The Story of Rodriguez and the Learning it has for Everyone’s Life

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    There have been times in our career when we start questioning the value of the work that we do. It is quite easy for us to fall prey and sometime become doubtful about the meaningfulness of the work that we do. However, such doubts shouldn’t be a deterrent for us to give our best to the work that we do as you never know how this work will manifest in future?

    After some contemplation, I felt I should tell you a story. A beautiful story and a real one!!
    It is the story of Sixto Rodriguez, a Mexican migrant settled in downtown Detroit in 1970s. Sixto was a small time musician playing gigs in bars of rundown part of Detroit. Sixto caught attention of a producer of a big music label, as a result ‘Viola!’ Sixto’s first music album was out! However, it badly flopped. His second album did even worse. This setback pushed Sixto out of music industry and Sixto returned to a demolition company in Detroit working as a blue collar worker. Where, Sixto Rodriguez was living a simple, low-key life. Unbeknown to him, that a handful of his 1970 debut album, “Cold Fact,” had reached Austrailia months after it failed in America.
    Some Austrailian Radio DJs got their hands on the album and began playing “Sugar Man” on the radio. As a result the Australian record stores went crazy about the album. “Cold Fact” became as popular as an album could be in Austrailia. Sixto had no idea about all this.

    In Australia and then in South Africa, Rodriguez’s lyrics, about overcoming hardship, made him more popular than even Elvis Presley and also bigger than the Rolling Stones. Part of the reason why his album became so popular in South Africa was that many of his songs served as anti-apartheid anthems and were used in protests. Other than his music, people around the world knew nothing about “Rodriguez.” They had no idea what he looked like, where he lived, or anything about his personal life. He was an international man of mystery! There were also rumours that Sixto committed suicide during one of his live performances. This however didn’t deter some hardcore Australian fans to finally track down Sixto Rodriguez. They got him to Australia for a series of concerts in 1979. He had never played a concert before, just bars and clubs was all that he handled. This time Sixto Rodriguez played to 15,000 people in Sydney and the show was a roaring success with fans signing every word of his decades old songs. After this successful tour of his Sixto once again went back to work as a demolition man!

    While all this was happened, South Africa continued simmering under Rodriguez’s craze. A music journalist and Rodriguez”s fan Stephen Segermen  launched a website dedicated to him and was able to get in touch with Rodriguez’s daughter in 1997.Rodriguez’s was in awe to learn about his fame in South Africa. Rodriguez then went on tour in South Africa! He performed in 6 concerts, in front of thousands and thousands of fans! Sixto was now living his dream! His rediscovery in South Africa in 1998 allowed him to retire from his job, and tour the country for a couple of years. Afterwards, he began to perform in Europe.

    A Swedish filmmaker named Malik Bendjelloul first heard about Sixto Rodriguez while traveling through Africa. He immediately thought his story was incredible and wanted to capture his life into a short film for the Swedish television. Pretty quickly, Malik knew he had a huge story on his hands. But he had one main issue: funding. He decided to approach two of Britain’s top documentary producers for help. But even with the help of the two big-named producers, Malik Benjelloul only secured funding that covered a year of expenses and production costs. The film actually took three years to make! When funding ran out, Benjelloul used the one dollar Super 8 app on his iPhone to finish the documentary.

    There was only one other problem in the making of the film: Sixto Rodriguez initially refused to appear in it. “His kids told me I could probably meet him, but I shouldn’t get my hopes up about an interview,” Bendjelloul explained. “I went to Detroit every year for four years. He didn’t agree to be interviewed until my third visit.

    After overcoming all obstacles, Malik Benjellou’s film, “Searching For Sugar Man” was nominated for the best documentary feature at the Academy Awards. And it went on to win the award for the best documentary feature at the 85th Academy Awards in 2002. “Searching For Sugar Man” was a roaring success at the box office when it was released in the U.S. Malik Bendjelloul begged Rodriguez to attend the Oscars, but in vain. Sixto thought it would take the attention away from the filmmakers. Rodriguez said, “I was asleep when it won, but my daughter Sandra called to tell me. I don’t have TV service anyway.” So not only did he refuse to attend, he was asleep when the film won the award! Sixto Rodriguez’s life was totally transformed since “Searching for Sugar Man.” The Academy Award victory took his fame to the next level. After the Oscar win, Sixto began to play sold out shows all over New York and in music festivals around the world. Some of his shows even sell out in minutes!

    People just love to see him perform live and he loves to do that! Despite all the success and money, Sixto still lives in the same old modest house in downtown Detroit that he has for the last 40 years. Sixto Rodriguez has no computer, car or television. He still lives a very Spartan life. Sixto once told his daughter “there’s three basic needs – food, clothing and shelter. Once you get down to that level, everything else is icing.”
Sixto is still the same person he was before all the fame. He is friendly, down to earth and he is doing what he loves most-“creating music”!!

