Cover Story: Vol. I, Issue 4 – Culture Special

COVER STORY

Dr. Abhimanyu Bishnu

The heart – The old city of Delhi

 All cities have a character of their own. Cities such as Delhi, which have a particularly rich history, have an inner corean inner soul that defines the character of the city as it was meant to be. Delhi is today singularly marked by indifference of its citizens towards the city. As a columnist recently wrote, we drive past millennia of history without even bothering to look around. Indeed, it is difficult to rouse the kind of passion in the average Delhiwallah about his or her city compared to a Mumbaikar or Kolkatan. There are reasons for this , the most important being that in most of the urban sprawl that is Delhi/ NCR today, the is the lack of an inner soul that binds.” The city of migrants” seems to drift like a migrant at time, defying comprehension for the drift, for it is here, among the ramparts and monuments that dot the city, that the millennia of history that shaped India as we know it today, are hidden.

It has been nearly a 1000 years since Delhi’s recorded history begins, and a tumultuous 370 years since ” Purani Dilli” (Old Delhi-also called Shahjahanabad), was founded. The reign of Shahjahan and Aurangzeb, then that of the lesser Mughals like Shah Alam, later the sunset of the Mughal empire during the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar , the eventual transfer of power to the Britishers, existence in a neglected state thereafter , and finally, the stab of Partition which saw large-scale migration from the area- all have affected the spirit of this old place, these few square miles of area which have had a profound effect on Indian history.

But nothing dies forever. In the old city, you can still see pigeons being flown, in the time-honoured tradition of “Kabutarbaazi”. You can see still see the colorful kites flying, fluttering above the rooftops. And once you have done the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, and venture into the quaintly-named labyrinthine streets of the old city, you will feel the soul of the city, never mind the grimy surroundings. It is here that India existed, in its time-tested tradition of communal amity. This is reassuring in an age where cynicism is increasingly taking the centre-stage in our lives, and secularism seems like just another cliché’. And so, it is on a moderately hot and profusely sweaty day, that I decide to take a journey through the old city, very graciously accompanied by Sumbul Siddiqui, who has grown up here and retains the kind of affection for the place that only an old-timer can muster.

We take a rickshaw ride from Daryaganj, where I have parked my car, and we check out the famed Sunday book bazaar. There is an assortment of books- textbooks, childrens’ books, story books. It is renowned throughout Delhi as the place to buy second-hand books from, but since it is only ten in the morning and the bazaar has not opened on a full scale yet, we move on and take a rickshaw. After some haggling, the fellow agrees to fifteen rupees and drops us at Chandni Chowk, in front of the imposing Red Fort (Lal Qila).

The city of Shahjahanabad, the seventh of the eight cities of Delhi, was established by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, about 360 years back, and it was the abode of the inimitable Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib. Shahjahanabad was ruled over by the Mughals, the last of whom was Bahadur Shah Zafar. Chandni Chowk, which means ”moonlit square”, was established by Begum Jahanara, the daughter of Emperor Jahangir, at around the time that Shahjahanabad was built.

Hidden in the ‘galis’ (lanes) of the old city, after one has been to the Red Fort, Jama Masjid and the Sisgunj Gurudwara, there are treasures to be found. Like the curiously -named alley,“Patli Gali”. Like the markets or “Katras”, neatly arranged by sections, the haveli of Mirza Ghalib, the old mansions, the beautiful Fatehpuri Masjid, the abootarbaaz

(pigeon-flyer) on the streets, the covered well of Lalkuan, the quaintly-named streets such as “ Khari Baoli” , and of course the delicacies such as Tikkis, Paranthas, Kababs, Jalebis, Kulfis and what have you. All the while, a mass of humanity moves alongside you, ahead of you and behind you, exhorting you to walk on. The Old City is crowded, hot and dusty- and is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

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Chandni Chowk was built as the main street of the then-new Shahjahanabad. It was the main shopping street of the city in the years gone by, and at the time of Shah Jahan, it definitely was a fashionable avenue. It was along this promenade that the Mughal emperors would proceed in their processions of splendour, seated on the back of the

imperial elephant; a caravan of mace-bearers, horseriders, footsoldiers, palace guards, sepoys, water-bearers, and other people ahead of and behind them. There was a water channel flowing in the middle of the street those days, which has since been closed. The water supply for the channel came from an octagonal pool in the middle of the road.

The name “Chandni Chowk” comes from the reflection of the moon which could be seen in this water pool in those days. The Britishers later closed the octagonal pool and the water-channel and built a clock-tower on Chandni Chowk, which existed there as one of the prominent landmarks of the area, before collapsing in 1951, never to be rebuilt again.

We walk past the Digambar Jain temple, built by Jain merchants during Shah Jahan’s reign; the Gauri Shankar temple; and the Sis Gunj Gurudwara, where Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for refusing to abandon his religious beliefs. We walk past the Dariba Kalan, the jewellery lane, which, according to legend, in Mughal times used to be adorned with rare stones and riches. Rare jewellery from all over the world used to find their way here. Today it is just another jewellary market, but nothing like the days of yore. We make our way past hordes of Sunday revelers, merchants, mendicants, policemen and hangers-on. Cycle rickshaws have resumed plying on the road today, it being Sunday, and the general air is that of a laid-back atmosphere, many of the shops being closed on Sundays in Chandni Chowk.

We walk into one of the “Katras”, through a half-closed gate. There are very few shops open inside, but what amazes me is the neat network of tentacle-like Galis inside the Katra. There is a huge network of shops inside this building, Katra Asharfi, and there is no way of making out from outside what kind of life exists inside these walls. Mainly clotheswear is sold here, and as Sumbul informs me, people come from other parts of the city to buy stuff at Chandni Chowk, especially during special occasions like weddings. For some, the Old City is like religion (plus good savings) and they even come from abroad to buy stuff for special occasions, as one of her relatives did.

We walk past the Paranthe Wali Gali, the street of Parantha delicacies in Chandni Chowk, and decide to give this street a miss, because we have just had breakfast .We have Nimbu Paani at one of the roadside shops ; it’s refreshing , and what’s more , it’s available at Old City prices- only Rs.8/- per glass. We are in the search for a chemist shop to buy some band aids, and the shop owner helpfully gives us the directions. The greatest part of the Old City is that there are no airs- people like you or dislike you, and are generally helpful. The synthetic atmosphere of the rest of the city is mercifully missing here. By the roadside we can still see an old haveli. The delicate latticed work stands out; the arches remain-, but the windows are broken, the wood is well-worn. Parts of the building are broken, other parts have been turned into shops and commercial establishments, and eminently “modernized” with iron grills and glass windows, which is typical of many such old buildings in this area. But I can’t help wondering that a vestige of the magnificence of the erstwhile days, remains. She still stands out among the rest.

We see the town hall on our right. It has a chequered history, having been built by the Britishers in 1865, after they defeated the Indians in the 1857 struggle. It was initially an educational and cultural institute and later was turned into the municipal headquarters. Today, it stands still like other buildings on this stretch, a mute spectator to the passage of time and the reversal of fortunes.

We move on to Nai Sarak, which is the place selling clothes and books. Many of the shops are closed today, but this is definitely the place to come to if you are in the need of buying any book, for pleasure or business. A signboard reads” Munshilal Manoharlal Publishers Private Limited”. They sell-“books, magazines, catalogues, reports”. What catches my eye is the elegant building the shop is situated in. It is one of those old buildings that have seen the ravages of time, yet remain beautiful.

It is here that I discover the “Patli Gali”. It is a narrow ally, just off the street “Nai Sarak”, with the entrance, situated amongst two buildings just wide enough to let one person pass. It leads us to a row of bookshops (open,this time).

“You want any books?” one of the shopkeepers enquires.

We are interested only in looking around. A few shops are open, selling law books, engineering books, college books, any book one might require. There are also residences inside, not grand havelis but simple residences as seen in other parts of the city .The Gali meanders inward in a serpentine way, like all these streets of the Old City, and the omnipresent temple is also seen. Sumbul stands at the entrance of the building to demonstrate how narrow it actually is. This place must be one of the hidden gems of the Old City I had never seen before. There’s a proverb in Hindi “Patli gali se khisakna”, which means “to escape by the narrow alley.” This narrow alley would give no such chances of escape. Thieves,beware!

We visit the haveli (house) of Mirza Ghalib in the crowded locality of Ballimaran.This was one of the buildings where Mirza Ghalib had spent some part of his life.The house is adorned with his famous couplets, and has been suitably restored by the government from its earlier stage of dilapidation. Mirza Ghalib was the peripatetic Urdu poet of Delhi. Having spent his life in the service of verse, but also wine and occasionally women, he was one of the icons of the tehzeeb, the culture that characterized Delhi during the days of the Mughals. Having witnessed Delhi in its most culturally advanced phase under Bahadur Shah Zafar, he also later witnessed it under its saddest day-the cataclysmic events post-1857 when the rampaging Britishers razed large sections of the Old City, killed thousands of people, pillaged and looted property and brought the proud city down on its knees. The carnage had a profound effect on Ghalib, and the pain and the shock that he witnessed during the ravishing of this once-beautiful city, remained with him till his days of death. But he refused to abandon his city even in its worst days. He had taken the poet, Ibrahim Zauq’s (his contemporary and rival) verse to heart:

“Kaun jayen Zauq, dilli ki galiyan chhod ke ?’”

(Who would think of abandoning the streets of Dilli, O Zauq?)

The Old City symbolizes a large part of Indian history. Regal elegance, external attacks, British domination, revolt, repercussions, the trauma of Partition –this area of a few square miles has witnessed it all. Today, it is another trading locality where crores of money are transacted every day, but its place in Indian history remains assured forever.

As was perhaps inevitable, winds of change, some of them not so desirable, have come in. The communal amity of yesteryears is shadowed by the advent of mutual distrust. And so you have “Hindu Mohallas” and “Muslim Mohallas”. History acknowledges the efforts of the rulers such as Bahadur Shah Zafar, who took pains to maintain the communal amity of this place, in trying times and under difficult circumstances. People such as Ghalib had an equally large number of friends in both communities and were accessible to both. Hindustani culture as it has evolved over the ages has taken elements from all religions -even languages have borrowed from each other. Here, in Old Delhi, you learn the true importance of that synergy – it is probably the only area in India where you have, in close proximity, a Hindu temple, a Jain temple, three mosques, a Gurudwara and two churches. Probably our religious leaders could take a leaf out of this. Instead, as reports bear out, religious animosity is increasing and a polarization has begun even in the Old City, ironically here where the nearby “Urdu Bazaar” gave rise to a most unique language, Urdu, a synergy of Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and Turkic, an example that synergestic co-existence can be possible.

Sumbul located her old tution school, the “Rabea Girls Public School”, in Balllimaran- it’s like walking down memory lane (literally) for her. Two kids willingly stand and pose for photographs in front of an arch. Just happy to be there. I click their picture and show them. They are thrilled.

We move on to the Fatehpuri Masjid, which was built by Fatehpuri Begum, one of the wives of Shah Jahan in 1650, as a place where women, too, could offer prayers. This mosque has had a turbulent history- it was a prominent centre of resistance for the Indian forces during the 1857 war of freedom, and in retribution, Britishers took control of the building after crushing the mutiny and sold it to Rai Lala Chunamal, one of the prominent traders of Delhi at that time. It was reacquired by the Britishers in 1877 and handed over to the Waqf, so prayers could be carried out once more. It is a beautiful, small mosque, well-preserved and devoid of Jama Masjid’s mad rush. It is situated in a busy street, and one hardly realises that there is a gem of a building inside. There is a Hauz (water body ) for ablutions, and the building is made in red sand stone and marble, typical of Shah Jahan’s time. It is well-kept and well-maintained, and I am pleasantly surprised to see a Sardarji and his family sitting with the ulema and listening to his words. Hoorah!

Communal amity still lives. We do a round of the Masjid. People are sleeping in the shade, others are simply sitting, and the atmosphere is one of calmness after the mad rush of the streets.

We come out onto Khari Baoli, the “street of spices”. Spices and condiments of every sort are sold here, in wholesale, in technicolours of brown, red, yellow, green and other colours. The unmistakable aroma ligers in the air. I make a mental note to come back here sometime, for culinary supplies.

 

We ask for the directions to Chawri Bazaar and are promptly guided. People are in general helpful here.

The names of the streets we pass, are enchanting-“Gali Chabuk Sawar”,” literally the “lane of the rider with the whip. History goes into the naming of these places, “Ballimaran” literally means” lane of the oarsmen” and it was here that the oarsmen who made oars for the boats that plied on the Yamuna, resided at one time.

We are now in Lal Kuan, which had again a prominent significance in the history of Delhi- it was here that Begum

Zeenat Mahal, the queen of Bahadur Shah Zafar, lived in her haveli. This area saw heavy fighting in 1857, and it was at this place that the emperor was imprisoned, a pitiable and dejected man, before being deported to Burma.

The decline of the Old City began at that time. The decimation of the inhabitants of the old city, and a strong bias

against and persecution of the Muslim population by the British rulers, later fructified into the” divide and rule” policy used by the Britishers to drive a wedge between the followers of the two major religions on the subcontinent. The probable byproduct- Partition and its miseries. Delhi was one of the worst-affected cities in the cataclysmic events of 1947.

As a matter of fact, the erstwhile military ruler of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, originated from the Old City, and resided in the quaintly-named ” Nahar wali haveli” , the “mansion with the canal.” One feels tempted into asking,” What if? What if 1857 had not taken place? What if the persecution that followed the Mutiny had not taken place? What if the perceived sense of discrimination had not, later on, given rise to the demands for a separate country? What if 1947 and its carnage had not taken place? Would Delhi then have been a better place, would we have seen its tehzeeb today and witnessed the finest traditions of a synergestic culture even today? Would Babri Masjid, Gujarat and the 2008 Delhi blasts not have taken place? Would Ghalib’s beloved Delhi have remained the epitome of the best that Hindustan could offer? Would our religious and political leaders on both sides of the religious divide have then shut up and just let us be?” Unfortunately, we will never know the answers to these questions.

The name Lal Kuan was given on account of a well which was made by one Mr.Lal Chand. The well lies covered today, and a temple has come up above it. Only a plaque announces its location today.

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Further on, we enter into one of those narrow alleys, hardly two metres wide. People live here as they have done for ages, though I must admit it is quite congested. We walk a little inside and come back. These are close-knit neighbourhoods, so people are inquisitive and ask you where you want to go. A Mohammad Rafi song blares from one of the houses-it just adds to the old-world charm of the place:

“Pukaarta chala hoon main, gali gali bahaaar ki”

( I wander, searching, amongst these splendid streets)

It just sums up the mood, though these streets may not be as splendid as they were at one time. Outside, the shops on the streets are selling everything from utensils to kites. Kite-flying is still a big passion in the old city, and colourful kites in various shapes and sizes adorn the shops. Braving the hustle-bustle, we make it to Chawri

Bazaar, decide the heat and humidity is too much, and take a rickshaw, to the famous Karim’s restaurant.

Karim’s is on the southern flank of the great Jama Masjid- the huge mosque built by Shah Jahan, which is a gigantic red sandstone and marble institution, much in the style of Shah Jahan’s typical architecture, and is the epicenter of the Islamic religion in India. One feels awed by the sheer size of the structure.

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Karim’s, situated in “Gali Kababian “(street of the kebabs), is, of course, an culinary institution in its own right. The

hotel ownership claims its descent from the Mughal cooks employed by Babar and his descendants. The food is good, the butter chicken (which I learn to my surprise is actually originally a Mughal and not a Punjabi dish) is delicious and the ambience is comfortable; the AC works, which is a huge relief in this heat. Karim’s does not deject us, like always.

Outside, the Jama Masjid is the epicenter of activity. The tall minarets loom large over the city skyline. Inside, there

are legions of pigeons, fluttering about. People have gathered from all around- there are tourists, devotees,

vagabonds, photographers. Children run about, making good use of the huge courtyard. And outside, boys carrying

metal toothpicks offer to clean my ears. I decline out of purely practical reasons of hygiene and safety, though I was

curious to try it out. Ear-cleaning is an old vocation here, going back to the Mughal times. The Jama Masjid was built in 1656, and is also called Masjid-i Jahān-Numā , literally meaning “the world-reflecting Masjid” in Persian. It is said that in the olden days, the Emperor could directly see the Masjid from the Red Fort, without the intervening visual obstructions that have come up since then. It was also an important area around which the events of 1857 unfolded. British plans post-1857 included blowing up the Masjid and building a church there. One can only thank the turn of history that sanity and better sense finally prevailed upon them, and the Jama Masjid was spared, but only after they had razed many of the cultural treasures of the city, like true rampaging vandals. The market in front of the Masjid is Meena Bazaar, built by Shah Jahan on the lines of a similar bazaar that he had seen in Peshawar. Covered markets were a novelty in India then, in the 17th Century. One can very well call this place the forerunner of the malls of today. It was here, in the days of yore, that expensive goods used to come from all over the world- exquisite carpets, rugs, shatranjis, jewellary, precious stones, costumes, embroidery. Today, it has shops mainly selling an assortment of cheaply priced items-bags, clothes, bedding materials and other things.

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Exiting Meena Bazaar, we enter a shop selling Islamic motiffs. On display is the “Lohe Qurani”, a plaque consisting of letters from the Quran, which gives the revelations from the Quran; and the “Dua e Safar”, a motiff which Muslims use before starting a journey or auspicious activity. A number of these were being sold in the Meena Bazaar, too.

The trip is coming to an end, and as we walk towards the parking lot, I see the final thing that characterizes the different facets of life in the Old City- a boy with his pigeons, the kabootarbaaz. In less hurried and more genial times, pigeon-flying was a popular activity, patronized by the Mughal emperors. Along with kite-flying, it was the way of life that depicted the leisurely pace of life in the city. Pigeon-flying originated from Agra and was developed into an art form by the Mughals. It remains today, but like the rest of the lifestyle of the Old City of yore, in a more diminished form.

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The heat and humidity remain as oppressive as ever as we walk towards the car for our journey back, to a fundamentally different world. But I am happy that the trip has been every bit worth it. We have captured facets of a lifestyle that may not survive the onslaught of “modernity.” As cities change, cultures evolve and people challenge their identities, the way of life in the Old City may matter lesser and lesser to many. But for me, there is no doubt that Bahadur Shah Zafar’s soul still lives here, along with that of Ghalib, Zauq and the other luminaries of that time.

Ghalib’s verses still reverberate :

“Hazaron khwaishen aisi, Ke har Khwaish pe dum nikle,

Bahut nikle mere armaan, Lekin phir bhi kam nikle.”

(Thousands of desires, Each worth dying for ,

I have realized many of these, Yet I yearn for more)

I wonder whether Ghalib’ s soul has finally realized his desires and found peace in his beloved city of ‘Dilli’.

Food Culture: Vol. I, Issue 4 – Culture Special

ORIENTATION OF THE YOUTH: FROM FAST FOOD TO SLOW FOOD

By Amritbir Kaur

“The preservation of health is duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.” This is what Herbert Spencer, had to say about health. The recent news that Indeed very few of us are aware and even fewer are working towards it. Little do we realize, when considered from biological point of view, that man was born to be active. He was never meant to be carrying the kind of flab he sports today or following a sedentary lifestyle or feeling short of breath after a short run. This never imagined state of things has come to haunt us because of the modern mechanized lifestyle.

It is because of the dominance of technology over our lives that the ‘Generation X’ loves everything that is fast – be it the technology, the swanky cars, the racy bikes or event the food. Out of all these the love of fast food is quite a dangerous and devastating trend. The Italians, who basically initiated the fast food culture, have decided to switch over to the ‘slow food’, after having stood witness to the damaging consequences of fast food on the health of an individual. We have not come to understand the depth of the truth stated by Ben Jonson, “O health! Health! The blessing of the rich! The riches of the poor! Who can buy thee at too dear a rate since there is no enjoying this world without thee?”

The consumption of fast food has become a fad these days. Probably the logic working behind love of such food is the greed of saving time – today the modern ‘thinking man’ is so much engrossed in his material pursuits that he doesn’t have the time for a proper meal. He simply wants to have it while he is on the go. As Andrew F. Smith (2006) has rightly pointed out, “Eating at fast food outlets and other restaurants is simply a manifestation of commodification of time.”

Although at present a large number of adults too have been swept over by the charm of consuming the fast food, yet those who are more dangerously caught in the web woven by the likes of pizzas, burgers, noodles etc. are the youngsters especially teenagers. A fact pointed out by Pollock and others (1972), that is as suitable for India, is that the “dietary practices of young people, especially girls, become increasingly worse throughout teen years. Typically they are deficient in Vitamin C and A, and lack the required quantity of Calcium and Iron. There is a pattern of inadequate breakfasting and overdependence on carbohydrates in the form of sweet foods, fried products and cola drinks.”

As if this was not enough we can now see children in the age group of around 10 – 12 months smoothly sucking in the noodles one by one and then downing them with a glass of cold drink. We often have been witness to such sights, but little do we realize the kind of foundation that is being laid down. There have been cases in the PGI, Chandigarh of children around 12 years old with weak bones. Then there was a child aged 8 years who had the problem of falling teeth (not the milk teeth but permanent ones) – the doctors diagnosed the problem to be lack of calcium.
So the point is that fast food culture is more annihilating for the youngsters because they have been exposed to it ever since their childhood, as compared to the adults, who didn’t consume it in their childhood. John Milton has rightly said, “The childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day.”

Moreover, given the demographic pattern of India we need to pay more attention to the population below 15-20 years. According to the 2001 census the age group of 0-5 years alone consists of 34.33% of the total population. The following data portrays it more clearly:

In the present day scenario, an area that demands urgent attention is the spread of diseases related to lifestyle in India like Heart Disease, Diabetes etc. A few years back a 28 year old dying of a heart attack was something unheard of but now the worst of the nightmares has turned out to be true.

Much has been talked about the causes and remedies but now is the time to act, if it’s not too late already. Health, basically, should not be taken as a very narrow term. WHO (1948) has defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. We need to change our approach. There is an English proverb ‘Do in Rome as Romans do’. It is the same principle that needs to be put into application while chalking out of a plan of action for orientation of the youngsters towards the consumption of an enriched diet. To generate awareness we must put to use all the resources that are being used by this techno-savvy generation. The modus operandi to be adopted should be such that they directly hit the bull’s eye. For instance the following techniques can be of great help.

I.    CATCHY SLOGANS
These days our market is flooded with goods presented before us in an attractive packing to make them more saleable. In the same vein, to popularize the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables we need to manipulate the things using effective marketing strategies.
For instance, projecting green leafy vegetables and fruits as low calorie food can be an instant hit with the calorie conscious adolescents. Eating healthy can be promoted by attaching it to a weight loss target – Eat healthy, avoid fast food and lose 2 kilograms in 2 weeks. The pear can be called nature’s own low calorie ‘Rasgulla’. Eating carrots can be promoted by saying something like, ‘Have clear and beautiful eyes with a carrot a day’ or ‘Eat carrots and you are saved from spectacles’. Numerous other slogans can be created – the point is to drive home the message.

II.    USE OF TECHNOLOGY
Nowadays, the use of technology, especially the internet can prove to be very beneficial. This technique will be particularly helpful for the large percentage of youth, who are hooked on to the surfing of the net. The websites can display a health tip on their sites with and attractive picture of fresh and colourful fruits and vegetables. What is more important is that these days almost every college and school has a website – they too can sport a logo on their website to promote the cause of a healthy diet.

III.    USE OF NEWSPAPERS
A daily feature of the newspapers that is widely read by the youngsters especially in their teens is the ‘Daily Horoscope’. We can tap this habit; what the newspaper publishers can do is publish a health forecast daily – it may be according to the star sign itself like prescribing the Virgoans to eat carrots one day, a citrus fruit like oranges another day and so on.
The newspapers instead of carrying full length articles should also publish a few instructions in the point form. There can be a tip published daily in one of the top corners of the front page of the newspaper. This format of presentation will carry the message more quickly that the lengthy articles.

IV.    USE OF SMS
The world of SMS has revolutionized the way we communicate with others. An SMS alert service should be there – the messages should be circulated by the telecom company to its subscribers. This should not be a paid service. And what is important is that only real and practical fact related to robust health should be promoted. Some misconceived notions for maintaining good health like skipping meals, having diet sugar or diet soft drinks should be outrightly discouraged.

V.    MORNING ASSEMBLY
A section called ‘Health Tip of the Day’ can be announced during morning assembly in schools and colleges. The duty of announcing the same can be allotted by the way of rotation to all the students. This will help to bring all the students into contact with health related literature.
There can be many more innovative techniques but the point is we have to speak their language. Julia C. Foster (1968) writes, “The ability to motivate adolescents to action in altering their dietary habits requires knowledge and skills. Habits will be altered only when students are convinced that such changes will help them attain a goal. The goal may be changing weight, eliminating acne or avoiding the possibility of anaemia.”
The results and efficacy of our preaching depends upon how we convey the message. It is here that our roles have to be played. We all have to play a part – remember each drop counts. Each one of us has to contribute towards making the kids aware of the benefits of living in close harmony with nature. Remember Wordsworth’s words “…Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Moreover:

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your will they mend
And charge you not a shilling

{Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, ‘What the River Knows (1990)}

Research Culture: Vol I, Issue 4 – Culture Special

DEPICTION OF FORBIDDEN ASPECT OF FOLK CULTURE IN THE POETRY OF SHIV KUMAR

By Sohinder Bir Singh

My paper is an initiative taken to analyze Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s long poem Main Te Main. It is a dramatic monologue written as a counter discourse between individual and social boundaries. Shiv Kumar Batalvi has dedicated this poem to Sahir Ludhianvi. To some extent it is a biography of Sahir Ludhianvi (a famous urdu poet from Punjab). The story of the narrator within the poem is somehow related to the hard reality of Ludhianvi’s life. “Main Te Main” and “Gori Nadi Daa Geet” written by Mohan Kahlon (a prominent novelist in Punjab) have many similarities. Hand by hand reading of the both books embellish autobiographical aspects of poet’s life. When we talk about Folklore, it consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs and customs that are the traditions of the culture, subculture of group. The woman character of the poem is depicted as the violator of traditional custom. She has proved an unfaithful wife in the poem. Shiv Kumar presented a traditional village, where this woman lives. The poem starts with the painful note of a woman who lives alone in the village. Her husband lives in a foreign country. The narrator of the poem is illegitimate son of that lady, depicts the situation of his mother, says:-

Paharan pair suttee ikk garan vich
Jananhari meri payi jaagdi hai. (P.9)

These lines describe the loneliness of the women, who is devoid of the company of her husband. She lives in despair with a hope of her “meeting” with her husband. But her individuality demands physical union. Due to this psychic bent, she chooses deviated way, where she develops physical relations with a stranger. Her psyche can be compared with Sigmund Freud’s concept of Id; under the effect of Id a person works against his or her social values and norms. In social context a women should tame herself in some social boundaries. Her relations with a stranger proves her a violator of social values. Out of this relation woman gives birth to a son. Who is taken as a illegitimate child in the society. Her depression increases by leaps and bounds when people start talking about her and her child in ridiculous manner. Whenever people sit together, they criticize the act of the women and her immoral ways of living. All these talks create death like feelings in her. Poet says:-
Adhoora geets maa nu chubda hai
Adhoora geet jagg nu chubda hai (P.11)
These lines put light on the psychic position of the women. In our culture a women has the position of Goddess. The mythic mothers like Sita and Parvati are devotional and idol Women. They are regarded as the most sincere and faithful women. Sita, wife of Lord Rama (in Ramayan) though she is a faithful wife suffers through the test of loyalty. She has to give Agni Pariksha to prove her purity. So the faith and trust are important features of an Indian women. When the women character of the poem, breaks the limitations of the society she is regarded as a sinner. When a mother gets the place of sinner what will be the future of the child she bears with an immoral relation. The child will also face the questioning gaze of society. Both mother and child suffer because child is a result of illegitimate relation of women. Here the woman is demolished by the society for fulfilling her individual needs. Her immoral task makes her a sorry-figure facing the embarrassment before conventional values. Because of this disobedience of woman, the birth of child copes up as an untraditional ceremony. Mother suffer from great pain, shame and despair as poet says:

Oh appne tohmataye dhudh,
kolon trabhak jandi hai (P.12)

All this despair and shame of mother, put her in thoughts of her child, who is born against social values. She sees her child’s future in complete shame, humiliation and hopelessness. The fears of mother bring her to complete psychic breakdown. Her depression forecasts the shadows of disharmony upon child. When child goes out in the village, people tense him with satire and call him a bastard. People collected under trees, girls collected for spinning, all talk about the bastard child. Use of symbols like:-

1) Maa di rooh da vilkada laggna
2) Donhi vich raatan ridkna
3) Pind de mandar da Buddha shankh vajjna.
4) Gaagar da paani darna, etc.

depict the “psychic ruin” of the mother. These symbols on the one hand highlight the psychic condition of the woman and on the other hand show the culture and social system of the village. Sex is an important part of the human life. A woman, in the absence of her husband develops relations with a stranger. Instead of understanding the physical needs of the woman people question her character. Society blames her for the violation of social laws and values. When individuality faces social values, it suffers from a tragic consciousness. Thus sufferer survives a death like life in the society. The psychic condition of the narrator; who is a bastard son of the woman, identifies his degraded position in the society, says:-

Mere layi us din sooraj
bada manhoos chadiya si
mai aapne sahmne jad ap
pahli vaar mariya si.
main us din bahut roya saa
main us din bahut dariya saa.

These lines show, boy’s state of ignorance converting to the state of knowledge. In this state of knowledge boy feels the absence of his father. Due to absence of father figure, he questions himself and state of knowledge pushes him to know the reality of his birth. When he asks question to his mother, she is speechless, thus he hates her. Hence there is not any straight mention or signal of women’s relationship with a stranger, yet her silence and depression symbolizes the illegitimate existence of the child. Backbiting and testing of village people encourages boy to bring out the reality of his birth.
But here Shiv Kumar portrays a different picture of the boy, who instead of asking or enquire about his father, chooses to play with his age mate neighbour girl at riverbanks.

Batalvi provides another folkloric essence in the poem, where young girls of the village come to narrator’s house for spinning. They all sing songs of love and pain of loneliness. These traditional tasks encourage the cultural devotion of the people of the village. Under veil of traditional tasks encourage the culture devotion of the people of the village. Under the veil of tradition and culture, young girls satisfy their sexual instincts by making relation with the bastard child. It is a bitter satire on cultural customs and ethical where individual instincts are satisfied under the veil of tradition. This act elaborates that how young girls of the village satisfy their individuality on the name of cultural laws.

If we talk about Roland Barthes concept of social law, it supposes that when there are some implemented laws in a society, they are difficult to change or break. A person has to live according to those laws. But existentialists empowered individuality before laws and customs. They take the side of individual desires and individual needs, for the priority of existence in human beings. If the veil is uncontained, all girls of the village face same shame and torture before society, as narrator’s mother faced first. On the second narrator/bastard child for their own gratification. As a result, boy starts wandering place to place for his sexual gratification. He says:-
Main us udasi raat nu
sau varr baliya bujhiya
te aapne jangal ch main
chandan de vaakan uggia.
All these incidents of the poem clarify that individual desires are also the part of social values. These are also fulfilled in social or cultural context; otherwise these desires take the form of sin. The person, who tries to fulfill his individual needs by crossing the boundaries of tradition and society, suffers a lot, whether this suffering is psychic or emotional.
When we try to analyze the psychic structure of the illegitimate child, he is a product of incest relationship. His mother’s depressed condition affects his personality. He becomes a split personality because of the absence of affection and care given to him by his mother. He gives preference to his own self and individual desires, because society always molests him for being an illegitimate child. Society makes fun of him and his existence. He turns to an unconfident man with sick individuality.
In Hindu mythology, we find Karan of Mahabharata (Great India Epic), who is also an illegitimate son of Kunati and Sun God. Before marriage Kunati had a relation with sun God. In their relationship Karan was born. Later on Kunati was married to Pandu. She was mother of five Pandavas and when battle between Pandavas occur, Karan was divided between blood relation and friendship. Karan’s state of knowledge about his birth grew a grudge in him towards his mother. Kunati wanted that Karan should support his half brothers, who were Pandavas. But Karan desired to help his friend, Duryodhana, who was a Kaurav. Amidst unbalanced mental position, he sacrificed his life. If we think about Karan’s psychic forum, he is shattered within because he questions his existence and compares it with five Pandavas, who were legitimate sons of his mother. The fame of Pandavas, crushed the conscious of Karan. Therefore his conscious did not allow him to help his half brothers. So, he preferred death for himself.

As we compare the psyche of Karan and narrator, both are unbalanced personalities. They both have not committed any sin, yet they have to suffer in society. The reason of their suffering is same, the gratification of self-desires of their mothers.

Actually human beings are devoid of individual freedom. Society implemented some limitations upon freedom. First are individual boundaries, In which a person should fulfill his desires according to family laws. Second are social boundaries, in which society stands like a guard to check or mend the ways of people. Third are Nation boundaries for regulating proper law and order in a nation. Fourth are cultural boundaries, which implement traditions and morals in the society. Narrator’s/ hero’s consummated relation with a girl, resulted in the pregnancy of the girl. Boy’s relation with the girl is forbidden. He wants to hide this banned deed of them from the society. So, decide to abort this child. The girl dies with the curious treatment given to her while abortion. The death of girl symbolizes the victory of strict laws of the society. Death of the girl is proved another way for splitting the personality as well as the existence of the hero. He remains a victim of the distorted conscious for his whole life for murdering a girl and an urborn child for the sake of social taboos. Jean Paul Sartre, a great existentialist, said that as a person steps forward for fulfillment of his desires he faces his existence diminishing. A war beings between his inner conscious and outer conscious, which can never end. Hero’s mirror stage is also like a shadow of vains. The life of the hero of the poem transformed to a mechanical life, searching his true self in the society. In the end of the poem, narrator is failed in finding his archetype of ‘anima’ as he says:-

Jado vi main kade
aurat cho aapna geet labhiya hai
mainu aurat ne ikk baafar jihe
ang heth dabbiya hai. (p.62)

Anima is a female part within a male according to Carl Gustav Jung. The existence of the narrator/hero of the poem is meaningless. Although his outer existence is of a living being in the world, yet his inner existence is dead, a bundle of defeats and a song of suicide as he depicts:-

Eh main nahi hor hai koi!
Eh main nahi hor hai koi!!
Eh main nahi hor hai koi!!! (p.75)

The central theme of the poem is the agony of psychic instability in the life of people in modern world. The truth of the life of the hero of the poem is a revolution against the false and shallow customs of society. It is a war between shattered personality of the hero and cultural values and laws around him. He has proved a bestial of values. This revolution snatches the existence of the hero. As a result, hero becomes a person with imbalanced characteristics. He is a victim of vulgar instabilities and silence. Cultural values crop up as an apple of discord for the individuality of the hero. Whether Shiv Kumar beautifully portrays the consequences of the forbidden aspects of culture and its values, yet these values are the reason to build up a permanent unrest and mental disorder in the personality of the hero. This mental unrest proved a death in life for the main character.

Homeless in Own Homeland

Political Culture

HOMELESS IN OWN HOMELAND

homeless

By Sujit Thakur

Introduction Of Madhesi Problems
The total land area of Madhes today is 16,000 sq. miles and it is home to about 16 million people. The southern part of today’s Nepal bordering Indian union’s states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, West Bengal and Bihar has a long history. Madhya Desh (In Sanskrit) has got a mention in ancient Vedas, scriptures. Lord Rama, Sita and Gautama Buddha were born in this land. Today, though the name madhes is specifically given to the southern plain of Nepal, the present day Hindi land of India also is a part of Madhya Desh. It is a matter of fact that the residents of these parts of India do not recognize themselves as madhesis; the ancient identity of madhesis (Residents of madhes) is kept intact in Nepal. If we see the life-style, culture, languages across the indo-Nepal border, there is a dead similarity amongst the residents of either side of the border.

Our Motherland Madhes has been victimized since the day of its transfer by the British to Nepal. The present Nepal-ruled Madhes stretching from Mechi (A River in the eastern part of Nepal) to Mahakali (A River in the western part of Nepal) had never been annexed by any King of the Shah Dynasty or any other Nepali and it was handed over to Nepal by the Memorandum of 1816 and Agreement of 1860 due to the self-serving policies of the British.

Article 8 of the “Peace and Friendship Treaty” signed between India and Nepal on July 31, 1950 at Kathmandu states; “So far as the subjects mentioned in this agreement are concerned, it makes all earlier treaties and agreements between British government on behalf of India and Nepal government null and void. As per the article, the memorandum of 1816 and agreement of 1860 pertaining to the transfer of Madhes automatically becomes null and void and thereafter the hegemony of Nepal over Madhes stands totally unauthorized and illegal.

