Truth about telling lies

THIS has reference to Khushwant Singh’s write-up “The truth about lies” (Saturday Extra, Aug 27). Two English judges of the Lahore High Court observed that all Punjabis were liars. A viceroy dubbed all Indians as liars. Akbar Allahabadi, in a poem, retorted, Jhootey hain ham to aap hain jhooton key baadshah.

Once a pandit told me that lying while speaking facetiously with women; during marriage ceremonies; in view of a threat to life; for saving wealth from being pillaged and in the interests of saving a Brahmin and a cow was not a sin. A lie, told to get someone out of trouble, is not considered bad. However, Guru Nanak said: Koor bol murdaar khaaey (lying is like eating a carrion).

Joseph Paul Goebbles, a Nazi propagandist of Germany, said that a lie told a hundred times becomes a truth. Many litigants and their witnesses, though put on oath, make false statements tutored to them by their lawyers. Politicians seldom speak the truth. Their promises are like pie-crust, made to be broken. A poet has rightly said: Na-aihl hai voh aihl-e-siyaasat kee nazar mein/Ke vaada kar key jis ko mukarna nahin aata.



NRIs’ soft targets

This refers to Reeta Sharma’s “NRIs land in trouble” (Saturday Extra, Aug 27). NRIs are soft targets for persons who are bent upon cheating them. The legal system and the delays in courts pose additional problems to them whereas such flaws in the system prove a boon to their relatives and others who intend to cheat them.

I know of a case in which a man sold his sister’s property in India for about 35 lakh. She died in Singapore, leaving behind Rs 65 lakh, without making a will.The father sent his son to Singapore to try and get the money but because of the strict laws in that country, the duo did not succeed.

Pritam ChanD, Jalandhar

The mystery behind Monalisa’s smile

B N Goswamy’s “That Mysterious Smile” (Spectrum, Sept 11) was another absorbing write-up about the fascinating portrait of Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. Mona Lisa is a mere 31 inches by 21 inches in size and is hung on the north-west wall of Salle des Etats — “Salle impenetrable” — of Paris’s Louvre Museum. Painted on a poplar wood panel, her ethereal atmosphere is attributed to Leonardo’s mastery of sfumato style, in which forms appear to evaporate into one another. In France it is called La Jaconde.

For the past some years, art historians have been researching Leonardo’s paintings, especially Mona Lisa. They have come up with some queer but convincing arguments. Leonardo Da Vinci firmly believed in the Shiva-Shakti principle i.e. every human soul has both the male and female elements and it is a pre-requisite for enlightenment of the soul.

These art historians feel that Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is neither completely male nor completely female; it carries a subtle message of androgyny. It is a fusion of both. The artist left a clue about how the painting was supposed to be androgynous. This clue was in the name Mona Lisa itself. The name is a cryptic combination of “Amon”, the Egyptian god of masculine fertility, and the female goddess Isis, whose ancient pictogram was once called L’Isa. Leonardo was a firm believer in the divine unity of male and female.

But somehow, Da Vinci had a greater leaning towards the feminine principle. Modern art critics believe that this leaning for the feminine principle was the reason why Mona Lisa was made more majestic from the left than the right. By lowering the countryside on the left, Leonardo made Mona Lisa look much larger from the left side.



Sylvia’s poetry

This refers to “Sylvia’s hell-fired poetry” by Darshan Singh Maini (Spectrum, Aug 21). Sylvia Plath, “the golden girl” and “God’s lioness”, asserted herself in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She occupies a prime position among the most talented representatives of the post-war generation of American poets.

Her description as “a difficult daughter, a tortured woman, a violated wife, and a “misfit mother” fails to explain the reasons behind her anguished poetry as in Tulips. Sylvia Plath, like Gregory Corso, was a poet of the individual “I”, in whose worldview and psychological reactions one can see the features of individual personality types formed by our age.

Her poetry is an “extension of inner war” of a woman, who suffered at the hands of both her father and husband. Her work is a protest and an “oblique revenge” in a world of “male sway and hegemony”. Plath’s confessional poetry not only unlocks her heart and soul, but also seeks to settle scores with God and society, for whom she developed “deep hatred”.


Gender bias

In a patriarchal social structure, a woman can never be expected to attain the desired freedom to become an individual by herself. The governments, political parties, NGOs and the media should help liberate the woman from a cruel socio-economic system that never allows her to become an individual.

The present social structure suits the status quoists who wield power over the country’s economy and politics. Outdated customs, casteism, communalism, traditionalism, fatalism and other social evils help the system to sustain. Through proper education, girls must be taught to resist and revolt against the exploitative system. Educated and forward-looking girls should take the lead in an organised way.

The governments should be forced to accelerate change. Socio-economic empowerment of women is the immediate need of the hour. This will help them to be more democratic, assertive, creative and productive.


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