Posted by Niraj Trivedi

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

DRIVING AWAY THE ENGLISH BLUES

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    Verbal ability is among the most important skills one may possess. Throughout your life people form opinions on the basis of how you speak, how your write, in fact your total deportment. An example comes to my mind: an IAS candidate entering the board room for interview tripped, faltered fell down. One of the members light heartedly said, “So Mr Ram you have fallen down.” The quick witted candidate countered, “I hope in good hands.” That last line probably got him the coveted job. In areas where communication is of the essence, it is vital to use words effectively and speak without being self-conscious. This will engender increased confidence and pave way to success in school and social life.

    How often do we hear teachers ruing lack of speaking skills in students? “The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves” just to borrow a convenient phrase. “Where’s your homework? Asked an irritated teacher. The student snugly replied, “I did not brought it”—an oft-repeated mistake which teachers seldom correct on the spot; why, I’ve not been able to figure out—maybe because of inertia or maybe it is too much trouble. In fact we never insist on the student to explain, communicate and inform in the prescribed language of the period. Thus, a student carries a backlog of wrong usage, mispronunciation and the incorrigible habit of mentally translating from mother tongue, at least up to class XII. No amount of ‘speaking & hearing skills’ can undo the damage already done in the formative and primary stages of schooling.

    Unfortunately, apart from the draconian rules of grammar and forbidding norms of etiquette, there is very little handy material to groom the budding aspirant. We could have wished for modern day Mrs. Grundy, that personification of conventional propriety who had all the answers.

By A.K. Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: LOVE by Guy De Maupassant

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

Maupassant is a 19th-century French author. He is remembered for his genius in the oeuvre of short stories. His title ‘Love’ will only make sense to kind and passionate human beings. Love is an emotion that abodes both in human beings and animals. But on a raw comparison one might find it to be more unalloyed in animals than in men.

Haven’t you heard of the love tragedy? He killed her then he killed himself, therefore, he loved her. So then, what does he or she signify singly and separately? Well they signify nothing. It is only when they unify in love the world comes alive for both of them.

In this story “Love” the narrator is reminded of a story after reading a tragic love story in one of the papers. The narrator’s story takes place long back in the days of his youth, during a hunting expedition at his cousin’s estate.

Narrator’s cousin, Karl de Rauville, invites the narrator to join him in a duck shooting expedition held early in the morning. Karl’s estate lies in a valley that has a river running through it. During dinner, in the great hall whose sideboards, walls, and ceiling were all covered with stuffed birds, with outstretched wings, or perched upon branches—hawks, herons, owls, nightjars, buzzards, vultures, falcons—and my cousin himself like some strange animal of the Arctic region, in his sealskin jacket, puts before me all the plans he had made for this night.

It is very scenic there. The river has naturally promoted healthy plant growth along its banks. There are many trees with good foliage that attracts birds of all kinds on the land. At some point, the river expands into a marsh that the narrator describes as “the best hunting ground” he has ever seen.

The group leaves for the marsh a little after three in the morning. It consists of the narrator, his cousin Karl, the gamekeeper and the dogs Plongeon and Pierrot. The narrator describes his cousin Karl, ‘as a jolly red-headed and big bearded, immensely powerful fellow of forty, a lively and likeable sort of a beast, who had within him just that pinch of Attic-salt that makes mediocrity tolerable, lived the life of a country gentleman in a house which was half-farm, half-mansion, in a broad valley through which a river flowed.’

The narrator further goes on to describe the surroundings. Woods covered the hills on either side, with magnificent trees, in which were to be found, rare examples of game-birds than in any other district close by. Sometimes eagles were shot, and also birds flying south, which hardly ever came near the over-populated parts of the country.

The valley was covered with huge pastures, irrigated by ditches and divided by hedges. The river narrow at first, spreads out at a distance way into an immense marsh. This marsh, was the best bit for shooting I have ever known, and was my cousin’s biggest love. He looked after it, as he would look after a treasure.

The narrator further describes the scenery around. I love water passionately and whole-heartedly. The sea, although it is too vast, too turbulent, impossible to call one’s own, rivers on the contrary are so pretty, but then they hurry by and vanish forever. A marsh is a world of its own upon this earth of ours.

There is at times nothing more disturbing, disquieting, or more terrifying, than a bog-land. Whence, comes this fear which hovers over low-lying tracts of land covered with water? Is it in the whispering of the reeds, the weird will-o-the-wisps, the deep silence in which they were wrapped on still nights, or the fantastic mists which cover the rushes as with a shroud, or the barely-noticeable noises. So light, so gentle, yet, at times, more terrifying than the thunder of man or of the gods? Do these give marshes the appearance of some dreamland, of some dread country, which hides some secret, harmful and not to be known by mortal man?

It was freezing hard enough to split stones. We were to leave at half-past three in the morning so as to arrive about half-past four at the place chosen for our shooting expedition. At this place a hut had been constructed out of blocks of ice to shelter us a little from the terrible wind which rises just before dawn.

I woke up at 3’o clock. I put on a sheepskin and found my cousin Karl clothed in bearskin. After two cups of hot coffee and a couple of glasses of cognac, we set out with our game-keeper and our dogs, Plongeon and Pierrot.

