A Philanthropist | columns | Hindustan Times
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A Philanthropist

A frequent and welcome visitor is my very old friend, Nanak Kohli, often accompanied by Planning Commission member Syeda Hamid, whom I have also known and admired for many years. She and I share a great love for Urdu poetry, which somehow seems to go well with a large peg of single malt.

columns Updated: Jul 01, 2013 04:56 IST
Khushwant Singh

A frequent and welcome visitor is my very old friend, Nanak Kohli, often accompanied by Planning Commission member Syeda Hamid, whom I have also known and admired for many years. She and I share a great love for Urdu poetry, which somehow seems to go well with a large peg of single malt.

Syeda and Nanak brought along with them a painfully shy girl simply called “Baby”, who must have been in her early 20s. A long time back I had told Nanak to put the millions he had made in the USA to good use in India.

“Help in educating girls, especially girls from the lowest castes,” I told him. Which is what he had done by setting up scores of “Balwadis” in the slums of Delhi and Punjab as well as establishing computer training centres to empower rural women.

Baby was one of may who came under his tutelage and benefited from his generosity. She was earning just R500 a month in her village; she now gets four times as much as a medical transcriptionist.

Her ambition? To get into the IAS. If she can shed some of her timidity, I am sure she will make the grade.

Nanak’s next project is equably laudable: to set up homes for senior citizens. These are common in most western countries, even in Japan and China, I believe, but are a rather alien concept in India, where children are expected to look after their parents in their old age.

However, I have lately been hearing horror stories of the ill-treatment of the aged by their children who find them a burden and a nuisance.

I feel that old-age homes must be constructed in all the urban centres.

A major problem, I am told, is the prohibitive cost of land. This is where a caring state government can step in and provide subsidised land. Sheila Dixit, are you listening?

My readers must have noticed that my columns have become irregular. I am now over 98 and have been scribbling my thoughts for over half a century.

I know I have infuriated a lot of people but I hope that I have given pleasure and a few laughs to some. When I have the energy I write, when I don’t I remain silent. So, please bear with me.

Losing Pets

“Sex with pets is not demeaning to animals,” Michael Kiok of the zoophile pressure group ZETA told reporters in Munster, “because we see them as partners, not as a means of gratification.

People say we hurt animals, but we don’t force them to do anything, and they soon make evident if they’re not interested. There’s nothing wrong with consensual sex with an animal, and we will take legal action to oppose this ban.”

Kiok was speaking after the German government announced legislation to criminalise zoophilia (legalised in Germany in 1969). “We will outlaw the use of animals for personal sexual activities which force them to behave in ways inappropriate to their species,” declared Hans-Michael Goldmann of the parliament’s Agricultural Committee.

However, Kiok argued that “sex with animals is legal in Belgium and Denmark, and there are over 100,000 practising zoophiles in Germany. In olden days, the sexual partners were mostly cows, horses, sheep and pigs, but nowadays it’s mostly dogs, because they are such common pets. Why should zoophiles be singled out, when the farming industry is allowed to sexually abuse animals by ramming electric rods into the backsides of boars to make them ejaculate, or castrating piglets without anaesthetic? When I look at my dog, I know immediately what it wants. Animals are much easier to understand than women.

(Courtesy: Private Eye, London)

Cricket, thy name is money

There are Boards through new and old

Indian Cricket Board is a pot of gold

But its members are so saintly and bold

That they are ever willing to let go on it

Their vice-like hold.

Thousands of crores just floating around

Distributed off and on the ground

Bookies and crooks, players and those who player-like look

And especially the members and Chairman of the Board though

Have all been self-sacrificing found.

But there is a million years old question :

How can anybody leave a gold mine

And why should Srinivasan ever resign ?

However, he faces one bad omen :

With Dalmia, along with Narayan Murthy and possibly

Advani making a return

It is for old war horses a come-back season.

(Courtesy Kuldip Salil, New Delhi)

Press Button Matrimony

An enterprising businessman set up a marriage bureau, which would-be customers could access using their mobile phones. Banta rang up the number given and a recorded voice answered. “If you want to meet a suitable person to be your life partner, press one; if you already have someone in mind but, are having problems in getting engaged, press two. If you are engaged, but due to family objections, dowry demands, or any reason your marriage is being held up, press three. If you have any questions, press four.”

Banta pressed four.

“What is your question? The recorded voice asked.

“I want to get married for the second time. What do I press?

“Your first wife’s throat! The voice answered.

(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, New Delhi)