Saying that he is a WRITER, only gives you a vague idea of his profession. As vague as you understand depth of sea from the beach, as vague as we understand the love of mother towards us. You have to pay a closer look; what he writers? As far as my senses go, writers can be divided into 2 categories.

One has professionals, other are naturals. One write on their laptop for quick money, others rub on raw paper for the work unreleased for years. One take projects of magazines, websites to write, others write what they have to. One writes for writing’s sake, for others it is uncontrolled flow of world.

First category is very common. They write for advertisement agencies, for magazines and papers. All they want is money, quick money as secondary source of income. Freelance writers are no one but persons belonging to this first category.

Second category is rare. They pour their hearts on society, evil practices and goods. They observe, people and practices; they study the past and forecast the future. They read a lot, a lot ; so much that their senses become supernatural. They sense what others don’t; they start talking to themselves. Lay hidden in the room for hours with some stories that no one is going to read. They cry so much that papers get wet and then they laugh, when a character of story they developed is extraordinary funny.

Slowly but surly, I am going towards this second category of writers. It is awkward to accept this, but this is not a lie. Such type of persons exist and you have to be the one. To be a writer, you must understand the exact situation through which your Hero/heroine is going. Their pains, their needs, their desires must be on your face.

As a famous person once quoted ” No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader“.

Few days back I wrote the story of a guy who leaves his job to be a farmer then the story of a mother who tries to protect her daughter during partition. Then story of a soldier who wants to quit the battlefield and then story of a person who lets his house burn while he is reading climax of a novel. And many others.

So much variety, that it overwhelms and frightens me sometimes. One of my continued and beautiful reader Shweta often asks me ” Who are these characters? from where they come?”

I get confused for a while, then I would say ” These characters are no one but my reaction in a given situation. How my characters react in a situation, how they think is ME. You read my story, you can tell everything about the author”

Well, this post has nothing meaningful ; random words.


Jammu & Kashmir, an alien within India : Causes and Solutions, Part 3

By : Gen. NS Malik, Indian Army

Click here to read what Basically Kashmir problem is

Solution of Kashmir problem :                                                                   The solution to the J&K problem does not lie in Srinagar or in Pakistan and China.  It squarely and appropriately lies in New Delhi.

Solution lies in the words and teachings of our ancient sages and Rishis. Swami Vivekananda said that “Shakti” is the power that builds the nation and without it the nation is enslaved.  He asked, ‘Why is it that our country is the weakest- because ‘Shakti’ is held in dishonor here’  This he had said over a century ago, but unfortunately, it is true even today. ‘Shakti means national power to influence events in the interest of the nation.  This Shakti flows out of economic strength, social harmony, people educated and dedicated to national cause, and most importantly  military strength.  However, the crucial element of the national ‘Shakti’ is the national leadership that is able to harness all this power and bring it to bear in national  interest.

The strategic solution lies in breaking the unholy nexus between China and Pakistan by, firstly vigorously claiming POK and GB areas, supporting the population to fight the occupation forces, and by breaking the China link to the Arabian sea through Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Balochistan.  The democratic voice of Pakhtoons for Pakhtoonistan encompassing areas South and East of defunct Durand line must be supported.  Similarly the human rights violations, in fact genocide, of the Baloch people struggle for democracy in their province must be taken up at international arena and supported


As a veteran,  I feel saddened when I find that the leadership pays no heed to the security of our  nation.  Jammu & Kashmir has been the hunting ground of both, China and Pakistan and we have treated it as a dispute and an internal law and order problem.  I do not advocate war as the only solution.  But with the changing dimensions of warfare ranging from nuclear, cyber, space to proxy war, we need to devise new ways and means to be one step ahead of the enemy. Pakistan has been at war with India since Oct 1947, and China since 1950 when it occupied Tibet, yet we failed to recognize the enemy and his modus operandi on both fronts. In between active war operations, they carry on proxy war with ‘thousand cuts’, supporting insurgency in J&K and the North East   Mao tse Tung said that ‘Diplomacy flows out of the barrel of a gun’ In this ‘Dog eat dog’ world, it is no good making diplomatic overtures and resting on assurances on paper that are not worth the paper they are written on.

India must not accept China intrusion into J&K or any other area passively, but must counter with well planned and calibrated Indian moves along the border into tactically and strategically sensitive areas to China at the time of our choosing.