It was freezing and I felt frozen to the bones. It was one of those nights when the earth seemed to be frozen to death. The icy air rose as a veritable wall which one could feel horribly and painfully. No breath of wind moves it. There it is, solid and immovable. It bites, pierces, withers, kills trees, plants, insects, even little birds, which fall from the branches on to the hard ground, and themselves become hard in the embrace of the cold

With bent backs, hand in pockets, and guns under our arms, Karl and I strode along. Our boots, wrapped round with wool to prevent us slipping on the frozen brooks, made no noise. I noticed how our dogs’ breath turned into steam in the cold air.

We soon reached the edge of the marsh, and we entered one of the avenues of dry reeds leading through the low forest.

Suddenly, at the bend of one of the avenues, I saw the hut made of ice, which had been set up as a shelter for us. I went in, and as we had still an hour to pass before the birds awakened, I rolled myself up in my sheepskin to try to get warm.

My cousin Karl was alarmed. ‘It will be a great nuisance if we don’t shoot something today’, he said. ‘I don’t want you to catch cold, so we must have a fire.’

He then ordered the gamekeeper to cut some reeds for the fire.

Slowly the day broke, clear with a blue sky. The sun came up over the bottom of the valley and we were thinking of going home, when two birds, with necks and wings out stretched, suddenly glided over our heads, I fired, and one of them, a teal with a silver breast, fell almost at my feet. Then, high above me, the cry of a bird was heard—a shrill heart rending wail, which it uttered again and again. And the little creature, the survivor of the two, began to circle around in the blue sky above us, watching its dead companion which I was holding.

Karl was watching it keenly, waiting till it came within range.

‘You have killed the hen,’ he said, ‘the cock won’t go away.’

Indeed it did not go away, but continued to circle and to cry piteously over our heads. Never has the groan of one in pain harrowed my heart so much as that call of distress, as that wail of reproach from the poor creature high up in the sky.

Once or twice it fled as it saw the threat of the gun which followed its flight, and it seemed prepared to continue its journey across the sky, all alone. Then as if unable to make up its mind, it would soon return to look for its companion.

‘Put the other one down, as it will return by and by,’ said Karl.

In reality, it came back, indifferent to the danger, maddened by its wild love for the creature I had killed.

Karl fired. It was as if the cord which was holding the bird above us had been cut. I saw a black thing come down. I heard the noise of its fall in the reeds. And Pierrot the dog brought it to me.

I put the two, already cold, into the same bag … and I went back to Paris that very day.

After knowing the narrator’s story, one can see why the newspaper story—where a man kills his lover, then kills himself— appeals to the narrator. The two stories are about love, the only difference being that one talks about love between humans, and the other about love between animals. In both, the surviving lovers choose death over life.

The narrator shoots down a duck, and its mate remains, crying piteously over his dead love. The male duck the drake “does not fly away, instead, he circles over their heads continually, and continues his cries.” The narrator and his cousin Karl, don’t even spare the mourning drake. They shoot him down, using its dead mate as an emotional bait.

The story has a long build up but at the end it delivers a great message of deviousness that a man is used to. The description of the jungle, woods and the birds is par-excellence. I would give the story seven out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

Facts Figures & Quotes: The Auschwitz concentration camp–Nazi Germany

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    The Auschwitz concentration camp (Konzentrationslager Auschwitz) was a complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. But before we move ahead let me explain Nazi Germany and holocaust in a few words.

    The term Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship under Hitler’s rule. Germany became a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The term holocaust is also known as the Shoah—mass murder of Jews, was in fact the World War II’s genocide, of the European Jews, between 1941 and 1945 across, German occupied Europe, where Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews, which was around two-thirds of, Europe’s Jewish population.

    Auschwitz I, was the main camp (Stammlager) in Oswiecim; Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and Aaoshwit II were other concentration and extermination camps built with several gas chambers. Auschwitz III, was a labor camp created to staff a factory for the chemical con-glomerate IG Farben and dozens of sub-camps. These camps became a major site of the Nazis’ Final Solution to the Jewish Question.

    After Germany sparked World War II by invading Poland in September 1939, the Schutzstaffel (in short known as SS) became a major paramilitary organisation under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German—occupied Europe during World War II. It began with a small guard unit known as the Saal-Schutz. They converted Auschwitz I, which used to be army barracks, into a prisoner-of-war camp for Polish political prisoners. The first inmates were German criminals that were brought to the camp in May 1940 as functionaries. They established the camp’s reputation for sadism, beating, torturing, and executing prisoners for the most trivial of reasons. The first gassings—of Soviet and Polish prisoners—took place in block 11 of Auschwitz I around August 1941.

    Prisoners were beaten and killed by guards and Kapos. Kapos were prison functionaries. It was their job to brutally force prisoners to do forced labor, despite the prisoners being sick and starving and for the slightest infraction of the rules they could be killed. Polish historian Irena Strzelecka writes that kapos were given nicknames such as “Bloody”, “Iron”, “The Strangler”, “The Boxer” that reflected their sadism. 

