Dr.Shiben Krishen Raina

Some stories are worth sharing!

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Modern-day Writers

When a person is praised because of his prowess, skills and abilities, that is the real tribute to the person. Some are praised merely due to their ‘utility’ factor, and that’s nothing but flattery. Some need to be praised ritually in a conference, assembly, seminar or meeting since they are sitting in chairs of veneration. Similarly, persons holding high or dignified positions either in private or public sector must be praised because of the position and power they are in control of and that’s nothing but sycophancy.

I know a person who was health minister once. Lot many sycophants would throng around him. Audience with him was barely possible. The moment his tenure was over, he started wandering on the roadside and nobody ever took notice of him.

Today, the trend of society has become such that everyone wants to talk about himself and wants to hear about himself. In the case of writers, this trend is gaining momentum. In this era of electronic media and social networking, writers desire for praise by sharing their compositions and posts on WhatsApp and Facebook. The tendency of ‘I call you Shakespeare, you call me Galib ‘is increasing day by day.

Needless to say, that this trend of self-acclamation and self-praise by writers is extremely perilous for literature. Craving for the energizer and tonic of praise is becoming very important for the health of such writers. If such writers do not hear a word of praise on their posts from someone, they will not sleep well and neither the food they eat will digest well. Additionally, they might even see bad dreams during the night as well. Early in the morning, when they wake up their first chore is to open ‘face-book’ and start counting the ‘likes’ and comments on their posts. The more likes and encouraging comments they see the more raised up they feel and the more boisterous they look!Thank God there is no “dislike” option available on FB, otherwise this option, if used,will break hearts of so many like-lover-writers.


Corruption is one of the biggest threats to the well-being of a society. Lord Buddha was right when he said that Desire is the root cause of all sufferings in this world. In corruption, too, desire is the main incitement to induce a person to this scornful activity.

Corruption on both sides i.e. those who are corrupting and those who are getting corrupted is a disgrace to our society and needs to be eradicated. Corruption involves the desire to get the job done quickly, the desire to earn more, the desire to reach powerful positions and so on.

Corruption is not just an administrative issue as we narrowly perceive it. But, it is a physiological and societal problem. Corrupted mind accepts a bribe as a part of his day-to-day life and expects the same from others and thus drives others to become corrupt.

Corruption has slowly become an accepted practice in our society that we just move along with it. We don’t bother about corruption as long as it does not bother us. Therefore, there is no effective check against corruption and the corrupt people. Giving bribe and accepting bribe are two sides of the same coin. We cannot address one ignoring the other. Change must come from within by elating our moral values to eliminate this social evil. Honesty, compassion and contentment could be a great source of inspiration to fight against this immoral and highly unacceptable action.

I am reminded of a very interesting instance which will very distinctively unfold the secret and genesis of corruption. The headmaster of a school called a photographer for taking a group-photograph of the students reading in Eighth standard. The matter was settled at Rs. 10 per student. Consequently, the headmaster directed the class-teacher to collect Rs. 30 from every student. Thereupon, the class teacher declared in the classroom that tomorrow each child should bring Rs. 50 for the group photograph. A child back in the home told her mom that school administration had asked for Rs. 100 for the group photograph. Eventually, in the evening the mother of the child told her husband that the school had asked for Rs. 200 for group-photo of Munna’s (Baba’s) class.

This is how corruption stems, thrives and evolves around in the society.

…and life rides on!

I take pleasure in recalling my era when bicycle used to be a great means of conveyance. A great symbol of prestige and a great source of the pleasurable ride. So much was the importance of this great two-wheeler that the bicycle was one of the major items to be offered to the bridegroom in the dowry. Only a few would have the proud privilege of owning a bicycle.

Cycles with the brand names like Hercules, Hind, Atlas, Raleigh etc. were quite popular in the market. Raleigh was probably the best one, though slightly expensive than other brands. I am talking of the fifties.

Then came the engine-borne two-wheelers i.e. the scooter. Lambretta and Vespa made inroads and replaced bicycles. I remember advanced booking for Vespa was no less than two years. During this period other scooters like Chetak, Vijay, LML, Aravalli etc. also made their presence in the market. This is the scenario of the Sixties.

Meanwhile, motorcycles also fluttered in the market: Enfield, Yezdi-Java, Rajdoot etc. sped on the roads, more especially on rough-rural roads. Consequently, with the passage of time, bicycles were ‘bye-byed’ and people switched over to a more comfortable and labour-free ride of scooters/motorcycles.

Owning a car was still a luxury! Government employees used to get loans at low rates for buying two-wheeler vehicles.

I also bought a scooter by taking a loan and would go to the college on my brand new Bajaj-Cub now saying goodbye to my bike. My other colleagues also bought scooters and came to the college on these automated two-wheelers with their heads high on the seats. Going to college on a cycle was now considered to be below the standard of a professor.

One day a clerk of the loan-section met me in the market. He knew me. Said, “Sir, do you have any professor in the college named AAA? Is he a pauper, really? I am amused. He has applied for a cycle loan. Sir, even peons of our office apply now for scooter/moped loan and not for cycle-loan.”

“Maybe he wants to buy it for the purpose of the exercise.”

I wanted to be on the side of the Prof. Saheb, but I knew that Prof. Saheb was not a normal person. A learned man of several inhibitions, he would always love to make himself conspicuous by taking such queer, trivial and amusing decisions.

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