How many times Pakistan has made promises and never kept them. How the Chinese have been treating us and claiming Arunachal Pradesh and all Aksai Chin. Their intentions are clear, only we fail to see it that way, with the result that today India is widely perceived as being unable to handle external or internal challenges ranging from terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. being snubbed by Maldives, leave alone dealing with an assertive China, which has no qualms in blocking India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and undermining India’s influence in Asia  The answer lies in building friendship bridges across Asia Pacific region with Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Australia, USA and other smaller countries by extending economic and military help to them.  Besides, India must not accept China intrusion into J&K or any other area passively, but must counter with well planned and calibrated Indian moves along the border into tactically and strategically sensitive areas to China at the time of our choosing.  The latest intrusion into Depsang valley in Ladakh is a very clever move by China. It wants to bargain for a settlement in Aksai Chin but keep Arunachal Pradesh open.  The solution does not lie in negotiating border settlement in the West alone, as that will seal the fate of Aksai Chin for ever, leaving India no bargaining power in the North East

So how long shall we keep living in fools’ paradise.  Awake my countrymen, your country is threatened, both externally and internally, and unfortunately your so called democratically elected government at present is fast asleep, content in its ‘appeasement policy’ internally and externally.  Unless a country is militarily strong, no one will respect you, and all the economic gains will be for someone else to enjoy. Let not history of the past seven hundred years repeat itself.

Read earlier part : Strategic importance of Kashmir

Read earlier part :  Earlier mishandling of Kashmir issue

What basically Kashmiri problem is?



Jammu & Kashmir, an alien within India : Causes and Solutions, Part 2

By : Gen. NS Malik, Indian Army

(This post is slightly longer but General Malik has written complex Kashmir problem in such lucid manner that it goes effortless in reading. Here is earlier part of this post. )

The Problem and its historic Mishandling

The problem of J&K can be summarized under the  heads; J&K called ‘disputed territory’ ‘Article 370’, the ‘over dominance of Kashmir  over the other areas’ and ‘Political indifference’ at the State and Centre government

Disputed Territory: UN resolution of 1948, which is cited by most adversaries of India, deals only with the aggression by Pakistan and not its accession to India. Accession is legal in every way and cannot be disputed.  Similarly the so called “Two Nation Theory”, under whose umbrella Pakistan was formed,  applied only to British ruled India and not the princely states, and hence a state being Muslim majority did not disqualify it from joining Indian Union.  In the same context, referendum in J&K is illegal as it was not agreed by Muslim League to hold referendum in princely states but left to their rulers to accede to India or Pakistan, contiguity being a criteria for the same.  Thus the only dispute that remains is the vacation of the aggression by Pakistan and the areas illegally ceded to China by Pakistan  Government of India has to thus base its relations with Pakistan and China on that theme.

Article 370 : This is a self imposed gridlock that gives  no advantage to India internationally, or to the state internally.  Internationally this shows that J&K is different and not a part of India and any country can raise the status of J&K in international fora, as very often done by Islamic countries.  As for  internally for the state of J&K itself, it puts it at a disadvantage in development and other fields, as private financiers are not keen to invest there due to the restrictions of ownership.  Besides, psychologically its people find themselves at a disadvantage when working in other parts of India.  Article 370 and the policy followed through its propagation is the most glaring example of appeasement of the national minority of Muslims  and the subjugation of the state minority of Hindus.  No nation can have two laws and rules for national citizenship.  On the other side in the illegal POK and GB, Pakistan has been encouraging its Punjabi Wahabi elements to settle in and control the area.  Its demographic profile is totally altered.

Over dominance of Kashmir : One of the myths that needs to be broken is that “Kashmir is J&K”, because it is actually only a small part of it – 7% to be exact of the J&K Princely state and about 15% of the J&K with India. Even the saying that “From Kashmir to Kanyakumari”  is not correctly worded because Kashmir is not the Northernmost part of India; Ladakh is. And as per the official Indian map, Gilgit and Aksai Chin are the Northernmost parts, none of these being part of Kashmir.  Even ‘Azad Kashmir’ PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) is not Kashmir. In the same way the Kashmiri Muslim is not in majority in J&K, when we take non Kashmiri Muslims in the other parts of J&K into account, from Ladakh and Jammu region.  In fact Indian Army’s advance into present POK in 1948 was said to have been halted on the advice of Sheikh Abdullah to Pandit  Jwaharlal  Nehru that the areas beyond were not Kashmiris.  And yet J&K politics is all centered round Kashmir and the Kashmiris.  All Chief Ministers have been Kashmiri with bulk of the state and national funding being spent on Kashmir valley.   The other two parts, Jammu and Ladakh have a grievance on that and rightly so.  Ladakh has been demanding Union territory status and Jammu as separate state.