    Construction of Auschwitz II began from 1942 until late 1944. Freight trains delivered Jews from all over German-occupied Europe to its gas chambers. Out of the 1.3 million people sent to Auschwitz, 1.1 million died. The death toll includes 960,000 Jews (out of which 865,000 were gassed on arrival), 74,000 non-Jewish Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and up to 15,000 other Europeans were also gassed to death. Those not gassed died of starvation, exhaustion, disease, individual executions, or beatings. Others were killed during medical experiments.

    At least 802 prisoners tried to escape, 144 successfully. On 7 October 1944 two Sonderkommando (they were units made up of German Nazi death camp prisoners, usually Jews, who were forced, on the threat of their own deaths, to aid with the disposal of gas chamber victims during the Holocaust. The death-camp Sonderkommandos, who were always inmates, were unrelated to the SS-Sonderkommandos which were adhoc units formed from various SS offices between 1938 and 1945.

The German term itself was part of the vague and euphemistic language which the Nazis used to refer to aspects of the Final Solution (e.g., Einsatzkommando “deployment units”).

 On 7 October 1944 two Sonderkommando units, consisting of prisoners who staffed the gas chambers, launched an unsuccessful uprising. Only 789 staff (not more than 15 percent) stood trial when several, including camp commandant Rudolf Hoss, were executed.

    The major allied powers that is Britain, France, Russia, and the United States, failure to act on the early reports of atrocities in the camp by bombing it or its railways remains a controversy.

    Sonderkommando wearing gas masks dragged the bodies from the chamber. They removed glasses and artificial limbs and shaved off the women’s hair. Women’s hair was removed before they entered the gas chamber at Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, but at Auschwitz it was done after death. By 6 February 1943, the Reich—Economic Ministry of Nazi Germany had received 3,000 kg of women’s hair from Auschwitz and Majdanek. The hair was first cleaned in a solution of sal-ammoniac, dried on the brick floor of the crematoria, combed, and placed in paper bags. The hair was shipped to various companies, including one manufacturing plant in Bremen-Bluementhal, where workers found tiny coins with Greek letters on some of the braids that possibly belonged some of the 50,000 Greek Jews deported to Auschwitz in 1943. When they liberated the camp in January 1945, the Red Army found 7,000 kg of human hair in bags ready to ship.

    Just before cremation, jewelry was removed, along with denture and teeth containing precious metals from the dead bodies. Gold was removed from the teeth of dead prisoners from 23 September 1940 onwards by order of Heinrich Himmler—German Nazi leader. The work was carried out by members of the Sonderkommando who were dentists. Anyone caught overlooking or spying over the dental work were cremated alive. The gold was sent to the SS Health Service and was used by dentists to treat the SS and their families. 50 kg had been collected by 8 October 1942. By early 1944, around 10–12 kg of gold was extracted every month from various victims’ teeth.

    The corpses were burned in the nearby incinerators, and the ashes were buried, or thrown in the Vistula river or even used as fertilizer. Any bits of bone that had not burned properly were grounded down in wooden mortars.

    As the Soviet Red Army approached Auschwitz in January 1945, toward the end of the war, the SS sent most of the camp’s population west on a death march to camps inside Germany and Austria. Soviet troops entered the camp on 27 January 1945, a day commemorated since 2005 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In the decades after the war, survivors such as Primo Levi, Viktor Frankl, and Elie Wiesel wrote memoirs of their experiences, and the camp became a dominant symbol of the Holocaust. In 1947 Poland founded the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, and in 1979 it was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

    Man is the most brutal beast on this planet when it comes to greed and power.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

The Story of Mura and Murari

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Mura was a powerful asura who had a boon from Brahma that if he touched anyone during a battle, that person—mortal or immortal—would immediately die.

    Mura was also the best friend of Narakasura, whom he always assisted, in the wars against Krishna. Mura had two sons, and together they protected Narakasura’s capital very strongly. Where, any trespasser in the capital was ruthlessly killed.

    With the special boon from Brahma, Mura and his sons were able to protect the city from many Gods including Indra, and they invaded many kingdoms. So much so that Mura even invaded Yamraj’s city when the god of death frantically fled on his buffalo.

    Krishna then knew he would have to intervene. So he sent a word to Mura that he was waiting for him on the seashore.

    When Mura finally arrived, the lord softly asked. “Tell me Mura, what do you want? Why are you causing trouble everywhere?

    I love to fight Krishna. If you are ready for a battle, then let us fight each other. Otherwise, please do not waste my time,’ he replied.

    ‘But I am scared Mura,’ said Krishna, pretending to be afraid.

    ‘How can I fight an asura who has chased away the likes of Yama and Indra? My heart is beating loudly. And I can even hear your heart beating equally loudly. Are you frightened too?’

    ‘Of course not,’ replied Mura immediately.

    ‘But I can feel it,’ said Krishna. ‘Your heart is clearly palpating and pounding.’

    ‘It isn’t!’ said Mura and placed his hand on his heart to check. This was when the boon that Brahma had given him came to play, and before Mura even realized what he had done, he lay dead at Krishna’s feet.

    From this day on Krishna also came to be known as Murari.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

Book Review: ‘A Sale’ by Guy De Maupassant

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    This is a unique and interesting story with a lot of tongue twisting French names. The story picks up only after the first half. It opens in the courtroom.

