Tag Archives: Hindu

BOOK REVIEW: INSIDE THE HAVELI BY RAMA MEHTA

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

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

    ‘Inside the Haveli’ is a novel written by Rama Mehta. For this novel Rama Mehta was conferred ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ in the year 1979. The story of the novel revolves around a young girl from Mumbai, India. She gets married to the son of a former Indian prince and post-marriage she relocates to Udaipur, Rajasthan. This book was first published by Gulab Vazirani in 1977. The initial price of this book at the time of publication was Rs 40. The book completes in about 264 pages. But before I move ahead let me tell you a few things about author Rama Mehta.

    Rama Mehta was born in Nainital, India, in 1923. She rose to become a top sociologist, lecturer and even a novelist. Her non-fiction writings include The Western Educated Hindu Woman, The Hindu Divorced Woman, and ‘From Purdah to Modernity.’ One of the first women to be appointed to India’s Foreign Service, Rama Mehta was forced to resign from her position upon marriage. She died in 1978. The novel has received several compliments. Some are as follows:

    ‘A wonderfully interesting account … women should not miss it; neither should men—John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-born economist, public official, and diplomat.

    Says novelist Anita Desai, ‘I remember the surprised delight with which I first came upon Rama Mehta’s novel and encountered the freshness of her prose, the simplicity and tenderness of her evocation of an ancient and traditional way of life, and the understanding she brought to it.’

    Throughout her life, the principal theme of Rama Mehta’s writings was the position of women in tradition-bound but rapidly changing India. For, in addition to her three novels, she wrote a number of sociological books about the contemporary Indian woman including The Western Educated Hindu Woman and The Hindu Divorced Woman. And, just before she died in June 1978, Mehta completed a study of women in the Hindu nuclear family. It is, therefore, appropriate that her last novel, Inside the Haveli, should have won, though posthumously, that year’s Sahitya Akademy award for the best Indian novel in English.

    In essence it’s a modern classic about an independent young woman’s struggle to hold on to her identity in a traditional world.    The book in no manner has a very engrossing storyline. As mentioned earlier it is about Geeta, an educated and vivacious Bombay girl, who marries into a conservative family and abruptly finds herself living in purdah in her husband’s ancestral haveli at Udaipur. Faced with this and even certain other age old traditions that threaten to snuff out, her independence and progressive views, Geeta puts up an unnoticed fight to maintain her modernity that she has always lived by.

    It is always tough for an author to churn out a novel without a piercing story line, which Rama Mehta has done quite successfully. She has detailed it so very well that one gets to feel as if she was part of the family and has lived with them for a duration of time only to write this novel.

    Some other important characters apart from Geeta in the novel are Ajay Singh, husband of Geeta; Pari an old maid; Lakshmi another maid; Vijay Geeta’s daughter and Sita Lakshmi’s daughter.

    The novel depicts the beginnings of a social change in the life of the women from Mewar who continued, until 20th century, to practice the system of purdah long after Hindu women discarded it as an out-moded custom. It gives a detailed account of old Udaipur. Something like they eat in Silver thalis.

    In that manner ‘Inside the Haveli’ is an excellent novel about a young, college-educated girl of Bombay who marries the son of an ex-prime minister of the former princely state of Mewar and comes to her husband’s traditional haveli in Udaipur.

   The moment she steps out of the train, Geeta the main protagonist gets the biggest shock of her life, for not only is her face instantaneously covered by her women relatives and maid-servants who take complete charge of her, but she, also, immediately finds, herself, engulfed in a pattern of life which is totally alien to her modern upbringing in Bombay.

    As soon as she reaches “home”, she is further shocked by the realisation that the men and women live in different parts of the huge haveli, without any contact with each other. Indeed, life inside the haveli is governed by an impossibly rigid etiquette of dos and don’ts, and for her, as for all the other women, there is no life outside the high walls of the haveli.

    The youthful Geeta finds herself unable to reconcile with the idea of spending the rest of her life in purdah. But at the same time she sees no escape from this out-dated way of life, for her husband is too deeply rooted in his traditions and too deeply attached to his parents to take up a job in some other city.

    Moreover, she gradually comes to realise that, in spite of their exacting demands of conformity with the family tradition, her parents-in-law are essentially warm hearted and generous.

    Slowly and painfully Geeta finds herself adjusting with the life in the haveli with the thought of merging her identity and that of her children in the tradition of her husband’s ancient family.

    But in the process she succeeds in initiating certain reforms for the women of these ancient havelis by starting literacy classes for them and by sending the female children to school. Her women relatives, of course, oppose her plans, but her father-in-law, realising that with the end of the princely era, the old pattern of life could not possibly continue for long, supports Geeta’s attempt to make the women less dependent on the havelis.

    It is a fascinating novel in which the author has succeeded in conveying the essence and feel of a world which is fast disappearing.

    Jeewan Niwas is the centre-stage around which the entire clan of the ruling class, Rana’s stay. Traditionally these families have also served the Maharana of Udaipur, who was like God to them. They all seem to be together but yes there are internal rivalries too.

    A change of mindset is in the offing when Geeta is blessed with a daughter and celebrations break through. Lakshmi their maid leaves the haveli on some misunderstanding. Thereafter her daughter Sita is brought up by Bhagwat Singh ji’s wife who is Geeta’s mother-in-law.

    There is almost a chapter on young Sita’s wedding who is daughter of Lakshmi. The scene is very emotional and well described. It gives a vivid description of such marriages.

    Author has crafted some original and interesting words such as, ‘twig fire lit in a earthenware pot,’ than you have butter lamp’ and ‘fire-hot rotis’ to name a few.

    Overall it’s a very slow moving book, but well detailed with precise punctuation and simple language easy to understand. The book doesn’t sink in you unless you complete it in five to six sittings, nor does it have any recall quotient barring a peep into the havelis this is because of the faint story line. It has too many characters difficult to remember especially when it’s not a very happening book.

    You can pick up this book to understand what really goes on inside a haveli. I would give it eight out of ten for it meets the purpose for which it was written.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

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

*****

 

 

 

  

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INTERESTING FACTS FIGURES AND QUOTES–EPISODE 26

Copyright@shravancharitymission

  1. Silicon Valley lives in a bubble and its gods are oblivious of the havoc they have caused. Their technology is wonderful but is subverting elections and you are accessories to it. Liberal democracy is broken and you (Silicon Valley) broke it—says Carole Cadwalladr, the Welsh journalist who had exposed Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s messing with the Brexit referendum.
  2. Shiva alone is usually not represented by a deity, and instead, is depicted by the lingam. Hindu mythology speaks of Krishna and Rama as avatars, they were born and they died. They are said to have worshipped Shiva. Other Gods also take physical birth, but Shiva neither takes birth, nor dies. Shiva incarnates himself in a human body, an occurrence that is celebrated during Shivratri.
  3. The British pound is the world’s oldest currency still in use. It is 1,200 years old. Dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, the pound has gone through many changes before evolving into the currency we recognise today.
  4. Egypt is considered one of the oldest countries of the world and was first settled around 6000 BC. The first dynasty was believed to be founded around 3100 BC. India and China are the other two world’s oldest countries.
  5. Damascus the present day capital of Syria is widely believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city of the world, with evidence of habitation dating back at least 11,000 years. Its location and persistence have made the city a nexus for civilizations that have come and gone.
  6. Let me remind you about the great mystic Kabir Das the legendary poet and saint who celebrated the breaking of his earthern pot. For him it meant emancipation from the daily drill of trudging far for filling water. Where, he further alludes to the joy of renouncing the false sense of self-pride.
  7. Kesaria is a place in Bihar about a 90 minute detour enroute to Patna from Motihari. This was where according to the legend, Buddha performed his ‘bal mundan’ and assumed his kesaria (saffron) robe.
  8. Buddha spent his last night in Kesaria en route from Vaishali to Kushinagar where Buddha believed, he attained Pari-nirvana, forseeing his end. When he asked his Lichhavi disciples to disperse and return to Vaishali. He gave them his alms bowl, to still the chorus of dissent. After his death, they built a mud stupa to house the bowl.
  9. The Ordnance Factory Board that supplies ammunition to the Indian army has 41 factories.
  10. Writer Somerset Maugham, a medico who never practiced, learned to play violin to tide over his loneliness in his old age. Bertrand Russel would regularly listen to Beethoven’s ethereal symphonies to fight his sporadic schizophrenic bouts. Victorian English poet Alfred Tennyson started playing the piano at 70 when he felt that his poetic prowess was waning.
  11. Contrary to the general belief that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb abhorred music, some accounts say that the Mughal court chronicler Khafif Khan mentioned in his court despatches written in Persian that Aurangzeb’s chronic insomnia at the age of 78 was cured by the court musician Ahmad Rasool Khan.
  12. In any merger the biggest challenge is always integration of human resources–Arundhati Bhattacharya, Ex-Chairman, SBI.
  13. The direction in which education sets a man will determine his future life–Plato Athenian philosopher.
  14. The Greek tragedian, Aeschylus was right when he said, ‘the first casualty of war is truth.’
  15. John Dryden, English poet wrote, ‘beware of the fury of the patient man.’
  16. If you have surrounded yourself with assholes, you’re going to be more of an asshole.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

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

*****

INTERESTING FACTS FIGURES & QUOTES EPISODE 25

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Burkina Faso is the least educated country of the world with a literacy rate of 21.8%. It is a landlocked country in West Africa.

William Shakespeare termed old age as the second childhood.

Maize Corn is the most produced grain in the world. Whereas, wheat covers most of the earth than any other crop.

Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and one of the largest religious monuments of the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to God Vishnu for the Khmer Empire. It was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.

Are pigs the neatest of animals in the world: Contrary to popular belief, pigs are unable to sweat; instead, they wallow in mud to cool down. Their mucky appearance gives pigs an undeserved reputation for slovenliness. In fact, pigs are some of the cleanest animals around, refusing to excrete, anywhere near their living or eating areas when given a choice.

Staple diet of America: Whether it’s roasted, baked, fried, transformed into a patty, or used in a salad, sandwich or casserole, chicken remains a major dietary staple in the United States. Americans get almost as many calories from chicken as they do from bread, according to the USDA.

There is one major difference between a ROM (that is read-only memory) and a RAM (that is random-access memory) chip: ROM can hold data without power and RAM cannot. Essentially, ROM is meant for permanent storage, and RAM is for temporary storage.

Basketball is probably the most popular indoor sports in the world.

In a disturbing trend, tigers in the country are increasingly being killed by snares, even in the core areas of the sanctuaries. In the last nine years, 24 tigers and 114 leopards have suffered slow, agonizing deaths due to these traps. Worryingly, apart from poachers, local communities are also using these wire noose snares to kill the big cats preying on their livestock.

There has been a steady increase in tiger population in the last few years. India had 2,226 tigers as per the 2014 All India Tiger Estimation. This accounts for a 60% jump in tiger population compared to 2006.

Tigers need large habitats as they have high juvenile dispersal rates. Tigers have lost more than 95% of their historical range.

“Everything is ready except the east wind,” is an ancient Chinese proverb that translates to how can everything be ready without the thing which is most crucial.

Recently, the catastrophic disappearance of emperor penguins from Antarctica made global headlines. The colony of adults and nursing chicks was among the largest in the world. It sank without a trace due to global warming, because of weakened ice collapsing on unchilling waters. The tragedy is similar to the proverbial collapse of a star caused by the death of a sparrow.

In less than sixty years Singapore has transformed from a poor developed country into one of the richest—its per capita income is now double that of Australia. Singapore will be in a class entirely of its own by 2050.

Men argue. Nature acts–VOLTAIRE, French historian and philosopher.

If you destroy a free market you create a black market—WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime Minister of U.K.

The poetry of earth is never dead—JOHN KEATS, English romantic poet.

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand—A Chinese proverb.

I want a brighter word than bright—JOHN KEATS, English romantic poet.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced—JOHN KEATS, English romantic poet.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

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

*****

 

 

 

LITERARY CORNER: WHY I AM A HINDU by Shashi Tharoor

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

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

WHY I AM A HINDU’

by Shashi Tharoor

Publisher Aleph

Year of publication: 2018

    The price of the book is Rs 699. It’s a 300 page book loaded with some palpable stuff—quite typical of Shashi Tharoor. The book has three main chapters divided into seven sub chapters.

    It starts off quite well with the author glossing over reasons as to why he decided to write this book. Where, he takes you through the essence of Hinduism, but not so much through the rituals but essentially through the religious-socio-cultural plank. He gets into meticulous detailing such as how a Sanskrit word ‘Jagannath’ came to be known as ‘Juggernaut.’ He takes you through the Bhakti movement. He talks about the Advaita Vedanta, the vedic learnings with lots of anecdotes—interesting ones. He describes in great detail the wisdom of Swami Vivekananda and Adi Shankracharya. Talks about his own childhood entangled in Hinduism. The ‘sanskars’ that he got from his parents. While Shashi loves Hinduism he admonishes Hindutva in his hot narration.

    The author, initially appears, quite as a baby faced admirer and a harmless volunteer of Hinduism till around page hundred and forty. But thereafter he changes gear and moves into the domain of political Hinduism.

    Where, he goes unsparingly after Savarkar, Golwalkar and Deen Dayal Upadhyay all stalwarts of the Sangh Parivar. And, as expected of Shashi Tharoor, he does make, a piercing commotion about the atrocities committed by the British Raj on Hinduism, but remains somewhat vague about the atrocities of the Muslim invaders, perhaps, offering them benefit of doubt. He feigns or genuinely believes Hindus are large hearted or even dodos, and will never react to the persecution that they were subjected to at the hands of the British Raj and the devious invaders, even in a millennium which is not quite clear. While he allows Deen Dayal Upadhyay to pass off as a more tolerable face of the Sangh Parivar. For Savarkar and Golwalkar, he projects unalloyed despise rising up to hate, but doesn’t really touch Hedgewar the founding Sangh Chalak even with a bargepole.  Shashi cannot imagine leave alone believing that RSS may have been an initial emotional reaction to the atrocities of the British Raj and the Islamization during Jinnah before and even after the partition. Just as Islamization could have been a reaction to American atrocities on the Muslims as believed by many and not some. And why forget the fascism of Europe that arose primarily because of Communism.

