Sex work not a profession

This refers to Smriti Kak Ramachandran’s “Sex work is a profession like any other” (Spectrum, April 2). Sex plays a vital role in the development of character and personality since it is a positive force. A healthy attitude towards sex determines one’s personal and social adjustment. To curb problematic behaviour, sexual offences and mental disorders, enlightenment about sex in an impersonal and scientific manner is desirable but sex work can’t be, by any stretch of imagination, termed a profession like any other.

Irrespective of the views of Nalini Jameela, no woman of substance would like to adopt sex work as a profession. Compelled by circumstances, Jameela had no other option, as she herself confesses, and had to turn to flesh trade as a last resort. No doubt India, a closed society, is fast-becoming promiscuous.

Women in the trade should be protected and trafficking curbed. Prospective victims should be discouraged from falling prey to the pimps who lure them. Superstitions and taboos around sex should be debunked.




Thinker and activist

This refers to “Images of Thinker and Activist” by V. N. Dutta (Spectrum, May 7). Gandhiji’s approach towards political issues was not always straightforward. Different persons had varying opinions about Gandhiji. Sir Evan Jenkins, the then Governor of Punjab, in May 1946 said “it is lamentable that at this juncture the affairs of Punjab should be in the hands of this eccentric old man”. Similarly to many British bureaucrats, Gandhiji was a twister and his methods were simply devious. One provincial Governor described Gandhiji “as cunning as a cartload of monkeys”.

Jinnah once said, “I have no hesitation in saying that it was Gandhi who is destroying the ideals for which Congress was started. He is one man responsible for turning Congress into an instrument for the revival of Hinduism and establishing Hindu raj in the country. He is instigating the Congress to further his objects”.

Narinder Singh Jallo, Mohali

Ezra Pound

In “Desai unravels economics of Pound” (Saturday Extra, May 13), Khushwant Singh calls Ezra Pound “a crackpot because he was a Jew-baiter, fascist and traitor to his own country”. Ezra Waston Loomis Pound, born in Idaho (America), was a poet and critic. T.S. Eliot (1885-1965), who himself was a poet, critic and playwright of an extraordinary genius, and who demonstrated by means of art the possibility of harmony and integrity in a disharmonious and disintegrating world, regarded Pound as the motivating force behind modern poetry. Eliot appeared as a force capable of offsetting the erosion of the borders of verse, which was taking place, as though by inertia. Pound, on his part, evoked the paradisal elements of myth and folk memory in his splendid cantos.

For Pound, the flowering of realism, as manifest in Walt Whitman’s and Mark Twain’s works, could only signify the demise of American literature and culture, and many American writers, including Pound, ipso-facto had no choice but to emigrate to Europe “to conserve such fragments of American culture as had survived”, wrote Pound in Essays on Ignorance and The Decline of American Civilisation.

Defining great literature, Pound in How to Read says: “Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree”. To him, “the modern artist must live by craft and violence” and those artists whose work does not show this strife are “uninteresting”. Such frankness, which sometimes becomes ‘openly shocking’ or ‘deliberate arbitrariness’ becomes ‘rebellious influences’ and puts Pound and Rene Chan side by side.

Deepak Tandon, Panchkula

Talking images

In his letter (May 14) Surender Miglani says that in my rejoinder (April 30) to his article “Talking Images” (Spectrum, March 26), I had mentioned that R.C. Boral had introduced the playback technique in Hindi cinema with Chandidas (1934). This is an incorrect assertion. I stand by my statement that with the coming of sound in Hindi films like Chandidas, R.C. Boral became the first musician to give background music in Hindi films. I never stated that R.C. Boral introduced the playback technique in Chandidas.

The playback singing was introduced with Bhagya Chakra in Bengali and Dhoop Chhaon in Hindi, which were made simultaneously. The first playback song “Main khush hona chahoon khush ho na sakoon” was rendered by Suprova Sarcar, Parul Ghosh and Harimati under R.C. Boral’s music direction while Pankaj Mullik was his “associate”. Actually all the technical work was done by Mukul Ghosh, sound engineer of the New Theatres, Calcutta, who got no credit for his efforts. Will someone more enlightened and knowledgeable throw light on the issue?

M.L. DHAWAN, Chandigarh

A God-given gift

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s write-up “Tricks memory plays” (Saturday Extra, March 4).

A prodigious memory is a God-given gift. Julius Caesar knew the names of thousands of his soldiers. Despite being illiterate, Maharaja Ranjit Singh could recall from memory the names, position and history of about 12,000 villages in his empire. Poet Ghalib had a wonderful memory. He composed verses in a state of drunken exhilaration at night. After fashioning a couplet, he tied a knot to his trouser-string. In the morning, he recalled to his mind the couplets equal to the number of the knots and wrote them on a paper.

Sir Walter Scott and Edison had a very poor memory. Once, the former eulogised his own poem thinking it to be that of Byron and the latter forgot his name when his turn to pay the tax at the courthouse came.n

Bhagwan Singh, Qadian


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