A group of students, generally referred to as Commies, used to publish a monthly newsletter called ‘Campus Call’ in their institute. This newsletter generally contained articles and editorials on what they considered injustices being perpetrated on the campus.
One morning, as students went down to their respective messes for breakfast, they found stacks of ‘newsletters’ looking very much like ‘Campus Call’, except that the title was ‘Campus Call Girl’. This turned out to be a spoof on ‘Campus Call’. The material contained personal references to various persons, which the writers thought naughty, but the victims and their friends found offensive.
‘Campus Call Girl’ was totally anonymous. The names of the publisher, editor and writers were not mentioned. Nobody knew how the stacks of copies had reached the hostels.
The Commies, who were very passionate about the causes they espoused, were justifiably furious that crude fun was being poked at ‘Campus Call’. They were determined to identify the persons behind ‘Campus Call Girl’ and have action taken against them. However, they couldn’t get even the slightest clue even after a few days.
It so happened that my close friend and I had written strong editorials against certain views expressed in ‘Campus Call’ when we had been editors of the official Students’ Magazine. Our classmate Ramesh, who happened to live in the same hostel as one of the Editors of ‘Campus Call’, suggested to this Editor that my friend and I might have been actively involved in publishing ‘Campus Call Girl’. Ramesh and the others present were shocked when the Editor dismissed the suggestion as soon as he heard it, saying it was impossible. Ramesh asked the Editor why he thought our involvement was impossible. The Editor replied, “These guys may have views strongly opposed to ours, but they are principled guys. They would never be involved in an anonymous publication.” He then went inside his room, came out a minute later, gave Ramesh a copy of ‘The Party’s Own’, a spoof on the Commies’ earlier newsletter ‘The Partisan’ and said, “This spoof was a superb attack on us by these two guys. It poked clean, issue-based fun at our newsletter. Most importantly, the names of the authors are clearly mentioned. This is why I am sure these two guys just cannot be involved in this ‘Campus Call Girl’.”
Speaking highly of a person in that person’s absence is the highest compliment that can be given, particularly when the recipient of the compliment is an adversary. In fact, the person giving the compliment implicitly gives a compliment to his/her own maturity. I sincerely wish our politicians learn to behave like this. Why can’t they disagree without being disagreeable?
This post was written in response to Vidya Sury’s post Celebrate National Compliment Day at WRITE TRIBE.