Tag Archives: pakistan

BOOK REVIEW: JINNAH – Often Came To Our House– Kiran Doshi

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

    Let me first begin by introducing the author Kiran Doshi. Kiran Doshi studied history, politics and law in Bombay before he joined the Indian Foreign Service in the year 1962, where, he had a 35-year-long career that frequently saw him tackling, India’s relations with Pakistan, always an important, exciting, but eventually a frustrating task.

    The book falls in the genre of historical fiction, published by Tranquebar Westlandbooks in 2015. It is available in both print and e-book format, and is a thick spine—some 490 pages. It is divided into 35 rhapsodic chapters and spans between the eventful years of the making of India. That is from 1904 to 1948 which includes the struggle for freedom, Partition of India and the formation of Pakistan out of India.

    Kiran has two more books in his oeuvre titled, ‘Birds of Passage’ which I believe is an engrossing and hilarious novel set in the diplomatic space of India-Pakistan-USA diplomacy, and the other book is titled, ‘Diplomatic Tales’ which is a collection of short stories in comic verse. Kiran lives in Delhi with his wife Razia.

    I’m not aware of the spark that prompted the author to write this book. But since the author has dedicated the book, to his mother-in-law Umrao Baig, (1915-1981), it does suggest, a character in the book could be resembling her. But this is only my hunch. Umrao Baig was expelled from her convent school for wearing khadi and singing Bande Mataram. She went on to study medicine at Grant Medical College and set up a hospital named after, Lokmanya Tilak in a part of Bombay, then inhabited, by mill workers.

    The book although titled Jinnah is a work of historical fiction cautions the author—all the incidents and characters in it (except those known to history) are fictitious—even if touched, here and there, by the brush of family lore.

    Coming to the brief plot. The young and dashing Sultan Kowaishi has just returned from London to Bombay after acquiring a barrister’s degree. Among the first persons he meets in Bombay is Mohammed Ali Jinnah, already a quintessential advocate, and is quickly drawn to him. It is around this time Jinnah decides to join the Indian National Congress, soon to become its brightest star in the fight for freedom. But the stir for freedom holds no interest for Sultan, but yes, it attracts his wife Rehana, and, inexorably weaves its way, into their lives. Another strong character happens to be Barri Phuphi. The main story is about Rehana opening a school, Sultan succeeding as a lawyer, them separating, and years later Sultan going in search of his children and finally his grandchild.

    The book has a large canvass of characters and events. It makes, its presence, felt in, more than one ways. It starts with the showcasing of, the lifestyle of, upper class Muslims, in Bombay, largely with, familial, connect, in Gujarat and Hyderabad around the beginning of the twentieth century.

    Kiran has focused on the core topic of freedom struggle leading to independence quite well. He brings alive the court cases along with decades of India’s struggle for freedom that is interrupted by the British in various ways, especially, when they change the laws for partition of Bengal, revocation of partition of Bengal. Tilak’s exile, Morley Minto Reforms, formation of Muslim League, the Rowlatt Act, the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, Simon Commission and its opposition, the two World Words, provincial elections and Constituent Assembly and the Khilafat movement—linked to the Ottoman Empire and of course the partition of India.

    The book revolves around Rehana, Sultan and Jinnah mostly in Bombay, London, Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has many other characters such as Dhondav—Rehana’s thread brother and the tall politicians of those times. But Rehana happens to be the longest and the toughest string that connects the book from the beginning to the end.

    The book eventually serves India with independence but not before breaking and destroying the complete family of Sultan Kowaishi who on a mere doubt of infidelity, disowns his wife and children without realising how devious, can an Englishman of, the British Raj, could be. Shak destroys Sultan completely.  Jiska ilaj hakeem Luqman ke pas bhi nahi tha.

    The story thereon moves like a tragedy and finally ends like a family tragedy. The hatred between Hindus and Muslims has been captured quite comprehensively. The book picks up somewhere between page 23 and page 45. There are too many a characters in the story and it takes a while before one can actually imbibe and familiarise oneself with the characters.

    There are certain pages in the book that I quite liked, such as, description of a voyage from Bombay to London which is now a rarity. The relation between Jinnah and Rehana is well written. The presentation of Gokhale, Tilak and Gandhi from time to time and some other leaders is interesting. The conversation about Rasool and Koran is quite informative. Overall, it’s a very happening book. But towards the last hundred pages it becomes quite depressing. Perhaps, had the author squeezed the book around 400 pages the action points of the novel could have been more intense.