Madhes: A Brief History
Prithvi Narayan Shah, a king of Gorkha, a small state then, is credited to have unified present day Nepal started to extend the Gorkha state by bloody army campaign. Step by step, he attacked and captured various historical republics of indigenous people. In 1768 AD, he attacked Nepal (earlier Kathmandu valley was called Nepal); Jay Prakash Malla was then the king of Nepal. In the army of Malla king, there were 12000 Tirhutia armies. Tirhutia armies sharply defended against the organized army of Prithvi Narayan Shah. After defeating Jay Prakash Malla, Prithvi Narayan Shah terminated the Tirhutias from army force. Having establishing Shah Regime in Nepal, in 1774 AD, King Prithvi Narayan Shah defeated and dismissed army ruler of Makawanpur by pretence, fraud and conspiracy. The Sen rulers of Makwanpur used to pay taxes to Mughal Empire to get benefit from Eastern Madhes’s agricultural products. After Prithvi Narayan Shah got hold of Makwanpur, he   had also committed to pay tax to the Muslim emperor. Though the land of Madhes was used to fulfill their food requirements and other lavish expenses, the people of madhes were being treated inhumanly. Madhes became a colony for Nepal and the residents of Madhes were like their slaves .This attitude got continuity for over 250 years and to larger extent, it is still in practice. Prithvi Narayan shah and his clan had an undeclared policy of excluding madhesis from security forces, police, bureaucratic positions .The hatred might have come because of the fact that Prithvi Narayan shah had faced a strong opposition by Tirhutia army who in fact were madhesis.

Madhes people had made the land of madhes fertile by using their blood and sweat, and also fighting against terrible diseases like malaria and other wild animals such as tiger, bear, snakes etc. But those occupied land was snatched from the real owners of the land, who were madhes people and was captured and distributed to royal family members, relatives, armies, officers and other employees as gifts, Birta, Math, Jagir etc and madhes people, who were the real owners of the land, were compelled to work as land tillers. Like Prithvi Narayan Shah, after his regime, his successors continued the same policy to treat madhes people. After the downfall of Mughal regime and rise of British power, Shahbanshi rulers used to gift elephants to British rulers every year as tax which was commutated by article 7 of the treaty of 1801. Madhes was the major financial source to bear the cost of Nepali Shah Rulers. The fund was supplied from madhes to maintain the cost of war in the time of extension of Nepali territory, cost for enjoyment and joy of the Shah rulers and other necessary administrative costs. Madhes land tillers had been suffering from cruelty, injustice and inhumane behaviour of Shah Rulers and subjected to monetary exploitation in fulfilling rulers’ interests. In 1814, British East India Company attacked Nepal from four posts of madhes. At that time, madhesi people, who were victim of exploitation, were preparing to revolt against the medieval cruelty and injustice behaviour of Nepalese rulers. By following the general principle of people’s inalienable right to revolt against injustice and exploitation, groups of unorganized people of east madhes helped the East India Company in the war against Shah Rulers in the name of revolution. Shahbansi rulers of Nepal lost that war against East India Company and surrendered. After the end of war, Nepali ruler requested the British East India Company to support the living cost of their employees. Company government agreed to pay two hundred thousand rupees per year to Shah Ruler.  Both the party signed in Sugauli treaty on December 2, 1815 and declared the end of war that had been running from 1814. Through Sugauli Treaty, king of Nepal handed over the land east to Koshi and west to Mahakali. He handed over not only his territory but also delivered all his power of foreign affairs to Company government. After that, madhesi people also got relief from Shah Ruler’s tyranny.

Shah King of Nepal accepted the semi-colonial administration of British East India Company but after some time, in the name of acceptance or approval of Sugauli treaty, Company government issued a memorandum on December 8, 1816 without any consent of the people of madhes, who were open supporter of Company Government in the war. By the deceiving memorandum, Company Government divided the madhes and provided some part to Nepal such as east to Rapti River, West to Koshi River and north to present Indo-Nepal border. After providing that land, Company government stopped to pay two hundreds thousands rupees to Nepal. To satisfy madhes people, Shah King agreed to add one clause in article 7 of the memorandum. According to the clause, “No legal action will be taken after extradition against the people of madhes, who were supporters of the British India Company, in the period of war”. Those people, who were involved in revolution, had always expressed their dissatisfaction and disagreement with the decision of British India Company, which was against the spirit of madhes people. After getting the territory of madhes, Nepali government started to treat the madhes people as enemies. In this way, land of madhes divided into two parts. Major parts of madhes became the colony of British India Company and some part came under the semi colonial state Nepal. In the madhes land under the British rule, the ruler and people were from different society. Rulers were English and people were local madhes people. The rulers and the people had different social and economic activities. Therefore, there were big practical gaps between rulers and people. The situation was similar in extradited part of madhes in semi-colonial state Nepal. The rulers were from different economic and social background of Nepal and people were from different background. Therefore, they also had big practical, social and economic gaps between rulers and people and this problem still exists.

The King of Nepal agreed to appoint British residential representative in Kathmandu offered by the British Government. However, the strong objection of majority of royalist had raised tension in that issue. In June 21, 1840, the Queen made an endeavour to murder the British representative but she could not succeed to carry out the conspiracy. That incident displeased the British Government. After that incident, British representatives had been trying to end the power of the royal palace in Nepal. In September 16, 1846, by inspiration and support of British Government, Jung Bahadur Kunwor murdered a number of senior officers of the royal palace and army who were invited in the occasion of Baved Parba by the Queen. Moreover, he declared himself as the Prime Minister and chief of the army. After that, he captured every part of governance in his grip, and compelled the King to work only as the rubber stamp, and started his arbitrary rule of his family. In 1850 AD, British Government invited to Jung Bahadur in foreign country and was awarded by the Queen Victoria. After the incident, all Rana rulers became the puppet of British Government. Jung Bahadur had gone to India leading his army of three thousand to suppress to Indian people, who were starting their first independent movement, the Sepoy mutiny, which occurred from 1857 to 1859 AD. After the success of the movement, East India Company ended its rule over the Indian Territory. After passing the Indian Administrative Act, 1858, British Queen Victoria started direct rule over the Indian Territory. British government presented some land to Nepal government of western madhes such as west to Rapti River, east to Mahakali River and north to present Indo-Nepal border. This land was provided as an award for the support of Ranas to the British Government to suppress the fighters for independence of India. That army created violence by rape, murder, looting, firing and other cruel and inhuman behaviour towards the madhes people from Gorakhpur to Lucknow to restore the British colony. Nepal Government called that region Naya Muluk (New region). According to the memorandum of 1816 and treaty of 1860 AD, British India Company divided the land of madhes from the land to west to Mechi, east to Mahakali and north of present Indo-Nepal broader provided to semi-colonial state Nepal.

