Belligerent appearances of some anchors turn the taste of the tea bitter. Go on Twitter or any other social media, and read the selective insults, abuses, idiotic and outrageous remarks. One wonders if we are living in a vile age that desires words to describe. Gone are the days of spontaneous remarks, witty reposte and intelligent comments and responses. I don’t need to remind the fact that not long ago, verbal warfare without vulgarity was an art and fun.
How beautifully the poet sarcastically portrayed the helplessness of a priest: “Butkhane ke darwaze pe sota hai Brahmen, Taqdeer ko rota a hai Muslaman tahey mehrab.” Brahmin sleeps at the door of the temple and the Muslim cries under the turret of the mosque.
The dethroned prisoner - last king of Mughal India forgot about his beheaded son, asked for the pen and responded on the back of parchment spontaneously:
“Hindiyon me boo rahe gee jab talak Imaan ki, Takht-e-London par chalegee Tegh Hindusatn ki.”
As long as the Indians have faith, the Sabre of Hindustan would gore the throne of London.
It is too unrealistic to witness that type of exchange in this fish-market like scenario. Now, we use shoes, microphone bars and tomatoes to express our thoughts. Progress of civilization has gone inversely proportional to culture and tolerance of society. We are devoid of true sense of humor, devoid of witty retorts and barbaric in our social discourses. Let us not forget that verbal warfare within limits of decency is a thing to remember. The insulting epistles of literary geniuses and educated sophisticated politicians are the treasure of our cultural heritage.
To concoct a clever remark needs imagination and precision. Sub-standard, double meaning and putrid jokes demand no such attributes. Proper and fine insult is an art and commands appreciation.
In 1903 Irving Stone, the famous American biographical novelist described the famous William Jenning Bryan, a leading US politician and candidate of President in the following words: “His mind was like a soup dish, wide and shallow; it could hold a small amount of everything, but the slightest jarring spilled the soup into somebody’s lap.”
And read the smart piece of self deprecation by Sydney Smith, a renowned English writer and Anglican cleric :”My handwriting looks as if a swarm of ants, escaping from an inkbottle, had walked over a sheet of paper without wiping their legs.” Appreciating a couple he wrote – “I like him and his wife. He is so lady like and she is so perfect gentleman.”
Mark Twain asked someone who tried to intrude his privacy – “Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?”
John Ruskin, an art critic of Victorian era described William Thackery: “Thackery settled like a meat-fly on whatever one had got for dinner, and made one sick of it.”
Witty remarks are the tests of one’s creativity, intelligence and power of conception.
The Earl of Sandwich: “Egad, Sir, I don’t know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox.” (discease)
John Wilkis: “That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”
Last but the least, an incisive film geetkar said when he saw a famous old doctor with his newly wedded much younger wife: “Cum kisi ka naheen martaba bagh men, phool apni jagah khar apni jagah.” No one is lower in rank in this garden, flower has its own place, a thorn has its own.
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