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WIFEOLOGY !

WIFEOLOGY !  


Background :


This is a nostalgic journey down the lane from 2008 to 1977. I had written a humourous piece on the subject matter and had sent it to Eve’s Weekly.They returned the article with the usual rejection slip.I was not disheartened.I posted the creation to The Sunday Standard -my then favourite Sunday newspaper (The Indian Express Group).Within a very reasonable time,I received an encouraging letter from the editor himself .He complimented me but made some valid suggestions like reducing its length and pruning some paragraphs and then send it back to them.Those days I was working in a private sector firm and had to take the help of a friendly typist in some other department to first get the matter typed and then again re-typed with suitable modifications.There were no computers then of course.I sent the matter back to The Sunday Standard (by usual post through a nearby post office (there was no e-mail technology then too) If I remember correctly it was the last week of February 1977.The article was published in the weekly paper dated March 20th 1977.I have kept a cutting of the same pasted on a thick sheet (there was no photocopying technique then) as a memory of those exciting times .It has yellowed with age but occupies a place of pride in one of my old registers.Yes,on 25th April 1977, I received a cheque of Rs.100/- from the newspaper alongwith a letter dated 19th April.I have preserved that letter as well.Rs.100/- of those days should be equivalent to Rs 2000/- at least to day.Now that internet is here,and MUSE INDIA has given us readers a good platform,I feel privileged to share this experience with my friends and readers. I reproduce the article herebelow:  


WIFEOLOGY              by    Jitoo Broca  


The other day,while rummaging trough some old papers,I came across a little red diary.(By the way,it is quite an antique piece,since it belongs to those old school days of mine) A page showing what a particular “logy” meant interested me and set me thinking about my wife who practically and artfully tries these sciences at home to her advantage (and to my chagrin). There and then I coined the word “Wifeology” (I’d like to propose that the word be included in the dictionary ). I wish to share my views with all husbands in general,(and with my friends’ wives,in particular) so that a joint committee ,on a national basis,can be formed for the social uplift of unliberated husbands (in these days of liberated women and wives !) and to oppose the use of these “logies” at the home-front.Here I go ! 


 


ANTHROPOLOGY-Study of mental and physical states of mankind . “Marriage is the panacea for all weaknesses,” said someone.So I got married,thinking that i’d soon get fatter.The outcome was that I grew lengthwise and my wife grew breadthwise.Mentally,I had a high IQ ,but marrying a girl with a higher IQ,suppressed my mental state.Mankind,kindly beware ! 


 ARCHEOLOGY-Study of pre-historic remains. After twenty years of my married life what remains of me now would indeed be a tourist attraction and foreign exchange earner ! (Entrepreneurs wishing to jump into this business,please meet me,by prior appointment through my missus,and discuss the terms for a life-long contract.) My wife is still geographically intact ,but her torments have withered my glory ! I pray for my fellow-sufferers !  


CHRONOLOGY-Study of dates and events. The date I got hitched to her was the unluckiest day of my life.Later,I conveniently forgot her birthdays to save expense,but she shrewdly kept me happy only on the days of my subsequent marriage anniversaries and got pearls,diamonds and gold from me.Lord help those whose memories are strong ! 


CONCHOLOGY-Study of shells.Very often she made me shell some bucks,saying that she would spend them on a fifty fifty basis.Later I would realise that she had spent fifty rupees on her dress and fifty paise on getting my suit ironed.(What an irony !) She spent the rest in buying shell novelties by the sea-shore at such fantastic rates that I could not even pronounce straight the otherwise facile tongue-twister ;”She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore .” The wealth thus shelled out by husbands of the entire world’s wives would dwarf “Kuber” -the god of wealth ! 


CYTOLOGY-Study of cells.I am talking of my grey cells,not prison cells.My wife’s red blood cells,in all their anger,always prevailed against my greycells.When she struck me in all her fury my greycells would become sober only after a night in the cell or cellar.Men,think of motgaging your greycells before you sell them away so that you may regain then when bad times have passed.You get me ?  


ENTOMOLOGY-Study of insects. “Insect”is the dear adjective shee freely and frequentlyuses to address me when she is in one of those nasty moods of hers.Thank her stars,I am a biped.Had I been a centipede,I’d love to crawl on her sleeping bellyon a sultry summer afternoon and love to hear her stereophonic shrieks in the air-conditioned bedroom of her flat.Insects of the world unite !  


GERONTOLOGY-Study of the science of oldage.Like the Golden Age of Ancient India,under the Guptas,my recent premature old age is the result of my being under the rule of my wife’s wand ! She is now in her un-roaring forties,but still looks and behaves like a sour twenty-seven ! I think ” Love is -not making your man concious of his old age”. My wife thinks the contrary.  


ORNITHOLOGY-Study of Birds. I remember the occasion when my wife caught me ogling and whistling at a lovely bird next door.She got the windows permanently bolted.Prevention was better than cure,she thought for she knew my “oglomania” was incurable and that I was always on the lookout for fresh birds on the sly.   


