Ruskin Bond’s passion for hills and nature

While reviewing Ganesh Saili’s book, ‘Ruskin — Our Enduring Bond’ (Spectrum, Jan 9), Aradhika Sekhon has aptly observed that Ruskin Bond is “as fundamental to Mussoorie and Landour as the rocks and trees on the hillside”.

Indeed, Bond inherited his passion for the hills and nature from his father, Aubrey Bond, who died when Ruskin was just 10. The murmuring sounds of brooks and rivulets, whispering sound of the wind, rustling of dry leaves and grass and the shadow of clouds on the ancient Mussoorie hills enchant his mind’s eye. These are, for him, watch towers. He marvels at nature’s infinity. All this makes him our own Wordsworth.

Born in Kasauli in 1934, Bond, in the words of Bill Aitken, is “married to the muse.” For Ruskin, poetry and prose are separate genres. Both emanate from the heart. Ruskin’s verse is merely prose and his prose verse. In his A Little Night Music, containing 34 poems, he says: “Hold on to times of pain and strife:/Until death comes, all is life.” Ruskin’s verse is easy to read. He finds beauty in the midst of sorrow. In his own words, he has “slipped my poems into collections of stories and essays”. His verse reveals Bond in various moods, pensive, humorous and introspective. Criticising Babudom in a bitter but humorous vein, he says: “We are the babus, this is our law/Soak the rich and harry the poor”.



Bond’s writings for both adults and children often blend, thereby enabling the adults to re-live a slice of childhood long goneby. Indeed, from his first book Angry River to Ways to Mussoorie and to The India I Love, Ruskin Bond has lived a lifetime of romancing with the pen.

Deepak Tandon, Panchkula

Muslim mystique

Nirupama Dutt’s article, “Muslim mystique in Indian films” (Saturday Extra, Jan 22) is like a synopsis on the Muslim way of life. The reader remains thirsty even after going through it. A few lines in favour of Urdu would have been welcome. Urdu has captivated cinegoers over the years and is sweet to ears, touches hearts and gives solace to the soul. One feels overjoyed on hearing or reciting Urdu couplets.

C.R. Jindal, Chandigarh

Enhancing peace and happiness

Apropos of Kiran Bedi’s ‘Reflection’ column captioned, “Promoting peace all around” (Sunday Oped, Jan 16), I fully agree with her 20 key steps to build peace within oneself and around. I  have not been to any Guruji (though I have nothing against them). My best Gurus have been my parents and my inner conscience.

Based on my personal experience, I would like to add a few more points to what Kiran Bedi has said towards enhancing peace and happiness in society.

One, do your work honestly and sincerely in whatever capacity you are. If you are corrupt, you cannot be happy.

Two, don’t be a part of the rat race. Be contended with whatever you have and spend quality time with your family. If the family is happy, you are happy.

Three, always think positive and speak well of others.

Four, let your mind not be a dust bin for others. If something bothers you,  communicate and finish it off.

And finally, help others and do at least one good deed every day.

Most Indians visit religious places and listen holly sermons from the Gurus every day. But most do not follow these in their day-to-day life. Otherwise, why should there be so much stress and tension in life?

Colonel R.D. SINGH, Ambala Cantonment


King of pain

This refers to ‘King of pain’ by M.L. Dhawan (Spectrum, Jan 16). R.C. Boral was awestruck by Saigal’s vocal virtuosity. He overshadowed talented heroines-singers like Kannan Devi and Khursheed. Acting was only a means to display his singing prowess. When Suraiya, the topmost heroines of her times, got a chance to act with Saigal in Parwana, she was so overawed that she could not sing even one duet with him.

Saigal had many firsts to his credit. Saigal was the first actor, after whom a chair (called the K.L. Saigal Chair) was set up in the Department of Music, Panjab University, Chandigarh. He was also the first singer-actor whom Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore garlanded after he sang Bengali songs based on Rabindra Sangeet at Shantiniketan. Saigal was also the first singer who sang in several languages namely Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Punjabi.

Vijay Sheel Jain, Ludhiana

Sen and sensibility

This refers to A.J. Philip’s write-up “Sen and Sensibility,” (Saturday Extra, Jan 8). The writer’s account of a sensational experience in Kolkata was informative and engrossing. Knowing fully well that only a few yards of land is sufficient for his burial, man yearns for acquiring land by fraudulent means. Aware that everything will remain here after his death, his lust for amassing material things remains instiable. This acquisitiveness is the root cause of today’s tension, which in turn, gives birth to a myriad diseases.

Tarsem S. Bumrah, Batala

Living in the past

Why is Bollywood fascinated with history and times in the past? The Rising and Kisna are two new movies which take you back to the times before freedom was ours. We are tired of seeing life before Independence. Once we were fighting for freedom, but now it is more than 55 years that we have been free. We need to look forward. Please make movies on contemporary subjects, current scenarios and situations. Who wants to know about Mangal Pandey? He is not famous like Bhagat Singh or Subhash Chandra Bose or Mahatma Gandhi.

Films are made to entertain people and shouldn’t be an education. If it is, please show them on Doordarshan. Please make entertaining films. At the end of day, we would like to laugh and de-stress ourselves. Long moustaches do not suit Aamir Khan and he has taken a huge risk with The Rising; which may get a good opening because of him but Kisna may just become another Yaadein in Subhash Ghai’s life.

Prixit Shakya, Shimla

Translating verses

Apropos of Khushwant Singh’s “Untranslatable” (Saturday Extra, Jan 15), some poetic works contain a sprinkling of such words, phrases and similes as defy appropriate expression in any other tongue.

Such verses cannot be translated without losing much of their peculiar beauty and sweetness.

Angraai is a simple word, that means to yawn. However, the learned writer has put a far-fetched vulgar construction on it. His translation of Raasikh’s couplet is absolutely wide of the mark. Fitnah means mischief, tribulation, revolt, wicked person, temptation, etc., and not “desire” as mentioned by him. Likewise, Qiyaamat means Doomsday, calamity, cruelty, scene of trouble, excessive (ly), exquisite (ly), wonderful, great, etc and not “devil” and “hell”.

Bhagwan Singh, Qadian

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |