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BOOK CORNER: Amitav Ghosh … A CRITICAL COMPANION

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.

Amitav Ghosh

A CRITICAL COMPANION

Edited by Tabish Khair

    In the next twenty minutes or so I would take you through one of the finest pieces of narration. Where, one legend describes the other. Yes, when, Amitav Ghosh describes Satyajit Ray this is all one can say. Amitav Ghosh is a winner of 54th Jnanpith award and also a Padma Shri. I have pulled out this narration from a book titled ‘Amitav Ghosh … a critical companion.’ I have summarised and simplified the article for you to the best of my ability.

    Amitav in this article of his, has gone back to 1989. When he was enjoying his extended stay in the overwhelming city of New York. He had then finished writing of The Shadow Lines. The novel for some reason had a striking influence of Ray in it.

    He was then struck by a sudden wave of Ray nostalgia. And it struck to him that Ray too had once been a stranger in this city and that he too had walked the streets of Manhattan in Kolkata—bought shoes.

     One day, these pent up thoughts propelled Amitav to meet director James Ivory, who he knew to be a good friend of Ray. And later that week he went to interview Ivory, cassette recorder in hand. This is how Ivory described his first meeting with Ray, in the winter of 1960.

    “I looked him up in Calcutta,’ Ivory said. I had never met him. I had seen at that point, Pather Panchali (Song of the Road) and Aparijito (Undefeated). I knew that Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) existed and that sooner or later it would get to New York, but up till then it hadn’t come. And then some Indian friends of mine in Delhi said that apart from The Trilogy he had also made some other films in that time—the late fifties. They described Jalsaghar (The Music Room) to me and that sounded like something I would love to see. Then I made a long trip to Calcutta and went down to Puri and Bhubaneshwar and Madras. While I was in Calcutta I just decided to call him. Just to meet him, but also to ask him if it would be possible to see Jalsaghar. My friend in Delhi said he was very approachable (which he was) and I just called him up. He was in the phone book, so I just called him up and told him who I was. He said fine, he would try and arrange Jalsaghar for me. We agreed to meet in Coffee House and I went there. He was alone and we talked.

    He was immensely tall; he was probably the tallest Indian I have ever met and that seemed symbolically apt. He had a kind of straight forward majesty about him; he was obviously a king, but he was an approachable king. We were friends all his life as long as he lived. Whenever there was something he needed we tried to help. He always helped us. When there was some tremendous thing that would happen to us in the course of our own movie making in India—for instance when Utpal Dutt was put in prison (for his Maoist sympathies) while we were making ‘The Guru’ he helped to get him out. He called up or wrote to Mrs Gandhi and said this is a disgrace, this shouldn’t be allowed—things like that.”

    I asked Ivory what they talked about at that first meeting. ‘He was waiting in the coffee house.’ Ivory said, ‘while the censor was seeing Devi (the Coffee House was in the shadow of the Metro Cinema). Then somebody came from his staff and said that Devi had gone down well with the censors. He was kind of nervous about it because of the retrograde view of Hindu life at its most superstitious let’s say. He was afraid they would make him cut it. But no, it had gone down all right, and he said, would I like to come to the premiere of it, which I did, so I saw the film at the premiere and I was also introduced to Sharmila Tagore, who was very young then. And then he arranged for me to see ‘Jalsaghar’ so he went to the studio in Tollygunge where he made all his films and he sat next to me and translated for me at important moments. I thought it was a marvellous, marvellous movie and I jumped up and told him so at the end. He was surprised that I thought it was so marvellous. He said, well, he thought technically it wasn’t so good, wasn’t quite up to the mark. I said well, it didn’t strike me like that and I asked if there were any plans to show it in the west for I thought people would really like it. He said no, he didn’t have any plans. It had been shown at the Moscow Film Festival but the Russians didn’t like it because they thought it was decadent and that had discouraged him. I said, I thought he might get a different reception in the west if he pursued it. It was released here in the fall of 1963, and as you know a few years ago it was released in Paris and it was a tremendous success—ran for a year or something.’

    Ray was to collaborate with James Ivory and Ismail Merchant on two of their films: he wrote the music of Shakespeare-wallah and helped with the editing of ‘The Householder.’ I asked Ivory how the collaboration had come about.’ After ‘Householder’ was edited,’ he said ‘he still seemed very unwieldy, not very nicely done. I didn’t really have a very good editor—by this time I had met him (Ray) and I asked if I could bring the film to show him. He said sure come on. So Ismail (Merchant) and I climbed on the train—we took the Hindi version of it, all those cans, there must have 24 cans or something. We went from Bombay to Calcutta with all that film. He saw it and liked it—he thought there was something there to work with. I asked him whether he could give us any suggestions about the cutting and he said, yes. He would recut it, but he didn’t want me to interfere while doing that. He said let me have a go at it, I’ll do it my way, you can be in the editing room if you want to be, when we’re all done you can change it if you want to, that’s your business, but let me do what I want to do. So then, he and his editor Dulal Dutt recut the film. They took about four days, and gave it a new shape. It was he (Ray) who suggested that it go into a flashback form.

    Ray was always awfully generous with his time, always, always. I don’t know how he did it; because there was always many many people there, who wanted things done, people who just came to catch a glimpse of him and so on. How he had any kind of life of his own and how he made his movies I don’t know.

    Pather Panchali, to my mind the greatest of Ray’s films, was completed in 1955. It premiered not in Kolkata, but in New York, at the museum of Modern Art. This is how it came about: in 1954 Huston was on his way to India to scout locations for The Man Who Would Be King, when he came to hear of a young advertising-executive who was making a film on a tiny budget. By the time Huston arrived in Kolkata, the film had been stalled for several months, because of lack of money. At the time of Huston’s visit the dominant genre in India was the Bombay film. Ray’s work took Huston by surprise. It was apparent from the rushes that this film belonged in a different order of film-making. Huston was quick to recognize the genius of work. He viewed only twenty-minutes or so of the film, but recalling the occasion in 1987, he said: I’ recognised the footage as the work of a great film-maker.’ Returning to the United States, Huston’s reports of the film were instrumental in persuading the Museum of Modern Art to send Ray some money. MOMA’s advance went a long way towards the completion of Pather Panchali.

    Hollywood had long cast a binding spell on Ray: he was an ardent admirer of such American film-makers as John Ford and Billy Wilder. Although he never worked there. Hollywood came to play a peculiarly serendipitous role in his life; never more so than when one of his idols, John Huston, made it possible for him to complete Pather Panchali. And thus it happened that this most famous of contemporary Indian films premiered not in Kolkata or Mumbai, but in New York. It was first shown at the Museum of Modern Art in April 1955, to a small invited audience.

    Pather Panchali was released in the US (by Edward Harrison) in September 1958 at New York’s Fifth Avenue Theatre. The release was the occasion of Ray’s first visit to the country: he was then thirty-seven. The reception of the film was by no means uniformly enthusiastic. As Ivory describes it: ‘There was a famous review by Bosley Crowther which was meant to have been such a putdown. I read that again the other day and actually he was trying to like it. He was baffled, he made false assumptions, he didn’t really know what to say, but he had to admit that he knew or felt, somehow, dimly that there was something great there and he better not say something too bad about it. And apparently there were many people who wrote angry letters about his review.”

    Thirty one years later, in Columbia University’s Butler Library, I dug up a copy of an interview that Ray gave to Howard Thompson (of the New York Times) on the day of the release. Ray evidently made quite an impression on Thompson: ‘A strapping swarthy chap, with strong features, he (Ray) talks like a realistic poet, without the slightest foreign accent, looking fresh from the American gridiron.’

    Thompson continues: ‘On the day after his arrival he (Ray) stepped inside a fashionable hotel dining room, comfortably clad in occidental garb, and gamely stooped to let the head waiter pin on a Plaza tie. Presently, wearing a casually alert expression, the big rangy Calcuttan sat at a table, opening a package of cigarettes with long, tapering fingers. He had been up early, he said, just walking, camera in hand, an old habit of ‘an old film fam.’

    This is how Ray described the filming of Pather Panchali to Thompson: ‘We shot in and around Calcutta, then had to stop for six months because I was flat broke. I even sold part of my record collection, some old seventy-eights of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven—and part of my wife’s jewelry, not that her mother knew. All that was shown again to the same (financiers). No reaction. Then a year’s gap.’

    Ray was able to continue filming only because of an unlikely intervention: a powerful West Bengal politician, reputed to be ‘close’ to one of Ray’s aunts, authorised a grant from the state government. He was under the impression evidently, that Pather Panchali was a documentary about community development.

    In response to a question about the future of Indian film, Ray told Thompson: ‘I don’t know if our pictures generally will ever spread to a world market, though we have two or three young directors with the right ideas. Our industry centers productionally in Bengal, Madras and Bombay, but those from Bengal are better, more serious. As for why you don’t see more of ours—well, we have our own problems and we’re not so sure Westerners care.’

    ‘The generous mouth widened slightly,’ Thompson continues. ‘Do you?’ he enquired. The penetrating brown eyes twinkled pensively.

    Looking back now, I am sure more than ever aware of the part that Ray played in shaping the imaginary universe of my childhood and youth. I see this even in such details as my interest in science and science fiction; in ghost stories and the fantastical. One of my favourite Ray films to this day, remains Paras Pathar (The Philosopher’s Stone), a neglected masterpiece that deserves a place of honour in the canon of surrealist cinema. When I saw Agantuk (The Stranger), in which the main character is an anthropologist, I began to wonder whether my interest in anthropology too, owed something, perhaps subconsciously, to Ray: I recalled suddenly that references to anthropology go back to some of his earliest work, starting with the African mask in Apur Sansar.

    Ray’s influence extended even to the material world that I inhabited in my early years; a world which he formed to a quite astonishing degree through his influence on typography and through his visual style—a style that was itself a development on a distinctive design traditions of Bengal. That he could exert such great influence was due in part to the fact that this work extended and developed the legacy of the generations preceding his. His greatness as an artist is no way diminished by the fact that he was a rivet in an unbroken chain of aesthetic and intellectual effort that stretches back to mid-nineteenth century—a chain in which I too am, I hope, a small link.

    Ray was for me, not just a great artist; he was something even rarer; an artist who had crafted his life so that it could serve as an example to others. In a world where people in the arts are often expected, even encouraged, to be mindful of those around them, he was exemplary in his dealings with people. This was, I think one of the reasons why he was able to sustain his creative energies for as long as he did: because he refused to make a fetish of himself. As a student I had heard him speak on several occasions: it always seemed to me that there was something very private about his manner. I had the sense that it was by holding the world at arm’s length that he had managed to be as productive as he had. This was a stance I respected then and respect even more today, now that I am more aware of how easy it is to be distracted by the demands of public life.

    Ray was consistent in fighting off the pressures of the wider world. After the success of Pather Panchali he was feted by Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. It was a measure of his integrity that he never allowed their praise and attention to distract him from his own projects. Unlike many other film-makers in India, Ray consciously avoided seeking government financing for his projects, preferring to raise the money from commercial sponsors. He was always deeply aware of his audience in Kolkata and gloried in the discipline they imposed on him—primarily that of keeping his work accessible. This meant that he could never permit himself the luxury of avant-gardism in the manner of his European contemporaries such as Fellini, Bergman and Godard: nor indeed did he ever want to. To the end one of his greatest strengths was his ability to resolve enormously complex plots and themes into deceptively simple narrative structures.

    My favourite Ray story is one I came upon soon after I learnt of the appalling human cost of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. Once, while filming an overhead shot, a falling piece of machinery gravely injured a studio-hand who was working on one of Ray’s sets. Ray never used an overhead shot again.

