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BOOK REVIEW: POEM: ‘GUNGA DIN’ by Joseph Rudyard Kipling

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Khidki (Window)

–Read 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.

   Joseph Rudyard Kipling, lifespan, (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936, 71 years) was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and a novelist. Since, Kipling was born in India, much of his work has reflections of India.

Kipling’s works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including “The Man Who Would Be King” (1888). His poems include “Mandalay” (1890), “Gung Din” (1890), “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” (1919), “The White Man’s Burden” (1899), and “If—” (1910). He is seen as an innovator in the art of the short story. His children’s books are classics.

    Kipling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was among the United Kingdom’s most popular writers. In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first, English-language writer, to receive the prize, and at 41, its youngest recipient till date. He was also sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and several times for knighthood, but declined both. Following his death in 1936, his ashes were interred at the Poets’ Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey.

    “Gunga Din” is an 1890 poem by Rudyard Kipling set in British India. The poem is mostly remembered for its final line: “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din”.

    The poem is a rhyming narrative from the point of view of a British soldier in India. Its titular character, is an Indian water-carrier, (a bhishti) who, after the narrator is wounded in a battle, saves his life, only to be shot and killed. In the final three lines, the soldier regrets the abuse that he perpetrated on Gunga Din and admits that Gunga Din is the better man. The poem was published, as part of a set of martial poems, called the Barrack-Room Ballads. In contrast to Kipling’s later poem, “The White Man’s Burden”, “Gunga Din” is named after an Indian and portrays him as a heroic character who is not afraid to face danger on the battlefield as he attends to wounded men. The white soldiers who order Gunga Din around and beat him for not bringing them water fast enough are presented as being callous and shallow and ultimately inferior to him.

    Although “Din” is frequently pronounced to rhyme with “pin”, the rhymes within the poem make it clear that it should be pronounced, to rhyme with “green”.

    T.S. Eliot included the poem in his 1941 collection. A Choice of Kipling’s Verse. The poem inspired a 1939 adventure film of the same name.  The theme of Gunga Din was subsequently adapted into several other movies. And now the poem “Gunga Din”:

You may talk o’ gin and beer 

When you’re quartered safe out ’air ere,   

An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;

But when it comes to slaughter   

You will do your work on water,

An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of’ I’m that’s got it.   

Now in Injia’s sunny clime,   

Where I used to spend my time   

A-servin’ of ’Er Majesty the Queen,   

Of all them blackfaced crew   

The finest man I knew

Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din,   

      He was ‘Din! Din! Din!

   ‘You limpin’ lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!

      ‘Hi! Slippy hitherao (means idhar aoo)

      ‘Water, get it! Panee lao,

   ‘You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.’

The uniform ’e wore

Was nothin’ much before,

An’ rather less than ’arf o’ that be’ind,

For a piece o’ twisty rag   

An’ a goatskin water-bag

Was all the field-equipment ’e could find.

When the sweatin’ troop-train lay

In a sidin’ through the day,

Where the ’eat would make your bloomin’ eyebrows crawl,

We shouted ‘Harry By!’

Till our throats were bricky-dry,

Then we wopped ’im ’cause ’e couldn’t serve us all.

      It was ‘Din! Din! Din!

   ‘You ’eathen, where the mischief ’ave you been?   

      ‘You put some juldee in it

      ‘Or I’ll marrow you this minute

   ‘If you don’t fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!’

’E would dot an’ carry one

Till the longest day was done;

An’ ’e didn’t seem to know the use o’ fear.

If we charged or broke or cut,

You could bet your bloomin’ nut,

’E’d be waitin’ fifty paces right flank rear.   

With ’is mussick on ’is back,

’E would skip with our attack,

An’ watch us till the bugles made ‘Retire,’   

An’ for all ’is dirty ’ide

’E was white, clear white, inside

When ’e went to tend the wounded under fire!   

      It was ‘Din! Din! Din!’

   With the bullets kickin’ dust-spots on the green.   

      When the cartridges ran out,

      You could hear the front-ranks shout,   

   ‘Hi! ammunition-mules an’ Gunga Din!’

I shan’t forgit the night

When I dropped be’ind the fight

With a bullet where my belt-plate should ’a’ been.   

I was chokin’ mad with thirst,

An’ the man that spied me first

Was our good old grinnin’, gruntin’ Gunga Din.   

’E lifted up my ’ead,

An’ he plugged me where I bled,

An’ ’e guv me ’arf-a-pint o’ water green.

It was crawlin’ and it stunk,

But of all the drinks I’ve drunk,

I’m gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.

      It was ‘Din! Din! Din!

   ‘’Ere’s a beggar with a bullet through ’is spleen;   

   ‘’E’s chawin’ up the ground,

      ‘An’ ’e’s kickin’ all around:

   ‘For Gawd’s sake git the water, Gunga Din!’

’E carried me away

To where a dooli lay,

An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.   

’E put me safe inside,

An’ just before ’e died,

‘I ’ope you liked your drink,’ sez Gunga Din.   

So I’ll meet ’im later on

At the place where ’e is gone—

Where it’s always double drill and no canteen.   