PHILOLOGY-Study of languages. One tongue is sufficient for a  woman, said some wise sage.Moving in a high society circle my wife has picked up an assortment of “foreign”words and throws them at me with relish.She has such a juggled  vocabularythat I can’t make out if it’s Hebrew or Yiddish when she mutters in her dreamy sleep.I enjoy her choicest swaer-words as much as her garlic-soup (provided you develop a healthy taste for either or both !)


VIROLOGY-Study of viruses.Wife is a virus,an infection (Pardon me if I am wrong,folks !) When the bug of four letter words ( like gold,mink,furs and gems ) bites one of the female species,there is no cheap bug-killer for the guy who suffers its stings till he pays through his nose,like the virus of the common cold !.    


Well,gentlemen,I leave you now to define the term “Wifeology” based on your own experience with your own wife (preferably) and to enlighten me with their artful practice of other “logies”.   I ‘ll have to stop getting wiser now,you know,before some cute young wife comes out with some such rubbish titled :” Husbandology ” (Here’s some food for thought,you intelligent ladies. Scratch your brains and awaken your greycells !) .


-J S BROCA


 

Category: Humour  24 Comments

THOSE THREE WORDS OF LOVE

THOSE THREE WORDS !   

                                                               

We all know what those three words are.Songs have been written on them,films have been made around them.The world, in fact,runs around them. Here is a funny variation on those three words:

E…N…J…O….Y !!

“CHHAILA NE LAILA SE KAHA

‘AAJ SHAAM TUMHAARE YAHAAN AANA CHAHTA HOON,

 WOH TEEN SHABD

TUMHAARE MOOHN SE SUNNAAN CHAHTA HOON !’

LAILA BOLI:’AAJ SHAAM KA MUJHE BHI INTEZAAR HAI,

JO TUM SUNANA CHAHTE HO,

WOH KEHNE KO MERA JEEYA BHI TAYIAAR HAI

SHAAM KO CHHAILA NE LAILA SE KAHA

‘DARLING WOH TEEN PYAAR KE SHABD SUNNNE KO

MERA DIL BEKARAAR HAI

ISS PAR LAILA MUSKRA KE BOLI

ABHI THODI DER RUKIYE,

NAHA KAR AATI HOON,

FIR PYAAR KE WOH TEEN SHABD SUNAATI HOON

JAB LAILA SAJJ SANWAR KAR WAAPIS AAYI,

TAU CHHAILA KE HOTHON PE MUSKRUHAT CHHAEE.

BOLA JALDI SE KAHO PREEYE,

ABB HOTA NAAN INTEZAAR HAI !’

LAILA NE ITTHLA KAR KAHA ‘SUNIYE WOH TEEN SHABD

:-”KHAANA…... TAIYAAR…....HAI….!” 

ANOTHER VARIATION OF THIS PIECE IN ENGLISH: BOY : “DARLING PLEASE SAY THOSE THREE WORDS OF LOVEGIRL : ” GO…..HANG…...YOURSELF !!”
- J S BROCA -NEW DELHI

Category: Humour  22 Comments

POETRY IN GOLDEN OLDIES–PART III

My series on “Poetry In Golden Oldies”,continues.                                               

Today I take up the following song:

                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

A GOLDEN OLDY FROM THE HINDI FILM “SARASWATI CHANDRA” (1968)

Lyricist :Indeevar

Singer :Lata Mangeshkar – Mukesh

Music Director :Kalyanji Anandji

Director : Govind Saraiya

The song goes thus :

“PHOOL tumhe bhejaa hai khat mein,

 PHOOL naheen meraa dil hai

PIAYATAM mere mujh ko likh do,

KYAA yeh tumhaare kabil hai

PYAAR CHHUPA HAI KHAT MEIN ITTNA

JITNE SAGAR MEIN MOTI

CHOOM HI LETAA HAATH TUMHARA

PAAS MERE JO TUM HOTI

        ...........................PHOOL TUMHEIN BHEJA HAI KHAT MEIN….

 

NEEND tumhe to aatee hogee,

KYAA dekhaa tum ne sapanaa

AANKH khulee to,tanahaee thee,

SAPNAA ho naa sakaa apanaa

TANHAEE hum door karenge,

LE aao tum shahanaaee

PREET badhaakar bhool naa jaanaa,

PREET tumhee ne sikhalaayee
             .......................PHOOL TUMHE BHEJAA HAI KHAT MEIN…...

KHAT se jee bharataa hee nahee,

AB nain mile to chain mile

CHAAND humaare anganaa utare,

 

KOEE to aisee rain mile

MILNA ho to kaise mile hum

MILNE kee surat likh do

NAIN bichhaye baithhe hain hum

KAB aaoge khat likh do
                        .................PHOOL TUMHE BHEJAA HAI KHAT MEIN

Beautiful words,excellent picturisation,well enacted roles by both Nutan and Manish.Enjoy the song on YOUTUBE in the privacy of your bedroom late at night with all the lights switched off and I guarantee that you’ll love this excellent, unforgettable poetry which will haunt you for days…Happy listening.

As a bonus,I give below the story line for those readers of MUSE who are not old as me ( I am 59 )and might not have seen this movie.