The author pays homage to Shakespeare by using his quotes quite generously and aptly. His lines make for an engaging conversation-long repartee between Rehana and Jinnah.

The tone of the writer is quite flowing and inviting with the prowess to alter the reader’s emotion without provoking him. The author has used easy English with a mix of Urdu, Hindi and the colloquials.  

    The novel has a host of characters, some are well-known in history such as Gandhi, Tilak, Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose and many are fictional characters such as, Dhondav, Griffiths, Pandey, Tehmina, Firoz, Hina and others whose lives change with the turn of pages. The rigour of writing is evident in how the writer ties up every thread and no character is left hanging. A resounding line that Kiran picks is attributed to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, “Hindus and Muslims are the two eyes of India, they can never be separated. But sadly, the novel ends with the independence and partition of India,

    Through Jinnah and the Congress, the author shows how random laws define the fate of societies, through Dhondav he shows how bans on the freedom of press or media influence public opinion, through the main character Rehana and her travails at school, he shows how language and text books can become a conflict point.

For older readers, this novel would be a delight, but for the younger generation, twice removed from Independence and partition, the novel would serve as a space to reflect over the ironies of our times. For the sweeping story Jinnah… I would give the book four stars. A must read.

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 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)

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)

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BOOK REVIEW: THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini

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.

    If you want to discover Afghanistan this indeed is the book. Afghanistan always gives you that eerie feeling because of its difficult terrain and the exploitation and devastation by Taliban. In The Kite Runner the author while narrating the story takes you through the length and breadth of Afghanistan in terms of its socio-politico nuances. From an Indian perspective it even highlights the similarities between the cultures of the two countries and that makes the book even more interesting.

    ‘The Kite Runner’ is the first novel by Afghan American author Khaled Hosseni. It was published in 2003 by Riverhead Books. The price of this book in Amazon is Rs 319 for a print copy and Rs 179 for a kindle copy. It tells the story of Amir, a young boy, a Pashtun, from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, whose closest friend is Hassan of Hazara tribe, and therefore, considered a lesser human being in Afghanistan and especially among the Pashtuns. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the Soviet military intervention, and the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime.

    Hosseini considers The Kite Runner to be a father–son story that emphasises familial aspects of the narrative, an element that he continued to use in his later works also. Themes of guilt and redemption feature prominently in the novel, with a pivotal scene depicting an act of sexual assault that happens against Hassan that Amir fails to prevent. The situation is the primary reason why Amir and Hassan’s friendship ends. The latter half of the book centers on Amir’s attempts to make amends for this mistake by rescuing Hassan’s son two decades later.

    The Kite Runner became a bestseller after being printed in paperback and was popularized in book clubs. It was a number one New York Times bestseller for over two years, with over seven million copies sold in the United States. Reviews were generally positive, though parts of the plot drew significant controversy in Afghanistan. A number of adaptations were created following publication, including a 2007 film of the same name, several stage performances, and a graphic novel. The book classifies under Historical fiction and completes in about 372 pages.

    I particularly liked the flow, the language, the construction of sentences and the analogies used in certain sentences to explain what the author intended to say in the book. The detailing is superb and so are the coincidences. The language is high-flown, verbose but to give parochial affect the author has often used local Afghan words. Upon completing the book an Indian reader will be able to make out the similarities between the cultures of India and Afganistan, even when the author touches Hindi at one place in a slightly derogatory manner.

    Khaled Hosseni worked as a medical internist at Kaiser Hospital in Mountain View, California for several years before publishing The Kite Runner. In 1999, Hosseini learned through a news report that the Taliban had banned kite flying in Afghanistan, a restriction he found particularly cruel when that was the biggest sport of Afghanistan. The news “struck a personal chord” in him, as he had grown up with the sport while living in Afghanistan. He was motivated to write a 25-page short story about two boys who fly kites in Kabul. Hosseini submitted copies to Esquire and The New Yorker, both of which rejected it. He later discovered the manuscript in his garage in March 2001 and began to expand it into a novel format at the suggestion of a friend. According to Hosseini, the narrative became “much darker” than he originally intended. His editor, Cindy Spiegel, “helped him rework the last third of his manuscript”, something she describes as relatively common for a first novel.

    The Kite Runner covers a multigenerational period and focuses on the relationship between parents and their children. Hosseini developed an interest in the theme while in the process of writing. He later divulged that he frequently came up with pieces of the plot by drawing pictures of it. For example, he did not decide to make Amir and Hassan brothers until after he had doodled it.