’E’ll be squattin’ on the coals

Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,

An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!   

      Yes, Din! Din! Din!

   You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!   

   Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,   

      By the livin’ Gawd that made you,

   You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

A beautiful poem that tributes an Indian bhishti by a British soldier.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh September 30 2020.

(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)

*****

SHORT STORY: THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE-ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

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    The famous story of the, ‘Hare and the Tortoise’ was written, long back, by Aesop.

    In this story the hare had lost the race. Thereafter, an adage was coined, when everyone in the world, started quoting the example of Tortoise by saying, the slow and steady wins the race that spearheads the value of persistence and dedication.

    But, no one has ever bothered to ask the Hare his version of the story. So let me tell you the story from a different point of view. I once met the Hare and sat down with him for a heart to heart talk. And this is what the hare had to say after we spent the better part of a balmy summer afternoon getting to know each other.

    It was a wonderful experience talking to the hare and this is what he had to say.

    “Yes, I am the hare who lost the race. No, I did not get lazy or complacent. Let me explain how I saw things.

    I was hopping over the meadows near the hills and looked back to realize that the tortoise was nowhere in sight.

    Assured of my healthy lead, I decided to take a short nap under the large banyan tree near the pond.

    The pressure of the race had kept me up all night. For days, that old silly tortoise had boasted about his ability to plod for hundreds of miles without stopping.
    Life is a marathon, said the hare and not a sprint. So, I wanted to show him that I could run both far and fast.

    The shade of the tree was like an umbrella. I found an oval rock, covered it with grass, and turned it into a makeshift pillow.

    I could hear the leaves rustling and the bees buzzing – it felt they were collaborating and even conspiring to put me to sleep. And it didn’t take them long to succeed.

    I saw myself floating on a log in a beautiful stream of water. As I came near the shore, I found an old man, with a flowing beard, sitting on a rock in a meditative pose. He opened his eyes, gave me an all-knowing smile, and asked:

    “Who are you?”

    “I am a hare that is running a race.”

    “But why?”

    “Just to prove, to all the creatures in the jungle that I am the fastest.”

    “But, why do you want to prove that you are the fastest?” Asked the old man.

    “So that I get a medal which will give me status which will give me money and that’ll get me food…”

    “There is already so much food around.” He pointed at the forest located at a close distance. “Look at all those trees laden with fruits and nuts, all those leafy branches. It’s all for you. Go eat.”

    “But I also want respect. I want to be remembered as the fastest hare who ever lived.”

    “Do you know the name of the fastest deer or the largest elephant or the strongest lion who lived a thousand years before you?” Asked the old man.

    “No.” Said the hare.

    “Today you have been challenged by a tortoise. Tomorrow, it will be a snake. Then it will be a zebra. Will you keep racing all your life to prove that you are the fastest?” Asked the old man.

    “Hmm. I didn’t think in that manner. Sorry, I don’t want to race all my life.”

    “So then, what do you want to do?”

    “I want to sleep under a banyan tree on a makeshift pillow while the leaves rustle and the bees buzz. I want to hop over the meadows near the hills and swim in the pond.”

    “You can do all these things this very moment, so forget the race. Life is so uncertain. You are here today, but you will be gone tomorrow.” Said the old man.

    And I suddenly woke up from my sleep. The ducks in the pond looked happy. I jumped into the pond, startling them for a moment. They looked at me quizzically and asked.

    “Weren’t you supposed to be racing with the tortoise today?”

    “It’s a pointless race. An exercise in futility. All I want in life is to be here. Said the hare.

    Hopefully, someday, someone, will tell the world my story. That I lost the rat-race but won the life race.

    The idea of a good life is a balance … friends. Hare tells us that.

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 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh September 30 2020.

(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: IS THE AGE OF 40 TOO LESS FOR HERCULEAN ACHIEVEMENTS–FIVE REAL LIVE CASES OF LIT-LUMANRIES

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    What is the right age to achieve something in life? Is 40 years, too less a time, or sufficient time to achieve something in life? In this context let me give you an example of 5 lit-luminaries of the 19th century who are more or less contemporaries and who became world renowned figures in their short lifespan. Let me start with Swami Vivekananda an Indian monk, a spiritual guru and also a lit-luminary, lifespan 12th January 1863 – 4th July 1902, a total of 39 years. Let me follow it up with American writer Edgar Allan Poe, born on 19th January 1809, died on 17th October 1849, a life span of 40 years. Then you have the French writer Guy De Maupassant, born on 5th August 1850 and died on 6th July 1893, a life span of 42 years. In the rostrum there is also, Nikolai Vasilie Gogol, a Russian writer of Ukraine origin, who was born on 20th March 1809 and died on 21st February 1852, a life span of 43 years. And last but not the least we have Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, a Russian playwright and short-story writer born on 29th January 1860, he died on 15th July 1904, at the age of forty-four. They all left behind a phenomenal legacy of success and heaps of lessons for the future generations within the ebbs and flows of their limited lifespan.