    There are two defendants, Cesaire-Isidore Brument and Prosper-Napoleon Cornu. They appear before the Court of Assizes of the Seine-Inferieure, on a charge of attempted murder, by drowning, of Mme (Madam)Brument, the lawful wife of Brument mentioned earlier.

    The two prisoners are seated side by side on a traditional bench. They are two peasants. The first one Brument is small and stout, with short arms, short legs, and a round head with a red pimply face, planted directly on his trunk, which is also round and short, and with apparently no neck. He is a raiser of pigs and lives somewhere in France at Cacheville-la-Goupil, in the district of Criquetot.

    On the other hand Cornu is thin, of medium height, with enormously long arms. His head was on crooked, his jaw awry, and he squinted. He wore a blue blouse, as long as a shirt that hung down to his knees, and his yellow hair, which was scanty and plastered down on his head, gave his face a worn-out, dirty look, a dilapidated look that is was frightful. He was nicknamed “the cure” because he could imitate to perfection the chanting in church, and even the sound of the serpent. This talent attracted people to his cafe — for he was a saloon keeper at Criquetot — a great many customers who preferred the “mass at Cornu” to the mass in church.

    The court scene begins with Mme. Brument. She is seated on the witness bench. She is a thin peasant woman who seems to be always asleep. She has been sitting there motionless, her hands crossed on her knees, gazing fixedly before her with a stupid expression.

    The judge continues with his interrogation.

    “Well, then, Mme. Brument, they came into your house and threw you into a barrel full of water. Tell us the details. Stand up.”

    She rose. She looked as tall as a flag pole with her cap that looked like a white skull cap. She said in a drawling tone:

    “I was shelling beans. Just then they came in. I said to myself, ‘What is the matter with them? They do not seem natural, they seem, up to some mischief.’ They watched me sideways, like this, especially Cornu, because he squints. I do not like to see them together, for the two collectively are good-for-nothing when they are in the company of each other. I said: ‘What do you want from me?’ They did not answer. And with that I had a sort of mistrust ——”

    The defendant Brument interrupted the witness hastily, saying:

    “I was full.” (Full means drunk here).

    Then Cornu, turned towards his accomplice and said in a deep tone … like the deep tone of an organ:

    “Say that we were both full, and you will be telling no lie.”

    The judge, intervened:

    “You mean by that that you were both drunk?”

    “There can be no question about it.” replied Brument.

    “That might happen to anyone.” said Cornu.

    The judge said to the victim: “Continue with your testimony, lady Brument.”

  Lady Brument continued, “Well, Mr Brument said to me, ‘Do you wish to earn a hundred sous?’ (French coins) ‘Yes,’ I replied. Then he said: ‘Open your eyes and do as I do,’ and he went to fetch the large empty barrel which was lying under the rain pipe in the corner, and he turned it over and brought it into my kitchen, and kept it in the middle of the floor, and then he said to me: ‘Go and fetch water until it is full.’

    “So I went to the pond with two pails and carried water, and still more water for an hour, seeing that the barrel was as large as a huge tank.

    “All this time Brument and Cornu were drinking, drinking and drinking—a glass, and then another glass, and then another. When they were finishing their drinks I said to them: ‘You are full, fuller than this barrel.’ Brument answered. ‘Do not worry, go on with your work, your turn will come, each one has his share.’ I paid no attention to what he said as he was full.

    “When the barrel was full to the brim, I said: ‘There, that’s done.’

    “And then Cornu gave me a hundred sous, and not Brument.

    Brument said: ‘Do you wish to earn a hundred sous more?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, for I am not accustomed to presents like that. Then he said: ‘Take off your clothes!

    ‘Take off my clothes?’ I reacted.

    ‘Yes,’ he said.

    ‘How many shall I take off?’

    ‘If it worries you at all, keep on your chemise on, that won’t bother us.’

    “A hundred sous is a hundred sous, even if I have to undress myself. But I did not fancy undressing before those two, good-for-nothings. I took off my cap, and then my jacket, and then my skirt, and then my sabots. Brument said, ‘Keep your stockings on, as we are good fellows.’

    “And Cornu added, ‘We are good fellows.’

    “So there I was, almost like mother Eve. And they got up from their chairs, but could not stand straight, they were so full, your honour.”

    “I said to myself: ‘What are they up to?’

    “Brument asked: ‘Are you ready?’

    “Cornu replied: ‘I’m ready!’

    “And then they lifted me, Brument by the head, and Cornu by the feet, as one might take, for instance, a sheet that has been washed. Then I began to bawl.

    “And Brument said: ‘Keep still, wretched creature!’

    “And they lifted me up in the air and put me into the barrel, which was full of water. I had a check of the circulation, a chill went to my very insides.

    “Brument said: ‘Is that all?’

    “Cornu said: ‘That is all.’

    “Brument said: ‘The head is not in, that will make a difference in the measure.’

    “Cornu said: ‘Put in her head.’

    “And then Brument pushed down my head down as if to drown me, so that the water ran into my nose. He pushed me down further and I disappeared.