The misfortune is that in all this fight we forget the other two parts of J&K, namely POK and GB.  Today they are raising their voice to ask India to liberate them and fight for their human rights that have been denied to them by Pakistan.  The only symbolic gesture India makes is to keep a few vacant seats in their name in the state assembly.  This is sheer tokenism and nothing more.  Their demand that as the elections can not be held in POK & GB, some of them should be nominated and allowed to put across the problems of these areas, as also raise these in international fora.  They also demand that their children should be given reservation in schools and institutions of higher learning in J&K as rightfully they are citizens of J&K living under the heels of Pakistan army.

The other part, Aksai Chin and the Shaksgam valley illegally occupied by China is not even considered by us in any discussion within or with the Chinese.  Our thrust remains to demarcate the border in this area.  The areas thus conceded is over 38,000 Sq Km in Aksai Chin and nearly 5,000 Sq Km in Shaksgam Valley.

Somehow the impression is gaining ground that the State and Centre are not very keen to bring the problem under control.  It is voiced by many experts that it suits the State government, whichever party in power, to continue providing tacit and covert support to the separatists,  jehadi and the Pak supported elements, and milk the centre for resources.  Scapegoats are easily found to pass on the blame for non governance and inaction.  Security forces and the AFSPA is easily exploited for this.  No firm action is taken against the separatists, who espouse their cause freely and indulge in nefarious activities within and abroad.  Terrorism and violence is treated as the right of the people to indulge in.  As Pakistan is considered a party to the dispute, its political interference, terrorist acts and inciting people to violence is taken as legitimate right of Pakistan.  We fail to perceive this as the first battle by Pakistan to the ultimate jehadi war in India.  We have failed to assert our right to ‘hot pursuit’, to strike at training camps across the border  and to block all propaganda and contacts that spread discontent.  Here we are not only a ‘soft state’ but a ‘failed state’ that refuses to protect its legitimate national rights.

The historic Blunders  of J&K Problem                                                       J&K has been one series of monumental blunders by Indian government.  First we let Lord Mountbatten to unilaterally write to Maharaja Hari Singh for a referendum later when no such condition was desired by him, or stipulated in the ‘Accession Treaty’  We  stopped the advance of Indian army to liberate POK and GB areas in 1948 and instead took the matter to the UN.  The western powers were just looking for such an opportunity to have a say in the most strategic area that dominated the underbelly of China and USSR

To declare special status under a special article 370 of the constitution, thereby making J&K psychologically and physically different and separate, thus hindering its effective integration into the Indian Union

To declare special status under a special article 370 of the constitution, thereby making J&K psychologically and physically different and separate, thus hindering its effective integration into the Indian Union

Recognition of Chinese suzerainty over Tibet in 1950 and withdrawal of our military posts from Lhasa and Yatung were to bring China on to our northern borders  and open up another front to guard. But that was not the end of this flawed China policy, we indulged in daydreaming of Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai and neglected our defence. Result was the shameful debacle of 1962.  It has rightly been called the ‘Himalayan Blunder’  But the most shameful act was the acceptance of the ceasefire, unilaterally declared by the Chinese, and not preparing to fight back.  After all nations have suffered tactical reverses, but they did not necessarily become strategic defeats.  During WWII British army was down and out at Dunkirk and had to evacuate European main land, but it came back after four years to defeat the Germans.  Similarly Singapur was lost in 1942, but the British Indian Army went back and defeated the Japanese.  Why have we accepted the 1962 debacle as final and never even lay claim to our lost land from the aggressor.  If on the Republic Day in 1963, instead of weeping over our tactical defeat and singing “Aye Mere Watan ke logo , jara aankh mein bhar lo pani’  we had roused the nation and sung Netaji Subhash Bose INA song of “Kadam kadam barhai ja, Khushi ke geet gaye ja, Yeh  jindgi hai kom ki, tu Kom par mitae ja”, perhaps we would have been a different nation today

In 1965 Pakistan was emboldened after having acquired latest arms and ammunition from the USA under the Baghdad Pact (later CENTO) and seen the state of Indian army devastated by the Chinese in 1962 to take advantage of the historic opportunity and launched ‘Operation Gibraltor’ to liberate J&K and later captured some areas of Chhamb Jaurian in Jammu region. Indian Army fought back ‘ with whatever they had’ and managed to blunt the Pakistan offensive in Punjab and Jammu region.  Our major achievement was in the Kashmir sector where we captured Haji Pir Pass that links Uri and Poonch. Unfortunately India gave it back to Pakistan at the Tashkent meet.  The army calls it ”A War won on the battlefield but lost on the negotiating table”

1971 is a glorious chapter in the annals of Indian military history.  We created history by liberating a nation and decisively defeating the Pakistan army on the battlefield, capturing 93,000 PWs.  No greater victory could be asked for. Alas, we squandered the victory at Shimla where Indira Gandhi fell to the false promises of smooth talking ZA Bhutto, and the old story repeated itself.  We won the war on the battlefield, but lost it on the negotiating table.

Under the threat of the bomb, Pakistan was able to put Punjab on fire and later J&K, In 1974 our scientists did India proud by making the bomb and demonstrating it at Pokhran.  Alas, we again fell under the threat of USA and disassembled all the infrastructure for the same, but having alerted Pakistan who went all out to acquire the bomb through any means. He succeeded in making one in 1985, while we remained without one for a much longer period.  Under the threat of the bomb, Pakistan was able to put Punjab on fire and later J&K.  Our much stronger armed forces now were immediately unable to react to this new kind of warfare that had surfaced in the subcontinent.  Fortunately in 1998 India got a government that looked to the security of the nation first and all else later, under the leadership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.  We reasserted ourselves at Pokhran II.

In next post, we ll go through the possible solutions of Kashmir problem which lies not in Kashmir but in Delhi.

Click here to read how Haider movie has been successful in potraying Kashmir?

Read earlier part

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Jammu & Kashmir, an alien within India : Causes and Solutions, Part 1

By : Gen. NS Malik, Indian Army

Click here to read what basically Kashmir problem is

J&K is an integral part of India. The only problem that can be called J&K Problem is the non- comprehension by India, its people and the government to this ultimate truth of its being the integral part of India and not distinct or separate entity in any way from the other states of India.  The problem that would remain to be settled then is the need to free the areas of J&K illegally occupied by Pakistan and China.  Once this fact is understood and fully comprehended by us, all else will fall in place.

It is proposed to discuss this very complex and muddled up situation, erroneously called “The Jammu & Kashmir Problem”, as under:

  •         Strategic Importance of J&K
  •         The Problem and its historic Mishandling
  •         Solution

Strategic Importance of J&K 

The illegally occupied part of J&K by Pakistan is in two parts, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (the so called Azad Kashmir by Pakistan) and Gilgit- Baltistan(GB) (earlier called the Northern Areas).  China is in possession of Akshai Chin and the Shaksgam valley illegally ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963.

J&K forms the head of the Indian sub continent, and has been the traditional  trade route of Central and South Asia to the East and Tibet, generally called the ‘Silk Route’.  It is bounded by more countries than any other state of India;  in the North East with Tibet, and further North with Xinjiang province of China, in the North West with the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan, in the West with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and further South with Punjab of Pakistan. This geographic layout is strategically so important that no power of the world wants to remain away from the area, as it gives them access to the sensitive areas of the neighbouring countries.. Its high mountains provide strategic depth and domination over the surrounding area. For hundreds of years in the past, the Russian, Persian, Chinese, Tibetan and the British Indian empires, sought the passes of this region to dominate each other. The region rests along “the ancient axis of Asia” where South, Central and East Asia converge and, since time immemorial, has been the gateway for both India and China to Central Asia.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir consists of  two  parts, one that is with India and the other that is under the occupation of Pakistan and China.  The part with India  consists of  three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir valley and Ladakh.  While the Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, Jammu’s numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year. Ladakh, is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture. The illegally occupied part of J&K by Pakistan is in two parts, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (the so called Azad Kashmir by Pakistan) and Gilgit- Baltistan(GB) (earlier called the Northern Areas).  China is in possession of Akshai Chin and the Shaksgam valley illegally ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963.