    In 1992 when Hollywood awarded him an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, Ray was so ill that he received the award lying in his hospital bed. The scene was broadcast on TV and when I saw it I realized that Ray’s illness was so serious that he might not recover. I had always assumed I would meet Ray one day, but I had never made an effort to seek him out. He was such an integral part of my imaginative world that I’d fought shy of meeting him face-to-face: what can one possibly say to someone to whom one owes so great a debt? In 1989 and 1990 I had had several telephone conversations with him. In one of them he’d told me that he greatly enjoyed my first novel, The Circle of Reason. Now I saw that it was I who had been remiss in expressing my admiration and gratitude. In light of his condition this assumed a sudden urgency. I decided to write a letter to Ray, asking if I could visit him. My letter began:

    Dear Mr Ray,

    I have wanted to write to you for many years now, but have always put it off because I knew it would not be easy to say what I wanted too …

It ended:

    The Japanese have a custom which allows people to pay homage to artists they admire by standing outside their houses, alone and in silence, until they are invited in. you are the only person in the world for whom I would gladly do that …

    The letter was dated February 6, 1992. I gave it to Shri Nirmalaya Acharya, a close associate of Ray’s and himself one Kolkata’s legendary literary figures (now sadly deceased and much-missed by all who knew him). Nirmalaya-babu promised to hand it to Ray once he was well enough to read. Alas that day never came: Satyajit Ray died on April 23 1992.

    The day of Satyajit Ray’s death was like none that Kolkata had ever seen before. When the news began to spread, a pall of silence descended on the city. Next morning hundreds of thousands of people filed past his body, braving the intense heat. In the evening when his body was taken to the crematorium, the streets were thickly lined up with people standing in silent vigil. Many held up placards which referred to him as ‘The King.’ The whole city was sunk in an inexpressible sadness: everybody knew that an era had ended, and with it, Kolkata’s claim to primacy in arts. The city was orphaned: its king was gone and there was none to take his place.

    I wandered the streets for hours that night, watching the silent crowds, reading the placards. I was surprised by the depth of my own sense of loss. Yet I was conscious also of an immense sense of privilege, of gratitude, that having been born in Kolkata I had, in some small way, been endowed with a special entitlement to Ray’s universe; gratitude at having had his work to illuminate my surroundings and my past. This is what narrative arts do, at their very best: they shape the world as they relate them. To this day Ray’s work is one of the main anchors that moors me—often despite myself—to the imaginative landscape of Bengal: indeed, to the essential terrain of my own work.

Amitav Ghosh

January 17, 2002

Posted 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

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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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TEN INTERESTING QUOTES

Copyright@shravancharitymission

He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend—provided of course he really is dead—French philosopher Voltaire

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If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine—Jim Barksdale

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The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones—John Maynard Keynes

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 Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past—George Orwell

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As the Americans say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me-

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Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age—Victor Hugo

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We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.’ American author Rick Warren

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Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures—F Scott Fitzgerald

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The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement—Navjot Singh Siddhu

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You cannot police a community without effectively working with the community-Willam Bratton

***

Posted 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)

*****

 

 

 

INTERESTING FACTS … episode 8

Copyright@shravancharitymission

In 2016, the Ellen Macarthur foundation reported at the world economic forum, that we all will have, more plastic in the sea, than fish, by 2050. If we continue producing this substance at this rate.

The war between the Allied and Axis powers in World War—II killed 80 million, or 4% of the global population of that time.

The British Raj looted India to their heart’s content, siphoning out, at least 9.2 trillion pounds (or 44.6 trillion$), according to, the recent estimate of Indian Marxist Economist, of JNU fame, Utsa Patnaik.

In the man made Bengal famine of 1942-45, six to seven million Indians were starved to death (a toll far greater than the “Holocaust” when 6 million European Jews were massacred) because of the British Raj’s decison, to divert food supplies away from India..