    “And then he must have been frightened. He pulled me out and said: ‘Go and get dry, carcass.’

    “I took to my heels and ran to my father as far as M. le cure’s. He lent me a skirt belonging to his servant, for I was almost in a state of nature, and he went to fetch Maitre Chicot, the country watchman who in turn went to Criquetot to fetch the police who came to my house with me.

    “Then we found Brument and Cornu fighting each other like two rams.

    “Brument was bawling: ‘It isn’t true, I tell you that there is at least a cubic metre in it. It is the method that was no good.’

    “Cornu bawled: ‘Four pails that is almost half a cubic metre. You need not reply, that’s what it is.’

    “The police captain put them both under arrest. I have nothing more to tell.”

    She sat down. The audience in the court room laughed. The jurors looked at one another in astonishment. The judge said:

    “Defendant Cornu, you seem to have been the instigator of this infamous plot. What have you to say?” Cornu rose in his turn.

    “Your honour Judge,” he replied, “I was full.”

    The Judge answered gravely:

    “I know it. Proceed.”

    “I will. Well, Brument came to my place about nine o’clock, and ordered two drinks, and said: ‘There’s one for you, Cornu.’ I sat down opposite him and drank, and out of politeness, I offered him a glass. Then he returned the compliment and so did I, and so it went on from glass to glass until noon, when we were full.

    “Then Brument began to cry. That touched me. I asked him what was the matter. He said: ‘I must have a thousand francs by Thursday.’ That cooled me off a little, you understand. Then he said to me all at once:

    ‘I will sell you my wife.’

    “I was full, and I was a widower. That stirred me up. I did not know his wife, but she was a woman, wasn’t she? I asked him: ‘How much would you sell her for?’

    “He reflected, or pretended to reflect. When, one is full one is not very clear-headed, and he replied: ‘I will sell her by the cubic metre.’

    “That did not surprise me, for I was as drunk as he was, and I knew what a cubic metre is in my business. It is a thousand litres, and that suited me.

    “But the price remained to be settled. All depends on the quality. I said: ‘How much do you want for a cubic metre?’

    “He answered: ‘Two thousand francs.’

    “I jumped like a rabbit, and then reflected that a woman ought, not to measure more than three hundred litres. So I said: ‘That’s too dear.’

    “He answered: ‘I cannot do it for less, as I would lose.’

    “You understand, one is not a dealer in hogs for nothing. One understands one’s business. But, if he is smart, the seller of bacon, I am smarter, seeing that I sell them also. Ha, Ha, Ha! So I said to him: ‘If she were new, I would not say anything, but she has been married to you for some time, so she is not as fresh as she was. I will give you fifteen hundred francs a cubic metre, not a sou more. Will that suit you?’ said Cornu.

    “He answered: ‘That will do. That’s a bargain!’

    “I agreed, and we started out, arm in arm. We must help each other in times of need.”

    “But a thought came to me: ‘How can you measure her, unless you dip her in liquid?’

    “Then he explained his idea, not without difficulty for he was full. He said to me: ‘I’ll take a barrel, and fill it with water up to the brim. I’ll put her in it. All the water that comes out we will measure, that is the way to fix it.’

    “I said: ‘I see, I understand. But the water that overflows will run away; so how will you measure it? How will you gather it back?’

    “Then he began stuffing me and explained to me that all we will have to do would be to refill the barrel with the water his wife had displaced as soon as she comes out of it. All the water we pour in would be the measure. I supposed about ten pails; that would be a cubic metre.

    “We finally reached his house and I took a look at his wife. She was certainly not a beautiful woman. And anyone could see that, for there she is. I said to myself, ‘I am disappointed, but never mind, she will be off value handsome or ugly, it is all the same, is it not monsieur le president (your honour)?’ And then I saw that she was as thin as a rail. I said to myself: ‘She will not measure four hundred litres.’ I understand the matter better, being in liquor trade.

    “She has already told you about the proceeding your honour. I even let her keep on her chemise and stockings, to my own disadvantage.

    “When that was done she ran away. I said: ‘Look out, Brument! She is escaping.’

    “He replied: ‘Do not be afraid. I will catch her all right. She will have to come back to sleep, I will measure the deficit.’

    “We measured. It was not four bucket fulls. Ha, Ha, Ha!”

    At this Brument began to laugh so hysterically that a cop was obliged to punch him in the back. Having quieted down, he resumed:

    “In short, Brument exclaimed: ‘Nothing doing that is not enough.’ I shouted, and shouted and shouted again, he punched me, I hit back.

    That would have kept on till the Day of judgment, seeing we were both drunk.

    “Then came the gendarmes (policemen)! They stared at us, and took us off to prison.”

    Cornu finally He sat down after his long statement.

    Brument corroborated the statements of his accomplice. The jury, in consternation, retired to deliberate.

    At the end of an hour they returned a verdict of acquittal for the defendants, with some severe strictures on the dignity of marriage, and establishing the precise limitations of business transactions.

    Brument went home accompanied by his wife.

    Cornu went back to his business.