STORY:

Saraswati Chandra is not a movie for the faint hearted. At a running time of two hours and forty four minutes it requires not just a strong heart but also a long attention span. This classic encompasses it all, true love, lust, deceit, betrayal, moral duty and yes even a smidgen of violence. All this drama is backed up by a brilliant soundtrack by Kalyanji Anandji. In fact I will bet that most of you are familiar with all of the songs in the movie, but were unaware of their origins.

The two main characters are played by Nutan and Manish. They are backed up by a strong supporting cast which includes Vijaya Chaudhary, Sulochana and Jeevankala.

The movie is set in Gujarat during the era in which the British had not yet made their presence felt. An era where orthodox conservatism ruled, where your jaat represented who you were, and where the role of women in society was clearly defined.

The movie opens with a marriage proposal from Saraswati Chandra to the father of Kumud (Nutan). In the letter Saraswati says that out of familial obligation to his father he is proposing to Kumud , and since he has devoted his life to “Lok Seva”, he is devoid of any interest in such frivolous matters as women. Kumud who is eavesdropping on all of this decides to take matters into her own hands and win Saraswati’s heart by sending him letters that proclaim her love for him.

The strategy works and Saraswati is quite taken by his bride-to-be. He is so taken that he comes to visit her home. What entails is a playful and sometimes sensual courtship of the two lovers.
Saraswati returns to his home filled with longing to be united with his bride-to-be. This of course does not sit well with his stepmother who fears her place will be usurped by the new “bahu”. So she plots and plans, finally poisoning Saraswati’s father’s mind with her deceitful bitter words.

A rift is created between father and son, which results in Saraswati abandoning his wealth and leaving his home. Being that he is now a penniless pauper he writes to Kumud’s father saying that he is filled with love for Kumud, and when he comes to the realization that he cannot exist without her, he sets off to her house to explain to her family what happened in the hopes that they will still accept him as their son-in-law.

Meanwhile over at Kumud’s pandemonium has broken loose. A rejected daughter, oh what shame. How will the family ever show their face in society again? How will the younger daughter ever find a husband. Luckily a neigboring merchant has sent in a proposal asking for Kumud’s hand in marriage for his son. Kumud’s family decides to save face and accepts the proposal. Kumud’s mother comforts her daughter by telling her that although her heart will always belong to Saraswati, she must accept her new role, one of a wife, and abide by the duties and discipline that come with it.

Saraswati meanwhile is making haste to be united with Kumud. However he is delayed when his boat is swept away by a storm. He braves the dark tormented seas arriving just in time to see Kumud being carried away in a doli to her in laws’ home.

The length of the movie is made bearable by poignant dialogue, authentic traditional garb, Hindi in its purest form, memorable music, an ending that will startle even the most jaded, and to top it all off, Nutan in her finest hour.

Courtesy : Neeta Misra, March 28 1997 Website:http://freespace.virgin.net/jamal.akbar/saraswat.htm

Brief details of Nutan:

Born 04.06.1936

Died :21.02.1991

(Died of cancer at the age of 54)

She won 5 Filmfare Best Actress Awards

(highest number of awards won by an actress)

 

Hope you enjoyed reading this piece as much as I loved presenting it.

                                                                    

- J S BROCA                                                                       

NEW DELHI

All About Wives !!

Here are some hilarious thoughts on WIVES.                                   




Read and e…n…j…o…y !!
(Pass them on to your friends at your own risk.)
(Let’s hope a WIFE does not come out with equally whacky thoughts on HUSBANDS)
Its all about Wives:


1.My wife dresses to kill. She also cooks the same way.
2.My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
3.A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong.
4.I bought my wife a new car. She called and said, “There was water in the carburetor.” I asked her, “Where’s the car?” She replied, “In the lake.”
5.The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.
6.I haven’t spoken to my wife in 18 months – I don’t like to interrupt her.
7.My girlfriend told me I should be more affectionate.So I got myself two girlfriends.
8.Man is incomplete until he is married. Then he is finished.
9.A little boy asked his father, “Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?”The father replied, “I don’t know son, I’m still paying.”
10.A man placed an ad in the classifieds: “Wife wanted.”The next day he received a hundred letters.They all said the same: “You can have mine.”
11.It’s not true that married men live longer than single men.It only seems longer.
12.Losing a wife can be very hard. In my case, it was almost impossible.
13.A man meets a genie. The genie tells him he can ask for whatever he wants, but his mother-in-law gets double of what he gets.The man thinks for a moment and says, Okay, give me a million dollars and beat me till I’m half dead.”
14.The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once.   (The above list is only indicative,not exhaustive.You may add your other favourite ones and send them to me)


 - Courtesy: a forward from a like minded husband like me !!


 - J S BROCA


 

Category: Humour  8 Comments

WHAT IS LIFE

I had recently posted an opinion in Muse India.(visit  www.museindia.com)

Here it is :                                                                              


“Opinion By J S Broca, Nov 16, 2008 New Delhi,

 jsbroca@yahoo.com

WHAT IS LIFE ?

What is LIFE ? What is its purpose ? Let’s see what various writers say on the subject :

1. Zig Ziglar: Man was designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.

2. Thomas Edison: Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

3. Elbert Hubbard: Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal.

4. Unknown Author: Many people realize their hearts’ desires late in life. Continue learning, never stop striving and keep your curiosity sharp, and you will never become too old to appreciate life.

