Saturday, October 21, 2006


In one of my early posts, I had written about “Hari + Ali = Hariyali".

On Bengali tv, there’s a comedy / humour show anchored by Mir. He is intelligent, funny, irreverent and endearing. At the end of each show, he delivers a pseudo-poetic punch line in Hindi. Last night, referring to the coincidence this year of the Hindu festival of light, Diwali, and the imminent Muslim festival of Eid (at the end of Ramadan), Mir recited this one, which increased my admiration for him by several notches:

Agar Diwali mein ho Ali
Aur Ramzaan mein Ram ka naam
To Hindu aur Mussalman ke beech
Nafrat ka kya hai kaam?

If Diwali includes Ali
And Ramadan the name of Ram
Then what purpose has hatred
Between Hindu and Mussalman?


kathy said...

Hi Rama

There is so much I don't know, so please pardon my ignorance. I'm just learning about Diwali, I wasn't aware of it until I started reading my friends blogs about it.

I listened to your song on top of the blog! :) The Asian Koel bird. I looked him up in the Wikipedia and learned:
"The Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea), or Common Koel, is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes, which also includes the roadrunners, the anis, and the Hoatzin." I learned where they come from too! even had a picture of the bird. I always learn something when I visit your blog.

Thanks :)

rama said...

Hullo Kathy, thank you! Just a little while back I figured out the html script to link the cuckoo call to the "song" mentioned on my blog mast-head. So you are the first to spot that and hear it. Thank you.

Diwali: one explanation for this festival is that it commemorates the joyous return to Ayodhya of the victorious prince Rama after his 14-year forest exile and after defeating the evil king Ravana of Lanka and rescuing his abducted wife Sita. This is the story of the epic poem Ramayana. Another story about the source of Diwali is that it pays annual tribute to the wise and virtuous king Bali, who however, had the flaw of pride, for which he was vanquished by an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the sustainer of life.

Diwali is also associated in north India with worship of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Businessmen and traders consider this as a New Year day.

Homes are spruced up and whitewashed. Special sweets are prepared. New clothes are bought. Puja offerings are made. People light earthen lamps or candles in front of their homes. Fireworks and crackers are set off.

In eastern India, Diwali coincides with Kali Puja, or worship of the destructive, ferocious aspect of the feminine force, the Mother Goddess. After slaying a host of demons she goes into a frenzy of destruction. Her husband, Siva, lies down on her path to stop her. But she steps over him - and then realises her folly, and so sticks out her tongue, a sign of shame.

One of the theories about the name of Calcutta is that is from Kali, whose temple is here. (There are several important Kali temples in the country, each one related to a particular organ of Kali, scattered after her self-immolation.)

Yes, all very complex and confounding! But growing up in a Hindu household in India, one comes to know all this implicitly. And that then enables a deeper and more mystic understanding through further study of texts etc.

A Happy Diwali to you and your family!

Best, rama

bhupinder said...

Hi Rama, I took the liberty of putting your entire post as a comment here

Happy Diwali and Eid Mubarak !

sunset said...


Rama, the pleasure is all mine. I love the deep insights in your posts . And the memories of Kolkata flood me when I read them. Incidentally, my PhD dissertation will be on Kolkata, specifically the real estate driven deevelopment of New Kolkata township that seems to pay little heed to the housing concerns of the poor. Will be lovely to keep in touch with you.I have just started toying with blogging and shall soon be getting some meaningful insights in there.

kathy said...


The Festival sounds wonderful! thanks for more explanation on the subject.

Happy Diwali to you and your family


iamnasra said...

Lovely poem

Thanks for posting it...

iamnasra said...

I forgot happy Diwalai