L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

How best to lead a good life

The argument presented in Khushwant Singh’s “Ideas of a good life” (Saturday Extra, July 5) seems irrelevant in the present dismal scenario. Key to leading a good life lies in leading a responsible ethical, corruption-free and disciplined life. People having faith in religion feel good by following the tenets of their religion.

Fear of the Almighty is a deterrent to the burgeoning venality, cupidity and felony and thus ensures a pious life. In a joint family, ideas of good life require the earnest fulfillment of a moral and legal obligation of the children to care for their elders. The elders on their part need to cultivate a flexible attitude and contribute to the smooth running of a family.

The ideas of a good life mandates the observance of the culture of karma (vested coupled with devotion) that shapes our destiny. The fact that one reaps what one sows gives credence to this belief. There is a great variation in people’s idea of a good life. Some believe in eat, drink and be merry doctrine while for others happiness lies in helping the people in distress.

The ideas of a good life can be summed up in a line — don’t act bad, see bad, speak bad and hear bad.




The writer has wrongly mentioned zindagi (life) instead of alam (world) in the line quoted by him as that of Babur (not Babar). In Turkish, Babur means lion.

According to Taqi Kashi’s ‘Khulaasatul Ash’ Ash’aar, the real author of this couplet is Sultan Babur in Bayasanqar Mirza, popularly known as Babur Qalandar. It appears that because of his boisterous revels, it has been attributed mutatis mutandis to Zahir-ud-Din Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire in India. It does not find a mention in his divan.

Probably, it was J. Briggs, who translated into English the Persian verse, which according to Firishta (author of Tarikh-e-Firishta) was inscribed on Babur’s goblet as: “Give me but wine and blooming maids/All other joys I freely spurn/Enjoy then, Babur, while you may/For youth once past will never return.” The theme in Babur Qalandar’s couplet and that rendered by Briggs is almost same. Some litterateur may like to throw light on the matter.



Actually this is the second line of a Persian verse. Though the paraphrase given by the writer is apt, the word zindagi that has been substituted in Urdu for the Persian word zeast is wrong. Let me quote the whole Persian verse that runs as follows:

Nau roze-o-nau bahar-o-dilruba khush ast;

Babar ba-aish kosh, kay alam do-baara n-est.

(It is New Year’s Day (this as a Persian festival), early spring, and the beloved beside is beautiful; O Babar enjoy yourself to your heart’s content, as there is little chance of your coming in this world again.)

Further, by inserting the word zindagi in place of alam, the whole line of verse is thrown out of metre.

A.C. BAHAR, Faridabad


In his column (July 5), Khushwant Singh has quoted Omar Khayyan thus: There was a door to which I found no key; There was a veil beyond which I could not see; Talk awhile of thee and me there was: Then no more of thee or me.

Edward Fitzgerald’s immortal lines are;

There was a Door to which I found no key;

There was a veil past which I could not see;

Some little talk awhile of ME and thee

There seemed — and then no more of thee and me.


Genuine write-up

I read Khushwant Singh’s piece “Lies after death” (Saturday Extra, June 29) with interest. It was a highly appreciable and genuine write-up. The writer believes that living relatives of deceased put in messages of remembrance in leading newspapers to prove that they (dead ones) are being missed.

Agreed but what surprises me is that the footing of message bears names of the relatives in detail. Some people put in names of all the members with their designations. The remembrance message is overshadowed by detailed placement records of the family. As if by inserting this column in a reputed paper like The Tribune, the family is displaying its who’s who to readers. What for? who is interested? this belittles the whole objective — I believe.


Of man and monkeys

I read A.J. Philip’s write-up “Darwin’s theory — No monkey business” (Spectrum, July 6). Hitherto all theories of evolution — Lamarek’s theory of use and disuse, Darwin’s theory of natural selection or survival of the fittest, and Hugo de vries’ theory of mutations — have shortcomings as well as plus points.

Contrary to the belief among laymen that advocates of evolution do not believe in God’s existence, the more one sees the marvels of life, the stronger becomes one’s belief in His existence. The theories of evolution are just attempts to explain the Almighty’s modus operandi.

All human inventions are highly improved upon and, hence, vastly different from those of the inventors. For instance, the jets of today have hardly any resemblance to the one made by the Wright brothers (1903). The changes have not been automatic but through the agency of human beings whose work is very fast because of limited time at their disposal. Then, how can changes in nature occur without an overseeing power?

According to the widely accepted law of probability enunciated by Harlow Shapely, an astronomer, “It is reasonable to suppose that one star in a million will have a family of planets; of these, one star family in every thousand might meet the conditions necessary for life; of these, one in a thousand might have highly organised intelligent beings. Hence, the chance of another planet with such beings is only on in a billion. But since there are an estimated 100 trillion stars, there would be 100 million planets with life like that of earth.”

God has to look after all his creations — terrestrial as well as extra-terrestrial — and with infinite time at his disposal, his work is very slow. He has prescribed an unamendable constitution according to which evolution is taking place.

It is wrong to say that man has descended from monkeys. Rather, man and monkeys had common arboreal ancestors some of whom retained their arboreal life and evolved into the present-day monkeys. Others adopted the terrestrial mode of life to eventually become homo sapiens, the modern man.

D. K. AGGARWALA, Hoshiarpur



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Classified Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |