Tag Archives: book review

BOOK CORNER: ‘INFLUENCE EMPIRE … The story of Tencent and China’s Tech Ambition’ by journalist Lulu Chen.

Copyright@shravancharitymission

BOOK CORNER: ‘INFLUENCE EMPIRE … The story of Tencent and China’s Tech Ambition’ by journalist Lulu Chen. The print length of the book is 283 pages. The publisher is Hodder & Stoughton. The Kindle version is priced at Rs 324.50 and the paperback is Rs 629.00.

    The title is a fascinating study of the tech giant and its symbiotic relationship with the Chinese government’ – Guardian.

    The title has been shortlisted for the ‘FINANCIAL TIMES BUSINESS BOOK 2022’ and *A TIMES BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2022*.

    It is a story of a Chinese tech giant and the Chinese state. Behind the great firewall of China, there is a parallel universe. There’s a Baidu instead of Google, a Weibo rather than Twitter, an Alibaba instead of an Amazon or eBay. Lulu tells the story of a world-beating Chinese corporation that stays low-key.

    ‘Influence Empire by Lulu Yilun Chen is so much more than the long-awaited story of Tencent and its vital everything app, WeChat, the messaging tool used by 1.3 billion people. It’s also the sobering account of an entire generation of high-flying Chinese tech entrepreneurs, whose wings were clipped by the omnipotent hand of their own government.’ — Brad Stone, author of Amazon Unbound and The Everything Store.

    Tencent WeChat is an ‘everything’ app in China. It unfolds the features of WhatsApp and Facebook, TikTok and Tinder. It is an indispensable virtual town hall and marketplace. But it also has enormous clout in the world, with tentacles in Silicon Valley, finance, gaming and Hollywood. It is heavily invested in Tesla, Spotify, Epic Games and companies around the world including Flipkart and Ola. It is estimated to be the biggest video game company in the world.

    But what is Tencent exactly? Well, it sees itself as the ultimate connector. Its talk of internet+ is about connecting any industry with the internet to revolutionise it. Its first product QQ was modelled on ICQ, the Israeli chat service from the early days of the Web. Despite the charge that it was a copycat venture, it was moulded to the needs of Chinese users in internet cafes.

    It aggressively fended off Microsoft’s MSN, and became a Goliath in the tech industry. This growth spurt was based on an unusual technique. It opened up its platform, sharing traffic and tech know-how with companies it invested in. Today, China’s two tech titans Pony Ma and Jack Ma, the founders of Tencent and Alibaba, are locked in a fierce rivalry. They have warred over mobile payments, over start-ups, and new digital ventures and are compelled to take sides in this duopoly.

    Tencent rose as China rose. Its digital economy also boomed. In the middle of the last decade, when Tencent was on a tear, China’s internet users had expanded 36-fold. One unicorn was born every 3.8 days, and two billionaires were created every week.

    Of course, this also meant operating within the defined lines of the state. Tencent was careful not to cross the Communist Party and had to oblige with censorship and surveillance calls, blocking keywords from disclosing user information. It doesn’t matter how big a company is or how entrenched it is overseas, it cannot assume any independence from the state’s interest. When Alibaba the co-founder criticised Chinese inefficiencies, Alipay’s parent group Ant Group Co bore the brunt. In the ensuing stock market crackdown, Alibaba, Tencent and their industry peers lost $1.5 billion in market value.

    Today, Tencent finds itself facing not just global but also local pressures. Deng Xiaoping’s tolerance of a few people getting rich first has given way to Xi Jinping’s ‘common prosperity’ mantra that frowns on the ‘disorderly expansion of capital’. The government’s tech priorities have shifted to hardcore tech—semiconductors, robotics and fundamental research—to reduce reliance on the US.

    The overweening tech giants of the last decade had to be disciplined. While Tencent was already compliant with the party, it too has now embarked on a string of divestments and asset sales.

    While it is actively looking to the next frontier, investing in the cloud business and technologies that will succeed the smartphone—the metaverse? A decentralised Web3? Tencent will have a delicate manoeuvre on its hands, keeping the state on its side,

    In 2017, a company known as Tencent overtook Facebook to become the world’s fifth-largest company. It was a watershed moment, a wake-up call for those in the West accustomed to regarding the global tech industry through the prism of Silicon Valley: Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft.
    Founded by the enigmatic billionaire Pony Ma, the firm that began life as a simple text-message operator invested in and created some of China’s most iconic games en route to dreaming up WeChat – the Swiss Army knife super-app that combines messaging, shopping and entertainment. Through billions of dollars of global investments in marquee names from Fortnite to Tesla and a horde of start-ups, Ma’s company went on to build a near-unparalleled empire of influence.

In this fascinating narrative – crammed with insider interviews and exclusive details – Lulu Chen tells the story of how Tencent created the golden era of Chinese technology and delves into key battles involving Didi, Meituan and Alibaba. It’s a chronicle of critical junctures and asks just what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in China.


    ‘Lulu Yilun Chen has written a sharply informed, smart and compelling account of the rise of some of the most powerful companies in China, which also stand among the biggest and richest tech giants in the world. Despite their enormous size and power, few outsides of China know of or understand these companies. Now, thanks to Influence Empire: Inside the Story of Tencent and China’s Tech Ambition that will finally change — Howard French, former NY Times Shanghai bureau chief and author of ‘Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power’.

‘There’s so much fascinating detail here.’ — The Times

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our Publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 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; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh and Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  

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; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

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; Herrick District Library, Holland and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, USA; Black Gold Cooperative Library Administration, Arroyo Grande, California).

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 way 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 on 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 on Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

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

AWADH ASSAM AND DALAI LAMA … The Kalachakra

(The story of the man who received His Holiness The Dalai Lama and his retinue in 1959 as a GOI representative when he fled Tibet in 1959. The book was recently launched on 21st November 2022 by His Holiness The Dalai Lama).

Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: 1. Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; 2. Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; 3. Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; 4. Indica, 15.8.20; 5. The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; 6. Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. 7. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; 8. Happy Days, November 15, 2020; 9. The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15, 2020; 10. Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; 11. Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; 12. Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; 13. Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; 14. A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; 15. Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; 16. Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; 17. Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; 18. Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; 19. Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; 20. Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; 21. Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; 22. Poverty 15.11.21; 23. Top View 30.11.21; 24. The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; 25. Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; 26. The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22; 27. Buried Treasure 15.4.22; 28. The Kingdom of Pragjyotisha 30.4.22; 29. Who is more useful? 15.5.22; 30. The White Swan from Lake Mansarovar 30.6.22; 31. Bhool Bhulayya 15.9.22; 32. Good Karma 30.9.22; 33. Good name vs Bad Name 15.10.22; 34. Uttarapath—The Grand Trunk Road 1.12.22; 35. When Gods Get Angry 1.1.23

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

*****

BOOK CORNER: THE DEOLI WALLAHS: The True Story of the 1962 Chinese-Indian Internment … Joy Ma … Dilip D’Souza

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    ‘THE DEOLI WALLAHS—The True Story of the 1962 Chinese—Indian Internment’ by Joy Ma & Dilip D’Souza.

    The subject title was first published in 2020 by Pan Macmillan. A citation at the bottom of the cover page of the book by Pratap Bhanu Mehta an Indian Political Scientist says, ‘Humanly compelling, beautifully told … brings to light a forgotten chapter of Indian history, one we need to remember in these troubled times.’

    The title is an untold account of the internment of some 3,000 Chinese—Indians just after the 1962 Sino-Indian War. The narration commences with a long ‘Preface’ followed by the ‘Origins’ chapter which explains where these Chinese-Indians came from. It describes the Chinese debut in India in Achipur and Calcutta, to begin with, and later their migration to other parts of the country which slowly expanded for nearly 200 years after Atchew’s arrival—The first ancestor of the Chinese in India.  

    The title is a mid-length narration of fewer than 200 pages divided into 17 chapters plus Notes and Annexures. In Chinese, they refer to Deoli Camp as chap chung yin (Hakka) or chi chung yin (Pinyin) which translates into a ‘gathered-together camp’ or a ‘concentration camp.’ The Deoli Camp was also used for incarcerating Indian political prisoners and for prisoners of war during World War II.

    Just after the Sino-Indian War of 1962, about 3,000 Chinese-Indians were sent to languish in a disused World War II prisoner of war camp in Deoli, Rajasthan, marking the beginning of a painful five-year-long internment without resolution. At the time of war with China, these ‘Chinese-looking’ people had fallen prey to government suspicion and paranoia which soon seeped into the public consciousness just because their features were Chinese. This is a page of Indian history that comes wrapped in prejudice and fear and is today largely forgotten. But over five decades on, survivors of the internment camp are finally starting to tell their stories. So, is there an apology due from the Government of India to them is a point in question raised in the book.

    The authors of the book record these untold stories through extensive interviews of survivors of the Deoli internment. Through these personal accounts, the authors not only discover a crucial chapter in our history but also document for the first time how the Chinese came to be in India, how they made this country their home and became a significant community, until the war of 1962 that brought on a terrible incarceration, displacement and tragedy to them. The narration is primarily structured around the Chinese-Indian community, who open their hearts and minds to the authors. The Chinese-Indians were considered spies during those times of the Indo-China conflict. I know it for sure because I lived in Shillong then, where my father was a minister in the Assam Cabinet. But then the government had little leeway in terms of thinking otherwise.

    And now my observation on the storytelling. The narration could have been even more forthright. The language is plain English in easy to read format. Since the narration has many personal accounts it gives you a feel as if much is happening in the book but the general plot moves slowly. I particularly found the chapter titled ‘A CONTESTED LINE’ to be very interesting and informative. It gives you a good open view of why the Chinese conflict took place at all. After the Indian-Chinese were released from Deoli Prison they had a long struggle rebuilding their lives. Some stayed back in India and some left for greener pastures abroad. Not many would know that even a ship had docked at the Madras port to take the internees from Deoli to China the ones who were willing to go. The book is a gratifying mix of the China conflict and Deoli’s internment camp in the 5th chapter titled ‘WAR.’ But was there any sense in adding this chapter to the narration because to me it diluted the central agonizing story of those interned at the Deoli camp? However, the chapter titled ‘War’ does raise the Indian flag when it describes the Rezang La Ridge, the scene of the fierce battle that is still remembered in India as the lone glorious chapter in the otherwise depressing story of the 1962 war. But yes, the continuity of the story is momentarily derailed by the chapter titled ‘WAR.’ The book has some illustrating pictures of the Deoli barracks too. The narration lacks the flourish of emotions considering what the families of the protagonists underwent. The authors could have definitely scripted the narrative to be more emotional taking into account the sentiments of the protagonists. The narration of the central plot is not a continuous happening in the book. It is in staccato-bursts because of the several personal accounts. The sequencing of the chapters could have been better. The historical facts are engrossing and interesting when you look back. I guess the chapters don’t sequence well because of certain heavyweight chapters in between the normal chapters that override the main plot of the book but then they are vital for the consummation of the ultimate story. The plot reveals that the Indian Government’s approach towards the ‘Chinese-Indian’ in those times was not soft due to their being treated as spies.

    The authors have compared the Deoli prison camp with the Manzanar prison camp in the US where American-Japanese prisoners were housed during World War II. The book makes a gentle request to the Government of India for a ‘Chinese-Indian memorial’ to mark their trauma. The narration compares the Chinese-Indian prisoners of India with the Japanese-American prisoners of the US which is asymmetric. It highlights that a majority of the Japanese internees remained in the US after their release and even got an official apology from the government of the US after forty-six years, whereas a majority of the Chinese internees left India to start a new life in other countries and never got an apology from the government of India. Towards the end, the narration expresses a flurry of holistic emotions.

    As a reader, I felt the narration should have been more along the central theme of the book than deviating from it off and on or the sequencing of the chapters could have been shuffled when the authors had a meaty story to tell. Of course, the book is more like a personal account of several families that were interned.

    Buried under the ‘Himalayan Blunder’ of 1962 – the humiliating India-China war – is also a tragic story of many Chinese-Indian that is not known to most of India and was quietly ignored by successive governments. Did one know that Deoli in Rajasthan had an internment camp during World War II? Starting in 1931 the British used to detain various leaders of the burgeoning Indian freedom struggle. Five hundred freedom fighters from Bengal to begin with and then, in the 1940s, Jayaprakash Narayan, S.A. Dange, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Jawaharlal Nehru, B.T. Ranadive, S.S. Batliwala, S.G. Patkar and many others were detained here. In the National Archives in New Delhi, there are petitions from the wives of some of these men, asking for a maintenance allowance during their husbands’ incarceration or for their travel expenses to meet their husbands to be reimbursed. The British not surprisingly, rejected them all.

     What I liked about the book was the initiative of the authors to have woven a book around the happenings of the Indo-China conflict which otherwise was unknown to Indians especially when it affected only a minuscule of Chinese-Indian population. The story sets you thinking.

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; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh and Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  

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; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

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; Herrick District Library, Holland and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, USA; Black Gold Cooperative Library Administration, Arroyo Grande, California).

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 way 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 on 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 on Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

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

AWADH ASSAM AND DALAI LAMA … The Kalachakra

(The story of the man who received His Holiness The Dalai Lama and his retinue in 1959 as a GOI representative when he fled Tibet in 1959. The book was recently launched on 21st November 2022 by His Holiness The Dalai Lama).

Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: 1. Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; 2. Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; 3. Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; 4. Indica, 15.8.20; 5. The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; 6. Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. 7. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; 8. Happy Days, November 15, 2020; 9. The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15, 2020; 10. Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; 11. Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; 12. Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; 13. Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; 14. A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; 15. Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; 16. Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; 17. Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; 18. Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; 19. Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; 20. Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; 21. Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; 22. Poverty 15.11.21; 23. Top View 30.11.21; 24. The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; 25. Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; 26. The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22; 27. Buried Treasure 15.4.22; 28. The Kingdom of Pragjyotisha 30.4.22; 29. Who is more useful? 15.5.22; 30. The White Swan from Lake Mansarovar 30.6.22; 31. Bhool Bhulayya 15.9.22; 32. Good Karma 30.9.22; 33. Good name vs Bad Name 15.10.22; Uttarapath—The Grand Trunk Road 1.12.22;

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

*****

BOOK CORNER: DANGER ZONE: The Coming Conflict with China … by Hal Brands and Michael Beckley

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

    The book enumerates the possibility of why the US-China conflict can happen soon. It is because Beijing is worried that its power is peaking soon. The subject book claims that a decisive showdown between the US and China could come sooner than anyone thinks. Sino-US rivalry is not a marathon, but a sprint that will play out in this very decade only, says the book.

    The book starts with a highly plausible doomsday scenario in January 2025, in a situation where China has invaded Taiwan, putting the US in a bind, and the world on the brink of World War III. It could have been avoided, by reading the signs right, the book claims.

    The authors counter the Thucydides trap theory about a great power replacing another—the threat is not because of China’s inexorable rise but because it knows it has peaked and is desperate. It is strong enough to disrupt the existing order but is losing confidence that time is on its side. This gives it incentives to use force against Japan, and India or teach the Philippines a lesson, or even bring Taiwan to heel.

    The Chinese Communist Party wants to maintain its iron grip on power, regain territories like Taiwan, and force settlements on border disputes with countries from India to Japan. It aims to marginalise the US in Asia.

    This means nothing less than an epochal change in regional and global rules. China’s relentless military build-up, its trade, infrastructure and investment gambits across Eurasia (ie. land consisting of Europe and Asia), its overland supply routes and access to the Indian Ocean, its power play in international institutions and its ideological offensive against liberal democracy—in all of this China knows the US is in its way, invested as it is in preventing a rival in Eurasia.

    The US-China relationship, the book says, unravelled gradually, then suddenly in recent years, with Donald Trump’s presidency, Covid and Xi Jinping’s own sense of urgency. China has been concealing a sharp slowdown, resource shortfalls, and a demographic catastrophe brought on by its one-child policy. They see the red alerts about their country’s rise and the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party’s) fate.

    The confrontation is forcing others to take sides, creating a ring of rivals. The Galwan clash of 2020 with India might be a victory for China, but it lost more than it gained, as New Delhi accelerated its swing towards America. Chinese aggression is beginning to backfire, as it creates fear and resistance from countries near and far that have benefitted from the American world order.

    Australia has leaned towards the US, the EU calls China a ‘systematic rival’. As China seeks greater arks of influence, it is confronting greater arcs of hostility. Even the Sino-Russian autocratic axis has its costs, as Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine raises the costs of teaming up with him. CCP officials are haunted by the twin spectres of economic decay and geopolitical encirclement, claims the book—and this peaking-power dynamic is precisely where the danger lies. A revisionist power that feels its moment is slipping away will act more impulsively than the one that thinks tomorrow will be better than today.

    The book advises the US to take calculated risks, and avoid reckless ones. It must take on China’s high-tech economic imperialism, digital authoritarianism and its intent to take Taiwan. It must be willing to anger China and bait it into strategic blunders, rather than push it into a corner where violence becomes the only option.

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; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh and Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  

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; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

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; Herrick District Library, Holland and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, USA; Black Gold Cooperative Library Administration, Arroyo Grande, California).

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 available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: 1.Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; 2.Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; 3. Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; 4. Indica, 15.8.20; 5. The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; 6. Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. 7. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; 8. Happy Days, November 15, 2020; 9. The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15, 2020; 10. Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; 11. Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; 12. Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; 13. Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; 14. A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; 15. Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; 16. Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; 17. Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; 18. Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; 19. Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; 20. Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; 21. Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; 22. Poverty 15.11.21; 23. Top View 30.11.21; 24. The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; 25. Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; 26. The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22; 27. Buried Treasure 15.4.22; 28. The Kingdom of Pragjyotisha 30.4.22; 29. Who is more useful? 15.5.22; 30. The White Swan from Lake Mansarovar 30.6.22; 31. Bhool Bhulayya 15.9.22; 32. Good Karma 30.9.22; 33. Good name vs Bad Name 15.10.22

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

*****

BOOK CORNER: STAND UP STRAIGHT … 10 Life Lessons from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – Major General Paul Nanson

Copyright@shravancharitymission

RMA- Sandhurst

    Hello and welcome friends to my programme Book Corner. Today, I have for you a very interesting book titled ‘STAND UP STRAIGHT –10 Life Lessons from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst by Major General Paul Nanson. The relevant caption by the Telegraph on top of the front cover page of the book says, ‘Fight your own battles with Sandhurst’s self-help book.’

    It’s a Penguin Random House UK publication, published in 2019. The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (in short the RMAS) is the place where all officers in the British Army are trained to take on the responsibility of leading their fellow soldiers. During training, all officer cadets learn to live by the Academy’s motto: ‘Serve to lead.’ Officers who have graduated from Sandhurst include big names such as Sir Antony Beevor, James Blunt, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Michael Morpurgo, astronaut Tim Peake, Heather Stanning, Nicola Wetherill, Prince William—Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry—Duke of Sussex. Even other nations choose to send their military personnel to Sandhurst for officer training because it is recognised as one of the world’s leading military training academies.