5. Jonathan Swift: May you live all the days of your life.

6. Buddha: Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.

7. Alfred Adler: Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted.

8. Gabriel Heatter: Mere longevity is a good thing for those who watch Life from the side lines. For those who play the game, an hour may be a year; a single day’s work an achievement for eternity.

9. George Bernard Shaw: Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.

10. Nikki Giovanni: Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts.

11. Janice Endique: On the way to what you planned to happen, something even better comes along.

12. Mahatma Gandhi: One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole.

13. Don Quixote: One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this.

14. Michael Cibenko: One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.

15. P. W. Litchfield: One realizes the full importance of time only when there is little left of it. Every man’s greatest capital asset is his unexpired years of productive life.

16. Lucius Annaeus Seneca: One should count each day a separate life.

17. Sophocles: One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life; That word is love.

18. Albert Einstein: Only a life lived for others is worth living.

19. Thomas Alva Edison: Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

20. Walter Winchell: Optimist: A man who gets treed by a lion but enjoys the scenery.
Having read the above quotes, it is clear that life means different things to different people.

However, to me it appears that the true meaning of life is summed up in this beautiful song from the old film Anadi (1959) with lyrics by Shailendra, sung by Mukesh and music by Shankar Jaikishan.

The wordings of the song go thus:

 ”Kisee kee muskuraahaton pe ho nisaar

 kisee kaa dard mil sake to, le udhaar

kisee ke waasate ho tere dil mein pyaar,

 ..........................jeenaa isee kaa naam hai.

Maanaa apanee jeb se fakeer hai

fir bhee yaaro dil ke hum ameer hai

mite jo pyaar ke liye wo jindagee

jale bahaar ke liye wo jindagee

kisee ko ho naa ho humei to ayetabaar,

 ........................... jeenaa isee kaa naam hai.

Rishtaa dil se, dil ke ayetabaar kaa

jindaa hain hum hee se naam pyaar kaa

ke mar ke bhee kisee ko yaad aayenge

kisee ke aasuon mein muskurayenge

kahegaa ful har kalee se baar baar,

 ........................... jeenaa isee kaa naam hai”

Now lets make an effort to translate this song into English :

“Try to die for someone’s beautiful smile,

Try to borrow (take over) someone’s sorrow,

Let there be love in your heart for someone.

....That’s what is called LIFE.

If you see my empty pockets,then I am a pauper,

But if you see the love in my heart,then I am really rich,

The one who is ready to die for love,his life is really meaningful.

The one who is ready to sacrifice his life for bringing sunshine in someone else’s life,his life is really meaningful.

You may not believe all this,but I am confident and believe

......That’s what is called LIFE.

I believe that there has to be relationship of faith between two hearts,

And that is what keeps love alive for ever and ever.

I wish that someone special remembers me after my death

I would love to keep smiling through the tears of that someone special.

After I die,every flower shall repeatedly tell the newly opening buds

......That’s what is called LIFE

This golden oldy picturised beautifully in black and white, on that great and versatile actor,the late Raj Kapoor,is a shear pleasure to watch on Youtube and listen to, in the stillness of late night,while you ruminate on the subject matter :WHAT IS LIFE ? E..N..J…O…Y !!

PS : Readers of Muse India are extended a warm invitation to visit my blog (titled “Broca’s Doodle Pad”) through the link given herebelow and post their views on topics of interest to them : http://seeingwithc.org/jsblog

My article published in The Indian Banker – a monthly journal

My article has been published in the Nov 08 issue of The Indian Banker – a journal published by the Indian Banks Association, which is the apex association in India. I thank them for this recognition and for considering my article worthy of publication. I had orignially titled it “Sab kuchh bikta hai” (Everything sells), however they renamed it as below.


My article:









Page 1

Page 2


Click here to download easy to read PDF version.

Category: Humour, Ideas  6 Comments

POETRY IN GOLDEN OLDIES–PART I

I have recently started contributing poems,opinions etc to Muse India, a literary e-magazine.Here is my recent posting:


Like me, there must be several readers of Muse who love Golden Oldies of Bollywood.Those songs of yester years are still loved by fans for their sheer simplicity of thoughts,clear words,short and sweet situations and above all melodious music, without any cacophony and noise as heard in songs of present era.It is a real pleasure to hear such songs playing somewhere nearby on a loudspeaker while you are lying on your bed on the terrace of your house late at night.The words and the music come to you wafting through the gentle breeze of the winds.You start humming the song and tapping your hands or feet to the lovely beat of the lilting music.It relaxes you.It gives you a sense of inner calm and peace.You get transported to that old era of sweet music of the fifties and sixties and re-live those moments when you had watched a particular movie in the theatre of your town or city and its music still haunts you.I have quite a few  favourite songs of that era on my list of ever green songs.One such song is “GORE GORE,O BAANKE CHHORE ….”.Its on the top of my favourite list.Why ? Because of its sublime poetry,simple words, happy mood and its chirpy quality which compels you to sing along . 

I have often discussed the subject matter of good poetry with some of my gifted friends and based on what I have gleaned from such discussions let us try to understand what is “best” or “good” in  poetry. Yes of course, the basic attributes are : rhyme, simile, meter etc.However,what really matters in poetry is the final outcome. The experience of reading a good poem should more importantly make a significant  difference in your mood, reward the time spent, and create an impact.Good poetry need not be necessarily complex.

