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Kautilya and Ashoka forgotten

This refers to Contemporary Kautilya by Kanwalpreet (Spectrum, May 25). While reviewing the book, the writer has brought out how the teachings of philosopher statesman Kautilya and king Ashoka have been forgotten completely by the present day rulers. As rightly described, “Kautilya and Ashoka were two farsighted individuals as the solutions that they offered are waiting to be reinforced — control over our wants and unlimited appetite and a world order based on justice and fair play. The establishment of a strong welfare state, protection of environment, the system of an effective administration where each and every individual is included.” Jawaharlal Nehru reportedly used to keep a copy of the writings of Kautilya under his pillow.

But what most people have absorbed is the negative aspect of his philosophy using it to deceive opponents and to play a diplomatic game for gaining power. All political parties seem to have sidelined the principles of equal opportunities to all, justice and administration, based on fair play and merit. Instead all have only one motto of building empires and corrupting the administration. If the government had adopted Kautilya's philosophy in a correct manner, then India would have been a model state and not adjudged as one of the most corrupt countries of the world.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Mohali


Behaviour pitfalls

I read with regret Harihar Swarup's piece Fall from grace (May 4, 2008). The madness and craze for the game of cricket, the lofty packages paid to the players and the name and fame that is enjoyed by the players are enough to go to anyone's head. Be it Harbhajan Singh, Shoaib Akhtar, Sreesanth or Ishant Sharma, display of arrogance and short temper has been a common occurrence. The aggression and short temper of Harbhajan and Shoaib have put them in trouble often. You do some wrong once, twice, thrice..... and get punishment and warning and you say “OK, Sorry, this won't be repeated in future.” Then, isn't it your duty to ponder over the facts and try to rectify what is wrong with your behaviour and temperament. I would like to suggest to these hot-tempered cricketers to do some meditation and realise that all this glitzy fame is transitory. What is everlasting is decent behaviour, courtesy, helpfulness and above all the respect and love shown to others. These are the very qualities which make players like Sachin Tendulkar stars and legends.


Matter of faith

Those who learn from other faiths invariably infer that there are no other faiths. (Na koi Hindu, Na koi Musalmaan) All of us are children of One Father, Ekas Pita; hence division of mankind into Christians, Hindus, Sikhs etc. is illogical and conversions a fraud against God. “Tat Tvam asi” means “that which is in you, is in me, is in all” and a quest for separate identity by any religious group is a blasphemy.

A visit to a Church is not enough for such a lesson. (Saturday Extra, April 19). One needs a mind open and receptive to the idea that one's own faith may not be perfect in all it says and that other faiths may have better answers to some of the questions that a man faces in his life. It is a fact that various groups must come together and settle their differences; else they will kill themselves and God will die.

L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar

Ambedkar’s legacy

Dr Chaman Lal (April 14) has rightly called Dr B.R. Ambedkar as an 'Ambassador of Humanity'. In his short article, he has referred to his book Buddha and his Dhamma. It is not a mere book, but a treatise on two great schools of Indian philosophy – Buddhism and the Sankhya system of thought.

While interpreting Buddhism, he purged its previous schools of Hinayaan, Mahayaan, and Vajaryaan of its impurities carried through the ages. Let me mention only two of these: first, he altogether discarded the theory of Four Aryan Truths emphasising that a rationalist like The Buddha could never have believed in such ideas. He said that Buddhism is rationalism; it is nothing if it is not rationalism.

Secondly, he gave a new meaning to the concept of non-violence in Buddhism. He said that non-violence is not the basic tenent of Buddhism, but the basic principle is – “There should not be a will to kill, but kill, if need be”. Moreover, he clarified that like other religions, the question of 'We' and 'Others' does not arise in Buddhism because the Maxim “Be Thy Own Guide” guides everyone.

As regards the philosophy of Rishi Kapil, Ambedkar set aside all doubts expressed by various interpreters of the nature of Sankhya Darsan, by stating him (Kapil) to be a great empiricist and rationalist. It is a pity that the vast majority of followers of Baba Saheb have been neglecting this great legacy of him.

G.S. BAL, Jalandhar

Mark of Madhubala

Commenting on my write-up Mark of Madhubala (April 6) Ramesh Chopra (April 27) says that Madhubala's father got a criminal case registered against Dilip Kumar for getting her replaced by Vyjyantimala in Naya Daur.

This is factually incorrect. After B.R. Chopra had shot for the film with Dilip and Madhubala for over 10 days in Mumbai, Madhubala's father, Ataullah Khan, told him that she would not go for outdoor-shooting at Budni, 60 miles away from Bhopal, as per the schedule.

This ultimatum snowballed into a court case as it was quite contrary to the terms and conditions stipulated in the contract, which Madhubala had already signed. In fact Ataullah Khan had fallen foul with Dilip Kumar, who was involved with his daughter and was about to marry her.

But even at the cost of his personal interest Dilip Kumar stood by the director B.R. Chopra. The obdurate attitude of her father aggravated Madhubala's ailment, which resulted in her premature death.

As regards Dilip Kumar, Madhubala was found to be wearing the gold ring given to her by him even after her marriage to Kishore Kumar.

M.L. DHAWAN, Chandigarh



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