    Beyond page 140 the author shows his real face and that is his attack on Hindutva. The point that he makes is about the ancient Indian culture of hospitality where India has always been a great host to all communities. The population of India is 80% Hindus but they have always looked after the minority communities in terms of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and others. When you cruise through the book further what becomes more apparent is that Hindutva is the brain child of RSS. And till the time Congress was well in control of India the Indian society was an Utopia and now it has become a dystopia. The book is excellent in terms of narration and flow. And is action packed with all the appreciated fantasies of the Congress regime. Yet, I was left with the following gaps for which I did not find answers or were the answers held back. I really don’t know?

   The book has a good spread of Hinduism’s history but lacks in precipitating/ Hindu emotions because of obvious reasons. It churns out great details about Hinduism yet it does make you feel a depreciated Hindu. The author talks about large scale conversion of Hindus, at the hands of Muslims and even Christians but at the same time is short of saying that both Muslims and Christians are fanatics in that manner.

    Although, he goes after Hindutva with a gun yet he doesn’t give any plausible explanation as to why Hindutva flourished in the last 25-30 years. Was it a pent up emotional need of the Hindus or the failure of Congress party that ruled for so many years. All he does is to blame the Sangh and the BJP. The author having criticised the BJP and the Sangh so vehemently, should have suggested a socio-religious-cultural alternative to BJP which he hasn’t. Muslims have their mosque and Christians their Church but where do Hindus go barring their defining book Gita. And is BJP a reaction to 70 years of Congress rule is the question the author needs to answer to complete the book? BJP has come up through a democratic process. It started with just two seats in the parliament and now occupies almost a full house. If all was going so well for the Hindus in India why did Hindutva gain so much ground. For which there is no elaborate answer from the author barring the cliché of the divisive policy of the RSS and BJP.

    Book is a little too much to digest in one go for an average reader. It’s outright verbose—Shashi Tharoor style. And yes read it with a pinch of salt. The book leans towards Congress. In which he has mixed society, religion and politics. It has excellent flow and detailing. Author admits his erudite team has also helped him in this narration. A large part of the book is all about RSS and BJP bashing. Though India is projected well in the eyes of the world, which, Shashi always does. The first half and even all along, the book is all about the uniqueness of Hindu religion. It covers the Sikh riots in just about half a paragraph just because Congress was to blame for it. Whereas, he criticizes forcefully the doctrine of Hindutva. And mildly conveys about the invaders who came and plundered India from time to time. He sings the same old tune of secularism. He compares India with Pakistan. In Pakistan all non-Muslims have it written on their passports as non-Muslims, signifying they are second rate citizens.

    The book doesn’t reveal the dynamics of an evolving society. One will agree, Hindutva was not in the agenda of things when India got independence. But obviously, there have been factors that propagated the concept of Hindutva later on. Intermittently Shashi criticizes the caste system propagated by the Britishers and subsequently upheld by the Congress party.

    Author doesn’t accept Hindutva as a reaction to Muslim radicalisation. And even fails to say that if Muslim radicalisation continues there is a likelihood of Christian radicalisation too, maybe not in India but in various Christian majority states of the world.

    The book is excellent in terms of detailing and of course the content, language and the flow.

    But surprisingly, it nowhere deciphers between the temperaments of Hindus settled in south and the ones in the north who mostly took the wrath of these Muslim invaders.

    Towards the final chapters the author takes you through some iconic inventions in the realm of Hinduism and Science, especially the inventions of numerals in terms of Shunya or zero. At one point he also tries to justify the invaders and that includes the Mughals starting from Babar. He compares them with the Britishers only to say that Britishers took the loot to their own country whereas, the Muslim invaders spent it here in India. Then he goes on to talk about holy cows, changing the name of Aurangzeb road and even the independence movement.

    Overall it’s an excellent read if you don’t mind the politics that the book generates. I would give the book eight out of ten for the content, detailing, information, language flow and of course Shashi’s guts in being one-sided and the frankness.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

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

*****

 

 

 

BOOK CORNER:GODS AND ROBOTS: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology … by Adrienne Mayor

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

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

Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines and Ancient Dreams of Technology’

Adriyana Mayor in 2018.

Published by Princeton University Press, New Jersey

    Albert Einstein had once said. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” So, let ‘imagination’ be the tagline of this write-up. As books are indeed an exercise of the author’s imagination. For who could first imagine the concepts of robots, automation, human enhancements, and Artificial Intelligence? Historians tend to trace the idea of automation back to the medieval craftsmen who developed self- moving machines.

    Let me now take you to a research scholar at Stanford University. Her name is Adrienne Mayor. She is a historian of ancient science and warfare, and a classical forklorist who investigates natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and oral traditions. She has recently come out with a book titled, ‘Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines and Ancient Dreams of Technology.’ It’s a long title.

    Adrienne feels Hindu epics are full of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robots, and legend has it, that they guarded Buddha’s relics.

