Tuesday, February 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Why marriages split

Apropos When marriages split by Anjali Dewan, the causative factors to this alarming issue are perhaps the over and unnecessary exposure to education, lack of qualitative competitiveness and egoistic attitude created by TV serials. All this has made both the sexes highly egoistic, self-centered and irresponsive towards one’s duties, towards society and the family structure.

In our patriarchal society, the status of a girl rapidly changes after marriage — to a wife, an aunt and then a mother in one or two years. Our girls have become more sensitive to rights than being dutiful, thanks to our exposure to modern culture, the media and educational set-up.

Grannies and grandpas of joint families are not required at all for our new generation as their advice is pinching. They put restrictions on their so-called freedom. Human beings were much more humane in the primitive age as compared to the present highly civilised era. Sorry to say, but education has taken away patience, humility and submissiveness from the so-called modern society and has ingrained ego, haughtiness and selfishness in it.

Perhaps one’s accountability to self, to society and to the Almighty seems to be the only solution to this problem.

Dr J.S. BHOGAL, Dasuya


Not an easy catch

The letter by Anjali Dewan titled When marriages split (Jan 30), insinuates that despite the atrocities committed on a girl, the only course left open to her is to live in her husband’s house. I strongly disagree with her point of view that a single woman is an “easy catch” or an “unwelcome entity”. In this age when women like Kiran Bedi and Kalpana Chawla have carved a niche for themselves in the areas which were at one time considered to be the male domain, she is talking about being “Mrs so and so” as the only entity which a woman can have. I also fail to understand what she finds so degrading about a woman reverting to her maiden name.

Marriage, of course, is the most momentous event in the course of one’s life. It is a merger of two arcs to form a circle. It is a relationship of mutual inter-dependence. Thus, it becomes the responsibility of both partners to nurture it and to make it work. But if, due to reasons beyond control, divorce becomes inevitable, one should face it squarely and with a head held high. Simply stated, divorce is an agreement to get apart. There is nothing shameful about it. Treating it as a “stigma” is more a misconception in the minds than on the status of a single woman. These are basic complexes from which each woman has to emerge out. If a woman treats her own self with due respect and dignity, I feel no one can even dare to cross the line which she draws for others, let alone treat her as an “easy catch”.

At this juncture, it would not be out of place to mention that the parents too have a very strong role to play. Their duty does not end with finding a “suitable match” for their daughter but goes far beyond that. They ought to provide a strong emotional support to her in case of such an eventuality (like divorce) and be her anchor when she is groping to find her own identity which is being something other than a “Mrs so and so”.

Dr VANDANA, Panchkula

Love vs arranged marriage

It is funny when people discuss love marriage versus arranged marriage. It is like asking a person if he would like to hang himself or shoot his brain out.


Insulting the dead

Prithvi Raj Chauhan was the last Rajput Samrat of Ajmer and Delhi. Mohammad Ghori and he were sworn enemies. In 1192 AD betrayed by his kinsmen, he was defeated by Ghori, who took him captive, blinded and incarcerated him in Afghanistan, where he languished till his death.

Information recently surfacing reveals that Prithvi Raj and his court poet, Chand Bardai, are interred in the same premises as Mahmud of Ghazni and Ghori. However, what is disquieting, disconcerting and repugnant is that the burial was so designed that a visitor proceeding to the graves of Ghazni or Ghori has no option but to tread over the burial place of Chauhan and Chand Bardai. If so, it is a compulsive abuse, as this act defiles and desecrates their resting place. The act is un-Islamic and a gross abuse of human rights of their mortal remains. They do not find peace even in eternal sleep.

Now when a liberal and friendly government is ensconced in Afghanistan, the Indian government will be well advised to approach the former for the retrieval of their mortal remains to their motherland for performance of their obsequies. If the remains of Napoleon, could be retrieved by France from St Helena for a state funeral, the remains of Czar Nicholas II and his family members could be reburied with dignity after discovery at St Peterburgh, then the Government of India should not shy away from retrieval of the remains of our countrymen, for a befitting last farewell to them.

V.I.K. SHARMA, IAS (retd.). Jalandhar


State of archives

Punjab State Archives, Patiala, has not received due attention from any government during the last half a century. The post of State Archivist is lying vacant and an Assistant Archivist is supervising its functions. There has been no librarian for the last several years. Out-dated methods are applied to preserve the old records. Lamination, once a popular technique still used by Punjab Archives, is being felt by INTACH-Indian Council of Conservation Institute as a harmful technique for the brittle paper.

