Marriages that hit headlines

THE article “Love is not elsewhere”, by Vimla Patil (Spectrum, March 7) was interesting. It made one wonder why celebrities go in for marriages with people who are much younger or older even at the risk of damaging their public image.

In the past too some such marriages became the topic of the day. Cine star and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao married Laxmi Paravati, almost half of his age, who was an ardent fan and wanted to write his biography.

Periyar EV Ramaswami Naicker, the founder of Dravida Kazhagam (DK) married his secretary Maniamma much to the annoyance of his loyal deputy CN Anandurai who in protest broke away and founded Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

K.M. Munshi, a founder of Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan and a Cabinet Minister in Nehru’s government came across a damsel in distress, Lilavati, who had literary and artistic tastes. She had walked out of her turbulent marriage and needed protection which he provided by tying knot with her.

A witticism on their married life has become a famous quote: “Lila, look! Your children and my children are playing with our children”.

V.K. RANGRA, Delhi



Khudai Khidmatgars fought 1946 elections with zeal

There is a historically wrong statement in “An autobiography mired in politics” (Spectrum, Dec 7, 2003). In the last paragraph of the second column, it is said that “if Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s party had not boycotted the 1946 elections, not only the election results in North-West Frontier Province, but the history of the whole sub-continent would have been different”.

With great respect to the author, C. B. Gupta, this statement is totally against facts. The truth of the matter is that the Khudai Khidmatgars (also called Red Shirts) — the party of the Khan — fought the 1946 elections with the vigour and zeal of a crusader for freedom, of course, under the banner of the Congress with which it was completely aligned. And the result was that the Congress bagged 30 seats in a house of 50 and formed government under the premiership of Dr Khan Sahib. So, where is the boycott?

And if the author has in mind some other election-like event, then that event was referendum (and not election) and it happened in the year 1947 and not 1946. No doubt, Khan’s party boycotted it, but there was no way out. The choice given in that referendum was “Pakistan or India?” With India, NWFP had no geographical link. Otherwise also the communal situation was such that anybody uttering “India” ran the risk of his life. Therefore, the province was bound to go with Pakistan automatically.

The frontier (NWFP) Congress and the Khudai Khidmatgars wanted the issue to be “Pakhtunistan or Pakistan?” But the Viceroy said that he could agree to amend the issue only if the parties agreed. But the question of Jinnah agreeing did not arise, and the Congress had already deserted the frontier.

Strangely, some of the top leaders of the Congress, totally oblivious of the ground situation, were pressing Khan to participate in the referendum. Gandhiji alone understood the situation and knew that this participation would lead to bloodshed. Hence the boycott.

And if the history of the NWFP or the sub-continent today is not what the author wishes it should have been, he has only to thank the leaders of his own party, who, in the words of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, had thrown them to the wolves. Therefore, the author should offer regrets to the late Khan brothers at least posthumously, and to their people, rather than blame those noble souls.



Women’s growth

Apropos of the article “Give them bread and roses too” (Spectrum, March 7), to ensure a more meaningful celebration of Women’s Day, a holistic approach needs to be followed for women’s development programmes.

As a first step, we must identify their real needs, recognise their new roles in the age of information and technological advances and ensure their involvement and empowerment at every stage in planning and implementation of all resource development programmes.

Development of creative skills and entrepreneurial abilities in women is important to achieving sustained socio-economic security for women and lending more meaning to Women’s Day.

M.S. BAJWA, Ludhiana

Helping kids

Apropos of Taru Bahl’s write-up “Protection without intrusion” (March 14), many parents force their children to follow a rigid schedule with fixed hours for food, sleep and recreation. No wonder, a majority of such children in urban and metropolitan areas have fallen victims to depression and many amongst them have contemplated and even attempted suicide.

It is very few enlightened parents, who understand and appreciate a child’s needs and aspirations. They realise that bringing up a child is not about forcing their own ambitions on him. A proper and healthy grooming of a child’s personality lies in encouraging intellectual development in a congenial atmosphere.


Examining stress

Apropos of Prerana Trehan’s “Testing times” (Windows, March 13), in today’s competitive world, pressure on children is mounting. Every parent hopes that his child will come first or at least do well in examinations.

The expectations of the parents lead to behaviour problems in children and thus result in depression which may lead them to commit suicides.

The real challenge is to reform the system in such a way as to do away with most of the defects and at the same time ensure efficiency. It is advisable to regard examinations as a reward for hard work which one has done throughout the year.

Parents and teachers should make the environment very congenial to work in and make the things easier for the student.


Hard work pays

This refers to Reeta Sharma’s article “She redesigned her life” (Windows, March 13).

Anuradha has set an example for others that age and time are not barriers for those who want to succeed. Hard work never goes waste. Age and time constraints have no place in the way to success.


Omar Khayyam

In his write-up “Khayyam was a rationalist” (Windows, March 13), Khushwant Singh has mentioned that Omar Khayyam was a distinguished mathematician, physicist and astronomer, but it was three centuries later that he was discovered as a poet. This is not correct.

Khayyam was at the pinnacle of his fame as a poet many years before his death. Lovers of poetry read and heard his Rubaiyat with relish. However, these were rendered into English about five centuries later.



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