    In this book the lady author explores how ancient culture imagined futuristic technologies and left behind those imaginations in epics and scriptures. She tells how Ashoka battled robots, and other tech tales from the past.    Faith can move mountains. There is a belief in India among the Hindus that ancient Indians had invented everything from spacecraft to missiles to the internet. Lady author tries to link this theory with her research work. She feels her research got her into the first inklings of the scientific impulse and that took her into the world of mythology, where ancient people first envisioned making artificial life, automation (or robots), self-moving devices, and other marvelous things long before the present day technology made them possible. She states these stories about robots and other machines in ancient oral traditions were first written down during the time of Homer, about some 2,700 years ago. But the Greeks were not the only people to imagine automation and machines in antiquity. Similar stories exist in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other epics. In Hindu myths, automations are made by the engineer God Vishwakarma and the sorceress or more appropriately the mystique of Maya. In Greek myths they are made by the God of technology. His name is Hephaestus—the Greek God of fire and metal working and the brilliant artisan Daedalus, a craftsman and artist again from Greek mythology. I consider such myths to be the world’s first science fiction stories. No single civilisation had a monopoly on such ancient dreams of advanced technology. Whether one looks at Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Islamic, Chinese, Etruscan—the modern name given to the powerful and wealthy civilization of ancient Italy or any other ancient cultural myths about artificial life. They all contemplate what wonders might have been achieved if only one could possess the divine creativity and abilities of the Gods. But it’s not possible to draw a direct line of development from mythology over the millennia to the modern scientific knowledge.

    Further the lady author goes on to say that the Indian and Hellenistic cultures borrowed and influenced each other, beginning in about the fifth century BC, The syncretism only intensified, after Alexander of Macedon and King Porus began relations in the fourth century BC. Jain texts mention that the engineers of Ajatasatru, the  king of Haryanka dynasty of Magadha, invented armoured war chariots with spinning blades, which may have inspired later the Persian scythed chariots. Ajatasatru had powerful machines to hurl massive boulders,  even before Philip—II of Macedon obtained torsion catapults—those huge launchers. India was known for perpetually burning oil lamps, suggesting knowledge of naphtha, that was unknown to the Greeks and the Romans until much later. The travelling Greek sage Apollodorus of Tyana observed automated servants and self-propelled carts in the court of a ruler of India, and India was centuries ahead of Europe in the technologies of distillation and hydraulics. There was probably more give and take than we know about.

    Myths featuring flying chariots and synthetic swans, animated servants, giant robots, machines, and the like appear in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kathasaritasagara, Harivamsa, and other works. Self-navigating ships appear in Egyptian texts and Homer’s odyssey; android and animal automations are described in Homer’s Iliad and in Chinese chronicles. And further examples are myriad.

    The book goes on to share the story of android warriors guarding Buddha’s relics. The most detailed account is in the Lokapanatti, a complicated compilation of tales from Burma. After Buddha’s death, the story recounts that King Ajatasatru preserved his bodily remains in a hidden chamber under a stupa. The precious relics were guarded by ‘bhuta vahana yantra’ (spirit transporting machine). These were robotic warriors with whirling swords—reminiscent of the king’s novel war machines with spinning blades. Greek myths tell of automation guardians in human and animal form defending palaces and treasures, but the historical and technological details of this legend make it unique. The story says the robots were constructed from plans and were secretly transported to Patliputra from Romavisaya, the Greek-influenced west, by a yantrakara, that is a robot maker who was originally from Patliputra. The automation soldiers guarded Buddha’s relics until the great Indian emperor Ashoka heard about the secret chamber. Ashoka battled the robots and after he defeated them he learned how to control them. They obeyed him. Historically, we know that Ashoka did unearth and distribute long hidden relics of Buddha across the land.

    By third century BC, craftspeople and engineers in the Greek world, Alexandria, Arabia, India and China began making self-moving devices, flying bird models, animated machines, and automations like those described in myths. Some were miniature and some monumental, some had simple mechanisms but some were quite complex. These inventions were powered by springs, levers, pulleys, water, air, heat, and so on.

    Overall it’s an extremely interesting book of around three hundred pages. The book really impacts you and leaves you enlightened. Where, you might just be inclined to even change your mindset. But yes don’t rush through the book as it is a little complex in terms of old historical words and even geographies and names. You might even have to refer the glossary or even the dictionary a little too often. I would give the book eight out of ten.

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

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

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BOOK TALK: TRAIN TO PAKISTAN by Khushwant Singh

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

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

THE TRAIN TO PAKISTAN

BY KHUSHWANT SINGH

    The summer of 1947 was not like any other Indian summer. The weather that year had a different feel. What was, looming large on the horizon was, communal riots, and precipitated reports of the proposed division of the country into a Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan. Within a few months the death toll had mounted to several thousands. ‘Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims were to blame.’

    The riots had gradually spread from Calcutta to north and east and west. In Noakhali, East Bengal Muslims massacred Hindus. In Bihar Hindus massacred Muslims. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs who had lived for centuries in the Northwest Frontier abandoned their homes and fled towards the protection of the predominantly Sikh and Hindu communities in the east. They travelled on foot, in bullock carts, crammed into lorries as the riots had become a rout.

