India’s own little French enclave

The article, French Connection by Himmat Singh Gill (Spectrum, Nov 19) depicted the beauty of Pondicherry — India’s own little French enclave.

The Grand Canal divides Pondicherry into what the French dubbed as the “Black and White towns”. Pondy town is a mix of the old and the new.

In spite of the bustle and noise of an Indian town, the open air roof-top restaurant “Rendezvous” where exquisite wines and appetisers remind one of the outskirts of Paris or Saigon in the late 1960s. Among the institutes in Pondy that gladden the heart are the Institute Francais De Pondicherry — a storehouse of record and research where Hindu priests sit diligently translating manuscripts written on palm leaves in Sanskrit into English, French and Tamil. Auroville, launched in 1968 by The Mother, is a picture of serenity and calm. Its 2000-odd nationals, from across the world, live peacefully in communes and practise the art of Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual-cum-yoga.



Veiled answers

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s Veil of Controversies (Saturday Extra, Nov 11). His statement “The burqa controversy cannot be restricted to Muslims only” has no meaning. Khushwant Singh’s assertion that most Hindu and Sikhs eat beefsteaks, veal or other forms of cow’s meat may be controversial. This might be true for those Sikhs or Hindus who are living in abroad and have forgotten their religion. But to apply it to the entire Hindu or Sikh community is not appropriate. If Muslims shun jhatka meat, how can it be expected that a Hindu or Sikh should eat halaal?

I do not agree with this view that non-vegetarians are healthier and more robust than vegetarians, because research and doctors have proved that vegetarian food is healthier.


Joining the Army

Maneesh Chhibber deserves congratulations for the article Palra: Joining the Army is a tradition here (Saturday Extra, Nov 11). Such write-ups bring The Tribune closer to rural people.

The glorious tale of the warrior of the World War-II, Subedar Major Umrao Singh inspires the rural youth to join the Army and serve the nation selflessly. I request the family members of the legendary warrior to preserve the Victoria Cross medal as an honour to Haryana and the entire nation. No foreigner should be able to take it away in lieu of money.

The development projects promised by the Haryana Chief Minister should be implemented in Palra soon.


Oh God!

The article Question of God (Saturday Extra, Nov 04) makes fun of those who believe in God. It is the outcome of hollow knowledge of Indian philosophy.

Modern science does not go beyond matter. However, Hindu philosophy also accepts that God, who is Omnipresent, Almighty and controls the entire universe, is also eternal. Individual souls too are eternal and have to pass through cycles of birth and rebirth according to their deeds — good or bad.

Thus there are three eternal things: God, matter (prakriti), and individual souls (countless). Since these are eternal, there is no question of their creation or destruction. Khushwant Singh is incapable of understanding these spiritual teachings as he is more inclined towards worldly pleasures.



Ghalib, an extraordinary free thinker

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s write-up Ghalib on Ramadan (Saturday Extra, Oct 21). Being a free-thinker, Mirza Ghalib was not a stickler for religious discipline. He neither observed fasts nor said namaaz. He played chess and took wine in the month of Ramazan. Old Tom was his favourite drink.

He said, “I am a kafir if throughout my life I have not taken wine and not a Musalman if I have recited namaaz even once”. Even when Col. Browne inquired about his religion, he called himself a half-Muslim on the ground that he took wine and avoided pork.

Once, seeing him inebriated in the month of Ramazan, Mufti Sadaruddin Aazurdah said that according to a Hadith, Satan remained incarcerated during this period.

“The Hadith is correct. But it is this closet where Satan (pointing to himself) remains shut up,” the poet replied.

One day he was chewing pan. In reply to someone’s query if he had not observed a fast, he said, “Kya karun, shaitaan ghalib hai”, meaning that Satan was overpowering him as well as Ghalib was Satan.

The Koran promises paradise for the righteous. But Ghalib dubbed it a notion to please the heart. (Ham ko ma’aloom hai jannat kee haqeeqat lekin/Dil key khush rakhney ko Ghalib ye khayaal achchha hai).

He declared that he was so self-conceited in offering prayers that he would return from Ka’abah, if its door was not open (Bandagi mein bhee voh aazaad-o-khudbeen hain ke ham/Ultey phir aaey dar-e-Ka’abah agar va na hua). Yet Muslim scholars held him in high esteem.

I pray in his words: Haq maghfirat karey ajab aazaad mard tha (May God bless his soul. He was an extraordinary free thinker).




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 |