    Let me give you a brief about the author Paul Nanson before I move to the plot of the book. Paul Nanson is a British Army officer who served as Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and General Officer Commanding Recruiting and Initial Training Command. During more than thirty years in the British Army, he has served in The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Gulf War, the Bosnian War, the Iraq War and the war in Afghanistan, which saw him appointed as the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for distinguished services. During his tenure at Sandhurst, he established the Centre for Army Leadership, which is one of the world’s premier centres for army military leadership.

    The book is completely based on the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (in short RMAS). RMAS came into existence because British Army officers were failing. Prior to the nineteenth century, if you had the requisite money, the connections or the right background, you could simply buy rank and command and lead men. One very far-sighted officer, General Le Marchant, decided that the British Army needed to properly train and educate young men to lead, so he built the RMAS.

   The narration doesn’t have a storyline. Stand Up Straight shares 10 simple but transformative lessons that every officer is taught during their time at the world-famous military academy. Modern and counter-intuitive, ranging from making your bed and ironing your shirt to improving resilience, emotional intelligence and grace under pressure. Stand Up Straight draws on first-hand battlefield experiences as well as Sandhurst’s key leadership principles. The title of the book ‘STAND UP STRAIGHT’ is very meaningful. It covers a number of themes. Taken literally, it’s about making yourself taller, owning your space, putting your shoulders back, and stretching your spine so that you become the optimum size you were designed to be. But it’s also about being the fullest and the best version of yourself. The book is full of sterling tips that can really improve your life.

It has 10 very interesting chapters. They are as follows:

   CHAPTER 1. THE SANDHURST WAY—The Life-Saving Magic of Tidying Up: This chapter largely deals with your daily habits. We don’t mind what habits you bring into the academy, the first five weeks are about teaching you, new habits. The Coloured sergeant checks for properly ironed clothes, all folded to the dimensions of an A4 piece of paper and how to make your bed in the Sandhurst style. It teaches you to make your best nature your second nature.

CHAPTER 2. LONG DAYS, SHORT WEEKS—The Way You Spend Your Day is the Way You Live Your Life: Without a direction to follow or a purpose to aim for, we drift aimlessly or go around in circles. In the army whether at war or in peacetime—a soldier’s day is governed by specific goals. It talks about the importance of ‘COMMAND TIME.’ It conveys that the ‘EARLY BIRD MAKES BETTER DECISIONS.’ It instructs the newcomers to ‘SET YOUR CLOCKS TO SANDHURST TIME.’ It teaches how to ‘MAKE YOUR MOUNTAINS INTO MOLEHILLS.’

CHAPTER 3. TIGHTEN YOUR CHINSTRAP (Chinstrap is a strap attached to your hat)—Get to Know Your Threshold of Failure: The first five weeks are designed to bring the cadets up to a common baseline. We will put you in positions where you will probably fail, but that’s okay because it’s here you will learn. Right or wrong, make a decision. It’s better to be doing something with momentum than sitting in a ditch like a stationary target. A nice quote in this chapter is ‘FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, BOUNCE BACK LIKE A SPRING’ which reminds you of the famous quote of the famous boxer Muhammad ALI.

CHAPTER 4. PACK YOUR BERGEN (The bag used by the military) —You Don’t have to be a Minimalist, but it helps: The more thought you give to what goes into your bag, the better equipped you are for what lies further down the line. This sounds very basic, but you’d be surprised how many cadets don’t give sufficient thought to packing their bags and end up learning the lesson the hard way. So packing your bag is of utmost importance in the army while going to war. The A B Cs OF PACKING explained in the book are interesting. They include fine points such as ACCESSIBILITY, BALANCE, and COMPACTNESS. Then comes the seven questions. The 7 questions are used to provide a logical handrail to aid better decision-making. A point ‘THINKING OUTSIDE THE BERGEN’ the way in which we pack our Bergen can be used as an analogy for the way we live our life.  

CHAPTER 5. BELIEVE IN SOMETHING BIGGER—Learn to Harness the Power of Your Team: Wolves are the most socialised animals who thrive on collaboration, companionship, strict discipline and an established hierarchy. But it may also surprise you to discover that they are also remarkably compassionate towards one another. The weakest beta (follower) will never be left at the back of the pack to lag behind and get lost; it will also be insulated in the middle of the group, with an alpha (leader) at the front, and another alpha (often the leading alpha’s mate) at the rear. Cadets at Sandhurst are told from day one to establish their strengths and weaknesses as a platoon, for each individual brings their own skills to the table. The chapter has other interesting cues such as FINDING YOUR WAY, GIVING YOUR BEST WHILE YOU’RE FEELING YOUR WORST and HONESTY—IS THE BEST POLICY.

CHAPTER 6. DON’T GET LOST, READ YOUR MAP—How Do You React When Things Go Wrong? Life’s most valuable lessons are often learned when we leave our familiar comfort zones. Once we move into uncharted territory, we can really discover more about ourselves and grow. However, it’s only natural that in these strange places we can find ourselves lost so carry your road map with you. The book teaches you about FINDING YOUR WAY, to CHECK YOUR MORAL COMPASS. It also talks about THE ARMY LEADERSHIP CODE.

Chapter 7. TAKE A KNEE—Trust in Your Own Judgement: The chapter advises to TAKE A KNEE under special conditions. Talks of THE CONDOR MOMENT practised in Sandhurst. In a pressured conflict, it’s imperative not to let your blood rule your brain. Instead of rushing in offensively with retaliation, stand back, take stock of the situation, reset, recalibrate and then act. Often the COOLER HEADS PREVAIL. It describes the art of THINKING UNDER PRESSURE.

CHAPTER 8. TRAIN HARD, FIGHT EASY—Fail to Prepare and Prepare to Fail are the tenets on which R-M-A-S works. It trains you to OUT-THINK YOUR OPPONENT. It teaches you to take DARING INITIATIVE.

CHAPTER 9. CAST YOUR LEADERSHIP SHADOW—The Standard You Walk Past is the Standard You Accept: The chapter takes you through various case studies.

CHAPTER 10. SERVE TO LEAD—The Power of Example. AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP AND INFECTIOUS COURAGE and it talks about EMPOWERING OTHERS.

    The book has 146 pages including a short glossary. The price of the book is Rs 499. The book is full of interesting phrases and quotes. Overall it’s a light interesting book. A ground-breaking, personal development, self-help book that will help you tackle life’s everyday battles. Army profits from this book will go to support the welfare of soldiers of the British Army and their dependents. I would give the book an A grade.