There is always an ongoing confusion about the difference between climate and weather. Let me clear the air. Weather is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere, and its short-term variation in minutes and up to weeks. Whereas, climate is the weather of a place averaged over a period of time, often 30 years.

In India, 2018, was the 6th warmest year on record, and all the six warmest years, have come in, only in the last decade.

A 2016 study of High Court Judges says, that they could devote a time frame of only 5-6 minutes on an average to decide a case, if they were to hear all the matters listed daily.

20% of the sanctioned posts in Supreme Court, and 38% of that in the High Court are lying vacant.

Alpha waves are produced by the brain when we are in meditation or in a relaxation mode.

The earth’s equatorial diameter is 12,800 km.

Scientists have discovered, that before a major earthquake, an electromagnetic wave of 0.01-10 Hz, emerges, from deep inside, the earth. This wave is sometimes sensed by animals and could be the basis of their premonition of a coming earthquake.

During 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Government of India had spent Rs 3426 crore, that works out to a meagre Rs 41 per voter.

India is unique in having the largest number of children in private schools in the world. Almost half of the urban kids and a third of the rural kids attend private schools, and this is only growing, rapidly. Between 2011 and 2015, government schools lost around 1.1 crore kids, and private schools gained 1.6 crore kids around the same time.

A normal and healthy person takes around 10-12 breaths per minute and the depth of each inhalation is between 500-600 ml. His breathing is relaxed, regular, diaphragmatic and quiet. This type of breathing ensures that various organs of the body get the optimum quantity of oxygen. Whereas, the person who over-breathes chronically, is always prone to anxiety because of the imbalance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the blood.

Today some 180 Swedish companies are present in India, providing high-end goods and services to the Indian market, and they collectively employ nearly 1,90,000 Indians directly. Sweden is ranked among the top 5 countries who manufacture in India.

Tourism, is one of the largest sectors today, in the world economy. It accounts for 9% of the world’s GDP and contributes to some 200 million jobs globally.

As high as 85% of donors to BJP and Congress party were faceless people who had contributed up to Rs 19,999.

Russian economy is anything but robust. It is increasingly supported by the energy deal with China, which means sooner or later Moscow will be at Beijing’s mercy.

Saudi women by law still need a male guardian’s permission to travel.

In global university rankings—no Indian varsity makes it to the top 250, which is shocking for a country of this size.

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)

*****

 

 

 

ARTICLE: WAS NON-VIOLENCE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR INDIA’S INDEPENDENCE OR WAS THERE SOMETHING MORE TO IT?

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

    Hello friends welcome to this edition of editorial compass. A lot has been spoken about India achieving independence through the “Brahmastra” of non-violence. But then, there also, happens to be another view-point that calls non-violence a myth.

    The line between historical facts and fiction is more porous than students of history might think. It is not uncommon for countries to create self-suiting or sanitised historical narratives. As George Orwell once said, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

    India’s Republic Day Parade this year featured for the first time veterans of the Indian National Army (INA) that waged an armed struggle against the British colonial rule. Four INA veterans in their 90s rode a jeep in the parade that, paradoxically, showcased the life experiences of the apostle of non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi, through 22 tableaux.

    India has long embellished or distorted how it won independence. The incongruous juxtaposition of the INA along with Gandhi at the parade inadvertently highlighted that. The INA veterans participation, in fact, helped underscore the Indian republic’s founding myth—that it won independence only through non-violence. This myth has been deeply instilled in the minds of almost all Indians since their school days.

    Surely, the Gandhi-led, non-violent independence movement played a critical role. Both in galvanising grassroots resistance to British rule and also in helping to gain independence. But the decisive factor was the protracted World War-II, which reduced to ruins large swaths of Europe and Asia, especially the imperial powers. The war between the Allied and Axis powers killed 80 million, or 4% of the global population of that time.

