Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Good man di lalten..

Yesterday, over lunch conversation, I got reminded of this wonderfully weird statement that my Ma used to make when we were kids. Everytime I or anyone from my siblings did well in anything - sports, academics or just in general, my Ma would cheerfully say " Good man di lalten, Bad man da diva" (literal translation: a lantren for the good man and a earthen lamp for the bad man). I have no clue what it means or what exactly it signifies, but I am glad that I got reminded of it, as it holds a considerable part in my memories, a picture or rather a short video of my Ma going all happy and cheerful and in a sing song voice going "Good man di lalten ....." Which also makes me think, the number of times she said this, we must have made her happy a lot (I'd like to think that!!!)At least as kids. But then Ma is a happy soul.

I hope even today, even though I have not achieved anything really spectacular, I am somehow able to draw this loved phrase from my Ma some day...


  1. This slogan is commonly used by people in the forces. I remember seeing it written on the walls of barracks, at least till the mid-1980s. I am aware that it has been in use since pre-independence times.
    I haven't found anything about it's origin on the net. Though it's use is pretty common, nobody seems to know when it was first used. My grandfather, who fought in North Africa during The War, did say that it was in use in the 1940s.
    Other versions of it are, "Good Man the Laltin, Bad Man the Diya" and "Good Man ki Laltin, Bad Man ka Diya".
    From what little I know, I think it is an old British Hindustani slogan.

  2. From Goodman Lamps of early days... used in British Army.

  3. Wow. Brijesh Dtta.. man in the

  4. Even i had heard from my father & uncle's who sat together for a drink. When another uncle joined in, others used to speak "Oye, aagaya-aagaya goodman di lalten" and i used to keep getting glasses, soda and chakna for them. The happy and smiling faces, cracking jokes at each other was such a delightful moment. I miss my childhood.....