    Like Amir, the protagonist of the novel, Hosseini too was born in Afghanistan and left the country as a youth, not returning until 2003. Thus, he was frequently questioned about the extent of the autobiographical aspects of the book. In response, he said, “When I say some of it is me, then people look unsatisfied. The parallels are pretty obvious, but … I left a few things ambiguous because I wanted to drive the book clubs crazy.” Having left the country around the time of the Soviet invasion, he felt a certain amount of survivor’s guilt. “Whenever I read stories about Afghanistan my reaction was always tinged with guilt. A lot of my childhood friends had a very hard time. Some of our cousins died. One died in a fuel truck trying to escape Afghanistan [an incident that Hosseini fictionalizes in The Kite Runner]. The book talks about his guilt. He was one of the kids who grew up with flying kites. His father was shot.” Regardless of that, he maintains that the plot is fictional. 

    Riverhead Books published The Kite Runner, ordering an initial printing of 50,000 copies in hardback. It was released on May 29, 2003, and the paperback edition was released a year later. Hosseini took a year-long sabbatical from practicing medicine to promote the book, signing copies, speaking at various events, and raising funds for Afghan causes. Originally published in English, The Kite Runner was later translated into 42 languages for publication in 38 countries. In 2013, Riverhead released the 10th anniversary edition with a new gold-rimmed cover and a foreword by Hosseini. 

    Plot

Part I Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood in Kabul

    Amir, a well-to-do Pashtun boy, and Hassan, a Hazara who is the son of Ali, Amir’s father’s servant, spend their days kite flying in the hitherto peaceful city of Kabul. Flying kites was a way to escape the horrific reality the two boys were living in. Hassan is a successful “kite runner” for Amir. He knows where the kite will land without watching it. Both boys are motherless. Amir’s mother died during childbirth, while Hassan’s mother, Sanaubar, simply abandoned him and Ali. Amir’s father is a wealthy merchant. Amir affectionately refers to him as Baba, who loves both the boys—Amir and Hassan. He makes a point of buying Hassan exactly the same things as Amir, much to Amir’s annoyance. He even pays to have Hassan’s cleft lip surgically corrected. On the other hand, Baba is often critical of Amir, considering him weak and lacking in courage, even threatening to physically punish him when he complains about Hassan. Amir finds a kinder fatherly figure in Rahim Khan, Baba’s closest friend, who understands him and supports his interest in writing. In a rare moment when Amir is sitting on Baba’s lap rather than being shooed away as a bother he asks why his father drinks alcohol which is forbidden in Islam. Baba tells him that the Mullahs are hypocrites and the only real sin is theft which takes many forms.

    Assef, an older boy with a sadistic taste for violence, mocks Amir for socializing with a Hazara, which according to him, is an inferior race whose members belong only to Hazarajat. Assef is himself is half Pashtun, having a German mother and a typical blond haired blue eyed German appearance. One day, he prepares to attack Amir with brass knuckles, but Hassan defends Amir, threatening to shoot out Assef’s eye with his slingshot. Assef backs off but swears to take revenge one day.

    One triumphant day, Amir wins the local kite fighting tournament and finally earns Baba’s praise. Hassan runs for the last cut kite, a great trophy, saying to Amir, “For you, a thousand times over.” However, after finding the kite, Hassan encounters Assef in an alleyway. Hassan refuses to give up the kite, and Assef severely beats him and buggers him. Amir witnesses the act but is too scared to intervene. He knows that if he fails to bring home the kite, Baba would be less proud of him. He feels incredibly guilty but knows his cowardice would destroy any hopes for Baba’s affections, so he keeps quiet about the incident. Afterwards, Amir maintains a distance from Hassan. His feelings of guilt prevent him from interacting with the Hassan. Hassan’s mental and physical well-being gradually begins to deteriorate.

    Amir begins to believe that life would be easier if Hassan were not around, so he plants a watch and some money under Hassan’s mattress in hopes that Baba will make him leave; Hassan falsely confesses when confronted by Baba. Although Baba believes “there is no act more wretched than stealing”, he forgives him. To Baba’s sorrow, Hassan and Ali leave anyway, because Hassan has told Ali what happened to him. Amir is freed of the daily reminder of his cowardice and betrayal, but he still lives in their shadow.