***

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 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; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh and Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  

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; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

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; Herrick District Library, Holland and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, USA; Black Gold Cooperative Library Administration, Arroyo Grande, California).

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 available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: 1.Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; 2.Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; 3. Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; 4. Indica, 15.8.20; 5. The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; 6. Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. 7. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; 8. Happy Days, November 15, 2020; 9. The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15, 2020; 10. Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; 11. Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; 12. Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; 13. Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; 14. A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; 15. Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; 16. Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; 17. Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; 18. Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; 19. Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; 20. Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; 21. Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; 22. Poverty 15.11.21; 23. Top View 30.11.21; 24. The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; 25. Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; 26. The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22; 27. Buried Treasure 15.4.22; 28. The Kingdom of Pragjyotisha 30.4.22; 29. Who is more useful? 15.5.22; 30. The White Swan from Lake Mansarovar 30.6.22; 31. Bhool Bhulayya 15.9.22; 32. Good Karma 30.9.22;

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

*****

BOOK REVIEW: JUNGLE NAMA … a story of sundarban … Amitav Ghosh

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Video Clip

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 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; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh and Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  

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; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

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; Herrick District Library, Holland and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, USA; Black Gold Cooperative Library Administration, Arroyo Grande, California).

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 available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: 1.Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; 2.Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; 3. Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; 4. Indica, 15.8.20; 5. The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; 6. Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. 7. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; 8. Happy Days, November 15, 2020; 9. The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15, 2020; 10. Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; 11. Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; 12. Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; 13. Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; 14. A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; 15. Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; 16. Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; 17. Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; 18. Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; 19. Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; 20. Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; 21. Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; 22. Poverty 15.11.21; 23. Top View 30.11.21; 24. The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; 25. Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; 26. The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22; 27. Buried Treasure 15.4.22; 28. The Kingdom of Pragjyotisha 30.4.22; 29. Who is more useful? 15.5.22; 30. The White Swan from Lake Mansarovar 30.6.22; 31. Bhool Bhulayya 15.9.22

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

*****

BOOK REVIEW: “JUNGLE NAMA … a story of the Sundarban” … Amitav Ghosh

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Only recently I stepped into a book stall in Mumbai located inside a mall that had a coffee counter in it. What a novel idea. No? Because coffee and books make a brilliant combination. And while waggling around the bookstore I was able to lay my hands on one of Amitav Ghosh’s recent books “Jungle Nama … a story of the sundarban.” This attractive-looking book caught my attention. It is illuminated by Salman Toor a New York-based artist of Pakistani origin. About Amitav Ghosh, we all know he is the winner of the Jnanpith Award, the highest literary award in India. The subject book was first published in India in 2021 by the Fourth Estate an imprint of Harper-Collins. The title falls under the genre of fiction. It is a hardcover comprising 82 pages. Overall a short book having a slim spine.

    Although, the title ‘Jungle Nama’ is Amitav Ghosh’s verse adaptation (ie. writing arranged with a metrical rhythm, typically having a rhyme) of an episode from the legend of Bon Bibi, which happens to be a popular folk tale in the villages of the Sundarbans located in West Bengal. It also lies at the heart of another novel penned by the same author titled ‘The Hungry Tide.’

    Friends ‘Jungle Nama … a story of the Sundarbans is a very cute book. One of the cutest that I’ve ever read. The best part of the book is that it can be read and enjoyed equally by children, adults and even the old. It is inspiring, informational, sensitive and evocative.

    It is the story of an avaricious rich merchant Dhona, a poor lad Dukhey, and his old frail mother. It is also the story of Dokkhin Rai, a mighty spirit who appears before human beings as a tiger in the jungles of Sundarbans. It is also about Bon Bibi, the benign goddess of the forest, and her warrior brother Shah Jongoli.

    As the legend goes, in one spring season Dhona who is a greedy person is seized by an aching desire. He wants to go on a voyage to collect riches such as—Honey, wax and timber from the mangroves. So he tells his younger brother I have an idea about something that we should try. Let’s go on a daring venture, we will make a great fortune, our biggest ever. It is springtime now and the mangroves are filled with hives. So let’s try to collect the richest hoard of our lives. Instead of taking one ship let us take seven.

    But his younger brother Mona advises him not to do so because he feels that they have enough for a decent and peaceful life. But Dhona insists that he will go. Mona refuses to go with him this time but promises to help him arrange a fleet of seven vessels to carry the fortune. While the vessels are arranged Mona is short of one lascar. Dhona reminds Mona about Dukhey who is the son of their poor cousin who is no more. Dukhey is desperate and will take any job says Dhona.

    As the legend unfolds Dhona who is a greedy person lures Dukhey into a sea voyage. He tells Dukhey he has outfitted a fleet of seven vessels for the tideland jungle to acquire riches and in the process, Dukhey will go around the world. He has six lascars and is shy of one where Dukhey fits in. He promises the old and hapless mother of Dukhey who is his poor cousin’s wife that upon returning from the voyage he will load Dukhey with riches and even get him married. But the old mother of Dukhey knows Dhona only makes tall and false promises and never honours them. She, therefore, tells her son Dukhey that just in case Dhona your chacha puts you in a dangerous spot in the jungle pray to the jungle queen Bon Bibi who will come to your rescue. And the same thing happens when Dhona and Dokkhin Rai connive to kill Dukhey he is rescued by the benign goddess of the forest Bon Bibi and her warrior brother Shah Jongoli. Not only that, Bon Bibi organises to send him back in a living boat … a crocodile with loads of riches.

    I will desist from detailing and exposing this lyrical book any further as it is relatively new and will leave it for the readers to discover it themselves. The original print version of this legend, dating back to the nineteenth century is composed in Bengali verse meter known as dwipodi-poyar. Jungle Nama is a free adaptation of the legend, told entirely in a poyar-like meter of twenty-four syllable couplets that replicate the cadence of the original.

    The first-ever book in verse by Amitav Ghosh, Jungle Nama evokes the wonder of the Sundarban through its poetry. The book is accompanied by the stunning artwork of renowned artist Salman Toor. It is an illuminated edition of a fabulous folk tale that every book lover would want to possess.

    Since the narration is in verses the author has used limited and appropriate words to express the glorious folk tale. Verse to verse is pleasant sounding, rhyming and meaningful. He has tried his best to tone down his vocabulary but in verses and poetries the vocabulary is not always in the author’s hands because of the rhyme factor. One, therefore, comes across uncommon words which are easy to comprehend on practically every page.