    Despite the Allied victory, a devastated Britian was in no position to hold on to its colonies, including “crown jewel” India. Even colonies, where, there were no grassroots resistance to colonial rule, won independence in the post-World War-II period.

    The British had dominated India through a Machiavellian divide-and-rule strategy. Their exit came only after they had reduced one of the world’s wealthiest economies to one of its poorest. Indeed, they left after they had looted to their heart’s content, siphoning out, at least 9.2 trillion (or 44.6 trillion$) pounds, according to economist Utsa Patnaik’s recent estimate.

    Had the post-1947 India been proactive and forward-looking in securing its frontiers. It could have averted both the Kashmir and Himalayan border problems. China was in deep turmoil until October 1949, and India had ample time and space to assert control over the Himalayan borders. But India’s pernicious founding myth of non-violence gave rise to a pacifist country that believed it could get peace merely by seeking peace, instead of building the capability to defend peace.

    Here’s the paradox: countless numbers of Indians died to the excesses of British colonial regime. Just in the man made Bengal famine of 1942-45, six to seven million starved to death (a toll far greater than the “Holocaust”) due to the British war policy of diverting resources away from India. Britian sent Indian soldiers in large numbers to fight its dirty wars elsewhere, including the two world wars, and many died while serving as cannon fodder. Indeed, the present Indian republic was born in blood in blood: As many as a million civilians died in a senseless violence and millions more were uprooted in the British-contrived partition.

    Yet the myth of India uniquely charting and securing its independence through non-violence was propagated by the interiors of the Raj, the British trained “brown sahibs.” No objective discourse was encouraged post-1947 on the multiple factors—internal and external—that aided India’s independence.

    The hope of Indian independence was first kindled by Japan’s victory in the 1904-05 war with Russia—the first time an Asian nation comprehensively defeated a European rival. However, it was the world war that Adolf Hitler unleashed—with imperial Japan undertaking military expeditions in the name of freeing Asia from white colonial rule—that acted as the catalyst. An emboldened Gandhi serve a “Quit India” notice on the British in 1942.

    While the Subhas Chandra Bose-led INA could not mount a formidable threat to a British colonial military, overflowing with Indian recruits. The Bombay mutiny and other sepoy revolts of 1946 triggered by INA prisoners’ trials undermined Britain’s confidence in sustaining the Raj, hastening its exit. Yet, independent India treated INA soldiers shabbily with many abandoned into penury.

    Against this background the rehabilitation of Bose and the INA has long been overdue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well to initiate the process, however low-key, to give Bose and the INA their due, including recently renaming one Andaman island after Bose and two other Andaman islands to honour INA sacrifices. Modi even wore the INA cap to address a public meeting in Andaman on the 75th anniversary of Bose’s hoisting of the tricolour there.

    Recognising unsung heroes is an essential step towards re-balancing the historical narrative. A rule-based international order, premised on non-violence remains a worthy aspirational goal. But Indian romancing of non-violence as an effective political instrument crimped national security policy since independence. The country hewed to pacifism (with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru publicly bewailing in 1962 that China had “returned evil for good”) and frowned on materialism (even after China surpassed India’s GDP in 1984-85).

    The burden of its quixotic national philosophy has imposed enduring costs, including an absence of a strategic culture, as the late American analyst George Tanham famously pointed out. Lack of a culture to pursue a clear strategic vision and policy hobbles India’s ambition to be a great power.

    Synopsis derived out of an article titled “The Non-violence Myth—India’s founding story bestows upon it a quixotic national philosophy and enduring costs by geostrategist, Brahma Chellany in TOI.

Posted 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)

(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 GENESIS OF KUMBH MELA

    I have just returned from the pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj. Where, I even dared to take a dip at Sangam in this biting cold. Sangam happens to be the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. It is a blissful experience, to see so many Hindus gathered in such vast numbers. And this is when, one takes time off to think of the grip of faith, coming down from time primordial.