Part II

In 1979, five years later, the Soviet Union militarily intervenes in Afghanistan. Baba and Amir escape to Peshawar, Pakistan, and then to Fremont, California, where they settle in a run-down apartment. Baba begins work at a gas station. After graduating from high school, Amir takes classes at San Jose State University to develop his writing skills. Every Sunday, Baba and Amir make extra money selling used goods at a flea market in San Jose. There, Amir meets fellow refugee Soraya Taheri and her family. Baba is diagnosed with terminal cancer but is still capable of granting Amir one last favour. He asks Soraya’s father’s permission for Amir to marry her. He agrees and the two marry. Shortly thereafter Baba dies. Amir and Soraya settle down in a happy marriage, but to their sorrow, they learn that they cannot have children.

    Amir embarks on a successful career as a novelist. Fifteen years after his wedding, Amir receives a call from his father’s best friend (and his childhood father figure) Rahim Khan. Khan, who is dying, asks Amir to visit him in Peshawar. He enigmatically tells Amir, “There is a way to be good again.”

Part III

    From Rahim Khan, Amir learns that Hassan and Ali are both dead. Ali was killed by a land mine. Hassan and his wife were killed after Hassan refused to allow the Taliban to confiscate Baba and Amir’s house in Kabul. Rahim Khan further reveals that Ali was sterile and was not Hassan’s biological father. Hassan was actually the son of Sanaubar and Baba, making him Amir’s half-brother. Finally, Khan tells Amir that the reason he has called Amir to Pakistan is to ask him to rescue Hassan’s son, Sohrab, from an orphanage in Kabul.

    Amir looks for Sohrab, accompanied by Farid, an Afghan taxi driver and veteran of the war with the Soviets. They learn that a Taliban official comes to the orphanage often, brings cash, and usually takes a girl away with him. Occasionally he chooses a boy, recently Sohrab. The orphanage director tells Amir, how to find the official, and Farid secures an appointment at his home by claiming to have “personal business” with him.

    Amir meets the Taliban leader, who reveals himself as Assef. Sohrab is being kept at Assef’s house as a dancing boy. Assef agrees to relinquish him if Amir can beat him in a fight. Assef then badly beats Amir, breaking several bones, until Sohrab uses a slingshot to fire a brass ball into Assef’s left eye. Sohrab helps Amir out of the house, where he passes out and wakes up in a hospital.

    Amir tells Sohrab of his plans to take him back to America and possibly adopt him. However, American authorities demand evidence of Sohrab’s orphan status. Amir tells Sohrab that he may have to go back to the orphanage for a little while as they have encountered a problem in the adoption process, and Sohrab, terrified about returning to the orphanage, attempts suicide. Amir eventually manages to take him back to the United States. After his adoption, Sohrab refuses to interact with Amir or Soraya until Amir reminisces about Hassan and kites and shows off some of Hassan’s tricks. In the end, Sohrab only gives a lopsided smile, but Amir takes it with all his heart as he runs the kite for Sohrab, saying, “For you, a thousand times over.”

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 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)

*****

 

 

 

KHUSHWANT SINGH

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Khushwant Singh (born Khushal Singh, 2 February 1915 – 20 March 2014) was an Indian author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist and politician and. His experience in the 1947 Partition of India inspired him to write ‘Train to Pakistan’ in 1956 (made into a film in 1998), which became his most well-known novel. He is one of the prime English authors of India.

    Born in Punjab, Khushwant Singh was educated in New Delhi, and studied law at St, Stephen’s College, Delhi, and King’s College London. After working as a lawyer in Lahore Court for eight years, he joined the Indian Foreign Service upon Independence of India from British Empire in 1947. He was appointed journalist in the All India Radio in 1951, and then moved to the Department of Mass Communications in UNESCO at Paris in 1956. His last two careers encouraged him to pursue a literary career. As a writer, he was best known for his trenchant secularism, humour, sarcasm and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behaviour characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit. He served as the editor of several literary and news magazines, as well as two newspapers, through the 1970s and 1980s. Between, 1980-1986 he served as Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.

    Khushwant Singh was bestowed with Padma Bhushan in 1974. But he returned the award in 1984 as a protest against Operation Blue Star in which the Indian Army raided Darbar Sahab in Amritsar. In 2007 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India.

    Khushwant Singh was born in Hadali, Khushab District, Punjab (which now lies in Pakistan), into a Sikh family. He was the younger son of Sir Sobha Singh and Veeran Bai. Since births and deaths were not recorded in those times, his father simply made up 2 February 1915 for his school enrolment at Modern School, New Delhi. But his grandmother Lakshmi Bai asserted that he was born in August, so he later set the date for himself as 15 August. Sobha Singh was a prominent builder in Lutyens Delhi. His uncle Sardar Ujjal Singh (1895–1983) was previously Governor of Punjab and Tamil Nadu.

