Kipling’s observation that the female of the species is deadlier than the male applies to humans as well: when a woman turns venomous, she can hiss like a cobra. I give four instances from our own country.
First on my list is Sadhvi Rithambra. She indulges in double-speak. When appearing on TV she is sugar and honey. She is seen walking, holding little children by the hand to give the impression of a loving mother. When she speaks to her disciples and admirers, she spouts venom against Muslims.
Next I come to Uma Bharati, ex-CM of Madhya Pradesh, and ex-member of the BJP. Although she wears saffron, she does not call herself a Sadhvi and does not indulge in double-speak. She likes to project herself as gau-rakhshak (protector of cows) by posing before cameras hugging calves. She has an explosive temper but does not mince her words and says openly she is proud of her role in the destruction of the Babri Masjid.
Then there is Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, now in jail on charges of conspiring and carrying out murders of Muslims. She is a good-looking woman in the image of Mira Bai. What turned her into a potential killer has yet to be established.
Finally we have Mayaben Kodnani who was, till her arrest, minister in Narendra Modi’s government in Gujarat. She is charged with abetting murders of Muslims in 2002 which must have been known to her chief minister. She is a practicing gynaecologist and has taken the Hippocratic oath to save lives.
All the four ladies I have listed are Hindus and educated. They must have heard of the name Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Like them, he was also a Hindu, a devout Ram bhakta. However, at every one of his morning and evening prayers, he had passages of the Koran recited and his favourite hymn : Ishwar Allah Terey naam/Sabko Sammati dey Bhagwan.
My analysis of such behaviour may not be acceptable to everyone because I think it comes out of sexual frustration. If these ladies had a fulfilling sex life, the venom they spout have been drained out of their systems. Sex is the best therapy against frustration. A woman has heavier responsibility than a man in bringing up children. I appeal to these worthy ladies and all others to ponder over the words of M.K. Gandhi, whom we call Bapu, our father.
Love letters to a stranger
Out of the blue I received a love letter from a young lady I had never met. From the name Deblina Roy and the address Howrah, I could tell she was a Bengali. Who but a Bengali would declare love for a total stranger! She wrote that her love was entirely platonic; I being 70 years or more older than her, unable to enter into any kind of amorous relationship besides the platonic, accepted what she offered with good grace. She had addressed me as ‘Dear Grandpa’. Reading it over and over again, it lifted my spirits. In the letter she had included a few lines of poetry mentioning her shabby start, and that now she is a lady doctor looking after the poor. She never wanted it to be published, but I sought her permission to do so. It reads:
Today I’ve nothing more to say/ My life has given more than I could have prayed/ From the dark clouds that had cornered the bright sunshine/To the twinkling stars that have lit up my night/I thank my Lord for all of that/ So long I cursed Him/ Saying: “Where the hell is my life going?”/ Little did I realise that he had kept saying / “Every dark cloud has a silver lining”/The stars may not have shone that bright/ I still need more light in my life/But today I can proudly say that I’ve risen above my peers/ Be it experience, struggle or sheer patience/ The Lord has showered me with all his blessings/ So that I may never fail, in my conquest for nothing but the best.
“You are the bravest woman of the land, daring the darkness you took a heroic stand.
We could’t have got the burglar,
Hadn’t you maimed him with a tumbler.
“A burglar? Sorry, I thought it was my husband.”
(Contributed by Jayanta Datta Gupta, Calcutta)