   A sentence that describes the mangrove of Sundarban that I like is, ‘the mangroves are home to predators of every kind, some you’ll never see, but they will enter your mind.’

    It is a light book almost like a fairy tale. The best part about the book is its description of the topography of Sundarbans and the telling of the folktale simultaneously which forms a brilliant imagery.

   I would give the book an A grade. A must-read.

***

****

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; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh and Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  

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; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

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; Herrick District Library, Holland and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, USA; Black Gold Cooperative Library Administration, Arroyo Grande, California).

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 available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

*

Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: 1.Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; 2.Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; 3. Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; 4. Indica, 15.8.20; 5. The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; 6. Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. 7. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; 8. Happy Days, November 15, 2020; 9. The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15, 2020; 10. Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; 11. Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; 12. Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; 13. Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; 14. A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; 15. Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; 16. Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; 17. Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; 18. Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; 19. Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; 20. Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; 21. Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; 22. Poverty 15.11.21; 23. Top View 30.11.21; 24. The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; 25. Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; 26. The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22; 27. Buried Treasure 15.4.22; 28. The Kingdom of Pragjyotisha 30.4.22; 29. Who is more useful? 15.5.22; 30. The White Swan from Lake Mansarovar 30.6.22; 31. Bhool Bhulayya 15.9.22

(ALL THE ABOVE BOOK 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 ROZABAL LINE … Ashwin Sanghi

Copyright@shravancharitymission

THE ROZABAL LINE

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; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh and Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  

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; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

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; Herrick District Library, Holland and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, USA; Black Gold Cooperative Library Administration, Arroyo Grande, California).

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 available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: 1.Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; 2.Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; 3. Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; 4. Indica, 15.8.20; 5. The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; 6. Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. 7. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; 8. Happy Days, November 15, 2020; 9. The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15, 2020; 10. Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; 11. Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; 12. Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; 13. Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; 14. A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; 15. Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; 16. Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; 17. Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; 18. Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; 19. Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; 20. Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; 21. Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; 22. Poverty 15.11.21; 23. Top View 30.11.21; 24. The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; 25. Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; 26. The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22; 27. Buried Treasure 15.4.22; 28. The Kingdom of Pragjyotisha 30.4.22; 29. Who is more useful? 15.5.22; 30. The White Swan from Lake Mansarovar 30.6.22;

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

*****

BOOK REVIEW: ROYALS AND REBELS: The Rise and Fall of the Sikh Empire … Priya Atwal

Copyright@Shravancharitymission

    The book has so much to do with Sikh-Mughal connect. As opposed to the popular narrative that brings the aspect of religion into the Sikh-Mughal conflict, the historical relationship between the two had many hues of grey, writes the lady author, who is a British historian and a also researcher in Oxford.

       The Sikh popular memory tends to have a negative image of the Mughals, but historically speaking, Sikh-Mughal relationship was never completely antagonistic, elicits the author, which she explains in a very concealing fashion. What we think of as a lasting memory is actually an evolving thing, and never constant. While, it’s the painful events, such as the execution of Sikh Gurus that tend to dominate the lasting memory. Overall the author has highlighted the evidence that where Sikh-Mughal encounters were not wholly hostile. Albeit briefly, the gurus were at times supported, and at times they themselves extended support to certain Mughal royals. Sikh Gurbani additionally reveals how they assimilated and challenged Mughal ideas of power to forge their own vision of a fair, and virtuous society.

   Women were vital in the story of the Sikh empire. Sikh History underscores the point that Punjabi women have been active in politics for centuries. Citing an example the author writes, Ranjit Singh would never have become Maharaja without the protective support of his mother, Raj Kaur, after the death of his father, Maha Singh, when Ranjit was just ten. Raj Kaur safeguarded the Sukerchakia misl for her son until he came of age. The Sukerchakia Misl was one of 12 Sikh Misls—or say, Sikh Confederacy, in Punjab during the 18th century concentrated in Gujranwala and Hafizabad district in Western Punjab (in modern-Pakistan) and ruled from (1752-1801). The Sukerchakia’s last Misldar or commander of the Misl was Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh united all the misls and established an independent kingdom in Punjab. Moreover, Ranjit Singh would have certainly struggled to conquer Lahore but for the support of his in-laws, the Kanhaiya and Nakai misls, whose troops accompanied him to lay siege at the Lahore Fort in 1799. It was actually his formidable mother-in-law, Sada Kaur, who negotiated a peace settlement with the Sikh Sardars occupying the fort at the time, ensuring that they departed without causing further bloodshed. Both mother figures were crucial in teaching the young Ranjit Singh how to be a civil and effective leader.

    The book presents a very interesting picture of the Maharaja’s multiple marriages and his wives taking part in the power game, with the last wife, Jind Kaur, becoming the Queen-Regent. The Maharaja had at least 30 wives—according to author’s estimate. The title includes a ‘marriage map’ which plots where these women came from. Ranjit Singh’s queens were Sikh, Hindu and even Muslim. His marriages helped cement Sukerchakia dynastic ties throughout the different classes and ethnic groups of its growing empire within and beyond Punjab. Jind Kaur was his last and the most famous queen, given her a dramatic role, fighting against the East India Company in the 1840s, and attempting to preserve the Sikh Empire’s independence. However, Rani Jindan, though an incredible woman, was no exception in the key political role that she played as Queen Regent. She was following in the footsteps of Raj Kaur and Sada Kaur, as well as Ranjit Singh’s other forgotten wives who were also variously military leaders, ambassadors, educators of princely sons and artistic patrons. It would therefore be entirely false to claim that Punjabi women’s participation in politics is only a recent phenomenon. They have been political for centuries!

    On a tricky question about social media that often circulates rather disturbing illustrations depicting the execution of Sikh gurus that came with strong anti-Muslim rhetoric the author writes until the 19th century, Punjabi authors like Bhangu were trying to show that Emperor Babur had Guru Nanak’s sanctity to rule over India.

    When the Sikhs attempted to put their Gurus’ ideas into practice, seeking power and challenging oppressive regional elites (including Mughal lords and Hindu hill rajahs), they began facing persecution. Yet the Sikhs withstood this, becoming kings themselves by the end of the 18th century. It was then that they too began carefully embracing some of the trappings of Mughal royalty, including commissioning new histories of Punjab. Rattan Singh Bhangu’s, Sri Guru Panth Prakash was produced in this context. He and other 19th century historians effectively re-imagined the story of Sikh-Mughal relations to assert the legitimacy of Ranjit Singh’s generation as the rightful ruler of Punjab.

