Thursday, September 27, 2007


I have had long discussions with frens on what love is. Rarely found anybody agreeing to my thinking that love is universal. May be I wasn’t stating my point clearly. But while going through one of the letters of Shaheed Bhagat Singh to Shaheed Sukhdev, I realized that my thoughts have found a voice.

Here is an extract from a letter Bhagat wrote to Sukhdev
on April 5, 1929.

“While discussing anybody's character you asked me one thing, whether love ever proved helpful to any man. Yes, I answer that question today. To Mazzini it was. You must have read that after the utter failure and crushing defeat of his first rising he could no bear the misery and haunting ideas of his dead comrades. He would have gone mad or committed suicide but for one letter of a girl he loved. He would as strong as any one, nay stronger than all. As regards the moral status of love I may say that it in itself is nothing BUT PASSION, not an animal passion but a human one, and very sweet too. Love in itself can never be an animal passion.
Love always elevates the character of man. It never lowers him, provided love be love. You can't call these girls - mad people, as we generally see in films - lovers. They always play in the hands of animals passions. The true love cannot be created. It comes of its own accord, nobody can say when. It is but natural. And I may tell you that a young man and a young girl can love each other, and with the aid of their love they can overcome the passions themselves and can maintain their purity. I may clear one thing here; when I said that love has human weakness, I did not say it for an ordinary human being at this stage, where the people generally are. But that is most idealistic stage when man would overcome all these sentiments, the love, the hatred, and so on. When man will take reason as the sole basis of his activity. But at present it is not bad, rather good and useful to man. And moreover while rebuking the love. I rebuked the love of one individual for one, and that too in idealistic stage. And even then, man must have the strongest feelings of love which he may not confine to one individual and may make it universal. Now I think I have cleared my position.”

For the complete letter please refer the following link:

Many may still not agree to these views as such love may seem impossible to find in today's world, but so is God. And it's not for nothing that love has been given the status equal to God by saints.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Though not into much of reading business, I bought and read my first book in years. Yes, you read it right :-). I have read a book and it doesn't stop here , I wrote a review for it too. The title was something which was moving and got me interested. The book is "Lahore" by Pran Neville. I read it because it reminded me of the Lahore which my grandpa used to tell about. It reminded me of the kite flying I used to love passionately, it reminded me of the open culture I had inherited and above all it reminded me of now cherised days with my grandpa. It also reminded me of a Milestone on the Ferozepur road, which I used to notice on the way from home (Ludhiana) to college (Moga), which still says "Lahore 110 miles"(approx). And finally read it because it seemed to be much more than a book.

Below is the review.

Believed to be founded between 6th and 16th century B.C, the city of Lahore is amongst one of the oldest cities in the human civilization. Pran Neville’s book on Lahore talks about the times when Lahore was called the Paris of East. Though the history de-scribes British Raj in India as one of plunder and destruction, the book talks about British era as Lahore’s days of glory. The book is a memoir and an emotional tribute by the author to the city of his birth.

It starts with an introduction giving glimpses of the glorious past of Lahore. Then it moves into the life and streets of the walled city. It adores bazaars, educational institutions, kothas, and marvels of British and Mughal architecture that decorated the city. The sections on daily lives of Lahoris (as Lahore’s inhabitants lovingly called themselves), anecdotes on romances, affairs, games, singers, wrestlers etc provides the reader a look into rich and open culture of Lahore. The book also focuses on social dilemmas and exceptions to them that existed in those days. There’s a separate section devoted to the Lahoris’ famous penchant for good food and good clothing. It also focuses on the secular nature of the city in which Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims lived together in harmony. There is a full chapter devoted to Kite flying, the passion that still binds Lahoris and brings back reminiscences of grandeur of old days. The writings are full of nostalgia. It is a treat for those with a taste for history and can bring tears to those who have been uprooted from their homelands.

It is laden with the famous anecdotes, idioms and songs in Punjabi and Urdu (also ex-plained in English) of the bygone era. The journey into the heart of Lahore through author’s words makes one realize the truth of the famous saying “One who hasn’t seen Lahore hasn’t been born yet”. Towards the end of book, the author writes about the visit to his Mecca after 5 decades of wait.

His emotional journey into the past, throws open many implicit questions, the biggest being “Was partition a required sacrifice to give for our Independence?”. The author’s memoir echoes the pain and longing to see their roots by displaced millions on both sides of border and the agony of being called “Refugees” in the land, which they chose to be their country. A poet has rightly summed up this pain in the following words:

Koi Ajmer Sharif nu tarse,
Koi tarse Nankaane nu.

(The lines mean, “Some long for their Ajmer Sharif and some for their Nankana”. Ajmer Sharif is a holy place for Muslims located in India and Nanakana Sahib is holy place for Sikhs located in Pakistan.).

The only weakness for the book might be its overly simplistic language throughout, which can also be its strong point for many.