The Greek playwright, Sophocles, says: Il n'y a pas de plus grande joie que celle qu'on n'attend pas. (Antigone). (There is no greater joy than an unexpected one.). I would any day prefer Lamartine's description of happiness were it not for my extreme dislike for his politics: Heureux le poete insensible; Son luth n'est point baigne de pleurs. (Happy the unfeeling poet, His lute is not bathed in tears.) But I do not have to choose, since one is about joy, the other about happiness. Joy is intense gratification linked directly and perceptibly with an objective development, while happiness is a prolonged state of satisfaction at one's place in the world and the material surplus derived from it. What about Faiz? Ho chuka khatm ahd-e-hijr-o-wisaal, Zindigi mein mazaa nahin baaqi. Or Ghalib? Wida-o-wasl judagana lazzatay daarad; Hazaar baar buro, sad hazaar baar bia. (Parting and meeting each has its own pleasure; Go a thousand times and come back a hundred thousand times.) What a pity, poetry cannot come across even in prose; But let us leave aside the joys of sexual love which is strictly a matter between two individuals. Value is a social category. Is human sentiment one too? Can one be happy alone, without anyone else being aware of it? Or must it be known, if not shared? What about unhappiness? Hum raat ko uth uth rotay hain jub saara aalam sota hai. The fact is that the relationship between the humans is conditioned by their relationships to the society, to production and distribution. Sentiments can be shared spontaneously only within a culture, which is part of the super-structure, with the process of production as its base. Not only the singing and dancing but the speech itself was born on the threshing ground. And the threshing ground is where the final act of production takes place, where the product is transferred from the sphere of production to that of distribution. And joy is distributed in the same measure as the product, since the access to joy is as much the function of property as is the access to respect or to cash. Here the fat-cats, in the middle of their coffee, cognac and cigars, would protest solemnly that joy is not a function of money and perhaps even quote Sophocles' Creon: "Money; money's the curse of man, none greater." Would they then assert that joy rides to us on the backs of poverty, misery, disease and deprivation? If so, why do the "servants of capital", as Marx put it, spend their lives pursuing such a dismal thing? Let's forget these worries and return to Sophocles and his Antigone. Her struggle with Creon is not between a right and a wrong but "a contest between two passionately held principles of right...." (E.F. Watling) Creon, as the king of Thebes, cannot condone the treachery of a citizen who fought against his own city. But, for Antigone, the traitor's sister, treachery does not take away a man's right to human dignity. Once killed, he has to be buried like other corpses on the battlefield. And, while she condemns the treasonous act of her brother, she retains the rights conferred upon her as a sister, rights, since they have not been given by the state, cannot be taken away by it. Therefore she covered her brother's body with dust in violation of Creon's order that it be left to rot. She earned the death sentence for this act and was entombed in a cave. But she strangled herself before she was asphyxiated. Was it her ultimate defiance of the king that she chose her own form of death instead of waiting for one ordained for her by him? It is interesting that, while men live by compromise, daily, hourly, they choose their heroes and heroines for their refusal to compromise on basic issues, on principles. That is why we still remember Antigone but not her sister, Ismene, who did not go near the body of her brother for the fear of the king. And Antigone is still, two and a half millennia later, a symbol of sisterly love and devotion to the family. The writer is a former ambassador