    By the summer of 1947 when the creation of a new state of Pakistan was formally announced, ten million people—Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs—were in flight. By the time the monsoon broke, almost a million of them were dead, and entire northern India was up in arms. The only oases of peace that remained were a scatter of little villages lost in the remote reaches of the frontier. Where, one such village happened to be Mano Majra.

    A tiny place, it had only three brick buildings. One belonged to the money lender Lala Ram Lal. The other two were the Sikh temple (Gurudwara), and the mosque (Masjid). Rest of the village was a cluster of flat-roofed mud huts and low-walled courtyards, which fronted on the narrow lanes. There were only seventy families in Mano Majra a fictional village. Lala Ram Lal was the only Hindu family. The others were Sikhs or Muslims, about equal in number and some quasi-Christians. The Sikhs owned all the land around the village and the Muslims were tenants and shared the tilling with the owners. There were a few families of sweepers also whose religion was uncertain. The Muslims claimed them as their own. Yet when American missionaries visited Mano Majra the sweepers wore khaki sola topees and joined their women folk in singing hymns in the accompaniment of harmonium.

    Even though, Mano Majra was said to be on the banks of Sutlej river. It was actually half a mile away from it. Sutlej is the largest river in Punjab. And about a mile north of Mano Majra. The Sutlej is spanned by a railroad bridge. It is a magnificent bridge—its eighteen enormous spans sweep like waves from one pier to another, and at each end of it there is a stone embankment. To, buttress the railway line.

    Mano Majra was always known for its railway station. Since the bridge had only one track. The station had several sidings where less important trains could wait, to make way for the more important ones. Not many trains stopped at Mano Majra. Express trains did not stop at all. Of the many slow passenger trains, only two, one from Delhi to Lahore in the mornings and the other from Lahore to Delhi in the evenings, were scheduled to stop for a few minutes. The only regular customers were the goods train. After dark, when the countryside was steeped in silence. The whistling and puffing of engines, the banging of buffers and the clanking of iron couplings could be heard all through the night. Apart from this, the blasts of the whistle were also heard often when the trains passed. And in all of this the author has done a wonderful job of describing the village activities. The Sikhs and the Muslims had a cordial relationship with each other until the summer of 1947.

    One heavy night in August five dacoits appeared in the village. And in sync with the rumblings of the sidings of the train, they decided to raid the house of the money lender Lala Ram Lal. They hammered the door with their weapons and after breaking it open they entered. They killed Lala Ram Lal and looted his treasure and fired two shots in the air to silence the village.  While leaving they passed through Juggut Singh’s (Juggia) house who was considered the village badmash and threw a bundle of bangles into his house to make him feel feminine. But since Juggut Singh (Juggia) was not at home they missed the action.

    Juggia was on probation where he was not supposed to leave the village and also report to the police station at frequent intervals. His father was a dacoit who was hanged for his crimes. Juggia had developed a physical relationship with Nooran, a Muslim girl who happened to be the daughter of Imam Baksh the Mullah of the Masjid. Once when, Juggia stepped out in the night, taking all the risk only to ‘make love’ to Nooran in the open fields where no one could see them. They heard some footsteps and went quiet. They saw some five people and could make out they were Malli the famous dacoit and his gang mates. Juggia was shocked. What was Malli doing in his village? This was no time for dacoities when the country was wounded, he thought. And, when, he was about to enter his house, he saw the door was open. Where, several villagers were in the courtyard talking to his mother. He turned around, quietly and made his way back to the river.

    In the bureaucratic circles, Mano Majra had some importance because of an officer’s rest house that was located just north of the railway bridge.  It had a flat roofed bungalow made of khaki bricks with a veranda in the front facing the river. It stood in the middle of a squarish plot enclosed by a low wall. Throughout the winter months, officers arrange tours that involved a short halt at the Mano Majra rest house. There they went for shoots and generally had a good time there.

    In the morning before the dacoity in Mano Majra, the rest house had been done up to receive an important guest. Before the arrival of this VIP the SI (sub-inspector) of police and two constables had also turned up on their bicycles. And soon the VIP too arrived in a large American car. His name was Hukum Chand, magistrate and deputy commissioner of the district. He immediately freshened up and got the SI to his room to start a conversation around some urgent issues over a glass of beer. The obsequious SI didn’t waste any time. He was immediately on the mission to please him. Corrupt Hukum Chand was expecting more than normal courtesies from the SI. That included wine, woman and song. The SI had it all in his quiver. During the course of beer he also started enquiring from the SI about the communal tension and about the convoys of dead Sikhs as they had been coming through at Amritsar. They had a frank discussion. Hukum Chand told the SI about Sikhs who retaliated by attacking a Muslim refugee train and sending it across the border with over a thousand corpses. They wrote on the engine ‘Gift to Pakistan!’