    The book deals with the counter the anti-monarchists who say that Maharaja Ranjit Singh destroyed the republican nature of Sikhi, by founding a Sikh state, based on hereditary kingship, where the author believes that the path was shown by the Sikh gurus themselves and the various misl sardars who followed them.

    The author found during her doctoral research that there was clearly some unease, even disapproval, amongst a particular group of twentieth-century Sikh historians about the monarchical status of Ranjit Singh. They connected his royal style of government to the eventual downfall of Sikh Raj, claiming that monarchical rule went against the ‘republican ethos’ of the Khalsa and therefore doomed his dynasty to failure. However, more recent research by scholars has powerfully highlighted that a royal style of ruler-ship was readily embraced by Sikh misl sardars well before Ranjit Singh became Maharaja in 1801. The Sikh Gurus themselves, never out rightly, condemned monarchy as a form of government in Gurbani. Instead, it is coming to a new understanding of how, in Sikh philosophy, ideas of kingship have been routinely deployed as metaphors—and in the 1700 and 1800s, were directly adopted—to give expression to Sikh sovereignty.

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our Publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 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; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

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 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. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; Happy Days, November 15, 2020; The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15,2020; Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021;

(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: WOLF TOTEM by Jiang Rong

Copyright@shravancharitymission

by Jiang Rong

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.

     Wolf Totem is a 2004 Chinese semi-auto-biographical novel by Chinese author Lu Jiamin who wrote the book under the pseudonym Jiang Rong. The book was published in 2004 in China and since, has been translated into 30 languages. The author’s true identity did not become public until several years after the book’s publication. He has used auto fiction techniques that merges the auto-biographical and fictive elements of the story. It is about the experiences of a young student from Beijing who is sent to the countryside of Inner Mongolia, which is a Mongolic autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Its border includes, most of the length of China’s border with the country of Mongolia. The young student is sent there in 1967, at the height of China’s Cultural Revolution. Also referred as, ‘The Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement, often simply known as the Down to the Countryside Movement, was a policy instituted by the People’s Republic of China in the late 1960s and early 1970s. An offshoot of the pro-bourgeois thinking prevalent during the Cultural Revolution in China, in which, Chairman Mao Zedong had declared that certain privileged urban youth, would be sent to the mountainous areas or farming villages to learn from the workers and farmers there. In all, about 17 million youth were sent to the rural areas as a result of the movement.

    Wolf Totem is narrated by the main character of the novel, Chen Zhen, who is a Chinese man in his late twenties, and who also, like the author, leaves his home in Beijing, China, to work in Inner Mongolia a province in China during the Cultural Revolution. Through descriptions of folk traditions, rituals, and life on the steppe, Wolf Totem, compares the culture of the ethnic Mongolian nomads, who are citizens of the People’s Republic of China, but are ethnic Mongols, and the Han Chinese farmers in the area. Han Chinese are East Asian ethnic group, historically native to the Yellow River Basin region of, modern China. They constitute the world’s largest ethnic group, making about 18% of the global population, speaking distinctive variety of Chinese languages.

    According to some interpretations, the book praises, “Freedom, independence, respect, unyielding nature before hardship, teamwork and competition” of the nomads, and criticizes the “Confucian-inspired culture” of the latter, which was “sheep-like”. The book condemns the agricultural collectivisation, the collective farming imposed on the nomads by the settlers, and the ecological disasters it caused, and ends with a 60-page “call to action” that is disconnected from the main thread of the novel.

    The author has mentioned that he got inspired to write Wolf Totem by accident. One day he ignored the advice of the clan chief of the group of nomads with whom he was staying, and accidentally stumbled into a pack of wolves. Terrified, he watched them, as the wolves chased a herd of sheep, off a cliff, then dragged their corpses into a cave. From then on, fascinated by the wolves, he began to study them and their relationship with the nomads more closely, and even attempted to domesticate one.

    The book sold well, almost immediately, after its release, selling some 50,000 copies in just two weeks. Pirated editions began to appear five days after the book first appeared on the shelves. By March 2006, it had sold over four million copies in China, and was also broadcast, in an audiobook format in twelve parts during prime time on China Radio International. Jiang also released a children’s edition of the book in July 2005, cut down to roughly one-third the length.

    Despite the author’s refusal to participate in marketing the book, deals for adaptations of the novel into other media and translations into other languages have set financial records. Penguin Books paid US$100,000 for the worldwide English rights, setting a record for the highest amount paid for the translation rights to a Chinese book. An unspecified Tokyo publisher paid US$300,000 for the rights to publish a manga (graphic) adaptation, and Bertelsmann bought the German-language rights for €20,000. The author believes that, “in the West they may understand his book more comprehensively than in China.”

    Other writers took advantage of the author’s anonymity to write fake sequels to Wolf Totem, including two books titled, Wolf Totem 2, as well as Great Wolfof the Plains, all with the imprint of the Chang Jiang Arts Publishing House. As a result, in April 2007, the author issued a statement that denounced all such “sequels” as fraudulent. He indicated that he was doing research for another book, but would not be publishing anything new in the short term.

    Wolf Totem has also been the subject of criticism. Charu Nivedita, in his review in The Asian Age, called the novel fascist. He wrote, “Won’t we all prefer a peaceful desert to a fascist grassland, where, one dominating race devours all other in a macabre ritual of bloodbath?” German sinologist Wolfgang Kubin described the book as “fascist” for its depiction and treatment of the farmers. Pankaj Mishra, reviewing the English translation for The New York Times, described Jiang’s writing as “full of set-piece didacticism.

   Mongol writer Guo Xuebo a scholar of Mongolian literature and history, has said that the wolf was never a traditional totem used by ethnic Mongolians. On the contrary, the wolf is the biggest menace for their survival. His post to this effect on Sina Weibo a Chinese internet site, on 18 February 2015 was questioned by many others. On February 25, he wrote an open letter, condemning the novel and the film, saying they “humiliate the ancestry, distort the history and culture, and insult the Mongolian people.” Independent from his views some others wrote, the wolf is a revered animal, which is regarded as having a heavenly destiny in Mongolia. On 20 January 2016, the Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences, the leading academic and research institution in Inner Mongolia, said that the wolf totem does not exist in ethnic Mongolian belief. The institution found, remains of ancient Mongolian totem worship, in varying degrees, among some tribes in ethnic Mongolia, but concluded there is no unified ethnic totem for Mongolian people after a wide range of fieldwork from April until July 2015 in Inner Mongolia.

