Jan 21, 2011


Shiksha and Diksha

khaliqur Rahman

Shiksha and Diksha were twins. They looked alike all right, but in life they moved in different directions. Their goal, though, was more or less the same, as perhaps is everybody’s, a successful life.
Shiksha as a child went to school, then to college and university. Diksha didn’t like school bags and books. She told her parents, she wouldn’t go to school. The parents were sensible and good enough to see through her mind. They agreed as they didn’t want to put any extra pressure on her. Shiksha always wanted to become a Somebody, not an Anybody and certainly not like an Everybody. Even as a child, she participated in Fancy Dress Competitions and bagged awards as Saraswati, Sita and Durga. Later, she took to Mock Parliaments. In college, she acted as Indira, Uma and Rabri. This make-believe overplay became her attitude in life. Her degrees - BSc, MA, PhD- were like Indira, Uma and Rabri in her; good enough to show, better still for accolades but in reality, Diksha knew, Shiksha was never a good student. Shiksha herself had often told Diksha how she cheated in the exams and how cleverly she flirted with the important men to get her PhD.
Shiksha, unlike Diksha, has had poor health since childhood. Poor Shiksha always had to go to hospital to be able to go to school and to college and she always had to go to coaching classes to be able to clear her exams. Shiksha had no time for prayers; neither for sports, nor for exercises. Understandably, she grew (grew?) into a real irritable girl-- and not very long later into an irritating woman.
Diksha spent her time with her mother. She watched her, cooking, washing and doing the chores. Watching led her to doing, as it always does. Soon, she was as good as her mother!
Diksha spent her time with her father and her friends, too. She learnt quite a lot from them as well. She had enough time to pray with either mother or father or both. And, she had time to run around and play with her friends. Not unexpectedly, she developed into an attractive girl and later into a still more attractive woman after she got married. The suitable boy picked Diksha much earlier than Shiksha hooked her unsuitable boy for an unarranged marriage.
Shiksha is childless, whereas Diksha has a boy and a girl. Diksha thinks she has given her husband someone like him. And, her husband thinks he has given Diksha someone like her.
Like her degrees, Shiksha is trying to manage motherhood through a test-tube, and expecting a baby-girl, who Diksha thinks, Shiksha should call Pratiksha, or perhaps, Bhiksha.
Diksha also thinks that Dikshant Samaroh should better be called Shikshant Samaroh because that invariably marks the end of Shiksha.

Jan 20, 2011


!K. Rahman
Silentio Silentio Silentio Silentio Silentio
Silentio Silentio              Silentio Silentio
Silentio Silentio Silentio Silentio Silentio
This is a Spanish poem. Keith Mitchell, our Grammar teacher in Edinburgh, wrote it on the blackboard to make a point in relation to language, grammar and communication. The missing SILENTIO in the middle is the deviation from grammar but it communicates the intention of the poet and allows him to say what he wants to.
Silence is golden is a saying that means it is better to say nothing in a particular situation. These words of considered wisdom are taken from the proverb that says speech is silver, silence is golden meaning it is better to speak and even better not to.
The silent majority is another idiom that comes to mind. The silent majority is a large bulk of population that has moderate and reasonable line of thought but prefers not to express.
The vocal minority, then, takes charge and begins to govern. What is worse, the silent majority silently becomes a contributor to the worsening state of malaise even if it doesn’t want to. But it sticks to the lesser evil. That’s why, perhaps, the saying is: silence is golden and not silence is gold.
If silence is gold, it will shine in the light of “kindness and generosity, openness, understanding and feeling.” But silence is golden and the golden, nowadays, shines best in the light of “sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self interest.”(The quotes, this one and the one above, are taken from Steinbeck.)
The golden also shines, nowadays, in the light of false wisdom, false erudition, false honour and pseudo-religion and pseudo-spiritualism. It is threateningly striking, like lightning, through the dark of the blackest clouds of current corrupt politics and corrupt bureaucracy.
The golden is not always gold, like in golden days or golden hair. Therefore, silence is not always silent.
It can now be said that there are two types of silence: positive silence and negative silence. Positive silence is peace and quiet. Negative silence is disturbing noise.
Luckily, while I am endowed to relish the taste of silence that is positive, I am perhaps equally fortified to stand or turn a deaf ear to silence that is negative, even if its cacophony has deafening decibels. But if I decided to be silent when a rebuttal was needed to at least get a disapproval registered, I would be silently supporting negativity and I should feel guilty. I should be equally guilty if I spoke where I should have kept quiet. What is, therefore, needed is good sense rather than erudition or the so-called present-day wisdom. Good sense brings with it the wisdom to apply intelligence at the right time and place.
It is advisable to sleep over desire for anything that is material but it is always dangerous to sleep over minor ailments, for what looks like a small lump today may turn into an abscess or even a cancer over a period of time.
In the last six or seven decades it seems humanity has taken more wrong decisions than the right ones !