A master's version

Print edition : November 07, 1998

ONE of the most blatant recent additions made in a textbook has been to a grammar book in Rajasthan called Subodh Hindi Vyakaran Aivam Rachana prescribed for Classes IX, X, XI and XII. Here there are two chapters each dealing with conversation and essay writing techniques. Among other subjects used to highlight the methods, one deals with the Pokhran blasts in May. Evidently this is an addition to the existing sections. It appears in a section on conducting conversations, which goes as follows (translated from Hindi):

A conversation between a teacher and his student on the nuclear explosions

Student: My greetings, master.

Teacher: Greetings to you too. Come sit, my son.

Student: (sitting on the chair): Respected master, I have come today to ask you something.

Teacher: Ask, what do you want to know?

Student: Master, what has India achieved by doing the nuclear tests? Was it a right step?

Teacher: Undoubtedly it was correct. About its gains, India has achieved a huge success.

Student: What success? Instead, economic sanctions have been slapped on it.

Teacher: Economic sanctions do not matter. The country should first become powerful. These tests have brought India in the list of the other nuclear power states.

Student: But master, we desire peace. Are we not in favour of world peace?

Teacher: All the more reason for us to be endowed with power. Only the powerful are listened to. Who listens to the weak? Now we can talk about world peace aggressively. Now the world will listen to us.

Student: But master, are not the nuclear tests against our policies?

Teacher: Not at all. We are not developing our nuclear strength for attack but for development. For our protection definitely we need to be endowed with power.

Student: So why is America and others opposing it?

Teacher: It is because they do not want any other country to be more powerful. If this happens, their hegemony may get threatened.

Student: But master, what can we do in the face of economic sanctions?

Teacher: Our progress will not stop because of the sanctions. And the sanctions will be only for a short period. Our country is a big market for America. It will only harm America. No damage can come to us. If we proceed cautiously, then we can deal with these sanctions.

Student: Yes, this appears to be correct. Can a shopkeeper remain angry with his customer for long?

Teacher: Exactly. Our country is the world's biggest democracy. Our manpower is unmatchable. With nuclear power we can gain for ourselves a place of prestige place in the world.

Student: So master, the present Government should be congratulated for the nuclear tests.

Teacher: Yes, why not? Such a big step could not have been taken without political will, but our scientists deserve most of the credit.

Student: Thank you, master. My questions have been satisfactorily answered.

A letter from the Editor


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