    The mean life expectancy in the 19th century was around 40-45 years. Life expectancy today is around 72 years. There are two off-shoots to this. One, they lived around hundred to ninety percent of the average life expectancy of those times. Two, they only lived for around forty years—a time period, much too less, for any significant milestone achievement barring sports and some other similar careers. When we compare 40 years with today’s life expectancy, it is only around 55%. So then, does life-expectancy, has anything to do with your achievements. The case-study of the quintet says no. There are some more authors, poets and lit-figures from various other countries who created a name for themselves and died very young, say between the age of 17 and 35 years, but I’m not discussing them in this short hypothesis. So, isn’t it, the irony of nature that some in a short lifespan of 40 years make gigantic strides, while others don’t even do that in a century?

    Second half of 19th century, when these five were alive and kicking saw some paradigm changes in their countries. Some major events were as follows. India had the First War of Independence in 1857. British East India Company was replaced by the British Crown in 1858. In Russia there was the Crimean War in 1856, Caucasian War in 1864 and the capture of Tashkent by the Russian Army in 1865, Sale of Alaska in 1867, Russian Turkish War in 1877, the severe famine in 1891, Death of Alexander-III in 1894, and the first party congress of Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). In America and Europe Slavery was abolished, first and Second Industrial Revolutions which overlapped with the 18th and 20th centuries respectively led to massive urbanization. Construction of Suez Canal began in 1859, connecting Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea that enabled a more direct route for shipping between Europe and Asia. The Islamic gunpowder empires (Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal) were formally dissolved and European imperialism, brought much of South Asia, Southeast Asia and almost all of Africa under colonial rule. It was also marked by the collapse of the Spanish rulers, Zulu Kingdom, First French Empire, Holy Roman and the Mughal Empire.

    Even with all the hullabaloo in their country and continent there was still calm in these five luminaries. They had single focus, just like Arjun’s concentration—machli ki aankh (eye of the fish) and that was … write, write and write till their last moments. Though, born into an aristocratic Bengali Kayastha family of Calcutta, yet Swami Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru, Ramakrishna, from whom he learnt, that all living beings, were an embodiment of the divine self. Therefore, service to God, could only be rendered by service to mankind and a lot of that came through texts. In particular I must also mention that Anton Chekhov fell sick in 1885 yet he kept writing till he died of tuberculosis in 1904. Some of them even had financial problems leading to trying times to obtain education and some even had to support their education by writing scripts for magazines and even by selling fish. Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, the second child of actors David and Elizabeth Poe. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. He became an orphan yet he fought back to become one of the most formidable writers of short stories. When Maupassant was 11, his mother, an independent minded woman took a divorce from her husband and Maupassant thereafter lived with his mother who was the single biggest influence on him but that entailed hardships. Gogol lost his father at the age of fifteen yet he aspired to become a writer.

    So then, what is the central idea of life? Well that is to have a mission within all the diversions. Nothing is possible without a mission. And if you can’t fix a mission for yourself follow your heart just as these luminaries did and that itself will take you to your mission.

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 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh September 30 2020.

(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)

*****

SHORT STORY: HOW LONG DO YOU WANT YOUR NAME TO LIVE by Kamlesh Tripathi

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    Once a sadhu asked a devotee, a trader, who had come to see him, ‘How long do you want to live and how long do you want your name to live?’

    The trader was quite clear in his mind. He said, ‘Sadhu Maharaj, I want to live for hundred years.’

    ‘And how long do you want your name to live?’ The Sadhu repeated his question.

    ‘I’m rich and powerful so don’t worry about that, for my name will live through my shops in various cities and through my children.’

    Upon hearing this the Sadhu kept quiet and started meditating. After a little while he opened his eyes and said. ‘Tathasthu! May you live a long life but let me give you a word of caution. Build a serai and dig a well on the highway that goes to the north, where pilgrims can rest and have water from the well. And remember to name the serai in your own name.’

    The trader upon hearing all the cheerful things felt very happy and left for his house in a merry mood but only after doling out a handsome donation to the ashram. On his way back he thought about the Sadhu’s suggestion, of constructing a serai and a well, to promote his name, but discarded the same, as he was confident that his children and his business will take care of that angle of his life. After reaching home the trader got on with his ostentatious lifestyle, and so did the Sadhu with his austere living. Of course the trader did tell his wife that he can hope for a long and happy life, and that his name, shall keep shining through his children and shops as visualised by the Sadhu. But the sadhu had one worthless, expensive suggestion and that was to construct a serai and a well on the highway that goes up north.

    The wife took the suggestion of the serai and the well rather seriously, for she knew, enlightened people, make measured statements. With great difficulty she coaxed her husband to construct a serai and a well for the welfare of the pilgrims passing the highway, in his name. And after it was constructed, it was inaugurated by the trader and his family. But then, over a period of time it was left at its own mercy without the care of the family.

    A decade had passed after that. One day when the Sadhu was meditating in his ashram he saw a familiar looking person with a lady perhaps his wife approaching him in his ashram. He looked very unhappy and he introduced himself as the trader. The Sadhu recognised him almost immediately and asked after his business and his children.

    The trader replied, ‘Business is doing well and so are the children.’