The “high roof of the world” , the Gilgit-Baltistan and the Ladakh region of the pre-independence  state of Jammu and Kashmir  is geo- strategically very  important. This region lies between the high Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountain ranges to its north and the Western Himalayas to its immediate south, with  the Kashmir Valley and the Jammu region further South.  The strategic importance of J&K can be understood from the fact that China is spending huge sums to build infrastructure through highways connecting Tibet to Xinjiang through the Chinese occupied Akshai Chin plateau, and Xinjiang to Pakistan via the Karakorum highway through the Kunzreb pass.  This highway then connects Gwadar port on the Arabian sea, giving warm water port and access to the Indian Ocean to China.  Its importance can be visualized in that China trade can avoid the bottleneck of Malacca straits as also cuts down turn round to the interior provinces of China.  China is now in de facto control of the GB area.  It is believed to have deployed more than ten thousand troops for the purpose of developing infrastructure in the area.  It is also believed that Pakistan is to lease the GB area to China for 50 years under the pretext of developing the area.

The strategic importance of J&K thus can be understood that now we face two enemies on our borders at a point where we are the weakest and have the maximum to lose, having already lost nearly 50% of the erstwhile J&K princely state through aggression by Pakistan in 1947 and then China in the 50s and 1962.Strategic importance of J&K is also to be understood from the point of view of strategic and valuable mineral deposits in the area, particularly in the GB and Ladakh area.  It is surmised that GB area is rich in uranium deposits, besides  great potential of hydro electric works.

It is unfortunate that the government of India took this area to be “Where not a blade of grass grows”  That is where lies the problem, not understanding the Strategic Importance and correctly relating it to National Security.  We have thus been so manoeuvred that we face two enemies on our most vulnerable area with the least developed infrastructure, with the result that to thwart the design of these two hyenas on our door step, we find ourselves sandwiched with extremely poor logistics backing.  Today we are faced with a situation in Daulat Beg Oldie Area with Chinese having entered 19 Km into our territory and claiming it as theirs.  We are face to face with disaster awaiting us as the only logistics backing with us is an airstrip at DBO with no worthwhile  land route from Leh onwards.  And even upto Leh we are dependent on the fair weather route via Zojila pass.  The alternate route from Manali to Upsi in Ladakh is still waiting the Rohtang pass tunnel to be built.

( In next posts of this thread, we will get familiar with historic mishandling of Kashmir and its future solutions; Until then, you can have a quick glance at my take on Kashmir valley during the review of beautiful movie Haidar .)


Continue to next part..


Clean India, everyone should contribute !!

Some people go to a public place and start cleaning; some just go for photos and some others are concerned in real. On the opposite end of spectrum, there are people who go to a public place and throw garbage. When you poke them for not doing so, they ll ask you to show them a dustbin. Then they ll give you an endless lecture about how govt. is not giving enough dustbins and enough cleaning staff blah blah.

Well, they are not completely wrong. I often need to hold my pee for really long times as public toilets are scarce; often I walk with garbage for kilometers as there are no easy dustbins. Our system has loopholes, there is much more to be done but still, it is not enough reason for people to glitter the roads.

Okay, let me explain my approach to cleanliness of country. It is more subtle; I keep collecting empty packets into my bag or pocket, when I find a dustbin, I pour them down; So simple. Initially, it seemed awkward to place empty packet in pocket but once we get habitual, its normal. well, this isnt enough role to be played by a responsible citizen.

I must also awaken the people still asleep, who are still blaming the system. Other day, when in train, a lady was eating peanuts and was throwing the peels on the floor of train. I kept myself held back but it was too suffocating to see that I could not. I just politely said “Didi, can you put the peels into the polythene and then throw at a suitable place? It doesn’t look nice; the floor is so clean today.” She instantly pressed her tounge between her teeth and said Sorry. Afterwards, she followed my advice and also said that she’ll be conscious in future.

That’s what I do, that’s what a responsible citizen should do. When I go to a shop, I ask the shopkeeper where the dustbin is. If there is no dustbin, I put back the product. I say that you are running a beautiful shop, you should also be concerned with the beauty outside. A dustbin won’t cost more than 200. And best thing is, people do listen.

Most of people are just awake, they have to be shaken a little. They do wake up and thank you for waking them. Its proven, we must never be scared to asking people about maintaining a clean India. Most of them accept their mistake, they never scold you back.

