Mayawati, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has announced her resolve to divide the state she rules into four. Her decision can be rubbished on many grounds.
Historical: The British, who ruled India for almost two centuries, never thought the state was divisible. Nor did rulers of Independent India. It has remained politically the most powerful state of India. Linguistic: Long Ago we had decided that state boundaries should be drawn according to the language spoken for sake of administrative convenience. In all of Uttar Pradesh the spoken language is Hindi or Hindustani and their dialects. There has not been the slightest change in the linguistic map of the state Mayawati rules. What she is really worried about is not the good administration of the State but the threat posed by Rahul Gandhi to oust her from the Chief Ministership of the state.
Educated upper classes may have reservations against dynastic succession but among the common people it is regarded a plus point. So far he has not taken any false steps or said anything that might be misconstrued as a bid to wrest power. You can take it from me, nothing is going to stop Rahul Gandhi’s rise to supreme power in the country in the very near future.
A letter from an old friend in England brought tears to my eyes. It announced the passing of a dear friend of the family which had named one of its children after mine to re-affirm our closeness, Mala Tristan Jones. Tristan Jones’ father was secretary and biographer of David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England. Tristan was on the staff of The Observer and married to Anneliese who was an au pair in the family.
We got very close to each other. He had a large farmhouse at St. Nicholas-at-Wade on the Kentish Coast. His wife and children stayed at home. He spent his week-ends there and often took me along with him. What made our visits memorable was the reception we got on our arrival.
As soon as our car drew up at the gate, a donkey came up to see who we were. As soon as it saw its master, it went into an uncontrolled expression of joy. It ran around the farm hee-hawing and kicking its hind legs in the air. This went on for quite a while till it was exhausted. Then it joined Tristan’s family for supper. A window was kept open for it. Having fed on grass, all he needed was sweeteners. The family took him to feed with sugar cubes.
The scene came back to me when I read Tristan’s letter. It ended with the sentence: “Anneliese was reading your autobiography the day she died.”
Funeral services were being conducted for a woman who had been thoroughly disliked in her rural community. With a violent, explosive disposition she hen-pecked her husband, drove her children mercilessly and quarrelled with her neighbours.
The day of the funeral was sultry, and as the body was burnt completely a violent storm broke. There was a blinding flash of lightning, followed by a terrific clap of thunder.
“Well,” remarked one of the villagers, “She’s got there.”
A salesman of a department store once told me that customers in the store where he works often complained about the rising cost of greeting cards. He never took their comments seriously until the day a woman asked him, “Do you have any birthday cards for someone turning 100?” He led her to the appropriate rack, where she picked up a card and checked the price. “If she doesn’t make it,” asked the customer, “Can I bring it back ?”
(Contributed by Reeten Ganguly, Tezpur)
Rohan: Why are you looking so annoyed?
Sohan: Because that pretty girl called me Uncle
Rohan: So, what is wrong with that?
Sohan: Well, she is around 25 years old, and I am just 35. How can she call me Uncle?
Rohan: It is just a pity you are not from the South, like me. I would not have minded her calling me Uncle at all.
Rohan: Because in the part of the country I come from, a maternal Uncle has first priority for marrying a girl.
(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, New Delhi)
The views expressed by the author are personal