    ‘Then why are you looking so despondent?’

    The trader hesitated for a few moments and then said, ‘Because, as predicted by you I do have a long life but I don’t have a tall name.’

    ‘But why? If I remember correctly, you had told me years back that you have your children and shops to look after you and take your name forward.’

    ‘Yes I did, but when my children grew up they divided the business among themselves and renamed the shops and left we two on the lurch. So now we neither have their loving company nor do I have my name on the shops.

    ‘But I had asked you to do something else also.’ The Sadhu tried to remember.

    ‘Yes, you had told me to construct a serai and a well on the highway in my own name, which my wife coaxed me to do and now it is always filled with pilgrims.’

    ‘So then you’ve not lost your name. Your name is as tall as it should be because of that serai which is in your name where hundreds of pilgrims come and stay and carry your name to the length and breadth of the country. So rejoice dear friend.’ Said the Sadhu.

    ‘No I can’t, because that is not all. I don’t have a place of my choice to stay.’

    ‘But you have. The ashram is open for you and moreover you have been sending your donation every year without fail to feed these needy people that you see here.’

    ‘Strange, I never sent any donation barring the one that I gave personally when I came here.’

    ‘No but I’ve received your donation every year. So welcome to the ashram.’ Said the Sadhu.

    The trader was surprised at what the Sadhu was saying, for he had not sent a penny to the ashram. Suddenly, he glanced at his wife and saw her smiling after ages and realised that she was the one was sending the donation to the ashram year after year.

    The story conveys a real life situation that we all face when we grow old and retire. Children get busy with their own lives. This is the time when one becomes frail. He is through with his position and power and what is left of his or her are only the dividends of his noble deeds. So, be ethically and morally savvy. Invest in things that will give you a name even after you’re gone.

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 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh September 30 2020.

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

*****

BOOK REVIEW: ‘THE OVERCOAT’ – Nikolai Gogol

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Khidki (Window)

–Read 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.

“The Overcoat” sometimes also translated as ‘The Cloak’ was written by Ukrainian-born Russian author Nikolai Gogol. It is a short story that was published in the year 1842. Both the story and the author have had a great influence on Russian literature, as expressed in a quote about Russian realist writers, by French lit-critic Eugene-Melchoir de Vogue, often misattributed to Russian Novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky that says, “We all come out from Gogol’s ‘Overcoat’.” While writing in 1941, American-Russian novelist Vladmir Nabakov called it ‘The greatest Russian short story ever written.’ The story has been adapted into a variety of stage and film interpretations.

    The story narrates very sharply the life and death of a titular councillor Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin, an impoverished government clerk and copyist in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. Although Akaky is dedicated to his job, he is faintly recognized in his department for his hard work. Instead, the younger clerks tease him and attempt to distract him whenever they can. His threadbare overcoat is often the centre of their jokes. One day Akaky decides it is now necessary to have the coat repaired. He takes it to his tailor Petrovich, who declares, the coat is now irreparable, and tells him that he must now buy a new overcoat.

    The cost of a new overcoat is beyond Akaky’s meager salary, so he forces himself to live within a strict budget to save sufficient money to buy the new overcoat. Meanwhile, he and Petrovich frequently meet to discuss the style of the new coat. During that time, Akaky’s zeal for his work of copying is replaced with excitement about his new overcoat, to the point that he stops thinking about anything else. Finally, with the addition of an unexpected large holiday salary bonus, Akaky has saved enough money to buy a new overcoat.

    Akaky and Petrovich go to various shops in St. Petersburg and pick the finest materials that they can afford. Marten fur is too expensive, so they use cat fur for the collar. The new coat finally emerges impressive and of good quality and appearance and becomes the talk of Akaky’s office on the day he arrives wearing it. His superior decides to host a party in the honour of the new overcoat, but Akaky who is habitually solitary feels out of place. After the party, Akaky goes home, far later than he normally would. But en route home, two ruffians short shrift him, take his coat, kick him down badly, and leave him in the snow to die.

    Akaky gets no help from the authorities in recovering his lost overcoat. Finally, on the advice of another clerk in his department, he asks for help from an important person, a Russian general recently promoted to his position who belittles and shouts at his subordinates to solidify his self-importance. After keeping Akaky waiting, the general demands of him exactly why he has brought such a trivial matter to him, personally, and not presented it to his secretary. Socially inept, Akaky makes an unflattering remark about departmental secretaries, provoking, so powerful a scolding from the general that he nearly faints and has to be led away from the general’s office. Soon thereafter, Akaky falls seriously ill with fever. In his last hours, he is delirious, imagining himself again sitting before the general. At first, Akaky pleads forgiveness, but as his death nears, he curses the general.

    Soon, a corpse, identified as Akaky’s ghost, haunts areas of St. Petersburg, taking overcoats from people. The police find it difficult to capture him. Finally, Akaky’s ghost catches up with the general—who, since Akaky’s death, had begun to feel guilty over having mistreated him—and takes his overcoat by frightening him intensely. Satisfied, Akaky is not seen again. The narrator ends his narration with the account of another ghost seen in another part of the city.

