Save rhino from poachers

This refers to "Rhino on the run" by Bijoy Shankar Bohra, (Spectrum, March 9). It is a matter of concern that the pride of Kaziranga National Park, the one-horned rhino, is under threat from poachers.

The Central and state governments should take appropriate steps to stem poaching by unscrupulous elements. Trained persons should be employed with sophisticated weapons at their disposal and poachers should be given deterrent punishment.


Carving a novel path

"The Novel path to cinema" by Shoma A. Chatterji (Spectrum, February 10) was interesting. Besides the literary works adapted into films as included in the article, there are many more which have been effectively reinvented through the medium of films.


The foremost is Shataranj Ke Khilari, the only Hindi film directed by Satyajit Ray. It was based on the novel of the same name by Munshi Prem Chand. Some other works of Prem Chand that were made into films are Gaban, Heera Moti and Godaan.

Kabuliwala with Balraj Sahni in the main role was based on the novel by Rabindra Nath Tagore made in 1961, the centenary year of the birth of the noble laureate.

Another masterpiece, Anand Math by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, was made into a film with great patriotic fervour.

Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh was made into a film by Pamela Rooks bringing out vividly the dichotomy of Partition. Junoon, directed by Shyam Benegal, was based on the novel Flight of Pigeons by Ruskin Bond. Phir Subah Hogi (1956) was based on Crime and punishment by Dostoevsky.

Kundan (1953), which had a struggling Sunil Dutt in the lead role, was based on the great French novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Garam Hawa, directed by MS Sathyu, was based on the story by Ismat Chugtai.

The film Umrao Jaan (1981), sheer poetry on celluloid, was based on the work of Mohd. Haadi Ruswa. Ek Chadar Maili Si based on Rajinder Singh Bedi's novel, Pinjar by Amrita Pritam and Pavitar Paapi by Nanak Singh were other literary works made into films.

HS SANDHU, Panchkula

Much ado about the Bard

This refers to Khushwant Singh's article 'Much ado about the Bardís life' (Saturday Extra, January 26) followed by V.P. Mehta's letter (Sunday Tribune, March 2).

The controversy whether the 37 plays, 154 sonnets and five poems (Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, A Lover's Complaint, The Passionate Pilgrim and The Phoenix and Turtle) attributed to Shakespeare, were written by him or by someone else, has its roots in the assumption that such magnificent works of art must be the creation of a man of learning, a scholar or a university man like Francis Bacon, who came from the local Stratford-on-Avon grammar school.

Such thinking is based on social snobbery. Scholarly criticism of his plays, which found but casual expression in Shakespeare's lifetime, took a systematic shape only in the 18th century, when men of letters and scholars found the editing of Shakespeare's works a source of profit or reputation. They emphasised that Shakespeare ignored the rules of the Greek dramatists.

Nevertheless, Shakes-peare's place in the realm of the world literature is so prominent that speaking of him during the heyday of the British Empire, Thomas Carlyle maintained that "the Indian Empire will go, at any rate, some day, but this Shakespeare does not go; he lasts for ever with us; we cannot give up our Shakespeare".


Superstition vs science

Khushwant Singh in "Believe it or not" (February 23 Saturday Extra), brought to light a case of superstition. Purnam Rama Shastri had been studying meditation and yoga for many years.

He also claimed to have mastered the ancient yoga practice of jala-stamtinam, the art of defying the body's normal physical limits. He hoped to become head of new spiritual movement by performing miracles in public.

He invited a crowd to watch him jump from the top of a two-storeyed building. Despite sustaining mild concussion and a sprained ankle, he claimed to have defied gravity.

Intoxicated with his success, he again invited a crowd to watch him descend into a well at midnight, assuring his family that his skill would enable him to breathe under water and he would be unharmed.

After lowering him into the well, people went home, marvelling at his miraculous powers. When they returned the next morning, they found that he had drowned. His body had to be fished out by police divers.

Yoga can make you physically fit but it cannot help you acquire divinity as is often believed. Many postgraduates, that too in science subjects, are frightened of No 13, Rahu, Ketu and Shani. They wear rings with stones of different colours to maintain peace in their lives. One needs to adopt a scientific way of living so as to save ourselves from exploitation by the priestly class.




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