     The sentiments were far from normal on both the sides of the border. But it had not affected Mano Majra yet. The Muslims in Mano Majra were not well to do. There was also a discussion on Jugga. The SI reminded Hukum Chand of his father Alam Singh who was hanged two years back. SI explained, Jugga was in a relationship with a Muslim weaver’s daughter whose father was blind and was the mullah of the mosque and his name was Imam Baksh. In the evening Hukum Chand had his round of whisky along with a dance session by a prostitute who was in her teens and even slept with her. The dark side of bureaucracy and feudalism one could say.

    The morning after the dacoity the railway station was more crowded than usual. Residents of Mano Majra loved coming to the station just for the heck of it. Today the train from Delhi had some special visitors. Twelve armed policemen along with a sub-inspector alighted from compartment just behind the engine. And from the other end of the train near the guard’s van, a young man stepped down. Every bit an urbanite and also looked as if he was educated abroad, and somewhat effeminate, in body language. He was looking for a place to stay in Mano Majra. Soon he reached the Gurudwara where he met an old Sikh who happened to be the bhai of the temple. His name was Meet Singh. He enquired the name of the young man when the young man said, ‘Iqbal.’ ‘Iqbal Singh?’ queried the old man. To which Iqbal didn’t reply. Iqbal could have been Iqbal Singh, or Iqbal Chand or even Iqbal Mohammed. He declared himself as a social worker. He carried his own foodstuff to eat including fish complete with head, eyes and tail and even liquor. Bhai Meet Singh adviced Iqbal not to go out too far in the village as it was bad times. And that Lambarder and Imam Baksh, the mullah of the mosque were coming to meet him.

     The attention then shifts to the money lender’s house, who was murdered the previous night. The dacoits had taken a lot of cash and they say over five thousand rupees in silver and gold ornaments from his women. The murder suspect was now Jugga in whose house the packet of bangles was found that was left by the dacoits. He is soon arrested. Jugga pleads not guilty as he wouldn’t have looted and killed his own village brother but he was not heard.

    In fact the arrest of Jugga also had the okay of Hukum Chand the magistrate. In fact the magistrate had also given the concurrence to arrest Iqbal too, and implicate him in the case of murder. Iqbal had become a matter of suspicion because his undisclosed mission. They both are put in the lock up. But Iqbal had arrived a day after the murder and Jugga could not have killed his village-brother or struck a dacoity in his own village. This makes the authorities feel something is amiss. Which, they will not be able to prove it in the court of law. So they timidly accept the mistake and arrest Malli and his gang from Chundunugger police station.  

    Meanwhile things are hotting up in Mano Majra. One day a ‘ghost train’ arrives at Mano Majra railway station. The entire area along the station is cordoned off. Rumours spread it is a ‘funeral train’ carrying dead bodies of Sikhs and Hindus killed in the massacre. Army steps in with some Sikh officers and their Jeeps and trucks. Meanwhile, the local police are commissioned, to go around villages to collect wood and oil. This gives a clear indication, that it is required for mass cremation. The docile villagers, handover whatever is available with them. And after a while all they get to see is the billowing of dense smoke making it amply clear that its mass cremation that is going on. Post this; traumatic rumours spread across the village.

    But even before matters cool of, one day another ‘Ghost Train’ enters Mano Majra. It has no lights. It doesn’t whistle nor does it rumble. The army once cordons off the entire area. Soon an excavator arrives and starts digging a huge pit. The dead bodies are brought from the train and made to rest in the pit—mass burial. After which, the train disappears, as mysteriously, as it had come.

    News spreads that it was the bodies of Hindus and Sikhs brought in the train twice for cremation and burial. Upon reviewing the situation authorities feel another ‘Ghost Train’ can start riots in Mano Majra too. So they decide to shift the Muslim population to the ‘refugee camp’ from where they would be deported to Pakistan. Muslims of Mano Majra are not quite inclined to go to Pakistan as they feel they were born and brought up only in Mano Majra. But the cruel destiny decides that they have to leave. Nooran too, has to leave along with her father Imam Baksh. She comes to meet Jugga’s mother. She informs she is carrying Juggia’s child and therefore if she could adopt her and let her be in her house. But Juggia’s mother is not inclined to keep her, so she asks her to leave for the camp immediately.

    Meanwhile Juggut Singh, Iqbal, Malli and his gang are released from the jail. Iqbal disappears suddenly. But the talk whether he was a Muslim or a Sikh continues. Juggia upon reaching his home learns Nooran had come seeking for shelter at his home but was turned away by his mother. He gets very upset at this and threatens her to kill himself. And by now a young Sikh lad has emerged in Mano Majra. It appears he has come from Pakistan and is full of hatred for Muslims consequent to what he had seen in Pakistan—rape of Hindu and Sikh women and slaughter of their children and men. He is full of fire. He comes to the Gurudwara and provokes the Sikhs to join him for taking revenge. About fifty Sikhs join him as volunteers.