    Apparently it is a simple story of a common man and his tribulations, and the final denouement. But when you dig in deeper, you see the condition of Russia in the early 1800s, and a parable of the yoke of feudalism and how it crushes individuality. Akaky-Bashmachkin is the representation of the common man that is victimized under the feudal regime and its social and economic structure. He is a man who has no grasp at all of the true meaning of freedom. Gogol expresses it very well through the fabric of a simple, everyday story of that subaltern copying clerk.

    Gogol is considered the father of realism in Russian literature, and he, along with Pushkin brought about the emergence of Russian literature as we know it. He wrote about people on the ground and his protagonists and their troubles are troubles of your and mines. The Overcoat is a good read.

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 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh September 30 2020.

(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)

*****

SHORT STORY: TANTALUS

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In Greek mythology, Tartarus is the deep abyss that is used as a dungeon of torment and suffering for the wicked and as the prison for the Titans. Tartarus is the place where, according to Plato’s Gorgias (Plato was an Athenian philosopher and Gorgias was the Socratic dialogue written by Plato. In rhetoric, Socratic dialogue is an argument (or series of arguments) using the question-and-answer method employed by Socrates in Plato’s Dialogues. Also known as Platonic dialogue). So according to Plato’s Gorgias, souls are judged after death and where the wicked receive divine punishment. Tartarus is also considered to be a primordial force or a deity alongside entities such as the Earth, Night and Time.

    Tantalus, in ancient Greek is a mythological figure. He is most famous for his eternal punishment in Tartarus. He was also called Atys.

    He was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a sip.

    He was the father of Pelops, Niobe and Broteas, and was the son of Zeus and the nymph Plouto. (Although the scholion ie interpretation of Euripides in his play Orestes, names Tmolos as the father). Thus, like other heroes in Greek mythology such as Theseus and the Dioskouroi, Tantalus had both a hidden and divine parent and a mortal one.

    The Greeks used the proverb “Tantalean punishments” in reference to those who have good things but are not permitted to enjoy them.

    The word tantalize comes from a Greek story about a guy named Tantalus who was so evil that the gods of the underworld came up with a special punishment just for him (they were really good at that). They put him in a pool of water that drained away every time he bent down to drink.

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 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh September 30 2020.

(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: THE GUNPOWDER EMPIRES

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    The Period of the Gunpowder Empires is also known as the Era of the Islamic Gunpowders. It refers to the epoch of the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires from the 16th to the 18th century. The three empires were among the strongest and most stable out of the early modern period, leading to expansion and greater patronage of culture, while their political and legal institutions were consolidated with an increasing degree of centralisation. They underwent a significant increase in income and population and a sustained pace of technological innovation. These empires were spread from the Eastern Europe and North Africa in the west, to between today’s modern Bangladesh and Myanmar in the east.

    They were Islamic, and had, considerable military and economic success. Vast amount of territories were conquered by the Islamic Gunpowder Empires, with the use and development of the newly invented firearms, especially cannon and small arms, in the course of imperial construction. Unlike in Europe, the introduction of gunpowder weapons prompted changes well beyond military organization. The Mughals, based in the Indian subcontinent, are recognised for their lavish architecture, while the Safavids created an efficient and modern state administration for Iran, and sponsored major developments in the fine arts, and the sultan of the Constantinople-based Ottoman caliphate—an Islamic state, also known as the Caesar of Rome, was the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, and thus head of the Islamic world. Their powers, wealth, architecture, and various contributions significantly influenced the course of Asian history.

    The Period of the Gunpowder Empires refers to the epoch of the Ottoman, in present Modern Turkish, was a state that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. In addition you had the Safavid a Persian dynasty, romanized was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran, from 1501 to 1736. The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the Safavid order of Sufism, which was established, in the city of, Ardabil in the Iranian Azerbaijan region. It was an Iranian dynasty of Kurdish origin, but during their rule they intermarried with Turkoman, Georgian, Circassian (Sunni Muslim people of the north-western Caucasus– between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea in Caucasia—the white skinned Europeans), and Pontic Greek  who are dignitaries that lived on the southern coast of Black Sea. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavids established control over parts of Greater Iran and reasserted the Iranian identity of the region, thus becoming the first native dynasty since the Sasanian Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians to establish a national state officially known as Iran.

    The Ottoman, Safa-vid and Mughal empires from the 16th century to the 18th century were the most muscular empires and amongst the most brawny.

        But how did this term Gunpowder Empire come into play. Well, it’s a Hodgson-McNeill concept. The phrase Gunpowder Empire was coined by Marshall G.S. Hodgson and his colleague William H. McNeill at the University of Chicago. Hodgson used the phrase in the title of Book 5 (“The Second Flowering: The Empires of Gunpowder Times”) of his highly influential three-volume work, The Venture of Islam (1974). Hodgson saw gunpowder weapons as the key to the “military patronage or military centered states of the Later Middle Period” which replaced the unstable, geographically limited, confederations of Turkic clans that prevailed in post-Mongol times. Hodgson defined a “military patronage state” as one having three characteristics:

    First, a legitimization of, independent dynastic law. Second, the conception of the whole state as a single military force. Third, the attempt to explain all economic and high cultural resources as appanages or grants of the chief military families.