After 1861 AD, with Jung Bahadur’s order, people were made to pay money instead of grain as tax. Rana rulers made one rule for people of Nepalese origin and other for people of Madhes origin. for example in article (section) 152 of concerning murder, Nepalese from Hills could get bail for Rs.10-25 whereas Madhes residents had to pay Rs.100.Moreover, Madhes residents had to get permission letter(visa) to visit Kathmandu as if they were some foreigners. Only on Mahashivaratri, Madhes residents along with Indians were allowed without permit. On contrary, Nepalese and Madhes residents did not require permission to enter then British colony. Thousands and thousands acres of Madhes land were controlled by Nepalese people in the name of Birta (tax free land), salaries, trust and others. To strengthen the power further, Rana rules appointed locals from Madhes as land recorders who acted as Rana’s social representations.

After the independence of India in 1947, Nepal and India signed in “Peace and friendship Treaty 1950″, which nullified all the prior treaties that Nepal made with British rulers. India registered the treaty in UN office with registration number 1302. Also, “Nepal British treaty 1950″ ‘s articles  states that all treats made between Nepal and Britain prior to 21 December, 1923 were nullified. That means the treaties of 1816 AD (After Anglo Nepal war) and 1860AD were considered void. After the treaty of 1950, on the basis of UN charter’s section 73, Madhes became an (autonomous) region.

However, in 1951, Nepalese rulers conspired to displace Madhes residents to control Madhes land in the name of population distribution. After East India Company returned Madhes to Nepal, Nepalese rulers wanted their control over madhes. So, they settled Nepalese people in Madhes in the name of (Birta, guthi….) but the population of Nepalese before 1951 was minimal as there was epidemic of Malaria. Every year, 2 million people suffered from Malaria of which, around 10% of victims died. Nepalese from hills feared Malaria .So, Nepalese immigrants were less in number.

Nepal became a member of United Nations, on February 24, 1956, UN secretary General (Doug Hemmer Shold) asked Nepalese Government about any land under Nepal that was under section 73 of UN charter. Nepalese representative stayed mum on this matter. When the matter was asked again, Nepalese representative crossed all moral grounds and answered “No”. Nepalese Government sent a letter to UN to confirm. (See: UN publication ST/DPI/SERA/73/Rev.1, page 8, 1 April, 1957). So, it is clear from above that Madhes is an autonomous region. Nepal has occupied Madhes under baseless facts.

Present Condition of Madhesis in Nepal
In 1952 AD, Nepalese government brought new citizenship act to further discriminate madhesi people. If one has to believe, madhes is a part of Nepal then the residents of madhes automatically become citizen of Nepal. But in this new policy, only those people were eligible to get citizenship, who could speak and understand Nepali language. Majority of Madhesis didn’t speak or understand Nepali hence denied citizenship. Under the new policy, one without a citizenship cannot have land or properties; this rendered millions of Madhesis landless and they were forced to work as bounded labourers.

If knowledge of Hindi would be made compulsory in India to get Indian Citizenship, will it be acceptable to South India, Punjab, Assam, and Bengal? But Nepalese rulers in sheer madness made policy like “One King, One State, one language, and only one look”. These kinds of policies made madhesis non-citizens, their languages suppressed, their culture suppressed. Under this suppression of many years, madhesis have lost their pride and glorified history.

Present condition is not very encouraging but I will take it anyways .I know, the present breed of madhes is knowledgeable, they know their roots, they know their right to freedom. They have started to understand why there is only about 15-20% people of madhesi origin in civil services although their population is above 50%.In Nepal, there are 75 districts altogether, out of  75 chief district officers , only 4 are madhesis , their representation in army and police is negligible, they do not have any say in judicial system. Judiciary and all other bureaucratic apparatuses of state are highly biased against madhesis. Still, the Nepalese rulers are infested with colonial mindset, they think it is their birthright to rule and madhesis are made to serve them.

Scores of Madhesi youths have been extra-judicially killed or detained illegally in name of special security arrangement. Madhes has been made like forte by Nepalese police and army, their arrogance is increasing day by day. Madhes is still keeping its cool but cannot be said till when? If it breaks the limit, a bigger conflict than Maoists’ people war cannot be denied.

A Way Out
In present scenario, staying together with Nepal is not possible. If Delhi and Kathmandu try to dictate terms for madhes or they try to force their deal on people of madhes, it can be catastrophic .There are every possibility that people of madhes and people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar can unite together if Delhi and Kathmandu together try to suppress the voices of madhes.

I still pray to god to provide us strength to keep ourselves cool. We know the importance of a human life, we definitely do not want violence spread over our society, and we want to see our society prospering, developing in a peaceful environment. We never can find a solution through violent means but when we are left with only two options to choose from, we must chose one. At present we have only two options I guess, “Submit to their atrocities” or “stand to fight them”, we are peace loving but not coward. We are committed to remain committed towards our freedom!

From the Editor’s Desk

THE LITERARY JEWELS

Issue 4: July – Sept. 2012

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

One word  ‘culture’ has so much in itself that we sometimes lack words to define that one simple term. Various sociologists have tried their own unique ways to express ‘culture’ in one single all-encompassing definition. On just the surface level, culture is just one thing and a very simple one at that. But it is when we look deep within that we realize that this presumingly simple term ‘culture’ has a whole world in it. it gives us an insight into the way we do things at a particular place or county. For instance, when we say ‘food culture’, we precisely mean the kind of food available and eaten, the way it is cooked and served in a region. Much in the same vein is dressing culture. We have a more comprehensive called ‘social culture’ that includes in its purview all aspects pertaining to the social customs, traditions, food, clothes, habits etc. We have a few terms used such as, technological culture, knowledge culture and information culture. All these are more or less related to our intellectual culture – the kind of technology prevailing in the society at a particular time, the knowledge possessed by human beings and sources from where it is drawn etc.

Then we have a literary culture, which is also typical to the prevailing times. It also depends on political scenario of a country, may be at a specific time period or a happening. We have many historical evidences to that. In the age of Chaucer, rightly called as ‘Father of English Literature’, we can see the influence of many happenings of that time period being reflected in the writings of Chaucer, Gower, Langland and other writers. The incidents that find mention include the black plague, the peasant revolt etc.

By now you must be already wondering about the vast scope of this one compact word ‘culture’. This is not all. Now you can flip through the present issue of ‘The Literary Jewels’, extending upto forty two pages, that is nothing but just an elaboration of all the types of culture. I do hope you read and enjoy this culture special issue. Happy reading! Enjoy!

Amritbir Kaur