    Film adaptation:Wolf Totem is a 2015 Chinese-language film based on the novel. Directed by French director Jean-Jacques Annaud who co-wrote with Alain Godard and John Collee. The Chinese-French co-production features a Chinese student who is sent to Inner Mongolia to teach shepherds and instead learns about the wolf population, which is under threat by a government apparatchik. An apparatchik was a full-time, professional functionary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union or the Soviet Government. 

    The Beijing Forbidden City Film Corporation initially sought to hire a Chinese director, but filming humans with real wolves was considered too difficult. New Zealand director Peter Jackson was therefore approached, but production did not take place. Annaud, whose 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet is banned in China, was hired despite the history. The film was finally produced by China Film Group and French-based Reperage. The French director, who had worked with animals on other films, acquired a dozen wolf pups in China and had them trained for several years by a Canadian animal trainer. With a production budget of US$40 million, Annaud filmed Wolf Totem in Inner Mongolia, where the book is set, for over a year.

    The film premiered at the European Film Market on February 7, 2015. It was scheduled to be released in China on February 19, 2015, for the start of the Chinese New Year, and in France on February 25, 2015.

    A good book has many takers just as this one that was also adapted into a movie. 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 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 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.

(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: SPIDER’S WEB … Agatha Christie

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Cover Page

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.

     Spider’s Web was written by none other, than the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie.  It is a novelization by Charles Osborne of the 1954 play of the same name by crime fiction writer Agatha Christie and was first published in the UK by Harper Collins in September 2000 and by St. Martin’s Press in the US on November 11, 2000.

    The book was written, following, the successful novelizations and publication of the 1930 play Black Coffee in 1998, and the 1958 play titled The Unexpected Guest in 1999, of Agatha Christie. Like those books, the novelization of Spider’s Web is also, a straightforward transfer of the stage lines and directions of Christie’s script into a written narrative. This was done by Charles Osborne who chose not to add characters, lines or scenes that would alter in any substantial way, what had been presented on the stage, although, minor amendments were made to produce suitable chapter endings. Osborne contributed a section to the book, on the history of Christie’s plays. ‘Spider’s Web’ is a very intriguing work of Agatha Christie where one can say that her imagination is at her best. Now without beating around the bush let me take you through the plot of this particular novel.

    The story opens in a mansion where a few guests while partying are playing a very peculiar game—a kind of Blind man’s buff. One out of them is blindfolded. He is tasting wine and port from a few bottles, and is attempting to name the brand of the liquor. If he pronounces the correct name he wins the bet. The party is happening at Clarissa Hailsham-Brown’s home. Clarissa Hailsham-Brown is the wife of a foreign diplomat Henry Hailsham-Brown. There are three guests in the house. Clarissa’s godfather Sir Rowland … better known as “Roly” Delahaye, Hugo Birch and a young man named Jeremy Warrender. When Jeremy is given the opportunity of being alone with Clarissa, he confesses his love for her. But Clarissa, sticking to her values of being a faithful wife to Henry and a step mother to Pippa, rejects his proposal. Later when Pippa returns from school she indulges herself in exploring parts of the manor house with Jeremy and in the process she reveals a secret passage inside the house.

    After the brief party, Roly, Hugo Birch and Jeremy all the three guests proceed to the local golf club. Meanwhile, Clarissa is confronted by a visitor in the house. His name is Oliver Costello, who happens to be Pippa’s mother’s second husband as well as a drug addict. He confirms to Clarissa that in future Pippa will have to stay with her mother. Soon, he leaves the house and is escorted out by Miss Peake, the gardener of the manor house. A few minutes later Henry Hailsham-Brown arrives home and innocently reveals about the intended secret arrival of the Soviet Premier in London. He tells Clarissa he has to go and meet him at the local airport and will return later.

    The room empties out when Costello returns for some mysterious reasons and is seen sneaking around the living room. Clarissa soon discovers his body in the drawing-room. It is believed that Pippa has killed him with a golf club in desperation and dilemma. Clarissa gets nervous, she calls the golf club and requests the three guests to return. She devises a plan with the three returning guests (Roly, Hugo Birch and Jeremy) to dispose of the body. But unfortunately, before they can even dispose of the body, the police arrives and they say that they have had an anonymous phone call, suggesting that a murder has taken place at the house. When questioned, Clarissa and the guests all lie about the facts, hoping to cover up the murder that is thought to have been committed by Pippa. Clarissa on being asked to tell the truth, changes her story a number of times and gets herself entangled in a ‘spider’s web’. The police soon find that Costello’s body is missing. It was taken away by Miss Peake to an upper bedroom so that the police wouldn’t come across it while they searched the house, and interviewed the individuals.

    Later, when Jeremy is alone, in an attempt in pretending to comfort Pippa, he tries to smother her with a pillow, but stops short when Clarissa suddenly approaches him. Clarissa, who is shrewd, keen and acute at understanding things, discovers that it is Jeremy who had murdered Charles Sellon, an antique shop owner and the previous owner of the manor house in which she was staying as a tenant, because Charles Sellon had something valuable in his possession that was lying hidden somewhere in this house. The item which Jeremy has been looking for, is somewhere in the house and not at the antique shop. That was why Costello approached Clarissa, thinking that she was Mrs Brown, the owner of the manor house and the partner in his antique shop business.  It is then revealed that Miss Peake is actually Mrs Brown (Clarissa is Mrs Hailsham-Brown). Since Jeremy was on the same mission as Costello, Costello had to be eliminated. The item which the rogues had been looking for was an error postage stamp, which would have fetched a sum of £14,000 which was big money. Jeremy tries to kill Clarissa as she is the only one remaining, who knows about his secret. However, the police are eavesdropping on them and they finally arrest Jeremy. The three guests then leave for their respective homes and Henry too returns home. Clarissa learns that the Premier was not at the airport as part of a security set up, but is still expected to visit the house. The play closes as Clarissa and Henry get ready for the visit of the Premier.

    It is an extremely interesting novel. The language and sentences are Agatha Christies’ typical style that are most enjoyable to read and easy to understand. She conveys the intricacy of a murder mystery with so much easy. Her sentences are loaded with the choicest of words and precise action descriptions. She expresses each expression so diligently and each discussion so precisely. 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 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)

(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)

*****