    Such states grew “out of Mongol notions of greatness,” but such notions could mature fully and create stable bureaucratic empires only after gunpowder weapons and their specialized technology attained a primary place in military life of the state.

    McNeill argued that whenever such states “were able to monopolize the new artillery, central authorities were able to unite larger territories into new, or consolidate new empires.” So, monopolization was the key. Although Europe pioneered the development of new artillery in the fifteenth century, no state monopolized it. Gun-casting know-how had been concentrated in the Low Countries near the mouths of the Scheldt and Rhine rivers in Europe. France and the Habsburgs, generally the rulers of Germany, Austria and Spain divided those territories among themselves, resulting in an arms standoff. By contrast, such monopolies allowed states to create militarized empires in Western Asia, Russia, and India, and “in a considerably, modified fashion” in China, Korea, and Japan.

    More recently, the Hodgson-McNeill Gunpowder-Empire hypothesis has been termed into disfavour, as it offers neither “adequate nor accurate” explanation, although the term remains in use.

     Reasons other than or in addition to military technology have been offered for the nearly simultaneous rise of three centralized military empires in contiguous areas dominated by decentralized Turkic tribes. One explanation, called “Confessionalization” by historians of fifteenth century Europe, invokes examination of how the relation of church and state “mediated through confessional statements and church ordinances” led to the origins of absolutist polities.

    The first of the three empires to acquire gunpowder weapons was the Ottoman Empire. By the 14th century, the Ottomans had adopted gunpowder artillery. The adoption of the gunpowder weapons by the Ottomans was so rapid that they preceded both their European and Middle Eastern adversaries in establishing centralized and permanent troops specialized in the manufacturing and handling of firearms. But it was their use of artillery that shocked their adversaries and impelled the other two Islamic empires to accelerate their weapons programs. The Ottomans had artillery at least by the reign of Bayezid the Ottoman Sultan, and these were used by them in the sieges of Constantinople in 1399 and 1402. They finally proved their worth as siege engines in the successful siege of Salonica in the Ottoman kingdom in 1430. The Ottomans employed Middle-Eastern as well as European foundries to cast their cannons, and by the siege of Constanti-nople in 1453, they had large enough cannons to batter the walls of any city, to the surprise of the defenders.

    The Ottoman military’s regularized use of firearms proceeded ahead of the pace of their European counterparts. The Janissaries (Ottoman Sultan’s household troops) had been an infantry bodyguard using bows and arrows. During the rule of Sultan Mehmed II they were drilled with firearms and became “perhaps the first standing infantry force equipped with firearms in the world.” The Janissaries are thus considered the first modern standing armies. The combination of artillery and Janissary firepower proved decisive at Battle of Varna, eastern Bulgaria in 1444 against a force of Crusaders, Baskent in 1473 against the Aq Qoyunlu, (a Sunni Turkoman Tribal) and Mohacs in 1526 against Hungary. But the battle which convinced the Safavids and the Mughals of the efficacy of the gunpowder was Chaldiran in 1514. A victory of Ottoman over Sadavid.

  The musket gun later appeared in the Ottoman Empire by 1465. Damascus steel was later used in the production of firearms such as the musket from the 16th century. At the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, the Janissaries equipped with 2000 tüfenks (usually translated as musket) “formed nine consecutive rows and they fired their weapons row by row,” in a “kneeling or standing position without the need for additional support or rest.” The Chinese later adopted the Ottoman kneeling position for firing. In 1598, Chinese writer Zhao Shizhen described Turkish muskets as being superior to European muskets. 

     The Dardanelles Gun or the great Turkish canon was designed and cast in bronze in 1464 by one Munir Ali. The Dardanelles Gun was still present for duty more than 340 years later in 1807, when a Royal Navy force appeared and commenced the Dardanelles Operation. Turkish forces loaded the ancient relics with propellant and Projectiles, then fired them at the British ships. The British squadron suffered 28 casualties from this bombardment.

    It’s a long topic. I’ve just given you a flavour.

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 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh September 30 2020.

(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)

*****

SHORT STORY: RUMPELSTILTSKIN

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    An interesting fairy tale that we might have read in our childhood. The name Rumpelstilzchen, in German, literally means, “little rattle stilt,” which means a dwarf in the German folktale who spins flax or straw into gold for a young woman on the condition that she give him her first child or else guess his name.

    In order to appear superior, a miller lies to the king, telling him that his daughter can spin straw into gold.  The king calls for the girl, shuts her in a tower room, filled with straw and a spinning wheel, and demands she spin the straw into gold by morning or he will cut her head off. In other versions the king threatens to lock her up in a dungeon forever, or to punish her father for lying. And, when she has given up all hope, an imp (a mysterious devil like creature) appears in the room and spins the straw into gold in return for her necklace (the imp only comes to people after seeking a deal). Next morning the king takes the girl to a larger room filled with straw to repeat the feat, the imp, once again spins, in return for the girl’s ring. But on the third day, when the girl is taken to an even larger room filled with straw and told by the king that he will marry her if she can fill this room with gold, or execute her, if she cannot, the girl has nothing left, with which, she can pay the strange creature. So, he extracts from her a promise that she will give him her firstborn child, and so, he spins the straw into gold one final time. In some versions, the imp appears and begins to turn the straw into gold, paying no heed to the girl’s protests that she has nothing to pay him with. When he finishes the task, he states that the price is her first child, and the horrified girl objects because she never agreed to this arrangement.