It would be worthwhile to characterize some important attributes of good poetry.The words of a good poem, its central idea, or theme, or image,” should hit home,vibrate and resonate,linger and startle” you.Nobody likes to read a poem which has words which are boring,un-enlightening,trite or plain cliched.Words should be short, clear,succint enough to create an experience in the mind of the reader.

Oscar Wilde once said : “All bad  poetry springs from genuine feeling.” What he means  that the writer  must go way beyond and build up the poem with an imagery born out a simply genuine feeling.A well written poem should aesthetically and tastefully convey that genuine feeling and it should have the capacity to resonate a similar genuine feeling in the reader.A good poem should have” an element of surprise,a newness of expression, a re-visitation of the poet’s experience as one the reader has had, in short, a discovery.A good poem should be unique and inspire trust in the reader to give his intellect and emotion to the poet. I remember having read somewhere, while doing a course in appreciation of French poetry (long long ago in my college days ) that good poetry is like a good movie,a good dinner,a good TV show,a good editorial in a journal….it lingers….the time investment pays off and even if one is seemingly not interested,one can pick it up and get into it !!  

 Having said that, I leave the  readers to judge for themselves as to  whether the lyrics of the aforementioned song qualify it to be categorised in to what is called a really good poetry. I have compiled the details of lyrics and other information about this song and the movie, from a few sources, for the interest of the like minded readers.So sit back and E..N..J..O..Y…!!


GOLDEN OLDIES:
Song :”Gore Gore, O Baanke Chhore….” 

Movie : Samaadhi (1950)

Music Director : Chitalkar Ramchandra

Lyricist:Rajendra Krishan

Cast :Ashok Kumar,Nalini Jaywant,Shyam,Kuldip Kaur

Singers :Lata Mangeshkar,Amirbai Karnataki 

LYRICS:
Lata: Gore gore o baanke chhore,kabhi meri gali aaya karo
Amirbai: Gori gori, o baanki chhori,  chaahe roz bulaaya karo

Lata: Roz roz mulaaqaat achchhi nahin , pyaar men aisi baat achchhi nahin,

        thoda thoda milna, thodi si judaai, sada chaandani raat achchi nahin


Amirbai:Chhodo chhodo, jiyaa na todo, kisi aur ko jalaaya karo

Both: Gori gori, o baanki chhori,   chaahe roz bulaaya karo

         Gore gore o baanke chhore, kabhi meri gali aaya karo

         Gori gori, o baanki chhori,  chaahe roz bulaaya karo

Lata:Chhoti-si baat par ye ladaai?  pyaar ki duhaai hai, pyaar ki duhaai

        akhiyon men akhiyaan, daal ke to dekho, chehare pe gussa haay dil men safaai

Amirbai: Ghadi ghadi, o badi badi, aisi baaten na banaaya karo
Both: Gori gori, o baanki chhori,  chaahe roz bulaaya karo

         Gore gore o baanke chhore, kabhi meri gali aaya karo

         Gori gori, o baanki chhori,   chaahe roz bulaaya karo

I have a suggestion to make.Search this song on Google and go to Youtube and have a “dekho”.Switch off the lights of your room and see the wonderful imagery,enjoy the music and relax to the tune of this golden oldie.Happy viewing.

- J S BROCA  New Delhi

  jsbroca@yahoo.com

Death of Shri B R Chopra

Shri BR Chopra died recently.A regular contributor to Muse India, a literary e-magazine (www.museindia.com)one Dr K Mallick,posted a tribute to Chopra ji.I posted the following comments in response to his piece:


Dear Mallickji, I join you in paying my tribute to Shri B R Chopra. Passing away of Baldev Raj Chopra on 5 November 2008 means an end of an era  and a generation. He was known for his socially relevant and purposeful films some of which had themes which were way ahead with time. He was specially known for social films like Naya Daur (1957), Kanoon (1961) (songless movie with Ashok Kumar in a scintilating performance), Gumrah (1963) and Humraaz (1967), plus the mega TV Series, Mahabharat in the late 1980s. He was awarded the highest award in Indian cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1998 (He was the 30th recipient). His brother Yash Chopra, son Ravi Chopra and nephew Aditya Chopra are also well known directors in  Bollywood industry. Lets hope they will keep the Chopra banner flying. As per information gathered from various sources, he was born in Ludhiana,  received an M.A from Lahore University in English Literature. He started his career, as a film journalist with ‘Cine Herald’ a film-monthly published from Lahore in 1938, later he took over the magazine and ran it till 1947. In the same year, he launched a film, Chandni Chowk, with story by IS Johar, in partnership with his friends, and just when the production of film was to start, riots broke out in Lahore, and he and his family had to flee from the city. After the partition of India into India and Pakistan in 1947, he moved to Delhi, and then to Bombay (Mumbai), where his first production Karwat, came in 1948, but it turned out to be a flop. His first film as a director, Afsana was released in 1951. It was a hit and  had Ashok Kumar in a double role.There was no turning back from then on. Eventually he also made Chandni Chowk in 1954, with Meena Kumari in the  lead. In 1955, B.R. formed his own production house. His first movie from this production house was the highly successful Naya Daur (1957) starring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala Bali, the film became a golden jubilee hit. B.R. was instrumental in developing the career of singer Mahendra Kapoor (who also died recently), and employed him in most of his movies. (Director-producer Yash Choprâ, a brother of B.R., cast Mahendra Kapoor’s son in Fasle). B.R.’s foray into television led to Mahabharat, one of the most successful TV serials in Indian television history. He is survived by his son, Ravi Chopra, also a filmmaker and two daughters. He has won a long list of awards: 1962: Filmfare Best Director Award: Kanoon 1998: Dâdâsâheb Phâlke Award 2003: Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award 2008: Phalke Ratna Award by the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy. As a  Director-Producer he was associated with Naya Daur (1957), Sadhana (1958), Kanoon (1961), Gumrah (1963), Humraaz (1967), Dastaan (1972), Dhund (1973), Karm (1977), Pati Patni Aur Woh (1980), Insaaf Kâ Taraazoo (1980), Nikaah (1982), Awaam (1987), Kal Ki Awaaz (1992). As a Director he was associated with Afsaanaa (1951), Chaandni Chowk (1954), Ek Hi Rasta (1956), Tawaif (1985). As a Producer he was associated with Dhool Kaa Phool (1959), Dharm Putra (1962), Waqt (1965), Ittefaq (1969), AAdmi Aur Insaan (1970), Zameer (1975), Chhoti Si Baat (1976), The Burning Train (1980), Agnee Pareeksha (1982), Mazdoor (1983), Aaj Ki Awaaz (1984), Kirayedaar (1986), Dahleez (1986), Pratigyaabadh (1991), Baaghbaan (2003) and Baabul (2006).   All fans and  lovers of social, family oriented, purposeful Hindi films, will surely miss the maestro B R Chopra. May his soul rest in peace.
J S Broca, New Delhi Nov 08, 2008

My response to Shernaz Wadia’s poem and responses of others in MUSE INDIA


























 






Sati — a view point on its origin

This is a viewpoint on Shernaz Wadia’s poem titled ” Enforced Isolation ” on the subject of “Sati ” published in Muse on November 1, 2008.(visit  www.museindia.com) I suggest you read the poem first and thereafter this piece of mine.(The poem has been published just below this piece) Your feedback is welcome !

My views :A soul-stirring poem. Firstly, I was reminded of what I had read several years ago while reading a media report on one girl named Roop Kanwar. A brief outline is given herebelow:Roop Kanwar (b. 1969 – September 4, 1987) was an 18-year old Rajput woman who committed sati on September 4, 1987 at Deorala village of Sikar district in Rajasthan, India. At the time of her death, she had been married for eight months to Maal Singh, who had died a day earlier at age 24, and had no children. She went to her death in her wedding robes.

News reports of the incident present conflicting stories about the voluntariness of Kanwar’s death. Many news reports say that she was forced to die. However, other reports said that she wished to die, that her relatives were unable to persuade her otherwise, and that she went willingly to the pyre. She is also said to have told her brother-in-law to light the pyre when she was ready. Several thousand people attended the event.

After her death, Roop Kanwar was hailed as a sati mata — a “sati” mother, or pure mother. The event quickly produced a public outcry in urban centres, pitting a modern Indian ideology against a traditional one. The incident led first to state level laws to prevent such incidents, then the central government’s The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act. The original inquiries resulted in 45 people being charged with her murder; they were acquitted. A much-publicized later investigation led to the arrest of a large number of people from Deorala, said to have been present in the ceremony, or participants in it. Eventually, 11 people, including state politicians, were charged with glorification of sati. On January 31, 2004, a special court in Jaipur acquitted all of the 11 accused in the case, observing that the prosecution had failed to prove charges that they glorified sati. That’s the travesty of justice or injustice for us in our country !Next, I recalled a story narrated to me by my late mother in my childhood about Satyavan and Savitri. The story goes somewhat like this: When Savitri’s husband Satyavan died, the Lord of death, Yama arrived to take his soul. Savitri begged Yama to restore Satyavan and take her life instead, which he could not do. So Savitri followed Lord Yama a long way. After a long way in which Yama noticed that Savitri was losing strength but was still following him and her dead husband, Yama offered Savitri a boon, anything other than her husband’s life. Savitri asked to have children from Satyavan. In order to give Savitri her boon, Lord Yama had no choice but to restore Satyavan to life and so Savitri gained her husband back. Even today, traditional Indian families feel that a good wife should be like Savitri.To understand exactly as to what is Sati and what could have originated it, I did some research: The meaning of the word sati reveals the following: Satî (Devanagari: ???, the feminine of sat “true”) (also suttee) is a funeral practice among some Hindu communities, now very rare and outlawed in modern India, in which a recently-widowed woman would immolate herself and burn to ashes on her dead husband’s funeral pyre. The term is derived from the original name of the goddess Sati also known as Dakshayani, who immolated herself, unable to bear her father Daksha’s humiliation of her (living) husband Shiva.

