Monday, August 31, 2015

All for the sake of Good Handwriting

I  started  my  education  in   Lady Irwin  High   School, (later  Higher Secondary School ) Shimla-precursor of the present Dayanand Public School, which  despite  a different name  was under the  DAV  management. Without  the  trappings  of  a  public school, English was taught  from   Class  I. It was a  girls’ school,  boys  being allowed upto Class IV only. By the time  we reached  our last class in this school, we had started  reciting  and  learning  by rote  English poems. All the  teachers  were  ladies. We    wrote with lead pencils .
All this changed  when I got admitted  to the local  S.D. Higher Secondary School in Class V . Teachers were all  male, and strict disciplinarians  at that , though  devout  teachers  and   literally wedded to the profession.  Uniform was compulsory only on Monday , though   some of us  wore it  on all days.Only one notebook for each books was prescribed – there being no separate  notebooks for class work and homework.    But the rude shock came in the shape of   use of ink instead of lead pencils. It  was  ‘G’   nib   fixed to a holder   for English and  ‘ Qalam ‘ made from bamboo reed    for   Hindi and other subjects. New to this , it took me  quite  some  period  of time to get used.  Every time opening the inkpot and placing it on table,  then dipping the holder with the nib or the  Qalam  in ink and  writing  on notebook  was quite taxing. All the time my  fingers got stained  with  ink , which  was removed with difficulty on reaching home . Sometimes, if the inkpot had a loose cap , ink would spill out and spoil   the bag and the  books and notebooks. The use of blotting paper  while turning pages was quite frequent.However, we got wise with time and had our fountain pen nibs cut in the  Qalam style  which  brought forth the same results , but without hassles.   Good  handwriting  was not only encouraged  but duly emphasized.  There  was   a competition of sorts  among the students who cared, to earn  as many  ‘ Good ‘ or ‘Very Good’ remarks as  they could.  A far cry from the present  day  emphasis  on cursive writing in schools, without  teaching the students how to write. I must say this stood us in good stead so far as handwriting is concerned. This reminds  of  Mahatma Gandhi’s lament  that he  did not  have a good handwriting  and called  this a sign of imperfect education. 

The good old days !

Sunday, August 9, 2015

School Days

Memories of childhood especially school days never fade. I am reminded of a phrase  ‘शिकायती टट्टू  used day in and day out while describing a person habitual of complaining against others to the  teacher for some act of mischief , purported indiscipline or to use a rather heavy word , misdemeanor. If someone repeatedly  bullied you,it was fine as the teacher as we all know is a  guardian as well, in school hours . Sometimes the complaint was like   सर , ये कुछ खा रहा है...’. Sometimes, the teacher, who would not brook indiscipline would take offence and reprimand or even slap the ‘wrong doer’.  A few times, the tables would get turned upon the complainant student, when he would be roughed up by the teacher for this bad habit of  चुगली , much to the amusement of entire class.A teacher , jovial by nature would ask the offender to give a bit out of  the eatable to the complaining student so that he would keep shut. Another saying that was popular was
 ‘ चुगलखोर को  लगे रे डंडा , उसको  बचाना नहीं चाहिए  which was sung as a chorus.

The good old days ! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

मैथिलीशरण गुप्त

45 से 50 वर्ष पूर्व के अपने स्कूल के विद्यार्थी काल में पढ़ी कविताओं की कुछ पंक्तियाँ आज भी याद हैं .
"माँ कह एक कहानी।"
बेटा समझ लिया क्या तूने मुझको अपनी नानी?"
"कहती है मुझसे यह चेटी, तू मेरी नानी की बेटी
कह माँ कह लेटी ही लेटी, राजा था या रानी?
माँ कह एक कहानी।"
संग्राम में निज-शत्रुओं की देखकर यह नीचता
कहने लगा वह यों वचन दृग युग-करों से मींचता -
"नि:शस्त्र पर तुम वीर बनकर वार करते हो अहो!
है पाप तुमको देखना भी पामरों! सम्मुख न हो!!
तात! हे मातुल! जहाँ हो प्रणाम तुम्हें वहीं,
अभिमन्यु का इस भाँति मरना भूल न जाना कहीं!"
दृग बंद कर वह यशोधन सर्वदा को सो गया,
हा! एक अनुपम रत्न मानो मेदिनी का खो गया ||
नर हो, न निराश करो मन को
कुछ काम करो, कुछ काम करो
जग में रह कर कुछ नाम करो
इन कविताओं के रचयिता राष्ट्र-कवि मैथिलीशरण गुप्त की आज जयंती है .
इस महान कवि को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Nirad. C. Chaudhuri

Today is the death anniversary of Nirad. C. Chaudhuri , the prominent Bengali English writer of the twentieth century. Known best for his ‘The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian’ which was published in 1951, his other books include ‘A Passage to England’ written long before he actually left for England , eventually to spend last more than two decades of life in England , ‘The Continent of Circe’, ‘Scholar Extraordinary’ which won him the Sahitya Academy Award , ‘Clive of India’ and lastly ‘Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse’. He had the distinction of being the oldest author , having published his last work at the age of ninety nine or say in the hundredth year of his life.
An irrefutable Anglophile , he was in love with everything English and strangely, did not want Britishers to leave India . However in later years of life he was disillusioned with the English culture and way of life due to ‘degeneration‘ that he felt had set therein.