    Next day in the morning, the Sikh lad, along with all the volunteers make a plan. The train loaded with Muslim refugees is likely to start from Chundunugger and by night it will reach Mano Majra. The train has no lights as it being made to move in a surreptitious manner. All along the way they plan to post volunteers with torches who will signal as soon as the train passes them. They plan to tie a sturdy rope from one end to the other on the first steel span of the rail bridge which is at the height of the funnel of the engine which is about twenty feet. And once the train reaches there in the dark it will pull down all the people sitting on the roof say 4-500. The impact might even dislodge the train itself and it might fall into the river. Prima facie it appeared to be a perfect plan when they could have attacked and killed all the refugees.

    By night everything was in place. The train was moving without lights. Each time it passed a volunteer, the torch light flashed giving the signal that the train had moved ahead. It was a moonlit night. When, the Sikh lad saw a silhouette of a hefty person climbing the first steel span. He then started moving on the sturdy rope when he took out his kirpan (sword) and started cutting it. The Sikh lad upon seeing this, yelled at the hefty person to stop what he was doing. But the guy was unfazed. His movements up there had become even swifter by now. The train by now was also close to the steel span. The Sikh lad by now had understood what was happening. Someone was trying to sabotage the plan by cutting the rope as that would have saved all the refugees. So he first yelled and then took out his gun and shot the guy. He was hurt, and by now he was in the centre of the span. Where, his movements had become much more, faster. And finally he was successful in cutting the rope at the nick of the moment. But just then he fell on the track when the train ran over him and into Pakistan.

    The person who cut the rope was no else but Juggut Singh who wanted to save his Muslim girlfriend from being killed but in the process he killed himself.

Synopsis 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. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

(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)

*****

 

 

 

   

 

COULD THE BRITISH RAJ HAVE BLUNTED THE INTENSITY OF CASTEISM IN INDIA?

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

 

     It is said—‘In India you can change your religion but not your caste.’ But this reality almost met with a challenge from the Britishers at the time of the British Raj which is largely unknown. In fact, had the British Raj, pushed its way through, it would have shown the way for abolishment of the caste system, all together. But they began only with criminals, by sending them to Andamans, better known as Kala Pani. (Literal meaning is ‘black waters’. But ‘Kala’ also signifies ‘kaal’—that signifies the time of death).

    If the British so wanted. In the eighty nine years of their dictatorial rule. They could have at least blunted the ferocity of the caste system in India, if not completely uprooted. But they had other nefarious designs that was to divide and rule. So, while on one hand they exploited the caste rivalry in the mainland, on the other they got rid of it by sending criminals to islands in Kala Pani. Where, they could rid them of their caste. But sadly, most of them were freedom fighters whom they had held as prisoners.

        These remote islands in Andamans, were considered suitable to punish the ‘India Independence’ activists—called the freedom fighters. Not only were they isolated from the mainland. The overseas journey to the islands (Kala Pani) also threatened them with loss of caste that could have resulted in social exclusion. Sadly, this is also corroborated by Hindu religious scriptures. These convicts were largely used in chain-gangs, to construct prisons, buildings and harbor facilities. Many were finally hanged and many died while building these structures. Where, they largely served to colonize the island for the British.

    That brings us, to the moot point. What about those Hindus, who were not prisoners? But have travelled overseas, either on business or pleasure. Have they also lost their caste identity like those prisoners, just because they crossed the seas? Because, as per the scriptures. Those Hindus who have travelled overseas, automatically lose their caste, and to retrieve it they need to go in for deep penance. Further, if we are to believe in the caste system. We also need to believe in the scriptures with equal measure. As both are ancient and part of our tenets. For it can’t be that on one hand we believe in the caste system but give the other theory a grand miss. For our religious scriptures below, say it all.

    The offense of crossing the sea is known as “Samudrolanghana” or “Sagarollanghana.” The Dharma Sutra of Baudhayana (II.1.2.2) lists sea voyages as first of the offences that cause the loss of varna (caste). The Dharma Sutra suggests a person can wipe away this offense in three years by eating little at every fourth meal time. By bathing at dawn, noon and dusk; standing during the day; and seated during the night.

    The reasons behind the taboo include the inability, to carry out the daily rituals, and the sin of contact with the mlecchas (barbarians). The fear of crossing the seas also derives from the notion. That it entailed the end of the reincarnation cycle as the traveler was cut off from the regenerating waters of the Ganges. Such voyages also meant breaking family and social ties. And, according, to another belief in the pre-modern India the Kala Pani (sea water) was inhabited by the houglis, bad spirits and monsters.

    During the Age of Discovery, Portuguese sailors noted that Hindus were reluctant to engage in maritime trade due to this taboo. In the eighteenth century, the Banias of North India, considered, even the crossing of the Indus River, at Attock as a taboo, and underwent purification rituals upon their return. However, not all Hindus adhered to the taboo, especially the Hindu merchants located in Burma, Muscat and other places.

    So, can we, then say. All those Hindus, who have traveled overseas, are now devoid of any caste?

*

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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                                                       https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. 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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****