    The king keeps his promise to marry the miller’s daughter, but when their first child is born, the imp returns to claim his payment, the newly born daughter, and says, “Now give me what you promised.” She offers him all the wealth she has to keep the child, but the imp has no interest in her riches.

    He finally consents to give up his claim to the child if she can guess his name within three days. Some versions have the imp limiting the number of daily guesses to three and hence the total number of guesses allowed to a maximum of nine.

    Her many guesses fail. But before the final night, she wanders into the woods. In some versions of the story, she sends her servant into the woods instead of going herself, in order to keep the king’s suspicions at bay, looking for him and comes across his remote mountain cottage and watches Rumpelstiltskin, unseen, as he hops about his fire and sings. “Tonight tonight, my plans I make, tomorrow tomorrow the baby I take. The queen will never win the game, for Rumpelstiltskin is my name”— and thereby he reveals his name.

    When the imp comes to the queen on the third day, after first feigning ignorance, she reveals his name, Rumpelstiltskin, when Rumpelstiltskin loses his temper and the bargain. Versions vary about whether he accuses the devil or witches of having revealed his name to the queen. In the 1812 edition of the Brothers Grimm tales, Rumpelstiltskin then “ran away angrily, and never came back.” The ending was revised in an 1857 edition to a more gruesome ending wherein Rumpelstiltskin “in his rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a fit he seized the left foot with both hands and tore himself in two.” Other versions have Rumpelstiltskin driving his right foot so far into the ground that he creates a chasm and falls into it, never to be seen again. In the oral version originally collected by the Brothers Grimm, Rumpelstiltskin flies out of the window on a cooking ladle.

    The theme prominent in this story is mainly power and greed. The poor miller, the King, and Rumpelstiltskin all want power or what you call the upper hand. The poor miller wants to be seen as more powerful in the King’s eyes and so he fabricates about his daughter’s talent which wasn’t really there.

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 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020.

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

*****

BOOK REVIEW: THE BLACK CAT by Edgar Allan Poe

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read 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.

    Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe (January 19, 1809 –October 7, 1849), was an American writer, poet, editor, and a literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism, an intellectual and literary movement in the United States, and of American literature as a whole. He was one of country’s earliest patronisers of short story. He is also considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. Further credited, for contributing, to the emerging genre of science fiction. Edgar Poe was the first well-known American writer to earn a living through writing alone, even though, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

    The Black Cat is one of Edgar’s popular short story. It was first published in August 19, 1843, in an edition of ‘The Saturday Evening Post.’ It is a study of psychology, a study of guilt, often paired, in analysis with Poe’s another short story titled, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart” where an unnamed narrator, endeavours to convince the reader, of the narrator’s sanity, while simultaneously describing a murder, the narrator has committed. In both the stories, the murderer carefully conceals his crime and believes himself unassailable, but eventually he breaks down and reveals himself, impelled, by a nagging reminder of his guilt.

    The story is written in first-person narrative using an unreliable narrator. But in reality he is a condemned man as detailed at the very outset of the story. The narrator tells us, that from an early age he loved animals. He and his wife had many pets, including a large, beautiful black cat named Pluto as described by him. The cat is especially fond of the narrator and it is also vice versa. Their mutual friendship lasts for several years till the narrator becomes an alcoholic. One night, after coming home completely intoxicated, the narrator believes, the cat is avoiding him. When he tries to catch him, the frightened cat responds by biting the narrator, and in a fit of drunken rage he holds the animal, pulls out a pen-knife from his pocket, and mercilessly gouges out the cat’s eye.

    From that moment onwards, the cat flees in terror upon his master’s approach. At first, the narrator is remorseful and regrets his cruelty. He says, “But this feeling soon gave to irritation. And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of perverseness.” Later, in another fit of drunken fury, the narrator takes the cat out in the garden one morning and ties a noose around its neck, and hangs it from a tree where it dies. But that very night his house mysteriously catches fire, forcing the narrator, his wife and their servant to flee the premises premisis.

    The next day, the narrator returns to the ruins of his home only to find, imprinted, on the single wall that survived the fire, the apparition of a gigantic cat with a rope around the animal’s neck.