India is our collective responsibility; its ill look is our collective fault. But happy to see that most of us are awake now; we don’t glitter. And naming one person, my blogging friend RANJU also posted similar article few days back. I discover many similarlites in our nature; she is a must meet person for me.

Happy Sunday; share the article. Wake someone



That’s how gentlemen do conversation : 37 tips

Gentlemen do something their own way; like the gentlemen who kept playing the music till last breath in Titanic. It has to be muscular, still not cocky. It has to show your boldness and courage but not desperation for advertisement. So, some tips are here :

1. Even if convinced that your opponent is utterly wrong, yield gracefully, decline further discussion, or dexterously turn the conversation, but do not obstinately defend your own opinion until you become angry…Many there are who, giving their opinion, not as an opinion but as a law, will defend their position by such phrases, as: “Well, if were president, or governor, I would,” — and while by the warmth of their argument they prove that they are utterly unable to govern their own temper, they will endeavor to persuade you that they are perfectly competent to take charge of the government of the nation.

2. Retain, if you will, a fixed political opinion, yet do not parade it upon all occasions, and, above all, do not endeavor to force others to agree with you. Listen calmly to their ideas upon the same subjects, and if you cannot agree, differ politely, and while your opponent may set you down as a bad politician, let him be obliged to admit that you are a gentleman.

3. Never interrupt anyone who is speaking; it is quite rude to officiously supply a name or date about which another hesitates, unless you are asked to do so. Another gross breach of etiquette is to anticipate the point of a story which another person is reciting, or to take it from his lips to finish it in your own language. Some persons plead as an excuse for this breach of etiquette, that the reciter was spoiling a good story by a bad manner, but this does not mend the matter. It is surely rude to give a man to understand that you do not consider him capable of finishing an anecdote that he has commenced.

4. It is ill-bred to put on an air of weariness during a long speech from another person, and quite as rude to look at a watch, read a letter, flirt the leaves of a book, or in any other action show that you are tired of the speaker or his subject.

5. In a general conversation, never speak when another person is speaking, and never try by raising your own voice to drown that of another. Never assume an air of haughtiness, or speak in a dictatorial manner; let your conversation be always amiable and frank, free from every affectation.

6. Never, unless you are requested to do so, speak of your own business or profession in society; to confine your conversation entirely to the subject or pursuit which is your own specialty is low-bred and vulgar. Make the subject for conversation suit the company in which you are placed. Joyous, light conversation will be at times as much out of place as a sermon would be at a dancing party. Let your conversation be grave or gay as suits the time or place.

7. In a dispute, if you cannot reconcile the parties, withdraw from them. You will surely make one enemy, perhaps two, by taking either side, in an argument when the speakers have lost their temper.

8. Never, during a general conversation, endeavor to concentrate the attention wholly upon yourself. It is quite as rude to enter into conversation with one of a group, and endeavor to draw him out of the circle of general conversation to talk with you alone.

9. A man of real intelligence and cultivated mind is generally modest. He may feel when in everyday society, that in intellectual acquirements he is above those around him; but he will not seek to make his companions feel their inferiority, nor try to display this advantage over them. He will discuss with frank simplicity the topics started by others, and endeavor to avoid starting such as they will not feel inclined to discuss. All that he says will be marked by politeness and deference to the feelings and opinions of others.

10. It is as great an accomplishment to listen with an air of interest and attention, as it is to speak well. To be a good listener is as indispensable as to be a good talker, and it is in the character of listener that you can most readily detect the man who is accustomed to good society.

11. Never listen to the conversation of two persons who have thus withdrawn from a group. If they are so near you that you cannot avoid hearing them, you may, with perfect propriety, change your seat.

12. Make your own share in conversation as modest and brief as is consistent with the subject under consideration, and avoid long speeches and tedious stories. If, however, another, particularly an old man, tells a long story, or one that is not new to you, listen respectfully until he has finished, before you speak again.

13. Speak of yourself but little. Your friends will find out your virtues without forcing you to tell them, and you may feel confident that it is equally unnecessary to expose your faults yourself.

14. If you submit to flattery, you must also submit to the imputation of folly and self-conceit.

15. In speaking of your friends, do not compare them, one with another. Speak of the merits of each one, but do not try to heighten the virtues of one by contrasting them with the vices of another.