    I would give the story seven out of ten. As always if reflects how some perverted men get away with ghastly crime on women. And it happens even today.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

RUSSIAN AUTHOR: ANTON CHEKOV

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (29 January 1860 – 15 July 1904) was a Russian playwright and short-story writer considered among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. He died very young. He died at 44, just like Swami Vivekanand who died at 39 (1863-1902). His career as a playwright produced four classics. His best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov is often referred to, as one of the three seminal figures, in the birth of early modernism in the theatre. Chekhov practiced as a medical doctor during most of his literary career: “Medicine is my lawful wife”, he once said, “and literature is my mistress.”

    His famous works include: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three sisters, The Cherry Orchard, At Dusk, The Steppe, Fatherless, Oskolki (Fragments), Ivanov, Ostrov Sakhalin (or The Island of Sakhalin. I particularly liked two of his short stories, Lady with the dog and The Bet.

    Anton Chekhov was born on 29 January 1860 the feast day of St. Anthony the Great in Taganrog, a port on the Sea of Azoz in southern Russia. He was the third of six surviving children. His father, Pavel Yegorovich Chekhov, was the son of a former serf and his Ukrainian wife, was from the village Olho-vatka (Voronezh Governorate) and ran a grocery store. He was a director of the parish choir, a devout Orthodox Christian, but a physically abusive father. Pavel Chekhov was seen by some historians as the model for his son’s many portraits of hypocrisy. Chekhov’s mother, Yevgeniya (Morozova), was an excellent storyteller who entertained children with tales of her travels with her cloth-merchant father all over Russia. “Our talents we got from our father,” Chekhov remembered, “but our soul from our mother.” 

    Chekhov attended the Greek School in Taganrog and the Taganrog Gymnasium has since been renamed as the Chekhov Gymnasium, where he was held back for a year at fifteen, for failing, Ancient Greek examination. He sang at the Greek Orthodox monastery in Taganrog and in his father’s choirs. In a letter of 1892, he used the word “suffering” to describe his childhood.

    When my brothers and I used to stand in the middle of the church and sing in trio “May my prayer be exalted”, or “The Archangel’s Voice”, everyone looked at us with emotion and envied our parents, but we at that moment felt like little convicts.

    In 1876, Chekhov’s father was declared bankrupt because he over-stretched his finances while building a new house, and having been cheated by a contractor. To avoid debtor’s prison he fled to Moscow, where his two eldest sons, Alexander and Nikolay, were attending university. The family lived in poverty in Moscow. Chekhov’s mother was physically and emotionally broken by the experience. Chekhov was left behind to sell the family’s possessions and finish his education.

    Chekhov remained in Taganrog for three more years, boarding with a man who, bailed out the family for the price of their house. He had to pay for his own education, which he managed by private tutoring, and catching and selling of gold-finches, (a type of bird) and by selling short sketches to the newspapers, among other jobs. He sent every rouble he could spare, to his family in Moscow, along with humorous letters to cheer them up. During this time he read widely, the works of Cervantes, Turgenev, Goncharov, and Schopenhauer, and wrote a full-length comic drama, Fatherless. Chekhov also experienced a series of love affairs, one with the wife of a teacher.

    In 1879, Chekhov completed his schooling and joined his family in Moscow, having obtained admission to the Moscow State Medical University.

    Chekhov renounced theatre after the reception of The Seagull in 1896, but the play was revived to acclaim in 1898 by Konstantin Stanis-lavski’s Moscow Art Theatre, which subsequently also produced Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’ and premiered his last two plays, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.    Chekhov had at first written stories to earn money, but as his artistic ambition grew, he made formal innovations which have influenced the evolution of the modern short story. 

    He assumed the responsibility of the whole family. To support them and to pay his tuition fees, he wrote short, humorous sketches and vignettes of contemporary Russian life almost daily, many under pseudonyms such as “Antosha Chekhonte” and “Man without a Spleen”. His prodigious output gradually earned him a reputation as a satirical chronicler of Russian street life. By 1882 he was writing for Oskolki (Fragments), owned by Nikolai Leykin, one of the leading publishers of the time.     In 1884, Chekhov qualified as a physician, which he considered his principal profession though he made little money from it and treated the poor free of charge.

    In 1884 and 1885, Chekhov found himself coughing blood, and in 1886 the attacks worsened, but he did not admit his tuberculosis to his family or his friends.  He continued writing for weekly periodicals, earning enough money to move the family into progressively better accommodations.

    Early in 1886 he was invited to write for one of the most popular papers in St. Petersburg, Novoye Vremya, owned and edited by millionaire magnate Alexey Suvorin, who paid a rate per line double of Leykin’s and also allowed Chekhov three times the space. Suvorin became a lifelong friend of Chekov, perhaps his closest.

    Before long, Chekhov was attracting literary as well as popular attention. The sixty-four-year-old Dmitry Grigorovich, a celebrated Russian writer of the day, wrote to Chekhov after reading his short story “The Huntsman” that “You have real talent, a talent that places you in the front rank among writers in the new generation.” But he went on to advice Chekhov to slow down, write less, and concentrate on literary quality.

