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In the company of Abu Abdallah Rudaki

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Linked with Abdullah Jafar Ibn Mohammad Rudaki, Persia/Tajikistan (859-941).

By K.N. Pandita

My parents put me to Farsi-Tajik studies from early childhood. My uncle was a conventional type of man. Whenever I opened my books for study, he would begin the lesson with this verse:

Danish andar dil chirag-e rausahn ast
Waz hameh bad bar tane tu jaushan ast

This was my first meeting with Rudaki. I was too young to understand the deep meaning of the verse. My uncle never told me anything beyond reciting the verse.

I grew up in an atmosphere steeped in Farsi-Tajik cultural ethos, and then became a regular student of this language and literature in the college and at the university. Obviously, I had to know more of Rudaki and other bright stars of Farsi-Tajik literary firmament and in detail.

Rudaki was the celebrated father of Farsi-Tajik poetry. My interest grew and also my respect for him when I read that he had composed more than a million verses and Kalileh wa Dimneh in verse, which unfortunately is lost to us. It must have been a tremendous effort. To my great joy I could now realise the deep meaning in Rudaki’s profound verse so often and so long spoken by my uncle during my boyhood. This was my second interaction with the celebrity.

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Letter to the Editor

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Times of India, New Delhi

Our tennis celebrity

Dear Sir,

This is with reference to your editorial ‘Sania Drops Out’ (ToI, 6 Feb). In view of her gross misbehaviour, Sania left herself with no option but to decline playing in Bangalore Open. As a good Muslim, she knows that baring body even in part is disallowed for a Muslim woman. A mosque is a pious religious place and is not meant for anybody including a celebrity to make use of for TV ads meant to mint money. And Indian tradition hates showing disrespect to the national flag by making any sort of body gesture howsoever remote or subtle. Sania cannot pretend to be ignorant. And finally, she is only 29 in international merit list of tennis players, which is nothing outstanding. We appreciate her talent but why project her out of proportion? Your shifting the matter to the “game of competitive intolerance” speaks of your duplicity. You must support one of the two options; respect for religion and its tenets in entirety or irrelevance of religion in contemporary society.

Kashinath Pandita, New Delhi,

(By airmail), Feb 6, 2008.