16. Avoid, in conversation all subjects which can injure the absent. A gentleman will never calumniate or listen to calumny.

17. The wittiest man becomes tedious and ill-bred when he endeavors to engross entirely the attention of the company in which he should take a more modest part.

18. Avoid set phrases, and use quotations but rarely. They sometimes make a very piquant addition to conversation, but when they become a constant habit, they are exceedingly tedious, and in bad taste.

19. Avoid pedantry; it is a mark, not of intelligence, but stupidity.

20. Speak your own language correctly; at the same time do not be too great a stickler for formal correctness of phrases.

21. Never notice it if others make mistakes in language. To notice by word or look such errors in those around you is excessively ill-bred.

22. If you are a professional or scientific man, avoid the use of technical terms. They are in bad taste, because many will not understand them. If, however, you unconsciously use such a term or phrase, do not then commit the still greater error of explaining its meaning. No one will thank you for thus implying their ignorance.

23. In conversing with a foreigner who speaks imperfect English, listen with strict attention, yet do not supply a word, or phrase, if he hesitates. Above all, do not by a word or gesture show impatience if he makes pauses or blunders. If you understand his language, say so when you first speak to him; this is not making a display of your own knowledge, but is a kindness, as a foreigner will be pleased to hear and speak his own language when in a strange country.

24. Be careful in society never to play the part of buffoon, for you will soon become known as the “funny” man of the party, and no character is so perilous to your dignity as a gentleman. You lay yourself open to both censure and bad ridicule, and you may feel sure that, for every person who laughs with you, two are laughing at you, and for one who admires you, two will watch your antics with secret contempt.

25. Avoid boasting. To speak of your money, connections, or the luxuries at your command is in very bad taste. It is quite as ill-bred to boast of your intimacy with distinguished people. If their names occur naturally in the course of conversation, it is very well; but to be constantly quoting, “my friend, Gov. C,” or, “my intimate friend, the president,” is pompous and in bad taste.

26. While refusing the part of jester yourself, do not, by stiff manners, or cold, contemptuous looks, endeavor to check the innocent mirth of others. It is in excessively bad taste to drag in a grave subject of conversation when pleasant, bantering talk is going on around you. Join in pleasantly and forget your graver thoughts for the time, and you will win more popularity than if you chill the merry circle or turn their innocent gayety to grave discussions.

27. When thrown into the society of literary people, do not question them about their works. To speak in terms of admiration of any work to the author is in bad taste; but you may give pleasure, if, by a quotation from their writings, or a happy reference to them, you prove that you have read and appreciated them.

28. It is extremely rude and pedantic, when engaged in general conversation, to make quotations in a foreign language.

29. To use phrases which admit of a double meaning, is ungentlemanly.

30. If you find you are becoming angry in a conversation, either turn to another subject or keep silence. You may utter, in the heat of passion, words which you would never use in a calmer moment, and which you would bitterly repent when they were once said.

31. “Never talk of ropes to a man whose father was hanged” is a vulgar but popular proverb. Avoid carefully subjects which may be construed into personalities, and keep a strict reserve upon family matters. Avoid, if you can, seeing the skeleton in your friend’s closet, but if it is paraded for your special benefit, regard it as a sacred confidence, and never betray your knowledge to a third party.

32. If you have traveled, although you will endeavor to improve your mind in such travel, do not be constantly speaking of your journeyings. Nothing is more tiresome than a man who commences every phrase with, When I was in Paris,” or, “In Italy I saw…”

33. When asking questions about persons who are not known to you, in a drawing-room, avoid using adjectives; or you may enquire of a mother, “Who is that awkward, ugly girl?” and be answered, “Sir, that is my daughter.”

34. Avoid gossip; in a woman it is detestable, but in a man it is utterly despicable.

35. Do not officiously offer assistance or advice in general society. Nobody will thank you for it.

36. Avoid flattery. A delicate compliment is permissible in conversation, but flattery is broad, coarse, and to sensible people, disgusting. If you flatter your superiors, they will distrust you, thinking you have some selfish end; if you flatter ladies, they will despise you, thinking you have no other conversation.

37. A lady of sense will feel more complimented if you converse with her upon instructive, high subjects, than if you address to her only the language of compliment. In the latter case she will conclude that you consider her incapable of discussing higher subjects, and you cannot expect her to be pleased at being considered merely a silly, vain person, who must be flattered into good humor.