-flies and glow-worms represent two phases of the life-cycle of the same insect species. In many cases the males are winged and capable of flight while the adult females are larva-like and wingless, consequently incapable of flight. The flying adult males are called fire-flies whereas the adult larva-like females are referred to as glow-worms. There are, however, some species where both sexes have wings and can fly. Since 1954, I have been observing, in Manali (HP), the presence of both winged males and wingless females, though the winged forms are less frequently seen than the wingless females. There is a possibility that in the species occurring around Kasauli both sexes are wingless, hence the absence of fire-flies (jugnu).

Santokh Singh, Jalandhar City

Swami Ram Tirath

This refers to Sansar Chandra’s write-up "Swami Ram and his Ram Varsha" (October 26).

Simplicity was the hallmark of Swami Ram Tirath’s pesonality. He spent only one anna on his meals daily. He left the post of a professor and started preaching patriotism and exhorting people to live spiritually. His relatives and some other people said that he had gone mad. Allama Iqbal was his great admirer. He remarked that if Tirath Ram was mad then there was no sane person in the world.

Bhagwan Singh, Qadian

Power of silence

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s The power of silence" (November 16). In the present day world of competitive professional and materialistic approach, very few people are at peace with themselves since they fail to realise the significance of true silence. Man is neither at peace with himself nor is he free from his involvements howsoever illusory, meaningless or painful they might be.

Hence one needs to develop a habit of silence, not just of the tongue but the ‘silence of the mind’. Many people call it the goal of all meditation. We need to learn to throw out all our thoughts from the mind and be in a state of trance. We must not think of anything, when in such a state. Though it is very difficult, yet that alone can ensure enduring peace.

Ved Guliani, Hisar