    Chekhov replied that the letter had struck him “like a thunderbolt” and confessed, “I have written my stories the way reporters write their notes about fires – mechanically, half-consciously, caring nothing about either the reader or myself.” The admission may have done Chekhov a disservice, since early manuscripts reveal that he often wrote with extreme care, continually revising. Grigorovich’s advice nevertheless inspired a more serious, artistic ambition in the twenty-six-year-old. In 1888, his short story collection At Dusk won Chekhov the coveted ‘Pushkin Prize’ for the best literary production distinguished by high artistic worth.

    In 1887, exhausted from work and ill health, Chekhov took a trip to Ukraine, which reawakened him to the beauty of the steppe (steppe means dry, cold grassland). On his return, he began the novella-length short story “The Steppe,” which was eventually published in Severny Vestnik (The Northern Herald). In the narrative Chekhov evokes a chaise (horse-carriage) journey across the steppe through the eyes of a young boy sent to live away from home, and his companions, a priest and a merchant. “The Steppe” is called the “dictionary of Chekhov’s poetics.”

    In the autumn of 1887, a theatre manager named Korsh commissioned Chekhov to write a play, the result being ‘Ivanov’ written in a fortnight and produced that November. Though Chekhov found the experience “sickening” and painted a comic portrait of the chaotic production in a letter to his brother Alexander, the play was a hit and was praised, to Chekhov’s bemusement, as a work of originality. Although Chekhov did not fully realise it at the time, Chekhov’s plays, such as The Seagull (written in 1895), Uncle Vanya (written in 1897), The Three Sisters (written in 1900), and The Cherry Orchard (written in 1903) served as a revolutionary backbone to what is common sense to the medium of acting to this day.        —     In 1890, Chekhov undertook an arduous journey by train, horse-drawn carriage, and river steamer to the Russian Far East and the Katorga, or penal colony, on Sakhalin Island, (a large Russian island in the Sea of Okhotsk), north of Japan, where he spent three months interviewing thousands of convicts and settlers for a census. The letters Chekhov wrote during the two-and-a-half-month journey from Sakhalin are considered to be among his best. 

    In 1892, Chekhov bought a small country estate, about forty miles south of Moscow, where he lived with his family until 1899. “It’s nice to be a lord” he joked but he took his responsibilities as a landlord seriously and soon made himself useful to the local peasants.

    In 1894, Chekhov began writing his play ‘The Seagull’ in a lodge that he had built in the orchard at Melikhovo. The first night of ‘The Seagull’ at the theatre in St. Petersburg on 17 October 1896, was a fiasco, as the play was booed by the audience, forcing Chekhov into renouncing the theatre. But the play so impressed the theatre director that he convinced his colleague to direct a new production for the innovative Moscow Art Theatre. This restored Chekov’s interest in Playwriting. The Art Theatre commissioned more plays of Chekhov and the following year staged Uncle Vanya, which Chekhov had completed in 1896.

    In March 1897, Chekhov suffered a major haemorrhage of the lungs while on a visit to Moscow. With great difficulty he was persuaded to enter a clinic, where the doctors diagnosed tuberculosis on the upper part of his lungs and suggested a change in his lifestyle.

    After his father’s death in 1898, Chekhov bought a plot of land on the outskirts of Yalta and built a villa, into which he moved with his mother and sister the following year. Though he planted trees and flowers, kept dogs and tamed cranes. He also received guests such as Leo Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky. In Yalta he completed two more plays for the Art Theatre.

    On 25 May 1901, Chekhov married Olga Knipper quietly, owing to his horror of weddings. She was a former protégée and sometime lover of Nemirovich-Danchenko whom he had first met at the rehearsals of The Seagull. Until this time, Chekhov, known as “Russia’s most elusive literary bachelor,” preferred passing relationships and visits to brothels. 

    By May 1904, Chekhov was terminally ill with tuberculosis. Mikhail Chekhov recalled “that everyone who saw him secretly thought the end was not far off, but the nearer he was to the end, the less he seemed to realise it.” On 3 June, he set off with Olga for the German spa town of Badenweiler in the Black Forest, from where he wrote jovial letters to his sister Masha, describing the food and surroundings, and assuring her and his mother that he was getting better. In his last letter, he complained about the way German women dressed.

    Chekhov’s death has become one of “the great set pieces of literary history,” retold, embroidered, and fictionalised many times since, notably in the short story “Errand” by Raymond Carver. In 1908, his wife Olga wrote the account of her husband’s last moments which goes as follows:

    Anton sat up unusually straight and said loudly and clearly (although he knew almost no German): Ich sterbe (“I’m dying”). The doctor calmed him, took a syringe, gave him an injection of camphor, and ordered champagne. Anton took a full glass, examined it, smiled at me and said: “It’s a long time since I drank champagne.” He drained it and lay quietly on his left side, and I just had time to run to him and lean across the bed and call to him, but he had stopped breathing and was sleeping peacefully as a child.

    Chekhov’s body was transported to Moscow in a refrigerated railway car meant for oysters, an incident that offended Gorky. Chekhov was buried next to his father at the Novodevichy Cemetery.

    Some people do great things in a small life span. Anton Chekhov was one of them.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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