THIS ABOVE ALL
Left not on the right track
have always been a leftie and a fellow-traveller. I was an
active member of the Civil Liberties Union, a Communist Party
front organisation, and my first foray into the literary world
was a small booklet in praises of Stalin. I canvassed for a
Communist candidate against an Akali in the Punjab state
elections during British days along with Sohan Singh Josh and
Teja Singh Swatantra, both of whom occasionally milked me for
cash. I gave shelter to Communist leaders on the run—Dange,
Ajoy Ghosh and Danial Latifi. I mention all this as credentials
of my being a Communist sympathiser. I remain so to this day as
I share many of their views on subjects like the negative role
of organised religions, revulsion against religious and caste
distinctions, the need for revolutionary changes in society by
levelling of classes, the unhealthy adulation of money-bags and
much else. But I no longer subscribe to the politics pursued by
Indian Communists and am particularly dismayed by the line
chalked out by its present general secretary Prakash Karat on
the proposed Indo-US deal for nuclear wherewithals and joint
naval exercises with fleets of other nations, including that of
Prakash Karat: Staunch critic of the nuclear deal
Communists’ allergy towards everything American is juvenile;
their enthusiasm for everything Chinese because they are ruled
by Communists is pathetic. Not only will it cost them dearly in
the General Election, it will boost reactionary elements in our
country. Prakash Karat, who has become the one-man think-tank of
the party, will have much to answer for.
I am sure many
members of the party he leads disagree with him. The rigorous
discipline they impose on themselves does not allow them to open
their mouths. Even the Communist Chief Minister of West Bengal
and its legendary ex-Chief Minister Jyoti Basu have questioned
Karat’s opposition to the deal.
The problem is
simple. We urgently need more electrical energy to meet our
growing demands for civilian use. Neither thermal nor
hydroelectric can meet these demands. Nuclear energy can, and
the U S is willing to help us produce it. The deal in no way
comprises our rights as a sovereign independent state.
On the other
hand, the Chinese betrayed our trust, we fought a war against
them which we lost, and they still lay claims to some of our
border territories. Is it not in our interest to have the world’s
most powerful nation and a democracy our ally? The hoo-ha
created over joint naval exercises makes even less sense. All
nations which have naval fleets periodically have such exercises
to learn from each other. Many of them, including the US, have
more advanced techniques which our naval personnel can profit
from. In no way do these gatherings of warships,
aircraft-carriers and submarines encroach on the sovereignty of
needs to think again; otherwise his tenure as general secretary
of his party will be brief and forgettable.
I am an Indian
Lahoria. Lahore was my home till August, 1947. I would have been
living there but for the partition of the country. When Indian
Lahorias get nostalgic about the city they lived and loved, the
first thing they recall is Anarkali Bazaar—a long row of
non-descript stores and eateries.What Chowringhee is to
Kolkattan Bengalis, Chandni Chowk to Dilliwalas, Mount
Road to Madrasis, Marine Drive to Mumbaikars, Char Minar to
Hyderabadis, Anarkali is to the Indian Lahorias. Pakistani
Lahorias don’t share the same nostalgia for Anarkali with us.
For them heart of the city is Bhati Gate — its inhabitants the
elite of the metropolis.
I received this
information from a Pakistani Lahoria settled in the US and
homesick for his hometown. He does not identify himself but has
compiled an ABC for Lahorias. I quote some of them: ‘A’ is
for androoni shehr (the inner city). Its 40,000
households are real Lahorias.
‘B’ is for
Bhati Gate. Anyone claiming to be a Lahoria has to come from
Bhati Gate. This is where kite-flying festival of Basant is at
its highest pitch. ‘C’ is for Cloney — ‘Gulberg Cloney’,
‘Defence Cloney’ etc. There are no colonies where Bhati
Gaters have settled.
‘F’ is for
Fackage. Though it sounds like a bad word, it is just the front
of a building with backside being the backside. ‘H’ is for Ho
Jayega Badshaoe. The moment you hear it, you can be
reasonably sure it is not going to happen. ‘J’ is for Jeevay
Punjab, and if there is one person who knows how to live to the
fullest, it is a Punjabi from Lahore. ‘K’ is for Koi Gall
Nah (never mind).
‘L’ is for L’hoRe,
and Jinney L’hoRe nai wekheya oh Jammeya ei nahin
(he who has not seen Lahore was never born). ‘N’ is for no
problem ji. The same as under ‘H’. ‘O’ is for Oye
which can be a surpise Oyye! A greeting Oyy. Anger
Oyy. Pain Oy Oy Oy. ‘P’ is for punj mint—-means
any length of time and never five minutes.
‘W’ is for Whan, as in Whan (when) I was in Lundun.
‘X’ is for many X-rated words that flow freely in the all
Punjabi conversation. ‘Y’ is for Yaar, which is
anyone from whom one wants help or free favours.
A policeman was
suspended from service
violation of Departmental Bar;
He shook hands
with and hugged Sanjay Dutt, his favourite filmstar;
aspires to meet a celebrity, may be a godman or a thug;
No wonder, a
friendly cop went out of way a convict to hug!
(Contributed by G.C. Bhandari,