    Kumbha derives its name from both the original festival, being held according to the astrological sign “Kumbha” (Aguarius) and from the associated Hindu legend in which the Gods and demons fought over a pot, or a ‘Kumbh’ of nectar, that would give them immortality. A later addition to the legend says that after taking the pot, one of the Gods, spilled drops of nectar in four places where ‘Kumbha Mela’ is presently held. This is not found in the earliest mentions of the original legend of Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean) as described in various ancient Hindu texts collectively known as the Puranas.

    The legend of Samudra Manthan tells of a battle between the Devas (benevolent deities) and Asuras (malevolent demigods) for amrita, the nectar drink of immortality. During samudra manthan, amrita was produced and placed in a Kumbha (pot). To prevent the asuras from seizing the amrita, a divine carrier flew away with the pot. In one of the most popular versions added to the original legend later, the carrier of the kumbha is the divine physician Dhanvantari, who stops at four places where the Kumbh Mela is celebrated. In other later additions to the legend, for which clarification is needed the carrier is Garuda, Indra or Mohini, who spill the amrita at four places.

    An entire temporary township covering 2,500 hectares has been constructed, at a cost of several thousand crores. In 2013, the last Kumbha, attracted, 120 million visitors , with 30 million congregating on a single day, Mauni Amawasya, making it the largest human gathering of the world. The Kumbh Mela is held at fixed cycles.

It is said that by bathing at the Sangam, during Kumbha, Moksha or salvation. It is for this reason that Mark Twain—who visited the Kumbha in 1895 wrote: “It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys.”

Since the dawn of time Kumbha has been a matter of great faith and faith indeed can move mountains.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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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)

(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)

*****

LETTER OF GURUDEV RABINDRANATH TAGORE: SHAZADPUR JULY 1891

Copyrigt@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.

SHAZADPUR JULY 1891

    There is another boat at this landing-place and on the shore in front of it a crowd of village women. Some are evidently embarking on a journey and the others seeing them off; infants, veils, and grey hairs are all mixed up in the gathering.

    One girl in particular attracts my attention. She must be about eleven or twelve; but buxom and sturdy, she might pass for fourteen or fifteen. She has a winsome face—very dark, but very pretty. Her hair is cut short like a boy’s, which well becomes her simple, frank, and alert expression. She has a child in her arms and is staring at me with unabashed curiosity, and certainly no lack of straightforwardness or intelligence in her glance. Her half-boyish, half-girlish manner is singularly  attractive—a novel blend of masculine nonchalance and feminine charm. I had no idea there were such types among our village women in Bengal.

    None of this family, apparently, is troubled with too much bashfulness. One of them has unfastened hair in the sun and is combing it out with her ringers, while conversing about their domestic affairs at the top of her voice with another, on board. I gather she has no other children except a girl, a foolish creature who knows neither how to behave or talk, nor even the difference between kin and stranger. I also learn that Gopal’s son-in-law has turned out a neér-do-well, and that his daughter refuses to go to her husband.

    When, at length, it was time to start, they escorted my short-haired damsel, with plump shapely arms, her golden bangles and her guileless, radiant face, into the boat. I could divine that she is returning from her father’s to her husband’s home. They all stood there, following the boat with their gaze as it cast off, one or two wiping their eyes with the loose end of their saris. A little girl, with her hair tightly tied into a knot, clung to the neck of an older woman and silently wept on her shoulder. Perhaps, she was losing a darling Didimani who joined in her doll games and also slapped her when she was naughty …

    The quiet floating away of a boat on the stream seems to add to the pathos of a separation—it is so like death—the departing one lost to sight, those left behind returning to their daily life, wiping their eyes. True, the pang lasts but a while, and is perhaps already wearing of both in those who have gone and those who remain,–pain being temporary, oblivion permanent. But none the less it is not the forgetting, but the pain which is true; and every now and then, in separation or in death, we realise how terribly true.

Posted 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)

*****

 

 

 

INTERESTING FACTS … DID YOU KNOW-EPISODE 6

Copyright@shravancharitymission

A linguistic Survey of India reveals there are 780 mother tongues in India. Out of which, 480 are spoken by tribal or adivasis concentrated in the north-east and central-east of India.

