Saturday, June 15, 2013

Said a 'Ghandi' to a 'Ghurka'

Said a 'Ghandi' to a 'Ghurka'

Said a 'Ghandi' to a 'Ghurka',
“Our names have been misspelled.
It's a pity that we suffer as
These myths are not dispelled.

“For the eitches are not bidden
To be followers of gees.
There are eitches that are after kays
And eitches after dees.”

“So it's 'Gandhi' and its 'Gurkha',
And that's the written truth.
It's the way that we are spoken,
And our spelling follows suit.

“For their English isn't English
As it used to be before
Their Empire had included
The Indians and more.

“So their eitches may be silent
When they follow after gees.
But they'd better not be quiet
When they follow kays and dees.

“So it's 'Dhaka' now, not 'Dacca',
And it was always 'Noakhali'.
And the 'Khalistan' that wasn't
Was not named for goddess Kali.

“And if they were to travel
To the Ghats of east or west,
If they left their “Gats” behind them,
Thay would find it would be best.

“For the eitches that are standing
After gees may be announced,
As they once were done in English
That was thoroughly pronounced.

Said the Gurkha who'd been silent,
To the Gandhi who was not.
“I've a khukri here to silence
All the ones, who hear you not.

“For I know there was a Gandhi
Who was all for that ahimsa,
But when it comes to using eitches,
We are calling for some himsa!

“For we're sure that there'd be riots
If the Scots were robbed of lochs.
So should Gurkhas then be mangled,
Or be packaged in a box?

"Yes we know their ears can't hear it,
But they still should write it right.
For if they continue this,
We'll be looking for a fight!

“For we're sure they wouldn't like it
If we wrote the Thames as 'Tamhes',
Although the eitch is silent,
As it also is in 'Tomhas'.

“And if we wrote 'a bhoroug'
Or we wrote of  'gosths and goulhs',
Then some might laugh, but others
Would tell us, 'There are rules!'

“There's a gherkin, but we're Gurkhas,
So they'd better learn to spell –
Or they'll be joining all the murkhas
Who've a special place in hell!”

2013 June 15th, Sat.


The Gurkhas are an ethnic group in Nepal and adjoining parts of India.  They earned a reputation as fierce warriors in the British Indian Army, being used in in WW2 against the Germans in North Africa and in savage battles against the Japanese in Asia.  The Gurkha soldiers were allowed to carry a traditional weapon, the sturdy, curved machete called the khukri. (This is pronounced,
by most Nepalese, either as spelled here or, more often, as "khukuri".  Unfortunately, it is usually spelled as kukri in English texts.)


The Sanskrit word ahimsa (usually pronounced “ahingsha”) has been rather loosely translated as “non-violence” but is more accurately a state of mind, with himsa (“hingsha”) being its opposite – being the state of mind that harbors or nurtures highly negative emotions and thoughts against others.  Such a state of mind may be conducive to unkind words and acts and may even result in unnecessary violence.

The Eastern and Western Ghats (literally, “steps”) are the coastal hill ranges of peninsular India.

Dhaka (once spelled 'Dacca') is, of course, the populous capital of Bangladesh.  Noakhali is a southern, riverine district of that country.

Secessionist Sikhs in India were once calling (and fighting) for a “Khalistan” in the Indian half of the Punjab ( the land of five rivers -- Panj-ab -- in Persian).  This was conceived of as a “pure land” for the Sikhs. (The Farsi word ab is cognate to the Latin aqua, as panj is to the Greek penta.)

The Sikhs, being monotheists, are usually far from being followers of the Hindu goddess Kali, who is still worshiped widely in Bengal and adjoining regions of eastern India – as well as in places elsewhere, being an ancient, pre-Aryan deity, as was Shiva.  Both were assimilated, to some degree, into the Hindu-Aryan  pantheon, with Kali/Durga being central to the Shaktas and Shiva to the Shaivites.  

The two are seen interlocked in mithuna (coitus) as Shiva-Shakti in some temple sculptures. 

Similar figures, often of much fiercer mien, may be seen in the metal sculptures of the Tantric form of Buddhism that found its way to Tibet.

Kali may have possible connections to the “Black Madonna” of the Mediterranean region, still worshiped furtively by a next-door neighbor of mine (an aged southern-Italian woman)  in the Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn, New York, where I have lived for close to thirty years.

The Sanskrit word murkha is loosely used to mean  “fool/idiot/moron/imbecile/unlettered”.  But its proper meaning may be “ignorant, unlearned, unwise”.


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