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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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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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BOOK CORNER: LIFE’S AMAZING SECRETS–How to Find Balance and Purpose in Your Life … by Gaur Gopal Das

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.

LIFE’S AMAZING SECRETS

How to find balance and purpose in your life

By Gaur Gopal Das

Publisher: Penguin Ananda

Price Rs 250

    GGD (Gaur Gopal Das) is one of the most popular and widely followed monks of present times. Especially, when it comes to the young corporate crowd, who incessantly indulge in social media. GGD is an Electrical Engineer by qualification. After a brief stint with Hewlett Packard, he decided to live as a monk in an ashram, in downtown, Mumbai. And he has now remained there for twenty two years. Where, he has learnt the antiquity of ancient philosophy, and the modernity of contemporary psychology, to become a life coach to thousands in the city.

    He has been travelling all around the world since 2005, to share his wisdom with corporate executives, universities and even charities. In 2016, his global popularity exploded, when he took to online discourses. The purpose of this publication is, to make the readers find a right balance in their lives. The book is inundated with quotes and thoughts from various important and renowned personalities just as most motivational books.

   The book is a little over 200 pages. Largely written in easy and lucid language. There is no piercing story line in this. But the narration takes you through both the visible and the non-visible merry-go-round of life quite royally. To be true. It impacts you positively by the time you complete it. In other words it delights you intrinsically.

    The narration begins with the monk first having a meal with one of his wealthy bhakt, or you could say devotee, Hariprasad, in short Harry and his wife at their posh residence in South Mumbai. Thereafter harry offers to drop GGD to his place of stay and that is how this interesting conversation starts between Harry and the monk in Harry’s luxurious car.

    In such motivational books, one normally comes across, interesting life-lessons that carry the essence of life. The idea of course is to present the amrit post the manthan (churning) that one can straightaway drink, and in that manner this book is no different. And without being a spoiler, since the book, has only, recently been published, let me in a jiffy take you through the book.

    It has some twenty chapters. With blessings of ISKCON and his divine grace A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI SRILA PRABHUPADA whose teachings have been the foundation of this book, coupled with the monks own experiences.

    The book starts with an interesting content list that deals with a gamut of virtues relevant for life, such as, moral, divine, spiritual and behavioural niches that cut across religions. Broadly speaking it is not a Hindu book, as one might make out from the picture of GGD, clad in his saffron robe. On the contrary it is a friendly present to human beings.

    In the journey of life any human being, and that includes even the toughest, will surely come across monotony, clutter, dread, fear, wrath, happiness, dislocation and even temper. The narration has answers for all situations.

    The book is rich with many potent thoughts that will help one take on this tough world. There are interesting chapters that deal with; seeing beyond the obvious; life’s journey; growing through gratitude; why worry; spiritual practice; how to talk sensitively; a virtuous vision; correcting cautiously; forgiveness; fruitful associations; competitive crossroads; self-discovery; decoding spirituality at work; integrity and character; selfless service; family first; the nation narrative and the holy aspect of service that brings joy in life.

    Although GGD is a Hindu monk. Yet he has not propagated, the spirituality route of Hinduism so blatantly. That shows he wants to connect, basically with human beings, and not Hindus alone. A kind of global talent on spiritualism.

    He cites some very beautiful examples such as that of, Joshua Bell, the internationally renowned, violinist, in tag with the experiment of Washington Post. The author also goes on to say he gets up at 4 a.m. for his morning meditation and talks about his strong morning ritual that gives him incessant focus for the day.

    He dwells on thoughts and ideas and how they can change a man’s life where he gives his own example. He says, we are not human beings having spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings having human experiences—nicely plays with words.

    Most human beings have three things in common—we are all stuck, we all have a journey to complete and we all have a destination. He also goes on to describe God—there is one God. But is identified differently across different cultures.

    After every chapter the author has given a chapter summary which is very interesting as it comes in bullet points. The author raises an interesting question. Does spirituality kill ambition? Well, I’m not going to divulge the answer to the questions raised by the author in this book and the readers will only have to find their own answers by reading the book. The book is available both in print and e-book format. The book also has a few worksheets at the end. A kind of recall test.

    If I need to describe the book, keeping my life in mind. I would say the book touches my soul several times during the day. Say from the time I open my eyes in the morning, till the time I close my eyes in the night.

    The book has been appreciated by, film star and M.P. Hema Malini and also by Central Minister in the BJP Government, Nitin Gatkari.

   I would give the book seven out of ten. It is a worthwhile read. Especially, for corporate executives who face a lot of ups and downs in terms of their career and even their future. It is not a literary masterpiece but yes it conveys some very valuable lessons.

Synopsis 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 CORNER: LAJJA by Taslima Nasrin

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.

    Taslima Nasrin is an award winning writer and a human rights activist. She is also known for her passionate writings on the oppression of women and criticism of religious fundamentalism. She was born in Mymensingh in Bangladesh in 1962. She started writing at the age of fourteen and was acclaimed as a major writer in Dhaka in her late twenties. Her writings also became popular across the border in West Bengal when she won the prestigious Ananda Purashkar in 1992 and then again in 2000. After being forced to leave Bangladesh in 1994, Taslima has lived in India, Europe and the US. She has written more than thirty books, including poetry, essays, novels and memoirs. Her works have been translated into over twenty Indian and European languages.

    Taslima detests fundamentalism and communalism. This was the reason why she wrote Lajja soon after the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992. She says the book took her seven days to write, and deals with the persecution of Hindus, a religious minority in Bangladesh, by the Muslims who were in majority. ‘It is disgraceful that the Hindus in my country were hunted by the Muslims after the destruction of the Babri Masjid. All of us who love Bangladesh should feel ashamed that such a terrible thing could happen in our beautiful country. The riots that took place in 1992 in Bangladesh are the responsibility of us all, and we are all to blame. Lajja is a document of our collective defeat.’

    Lajja was first published in February 1993 in Bangladesh, and sold over 60,000 copies before it was banned. It even earned her a bounty on her head from Islamic fundamentalists and that forced her to flee from her country. Lajja is not only an invaluable historical document but also a text whose relevance has unfortunately not diminished in the two decades since it was published. The novel’s central concern is the evil of communalism that continues to plague the subcontinent, erupting from time to time like a dormant volcano.

    It chronicles the terrifying disintegration of a Hindu family living in Bangladesh in the aftermath of the riots that break out to avenge the destruction of the mosque in India. Hundreds of temples across Bangladesh are grounded to dust or desecrated. Hindu men are butchered, women raped, houses burnt to cinders, and property confiscated. Nasrin brings out the sufferings inflicted on the “minority” community through the trials faced by Sudhamoy Datta, an upright physician who had fought in the Liberation War of 1971 at immense personal cost, along with his family.

    The Dattas, as Nasrin reveals, are divided on the question of staying on, in the land they have always thought of, as their home. Their ancestral seat in the village, once thriving and prosperous, has been usurped by their Muslim neighbours, forcing them to seek refuge in a rented house in Dhaka. However, Sudhamoy stubbornly, desperately, and naively holds on to his faith in the inherent goodness of fellow human beings, even at a time when his allies are turning against his family. His son Suronjon is more vulnerable to the circumstances. Like his father, Suranjon refuses to run away from the country of his birth or give in to communal sentiments he had condemned all his life, but his feelings begin to shift after a terrible tragedy visits the family.

    Sudhamoy’s wife Kiranmoyee and daughter Maya are far less squeamish about making an exodus to India for the sake of their lives and dignity. But then the women, as Nasrin insinuates, are mere pawns in the hands of the men. Maya’s prayer for security is beggared by the lofty ideals of her indifferent, irresponsible and vagabond brother, who remains unemployed mostly for refusing to take orders from anyone. Kiranmoyee nurses a deep, intimate pain, sacrificing every chance of happiness for the sake of her husband’s unshakeable resolve to remain rooted to the land of his birth, even as the consequences of his choice are horrible.

    While focused on the plight of the persecuted, Nasrin’s plot never departs from an area of moral discomfort, never pitting one community against the other or shying away from showing up the prejudices that infiltrate the minds of both Hindus and Muslims.

    Yet, in spite of its sustained ethical complexity, Lajja is not a literary masterpiece but close to it in terms of narration. Nasrin’s plot is interrupted by long roll-calls of damages and killings every few pages. Frequent discourses on politics and power also slow down the pace, and the sub-plots, especially, related to Suronjon’s jilted romantic life. Perhaps, that deserved more attention.

   Secular was supposed to be one of the strong beliefs of the Bengali Muslim, especially during the war of independence, when everyone had to cooperate with one another to win victory. But now the spirit had not only dwindled but had exhausted completely.

    Though ‘Lajja’ is the story of the Duttas, they are reverted to the background, and the newspaper reports and eye-witness accounts, with facts and figures about the number of people killed, temples destroyed, properties looted and women raped, becomes the main theme of the book. This inter-mingling of numerous statistical data with a fictional plot is done with such subtleness and so seamlessly that it becomes a part of the story. The data is not just parroted in the book. It comes as a dialogue from anxious Bengalis living in fear  of their lives, and this is what adds life to these numbers. It makes you realise the enormity and graveness of the situation, and sympathise with the victims. In the ultimate the story ends as a tragedy when Maya who is Suronjon’s sister and Kiranmoyee and Sudhamoy’s daughter is at a point of no return—perhaps dead. Finally Sudhamoy agrees to the long drawn suggestion of his son Suronjon to move to India.

    If you’ve not read the book you’ve indeed missed an endemic view point of life. I would give the book eight 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)

(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

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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)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK CORNER VIDEO: ‘The Girl in Room 105’ by Chetan Bhagat

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

 

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

(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)

*****

 

 

 

LIT CORNER: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING by Jeff Keller

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.

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING …Change your attitude … change your life

By Jeff Keller

First published in 2015 and in India in 2017

by: Harper Collins Publishers India

Short book of 128 pages

Price Rs 199

    Jeff Keller is the founder President of, ‘Attitude is everything, Inc.,’ that happens to be his organisation. For more than 20 years he has delivered presentations on attitude and motivation through this organisation. He is also the author of the book, ‘Here’s to your success’ which contains 62 of his most popular essays. Jeff is a native New Yorker and has the accent to prove it.

    The subject book is inundated with lovely quotes of many renowned personalities and that itself gives a great fillip to the book because of which it impacts the readers. Jeff is a lawyer by qualification. But he hates his profession and thinks it is not his cup of tea. So one day he decides to move out of this profession. Where, his wife Dolores supports him changing his career line. He then transforms from a lawyer to a motivational speaker. But before taking a stand in life he doesn’t forget to change his attitude.

   He dwells on the concept of THINK—SPEAK—ACT. The book is a deluge of inspiring sentences and I’m sure it must have taken a great amount of effort for the author to pull out these quotes and proverbs from the lit-treasure. He convinces … Ones attitude is ones window to the world. And he goes on to define attitude quite comprehensively. He defines attitude as the secret power working 24×7. The author gives a sound correlation between attitude and success. If your attitude is positive you’re only bound to succeed he says. Thinking is another parameter important to achieve your dreams in life he feels—we become what we think about.

    Then he even talks about attitude versus action. Another very striking point that he makes in his narration is about circumstances … your circumstances reflect what you’ve been thinking about.

    While talking about success he advises not to count on overnight success but work hard for it. And also be so certain about it so that you can have an optic hallucination about it beforehand. So picture it for yourself.

    In whatever you do, first commit to yourself, and you will surely move mountains. Even when you’re working for a company or doing a job, commit first to yourself that you can deliver. It further narrates about converting your problems into milestone opportunities.

    Another important point that he makes is when he cautions you on the words you utter. Watch your words he says—repeat anything often enough and it will start becoming you—when he quotes author TOM HOPKINS. Which is quite similar to the Hindi word THATHASTU (as you wish) that God might use to bless his bhakts. Remember, your words have the potential to blaze a trail (find a new path). When we keep repeating certain phrases over and over again, it as if forms a groove in our mind.

    The author lays a lot of importance on the negative & positive responses from the people when you wish them. For example when someone asks you, ‘how are you’ and the way you answer is very important in determining how you’re going to be.

    We should also stop being on a complaining mode as it brings down your wherewithal to respond to situations. And we should always associate with positive colleagues, friends and even relatives and should move away from naysayers or cynics.

    Then he makes some other important points such as confronting your fears. If you don’t confront your fears the fear will only grow on you. Talks about networking which is extremely important in today’s day and age and also advices you to be a good listener.

    Overall it’s an interesting book. With a lot of highlights you might already be aware of but then it’s been packaged quite well in appropriate sequence that impacts one’s mind. Written in lucid language easy to understand. Where each page is formatted quite well and looks very attractive—good job by the publisher.

    If nothing else this motivational book could even be picked up for the fascinating quotes and proverbs of various renowned personalities.

    Although it is a good read for all age groups I would definitely recommend it more for the working age group.

    I would give the book seven out of ten.

***

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

(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 CORNER VIDEO: ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

 

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

(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)

*****