The term may also be used to refer to the widow herself. The term sati is now sometimes interpreted as ‘chaste woman’. Basically the custom of Sati was believed to be a voluntary Hindu act in which the woman voluntarily decides to end her life with her husband after his death. But there were many incidents in which the women were forced to commit Sati, sometimes even dragged against her wish to the lighted pyre. Though Sati is considered a Hindu custom, the women, known as Sati in Hindu religious literature, did not commit suicide on their dead husband’s pyre. The first woman known as Sati was the consort of Lord Shiva. She burnt herself in fire as protest against her father who did not give her consort Shiva the respect she thought he deserved, while burning herself she prayed to reborn again as the new consort of Shiva, which she became and her name in the new incarnation was Parvati.A question further arose in my mind as to what a sati symbolizes? Let me share with you what I learnt: These two women along with other women in Hindu mythology who were exceptionally devoted to their husbands symbolized the truthful Indian wife who would do everything for their husband and they were named Sati. The meaning of the word sati is righteous. But as written earlier the women named Sati, in Hindu religious literature, did not commit suicide on their dead husband’s pyre. Therefore the custom of burning the widow on her dead husband’s pyre probably did not evolve from religious background but from social background. There are different theories about the origins of Sati. One theory says that Sati was introduced to prevent wives from poisoning their wealthy husbands and marry their real lovers. Other theory says that Sati began with a jealous queen who heard that dead kings were welcomed in heaven by hundreds of beautiful women, called Apsaras. 

And therefore when her husband died, she demanded to be burnt on her dead husband’s pyre and so as to arrive with him in heaven and this way to prevent the Apsaras from consorting with her husband.Even though Sati is considered an Indian custom or a Hindu custom, it was not practiced all over India by all Hindus but only among certain communities of India. On the other hand, sacrificing the widow in her dead husband’s funeral or pyre was not unique only to India. In many ancient communities it was an acceptable feature. This custom was prevalent among Egyptians, Greek, Goths, Scythians and others. Among these communities it was a custom to bury the dead king with his mistresses or wives, servants and other things so that they could continue to serve him in the next world.Another theory claims that Sati was probably brought to India by the Scythians invaders of India. When these Scythians arrived in India, they adopted the Indian system of funeral, which was cremating the dead. And so instead of burying their kings and his servers they started cremating their dead with his surviving lovers. The Scythians were warrior tribes and they were given a status of warrior castes in Hindu religious hierarchy. Many of the Rajput clans are believed to originate from the Scythians. Later on other castes who claimed warrior status or higher also adopted this custom. This custom was more dominant among the warrior communities in north India, especially in Rajasthan and also among the higher castes in Bengal in east India. Among the Rajputs of Rajasthan, who gave lot of importance to valor and self sacrifice, wives and concubines of the nobles even committed suicide, when they came to know that their beloved died in battlefield. In other parts of India it was comparatively low. And among the majority of Indian communities it did not exist at all.

A few rulers of India tried to ban this custom. The Mughals tried to ban it. The British, due to the efforts of Hindu reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, outlawed this custom in 1829. (I recalled our high school History books which had a chapter on Raja Ram Mohan Roy and in every History paper there was at least one question on the topic- either a short note on abolishing of Sati or a full question on reformist efforts of this great man !!).

There aren’t exact figures about the number of Sati incidences. In general, before this custom was outlawed in 1829, there were a few hundred officially recorded incidences each year. Even after the custom was outlawed, this custom did not vanish completely. It took few decades before this custom almost vanished. But still there are rare incidences in which the widow demands to voluntary commit Sati.In 1987 an eighteen years old widow (Roop Kanwar whose story has been just narrated above) committed Sati in a village of Rajasthan with the blessing of her family members. In this incidence the villagers took part in the ceremony, praising and supporting the widow for her act. In October 1999 a woman hysterically jumped on her husband’s pyre surprising everyone. But this incidence was declared suicide and not Sati, because this woman was not compelled, forced or praised to commit this act. 

In different communities of India, Sati was performed for different reasons and different manners. In communities where the man was married to one wife, the wife put an end to her life on the pyre. But even in these communities not all widows committed Sati. Those women who committed Sati were highly honored and their families were given lot of respect. It was believed that the woman who committed Sati blessed her family for seven generations after her. Temples or other religious shrines were built to honor the Sati. In communities where the ruler was married to more than one wife; in some cases only one wife was allowed to commit Sati. This wife was normally the preferred wife of the husband. This was some kind of honor for the chosen wife and some kind of disgrace for the other wives. In other communities some or all of the wives and mistresses were immolated with the husband. And in some cases even male servants were immolated with the kings. This kind of Sati in which the wives and servants were treated as the ruler’s property intensifies the theory that Sati was introduced to India by the Scythian invaders of India.Last, but not the least, in some very rare incidences mothers committed Sati on their son’s pyre and in even more rare cases husbands committed Sati on their wives pyres!! (On a lighter note, till date I have actually not read or heard about any man/husband having committed Sati or should we say “Sata” ? !!)I think that’s enough from me to you or you may be tempted to ask “Mr Broca, are you doing a Ph D on Sati or what ?”

God Bless You, Shernaz, for your sensitivity.