    At first, the image deeply disturbs the narrator, but gradually he derives a logical explanation for it. Someone outside had cut the cat from the tree and thrown its corpse into the bedroom to wake him up during the fire. Soon the narrator begins to miss Pluto and hate himself for his actions, feeling guilty. Sometime later, he finds a similar cat in a tavern. It is the same size and colour as the original and is even without one eye. The only difference being a large white patch on the animal’s chest. The narrator takes it home, but soon begins to fear and loathe the creature, due to the fact that it amplifies his feeling of guilt. After some time, the white patch of fur begins to take shape and, much to the narrator’s horror, forms the shape of the gallows. This terrifies and angers him more, and he avoids the cat whenever and wherever possible. Then, one day when the narrator and his wife are visiting the cellar in their new home, the cat gets under his master’s feet and nearly trips him down the stairs. This amplifies the rage of the alcoholic narrator, and he grabs an axe and tries to kill the cat but is stopped by his wife. Being unable to take out his drunken fury on the cat, he angrily kills his wife with the axe instead. To conceal her body he removes bricks from a protrusion in the wall, and places her body there, and then repairs the hole. A few days later, when the police show up at the house to investigate the wife’s disappearance, they find nothing and the narrator goes scot free. The cat, which he intended to kill as well, has also gone missing. This grants him the freedom to sleep without the burden of a murder.

    But on the last day of the investigation, the narrator accompanies the police into the cellar. They still find nothing significant. With this the narrator lowers his guards. He is now completely confident of his own insulation from being arrested for the crime. This when he comments on the sturdiness of the building and taps the wall that he had built around his wife’s body. When a loud, inhuman wailing sound fills the room. The police alarmed tear down the wall and find the wife’s corpse. Sitting on the corpse’s rotting head, to the utter horror of the narrator is, the squealing black cat. The terrified narrator is shattered by this reminder of his crime, which he had believed to be safe from discovery, and the appearance of the cat. As he words it: “I had walled the monster up within the tomb!”

    The story is extremely well written if you like horror. I would give it seven out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

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 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020.

(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)

*****

SHORT STORY: ‘HAPPY DAYS’ – Kamlesh Tripathi

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    There was once a king who was perennially unhappy. Either he was warring with his neighbours or he was sulking in his kingdom. He never had happy days, barring the days on which he expanded his frontiers and therefore over a period of time he had become a total expansionist, perhaps, to be happy. One day a learned Sadhu came to his kingdom. The king asked the Sadhu. ‘Hey Budhijivi. I’m often disturbed and never happy and because of this nature of mine even my citizens are not happy. So, can you suggest some ways and means for me to be happy?

    Sadhu thought for a moment and then asked.

    ‘Maharaj, do you keep a count of your happy days?’

    ‘No.’ replied the king.

    ‘Then I suggest start keeping. Tell your house-keeper to call a painter and ask him to mark your happy days on the outer side of the boundary wall of your castle.’

    ‘But, how will that help and will it make me happy?’ Asked the king.

    ‘I’m not very sure, but I think it may. So make a small beginning and I’ll see you after six months.’ After this the Sadhu left.

    The king called for a painter and instructed him, that on the days, he is happy, the painter should make a green mark on the outer side of the boundary wall of his castle. But sadly in the next ten days the painter only sat idle as the king was not happy. One day the king left for a battle. After winning it, he returned happy, and told the painter to colour the first mark of happiness on the boundary wall of his castle.

    Upon seeing the green mark on the wall a passer-by asked the painter, ‘what is this green mark for?’ The painter replied, ‘the mark means that the king is happy today.’

    The passer-by was aghast to hear this. He asked, ‘does it mean that the king is not happy on the days you don’t put the green mark?’

    ‘Yes.’ Said the painter. The passer-by was rather surprised at this novel way, the king had adopted to communicate his happiness to his riyaya. He reached home and told his wife that the king is happy today.

    ‘How do you know?’ She asked.

    ‘Because the king has instructed his painter to put a green mark on the boundary wall of his castle on the days he’s happy.’

    Soon the news spread like wild fire that the king is happy and thus the kingdom started celebrating. But in the castle after that day there was no other green mark that was painted and the painter happened to be merrily sleeping. Based on the reports a few more citizens came looking for the green mark on the boundary wall, but, there were none, barring the first one. This had a negative impact when the news started spreading in the kingdom that the king is now unhappy again and that saddened the riyaya of the kingdom once again.

   Thereafter, on the few days, that the painter painted the green mark on the wall, the citizenry of the kingdom was happy, but on a majority of days, it was otherwise, so the citizenry of the kingdom was largely unhappy, even when, the king was an efficient ruler. This kept happening for a few months in the kingdom but the king was unaware about it.

    One day a close minister of the king came to meet the king and gave him the feedback of how the citizenry was reacting to the king’s mood. The intelligent king at once realised his mistake—that on most days, the citizenry was unhappy, because the green mark was not put on the boundary wall, because he was unhappy.

    Soon the king instructed the painter to increase the frequency of the green mark which the painter did and that blossomed the mood of the citizenry even when the king continued with his spells of gloom which was part of his inherent nature.

    After six months the Sadhu returned. He asked the king if his solution had worked. The king replied, ‘it didn’t work for me, but yes, it did make me realise that a leader no matter under what circumstances, should wear a cheerful mask in front of his subjects at all times.

    The Sadhu replied. ‘Maharaj well begun is half done.’

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 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020.

(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)

*****