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Arunachal Pradesh has a population of 14 million, which is just about 7% of UP. Yet in Arunachal Pradesh, people speak in 66 tongues—one of India’s least-populated states is linguistically the most diverse.

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With more than 210 tongues, India’s northeast is the world’s most linguistically diverse place.

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The length of an average sentence in English has been reducing. According to a study, it came down from an average of 63 words in the 16th century to 22 words by the 19th  century.  One current estimate for sentence length is 14.3 words, a number that will no doubt go down even further, given the direction that technology is taking language to. Earlier in 1896 for the democratic nomination for the president, the average length of a sentence was 104 words, whereas, today politicians speak in sentences that are less than 20 words long.

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Overseas Indians having foreign passport remit on an average $70 billion, annually to India, which is approximately 3% of India’s GDP. Given India’s large twin deficits in the fiscal and current accounts, these remittances continue to be a vital bridge to India’s economic stability. (TOI 24.1.19).

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Almost one-third of India’s coastline was lost to soil erosion between 1990 and 2016, according to the National Centre for Coastal Research (TOI 24.1.19).

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The giant statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel known as the Statue of Unity was built at an astronomical cost of Rs 2,900 crores (TOI article by Ronojoy Sen dated 3.11.19).

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Sardar Patel was instrumental in getting the 560 odd princely states in 1947 to join the Indian Union. (TOI article by Ronojoy Sen dated 3.11.19).

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It was well known secret that Nehru and Gandhi had tense moments. In December 1947, Nehru and Patel traded letters on the handling of Kashmir and both threatened to resign. With Gandhi playing the arbiter. (TOI article by Ronojoy Sen dated 3.11.19).

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As many as 3447 people died in India due to fireworks and crackers in the decade of 2005-2014. This was way higher than the figure of 1,429, that the deadly dengue killed during the same period. (Dipankar Gupta’s article (Why do Indians live dangerously?) TOI 3.11.18.

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About 28 motor cycle and scooter riders died daily on Indian roads in 2016 because of not wearing helmets (Dipankar Gupta’s article (Why do Indians live dangerously?) TOI 3.11.18

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In the past four years or so, a total of 23,013 people were killed while trespassing railway tracks, alighting from running trains or falling off them.

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Another study points out that as many as 452 workers lost their lives between 2013 and 2016, because normal precautions were not taken. The fact is not just the illiterate poor who take unnecessary risks. About 15 motorists die every day for not putting on their seat belts.

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The 2004 National policy for Urban Street Vendors states, India has about 10 million street vendors. The numbers would have surely gone up by then.—TOI article 23.1.19 Arbind Singh, the national coordinator of National Association of Street Vendors of India (Nasvi)

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India is home to the highest number of TB patients globally—TOI article dated 23.1.19

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A third of central government employees are due to retire in the next 10 years. On an aggregate basis, government is ‘short staffed’ going by the number of employees it can have. At the start of 2014, there were 33 lakh employees as against the sanctioned strength of 40.5 lakh, which translates into a shortage of around 18%. The maximum gap is in the revenue department where over 45% jobs are vacant.

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The pay panel of India has estimated that the US federal government has 668 employees for every one lakh citizens, compared to 139 in India.

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The average size of homes now being built in the US (average family size 2.4 people) has touched 2,600 sq ft, an all time high, and twice the size of most other developed countries. In contrast to that an Indian family with a household strength of 4.8 persons cramps itself in a 504 sq ft. Indian NSS computed that 32% of Indian urban homes are 258 sq ft or less, which translates to 60 sq ft per person—the minimum specified for a US prison cell.

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India’s per-capita emission is among the lowest in the world (155th in ranking) a tenth of that of the United States, and a 4th of that of China.

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White house is a mansion and office–cum-residence that has 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms.

***

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)

*****