Punjab State Archives should have the latest facilities to preserve the old records such as digital cameras to digitise the records, scanners, computers, microfilming units etc. For the longevity of its records, it should have airconditioned stack areas, properly controlled humidity, fumigation chambers etc. At present there is no separate research room. One has to consult the records by sitting along with the staff. It should also have funds to purchase the latest research publications written on the basis of the old records of the archives. Even scholars who extensively use it forget to send a complimentary copy to the state archives.

Because of the old building there is dampness, humidity and no proper cleanliness of the old records. An up-to-date cataloguing of books, indexing of old records, training to the staff are other aspects being overlooked. The present Chief Minister is well aware of the value of old records as this family has carefully preserved a number of rare manuscripts. We would like to see an electronically updated archives with all facilities so that our coming generations may not blame us for our negligence.

Dr H.S. CHOPRA, Amritsar

Not in good taste

The RSS chief, Mr K.S. Sudarshan’s recent statement that the recitation of “Gurbani” from Dasam Granth at Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib proves that the Sikhs are part of the Hindus is not in good taste. He has ignored the fact that at the three Sikh Takhts in Punjab “Gurbani” is recited from Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Before his death, Guru Gobind Singh vested spiritual leadership of the Sikh community in Sri Guru Granth Sahib and not in Dasam Granth, a major part of which does not constitute his compositions. In Dasam Granth, the tenth Guru has unequivocally declared: “Main na Ganeseh prathm manaaon/Kisan Bisan kabhon na dhiaon” (I do not adore Mahesh nor propitiate Krishan and Vishnu); “Simirt Saastar Bed sabhai bahe bhed kahain ham ek na maanyo” (I do not believe what the Smirtis, Shashtras and Vedas say) and “Tumhein chhor koi avar na dhiaon/Jo bar chahon so tum tey paaon” (I do not worship anybody other than you — God. Whatever boon I want, I seek it from you).

The Sikh Gurus exhorted their followers to worship God only and forbade the adoration of gods and goddesses and observance of customs, practices, usages and ceremonies of Hindus. Even the salutations — “Sat Sri Akal” (True is the Timeless God) and “Wahguruji ka Khalsa Wahguruji kee Fatah” (God’s is the Khalsa, God’s is the victory), with which a Sikh greets another Sikh, are different from those of the Hindus.

There is no doubt that the Sikhs have a distinct separate entity and they do not require a certificate from the RSS chief in this regard.

The Sikh Gurus never preached hatred for any other faith or its adherents. “Ek pita ekas key ham baarik..” i.e., Our Father (God) is one and we all (irrespective of our castes and creeds) are His children, said Guru Arjan Dev. The Tenth Guru declared: “Saach kaon sun leho sabhai jin prem keo tin hee Prabh paaeo” (Hear you all I speak the truth. He who loves obtains God).

Mr Sudarshan should desist from uttering any such thing as may hurt the sentiments of the votaries of other religions or disturb communal harmony, which is the very basis of our secular democracy. Had not Allama Iqbal rightly said?

“Shakti bhee shaanti bhee bhagton key geet mein hai.

Dharti key baasiyon kee multi preet mein hai.”


Religion doesn’t matter

Recently the RSS chief made a statement that all Sikhs are Hindus and all Hindus are Sikhs. Some Sikhs have objected to his statement.

Akali Sikhs did not protest when they were clubbed with the Hindu religion in 1950. Instead, they demanded, and got, SC/ST status for Sikhs on a par with the Hindu SC/STs, thereby accepting the Hindu caste system, which was against the Sikh Gurus’ teachings.

Akali leaders perform havans, Ramayan paths, go to Mansa Devi and Vaishno Devi. Sikhs celebrate Hindu festivals. During militancy there were no Hindu-Sikh riots. Common Hindus and Sikhs do not believe they are different, but politicians make such noises to preserve their vote banks.

The real reason for clubbing the Sikhs with the Hindus along with Buddhs and Jains is their origin on Indian soil. The Buddhists living in other countries are not defined as Hindus. What matters the most is we should be proud of India and be loyal to it. Religion, region, caste and creed do not matter.

DEEP BRAR, Faridkot

All for political mileage

A few days ago K.S. Sudarashan’s remarks that all Sikhs are Hindus and all Hindus are Sikhs has created confusion. It is not important to notice such remarks made by politicians. However, what is important is Hindus and Sikhs should remain united.

Ever since I was born I saw my maternal grandfather wearing the turban and a few of my relatives, though Brahmins, practise Sikh customs. Many others who are Hindus wear the turban, grow beard, adore Hindu gods as well as Sikh Gurus.

Our roots are the same. Some sanctimonious people pretending greater devotion towards their religion either belonging to the Akali parties or the R.S.S. can say anything for political mileage.

SURESH SHARMA, MachhiwaraTop

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