Tag Archives: kolkata

BOOK CORNER: LAJJA by Taslima Nasrin

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

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

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

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

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 Lajja is not only an invaluable historical document but also a text whose relevance has unfortunately not diminished in the two decades since it was published.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

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

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Literary Corner: Coffee House

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

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

*****

 

 

 

BOOK CORNER: SAHIB’S WHO LOVED INDIA … compiled & edited 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.

SAHIBS WHO LOVED INDIA

Compiled & edited by Khushwant Singh

    For far too long we have despised the English as unwanted rulers. Who exploited India and kept their distance from Indians.  And as soon as their tenures ended, they went back to their homes in England and were happy to forget the time they had spent in India.

This asymmetrical image of the English in India persists in the mind of most Indians. It is true that the majority of those who came here came because they could not find jobs in their own country. They hated everything about India: its climate, mosquitoes, flies, the filth and finally its dirt consummating into reek.

Plainly speaking they hated Indians. There were others who enjoyed the luxury of spacious bungalows with servants, shikar, riding, pig-sticking, drinking, dancing. But even they kept themselves aloof from Indians with their ‘whites only’ clubs.

However, there was a third variety that liked everything about India, stayed away from the racists club, went out of their way to befriend Indians and maintained contacts with them even after returning to England.

Some even lent tacit support to the freedom movement. They stayed on in India after the country gained independence, reluctantly returning to England when their bread winners retired.

Khushwant Singh was quite fortunate in knowing quite a few of this breed. Both, whom he befriended during his long years in England and those whom he got to know in India.

This book, therefore, is a collection of articles written by people who enjoyed India I would say and went back with pleasant memories.

In all there are about twenty-two articles in this book written by renowned Britishers such as Lord Mountbatten of Burma—as he calls him, Taya Zinkin—a prominent French born journalist and author. She was married to ICS officer Maurice Zinkin, J.A.K Martyn—the Head Master of Doon School and many other distinguished personalities.

The flavour that you get is quite contrasting. Like in present times you find so many Indians going abroad to work. Well … in those days of the British Raj, there were many Britishers who came to India to work. Some through the bureaucratic process and some on their own.

Initially they entered India with a lot of apprehension, of it being primitive but when they started working here they started enjoying the country. Especially, the open surroundings, the spacious bungalows and above all the warm people.

While zooming past the articles you’ll find some of them being even critical about the British establishment and the racist culture that they spread in India.

Some even disagreed with the thought process that India was not ready for ‘independence.’ That also brings me to the point that there is always a logical disconnect between the rulers and its citizenry.

It is a rare collection of essays that invites to revisit a vanished era of the sahibs and memsahibs. From Lord Mountbatten to Peggy Holroyde to Maurice and Taya Zinkin.

Britishers who lived and worked in India reminisce, about topics and points of interest as varied as the Indian Civil Service, the Roshanara Club, shikar and hazari, the amateur cine society of India, the Doon School, Rudyard Kipling and of course Mahatma Gandhi.

Selected from a series of articles commissioned by Khushwant Singh when he was editor of the illustrated weekly of India. These delightfully individualistic and refreshingly candid writings reveal a fascinating array of British attitudes, experiences, observations and fond memories. The occasional short-lived grouse and above all, a deep and abiding affection and respect for India.

It’s a less than a lengthy book of around a hundred and ninety pages full of fun. Especially, if you are interested in knowing about episodes that happened during the British Raj.

The articles are by ICS officers, journalists, technocrats, architects, teachers, BBC correspondents, government servants, army officers and bureaucrats.

I would give the book nine out of ten.

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

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

*****

 

 

 

Article: Coffee House

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

COFFEE HOUSE

 

    Recently I came across a very interesting article titled, ‘A Spell in Hindustan’ written by one Philip Crossland. A journalist who started his career as an editorial assistant with the ‘Statesman’ in 1938 in Calcutta and was later transferred to Delhi.

    Where, during the Second World War, he joined the Indian Army but not for long. Soon he resumed his career in journalism, once again with the Statesman by becoming a resident editor to begin with, then deputy editor and finally the general manager.

    What is fascinating about this article is the manner, in which, he describes the ‘Coffee House’ of Calcutta. ‘Coffee House’ we all know are located, in various important cities of India and have been the nerve centres of various thought domains. Largely visited by the local intelligentsia.

    Calcutta Coffee House was no different and I haven’t forgotten the old saying … ‘What Bengal thinks today India thinks tomorrow.’

    Coffee House was one of the great institutions of Calcutta of those times located in Chittaranjan Avenue. And since, it was just across the road from the Statesman’s office, it was a popular rendezvous for the members of the staff. It was divided into two sections that were generally known as, the ‘House of Commons’ and the ‘House of Lords.’

    In the ‘House of commons’ your coffee was brought to you with the milk already in it. And you merely had to add sugar. Whereas, in the ‘House of Lords’ milk, sugar and coffee were served on a tray in their separate receptacles. And of course, the customer paid for the refinement. 

    In the house of commons there was a general pandemonium that was but obvious. Whereas, the upper house of lords was generally quiet, still and sedate for the self-styled superior intellectuals. A table near the door was invariably occupied by the Chief Secretary, to Government of West Bengal. Quite immersed in solving the hard to tame ‘Statesman’s crossword.’ Which is unthinkable in present times. So, India, indeed, has changed, as Chief Secretaries, now need to solve their crossword puzzles at home and not in office, overtly. And will certainly become the talk of the town if they attempted to do it in a coffee house.

    In the centre of the room was a galaxy of talent from an advertising agency. One of their members was the would be … Satyajit Ray. Yet to find fame as a film maker. But, a quarter away through the production of ‘Pather Panchali.’ Others seen there included, Dilip Mukherjee and Chidananda Das Gupta.

    And another regular was a gentleman who bore an uncanny resemblance to the Russian dictator and was consequentially known as ‘Stalin.’

   I read somewhere in Google. The Coffee House of Kolkata is now three hundred years old.

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

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

*****