Raj’s vicious campaign will divide us

Shiv Kumar’s article, “A blot on Mumbai” (Spectrum, Feb 24) was timely. To create a constituency of his own, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray is out to destroy Mumbai’s cosmopolitan identity. Adopting the tactics that his uncle applied in the mid-1960s to build his political career, Raj, in a crude and opportunistic manner, has attempted to whip up regional chauvinism.

Raj hit out most viciously at the North Indians, their icons and even religious festivals. Like the senior Thackeray, he has raised the bogey that North Indians, mostly migrants from Bihar and UP, have occupied the space that otherwise would have been that of Maharashtrians. He is making the residential problems and activities of builders his main plank. In the 1960s, Thackeray had made job opportunities the central theme of his campaign against outsiders.

Mumbai is India’s financial capital not just because of Maharashtrians but due to its geographical location and infrastructure during the formation years. Capital and labour from all over the country came to build the city. Even the cultural identity emerged due to this cosmopolitan character. Any attempt to “cleanse” the city of the so-called outsiders will kill it.


The capital too hosts more people from other parts of the country than the original Dehliwalas. In both Mumbai and Delhi, the “outsiders” have played no mean role in building these cities. If Raj’s trick is applied in other industrial, commercial and financial centres, it will herald the end of India itself.


Lavish marriages

I read Aditi Tandon’s article, “Case of the missing daughter” (Saturday Extra, Jan 26). Going by the figures, girls should be calling the shots. Girls should be more in demand because of the sex ratio. However, it is the reverse that is happening. The boy’s parents expect a ‘decent’ marriage, virtually forcing the girl’s parents to spend heavily on food and decorations.

Lavish marriages have become an evil even greater than dowry. All marriage palaces should be closed and hotels debarred from holding wedding functions. Marriages should be solemnised within the premises of one’s house. The baraat should be restricted to 21 persons and only nominal dowry should be given.

Unless drastic steps are taken to curtail wasteful expenditure on marriages, girls will not be welcome and the sex ratio will continue to decline.

C.L. SEHGAL, Jalandhar

Much ado about the Bard’s life

I read Khushwant Singh’s piece, “Much ado about the Bard’s life” (Saturday Extra, Jan 26). The controversy about who wrote Shakespeare’s works was laid to rest with the discovery of Ben Jonson’s poem titled To the memory of my beloved, the author, Mr William Shakespeare, and what he hath left us.

Ben Jonson was a contemporary of Shakespeare and also his close friend. In his poem, Ben Jonson refers to Shakespeare’s contemporaries like Lyly, Kyd and Marlowe, who were great dramatists and highly qualified, and called themselves “university wits.” They underrated Shakespeare’s work because he had not studied beyond the middle standard and his knowledge of Greek and Roman was scanty. Jonson, however, rated the Bard higher than the university wits. Jonson writes:

I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell, how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe’s mighty line.
And though thou hads’t small Latin, less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names; but call forth thundering Aeschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
… when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone, for the comparison
Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.

In the light of the above, there remains no doubt that the man who wrote the immortal plays and sonnets was none else but William Shakespeare.

V.P. MEHTA, Chandigarh


Hafeez Jalandhari

I read the letters on the theme “Hafeez Jalandhari” (Perspective, Jan 6 and 13). During a mushaira in Delhi, Hafeez Jalandhari was reciting his ghazal. Firaq Gorakhpuri who was also present there suddenly cried out: “Waah Hafeez pyaare, Kya gala paaya hai! – yaar mera saara kalaam le lo magar apni aawaaz mujhe de do”. At this, Hafeez retorted “Janab Firaaq Sahib, meri aawaaz to kya, aap mujhe bhi le lo, lekin khuda ke liye mujhe apna kalaam na dijiye”.

Once Pitras Bukhari and Hafeez Jalandhari were travelling in a train, when an acquaintance of Pitras entered their compartment. Pitras introduced Hafeez to his friend in these words: “He is the famous poet of Hindustan, the Firdausi-e-Islam, the composer of Shahnaama-e-Islam, Soz-o-Saaz – Abul Asr Hafeez Jalandhari”. At this, the new entrant shook hands with Hafeez and said, “Well, you belong to Jalandhar – assalamaulakum.” This incident reminds me of a couplet of Hafeez

Kisee ne bhi na pehchaana watan mein,

Main samjha tha bahut mashhoor hun main.




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