THIS ABOVE ALL
Never lose heart in distress
The Lord is the protector. We should have faith in Him and always remain happy.
Surjit Kaur, who
is in hospital in Washington DC, is being treated for cancer.
She has written to me asking me to pray for her. Though a
notorious non-believer, I respect other people’s faiths and
the power of prayer for those who believe in it. She had been
earlier undergoing surgery for breast cancer. She refused to
have it lopped off and overcame it by a small incision, helped
by a fervent prayer. It was a minor miracle. She was back to
work, and, as usual, visited her homeland every winter to pay
homage at the Golden Temple and other gurdwaras.
Though living in
the US for the past 30 years as an American citizen, her heart
remained in India and she planned to return. She built a house
in Zirakpur, near Chandigarh, where she intended to retire.
Cancer has now infected her pancreas and is spreading. She has
undergone surgery and chemotherapy, and is being given
radiation. She is again praying for help.
I have known
Surjit Kaur for many years. Her role model was her father,
Professor Jodh Singh. She doted on him and became a devout Sikh
as he was. When I was on a three-month scholarship at Wilson
Centre, I had her assist me update my History of the Sikhs
by getting material in Gurmukhi from the Library of Congress.
She would collect the relevant material, and on her way back
home in Sterling drop it in my apartment in Arlington.
She often cooked
me an Indian meal, had a drink with me before she ordered a taxi
to take her home. Sunday mornings she spent at the gurdwara in
Washington. She knew most members of her community and wrote a
book, Among the Sikhs (Roli), which was released in my
home in Delhi by Dr Manmohan Singh.
How did I respond
to Surjit’s call to pray for her? I could think of nothing
better than write back the original of a hymn which is probably
the most widely used by Sikhs seeking divine help. Note the
entirely Hindu terminology used by the Guru, who also claimed
that Sikhs were neither Hindus nor Muslims but a community
apart. I adduce a free translation of the hymn:
Taatee vaa na
(No evil winds
will harm you. God is your refuge and helper. On all four sides,
He has drawn Rama’s protective lines. No sorrows will afflict
Jin banat banaee;
Raam naam aukhad
Eka liv laee
(The true Guru is
manifest in all things created. You will find the name of Rama
is the antidote of all ills. Keep Him in mind).
Raakh lea tin
Sab biaed mitaaee;
Kaho Nanak kirpa
(He protects those
who deserve protection. Of all problems, He is the solver. He is
merciful, says Nanak. He has become your helper).
When in distress,
we should never lose heart. Always remain happy and in top
spirits. This is to wish you quick recovery, Surjit Kaur.
truly, digit eight has played a great role in the completion of
the Indo-US nuclear deal as evidenced by the following facts:
Communists withdrew their support to the UPA Government on July
8. This happened when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was
attending the G-8 Summit in Japan. The total number of persons
who represented the CPM, the CPI, the Forward Bloc and other
parties in the talks over the nuclear deal with the UPA
Government was eight. The number of nuclear reactors which India
has declined to open to the IAEA for inspection is eight.
President George W. Bush signed on the deal legislation on
KJS Ahluwalia, Amritsar)
Naval and novel
A retired Admiral
entered the TV room of a Defence Services Club to listen to the
BBC news. Instead, he saw youngsters watching a dance number on
MTV, which was a mixed-grill combo of salsa, lambada, samba,
grind and Nach Baliye. He watched the erotic movements of
the gyrating bodies of dancers, with their midriffs almost
Finally, on seeing
the horrendous act of pelvic thrusts (Rakhi jhatka in the
lingo of Bachi Karkaria), the veteran military historian left
the TV room aghast with his expert comments: "In my entire
naval service, this is the first time I have witnessed a navel
encounter where no sailors are lost. Another novel encounter in
which men in uniform participate but do not get killed are the
much publicised, bold and (in)famous police encounters (fake).
Colonel Trilok Mehrotra, New Delhi)