 




Dear Gopa jee,
I sincerely thank you for your frank feedback. I feel happy that the piece compelled you to share your views on this sensitive subject. Sharing one’s inner anguish with others is indeed therapeutic. Hats off to your dear mother and to all her devoted children who made her understand the value of her remaining life after the death of her beloved husband. I accept that the media has a role to play. We have often read about real women who have empowered themselves in spite of all odds. May their tribe increase. I am tempted to convert a popular quote from Longfellow’s Psalm of life by substituting men by women here:

 ” Lives of great women,
all remind us,
we can make our lives sublime,
and departing,
leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time.”




 

J S Broca, New Delhi
Nov 07, 2008 


 




Dear Shernaz
Thanks a ton! I can understand what pain you must have undergone during such trying circumstances. I salute you, dear for doing the best for your family/darling daughters and having continued with a renewed zest for life. You are really made of a sterner stuff and I feel privileged to have known you for decades. More power to your pen, dear. Keep writing… writing… God Bless You!




 


J S BROCA, NEW DELHI
Nov 07, 2008 


 




Dear Rassoolji,
Many thanks for your feedback. I too share your anguish on this matter.Yes, Shernaz has, what shall I say, “the fire in the belly” to come out with her sensitivity on issues which are generally a taboo and not discussed so openly. MUSE has thankfully given us a forum for sharing our personal loss and grief with other like minded and equally sensitive readers. Our personal tribulations seem to become smaller when we hear of others who have faced much bigger sorrows.

_______________________________________________________________

Dear Rassool saheb, ji is added at the end of a name as a mark of respect — K. Mallick

 




J S Broca, New Delhi
Nov 07, 2008 

 Dear Jittoo,




Thank you for this very informative piece. As Gopa says, it is an extremely sensitive issue and requires concerted efforts, particularly on the part of the immediate family to make a widow understand and accept that she does not need to relegate herself to the margins of life where she has to live only because she cannot die.



Gopa, we too experienced this pain after my father died. My Mom was actually asked to leave the room during my engagement ceremony. The memory still hurts and brings tears to our eyes. Sadly it was she only who did not allow any protests from her daughters and forced us into complying with society. We gave in because physically too she was a victim of crippling arthritis and emotionally she was in a very delicate state. Only her mental resolve helped her through her excruciating times. First our very own family and then society is very cruel. We just accept things because somebody with a bit of authority says it has always been so and cannot be different. When such things happen in a supposedly progressive community like ours I can only imagine the plight of those in others.


Yes Rassool, like every other injustice perpetrated by man on man, this one too is very painful. 



 



Shernaz Wadia, Pune
Nov 07, 2008 


 


I didn’t want to talk about it as it is a sensitive issue but could not help myself. In fact, I had personally experienced these emotions in my own mother who became a widow after almost fifty years of married life. She was so miserable and depressed that on one occasion I even told her why didn’t you commit sati then? I tried my best to make her realize that she has a very important role to play in our- her children and grandchildren’s lives. Thank God with our rebukes and perhaps great effort in making her feel that she can do a lot for us, my mother seems like she has come to terms with life.

Widowhood is painful, no doubt. But what is sad is that the victims often don’t get any help from relatives in not getting on with life. This is also at the root of most of the problems concerning women in our society. Women need to be taught that they are needed in society for themselves and for the society. God has given every human being the capability and the right to live. Taking one’s life or forcing someone to take her life is deplorable. However, I feel what is more deplorable is not having confidence in oneself; not standing up for oneself. Why can’t a woman start life after an event for which she is not responsible for and has little control over?

Instead of showing pity to these women, our thoughts and subsequently our literature and our media should instil courage in these women to accept life as a challenge and go about making meaning of life. True glory lies in achievement not in sacrifice. 


 


Gopa Nayak, UK
Nov 07, 2008


 





Mr Broca, are you doing your Ph. D. on Sati… 🙂

Sorry sir I was tempted to take up your offer…. just couldnt help it. A very incisive and informative piece that explains the origins of sati. I am enriched and enlightened and at the same time saddened.

Thank you very very much.

Shernaz with her very sensitive poetry and subject matter really does make one think doesn’t she. Warmest regards 





 


Rassool Jibraeel Snyman, South Africa
Nov 07, 2008 

An inspiring poem and my re-action to it .

I was so impressed by a recent poem by one of my dear classmates that I just cannot refrain from posting it on my blog so that a vast majority of readers can read it and re-act

Poetry By Shernaz Wadia, Nov 01, 2008, Pune.

(Shernaz can be reached through :sd_wadia@rediffmail.com)

 

QUOTE

“Enforced isolation”

Swamped by the darkness as it grew
cawing, from cable to cable he flew,
loathe to return to an empty nest

Gloom framed the teary-eyed widow
as she stood at her lonesome window – a still-life painting, tight-lipped

Incidental pin-points on society’s map
she and her ilk, drained of life’s sap
live in forced seclusion

The crow still has the freedom of the sky;
consigned to living death, she must cry
in the eerie confines of her soul

Not for her the colors of mirth and cheer,
only the grey of his ashes must she smear
on her youth, her passions, her desires

A walking tomb of crucified dreams
happiness throttled by inaudible screams
a Sati on traditions gruesome pyre!

UNQUOTE