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Goondas, mind your own business

Did Shah Rukh Khan and the Maharashtra Government score a decisive victory over the Shiv Sena by showing My Name Is Khan in Mumbai’s cinemas? The Thackerays and Muthaliks of the world must not be allowed to bully us, writes Khushwant Singh.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2010 02:21 IST

Did Shah Rukh Khan and the Maharashtra Government score a decisive victory over the Shiv Sena by showing My Name Is Khan in Mumbai’s cinemas? Did liberal elements in Karnataka score over Rama Sene by blackening the face of Muthalik in Mangalore? Many of us think so and hope both senas have been dumped on the garbage heap. Unfortunately that is not so.

Shiv Sena’s balloon has no doubt been somewhat deflated but not burst. It was the same when Rahul Gandhi travelled by suburban train and walking down streets of city — a one time performance. And Muthalik has wiped that soot off his face and is leading his storm troopers to impose his will on people who do not agree with him.

My reasoning is simple: you cannot put down subversive elements without having a strong government, which can effectively deal with bullies. Their strength is their ability to damage property and rough up people: No one wants to lose his property and get beaten up. The most vulnerable are mill owners, cinema hall proprietors, eateries and film people whose living comes from Bollywood located in Mumbai.

They will be eager to patch up with the Thackerays and the Muthaliks. Take it from me that soon Shah Rukh Khan will come to an understanding with the Thackerays. It has been done before. Sunil Dutt and his daughter Priya Dutt of the Congress party sought Bal Thackeray’s blessings before the elections. So did the unprincipled, opportunist Pritish Nandi to become Sena’s nominee to the Rajya Sabha.

Bal Thackeray is happy to receive important people at his residence, Matoshree. They kowtow to him and touch his feet while he sits on his throne draped in saffron robes and rudraksh malas, looking like a patriarch of all he surveys. He aches to be loved to and is as liberal in his blessings as he is in offering visitors chilled beer.

I have never met his recalcitrant nephew Raj Thackeray but his modus operandi is much the same as his uncle’s. So I fear the present euphoria generated by the release of My Name Is Khan is going to be short-lived. We have yet to build up a mass support of those who can confront these senas’s goondas and teach them how to mind their own business.


Bharatrihari
Almora-born Ramesh Chandra Shah was a professor of English in Hamidia College, Bhopal till 1997. However, he won acclaim as a Hindi poet and novelist and was honoured with several literary awards. He stumbled on Bharatrihari’s poems in Sanskrit and decided to learn the language; to be able to translate them into English. I published some selections in Yojana of which I was the founder-editor. And The Illustrated Weekly of India, which I edited for nine years. It is a privilege to publish some more a third time. The translations are in rubai form and read as well as Fitzgarald’s translations of Omar Khayyam.

Thus Spoke Bharatrihari (Rajpal) is divided into three sections: Niti (Polity), Sringar (Erotica) and Vairagya (Asceticism). First I give examples of Sringar:

You are so lucky if you can admire/The lineaments of satisfied desire/ In your young bride; suck at her honey’s mouth/And let her languor in your arms retire

And:

The bookful blockheads preaching self-restraint/ Do not consider what’s really at stake/Love’s play on passionate breasts and thighs once known/ Such amorous raptures who can ever forsake.

In the third verse he rues the futilty of life spent in making love:

The joy companionship of women brings
Ends in despair and disillusionment
Self-knowledge is the only certain good
Leading to calm of mind, all passions spent.
Finally the search for salvation:
Blest are the saints who from all
passions free/Possess their souls and live in ecstasy/ With boundless space
as garment and a bowl/ Of rice as food and woods as company.

And:

Drunk with delusion’s ever temptinng wine
We mortals fail to see the spark Divine/ Caught in the vicious whirls of nights and days/Our soul ne’er stops to think of its decline
Professor Shah’s renderings of the Sanskrit poet are sheer joy to read. I must mentioning that the professor has decided to make his home in Bhopal. His house is on a road named Bhadbhada.

Dress Code

Henry Ford II, son of Henry Ford I, who felt that his father was generally improperly dressed and did not adhere to the correct dress code, had the following conversation with him:

Henry Ford II: Dad, you are the biggest manufacturer of cars and a very renowned person in America. Then why do you dress so shabbily?
Henry Ford I: Yes. I dress the way I like, as everyone in America knows me as Henry Ford.
Henry Ford II: But, when you go abroad, there also you dress in the same way, even in poshest of places.
Henry Ford I: Yes, of course, abroad also I dress the same way, because there no one knows me as Henry Ford.

(Contributed by Colonel Trilok Mehrotra, Noida)
The views expressed are personal