    His birth name, given by his grandmother, was Khushal Singh (meaning a “Prosperous Lion”). He was called by a pet name “Shalee”. At school his name earned him ridicule as other boys would mock at him with an expression, “Shalee Shoolie, Bagh dee Moolee” (meaning, “This shalee or shoolee is the radish of some garden.”) He chose Khushwant so that it rhymes with his elder brother’s name Bhagwant. (He declared that his new name was “self-manufactured and meaningless”. But he later discovered that there was a Hindu physician with the same name, and the number subsequently increased).

    He entered Delhi Modern School in 1920 and studied there till 1930. There he met his future wife, Kawal Malik, one year his junior. He continued higher education at Government College, Lahore, St. Stephen’s College Delhi, and King’s College London, before reading for the Bar at the Inner Temple.

    Khushwant Singh started his professional career as a practising lawyer in 1939. He worked at Lahore Court for eight years. In 1947 he entered the Indian Foreign Service for the newly independent India. He started as Information Officer of the Government of India in Toronto, Canada. He was a Press Attaché and Public Officer for the Indian High Commission for four years in London and Ottawa. In 1951 he joined the All India Radio as a journalist. Between 1954 and 1956 he worked in Department of Mass Communication of the UNESCO at Paris. From 1956 he turned to editorial services. He founded and edited Yojana, an Indian government journal in 1951 -1953; and also The Illustrated Weekly of India, a newsweekly; and two major Indian newspapers, The National Herald and the Hindustan Times. During his tenure, The Illustrated Weekly became India’s pre-eminent newsweekly, with its circulation raising from 65,000 to 400000. After working for nine years in the weekly, on 25 July 1978, a week before he was to retire, the management asked Singh to leave “with immediate effect”. A new editor was installed the same day. After Singh’s departure, the weekly suffered a huge drop in readership. In 2016 Khushwant Singh entered Limca Book of Records as a tribute.

    From 1980 to 1986, Singh was a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1974 for his service to the country. In 1984, he returned the award in protest against the siege of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army. In 2007, the Indian government awarded Khushwant Singh the Padma Vibhushan. As a public figure, Khushwant Singh was accused of favouring the ruling Congress Party, especially during the reign of Indira Gandhi. He was derisively called an ‘establishment liberal’. Singh’s faith in the Indian political system was shaken by the anti-Sikh riots that followed Indira Gandhi’s assassination, in which major Congress politicians are alleged to be involved; but he remained resolutely positive on the promise of Indian democracy and worked via Citizen’s Justice Committee floated by H.S. Phoolka a senior advocate of Delhi High Court.

    Singh was a votary of greater diplomatic relations with Israel at a time when India did not want to displease Arab nations where thousands of Indians found employment. He visited Israel in the 1970s and was impressed by its progress.

    Khushwant Singh was married to Kawal Malik. Malik was his childhood friend who had moved to London earlier. They met again when he studied law at King’s College London, and soon got married. They had a son, named Rahul Singh, and a daughter, named Mala. His wife predeceased him in 2001. Actress Amrita Singh is the daughter of his brother Daljit Singh’s son – Shavinder Singh and Rukhsana Sultana. He stayed in “Sujan Singh Park”, near Khan Market New Delhi, Delhi’s first apartment complex, built by his father in 1945, and named after his grandfather. His grandniece Tisca Chopra is a noted TV and Film Actress.

    Khushwant Singh was a self-proclaimed agnostic, as the title of his 2011 book suggests: ‘Agnostic Khushwant: There is no God explicitly revealed.’ He was particularly against organised religion. He was evidently inclined towards atheism, as he once said, “One can be a saintly person without believing in God and also a detestable villain while believing in him. In my personalised religion, There Is No God!” He also once said, “I don’t believe in rebirth or in reincarnation, in the day of judgement or in heaven or hell. I accept the finality of death.” His last book, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ridiculous’ was published in October 2013, following which he retired from writing. The book was his continued critique of religion and especially its practice in India, including the critique of the clergy and the priests. It earned a lot of acclaim in India.

    Singh died of natural causes on 20 March 2014 at his Delhi residence, at the age of 99. His death was mourned by many including the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister of India. He is survived by his son and daughter. He was cremated at Lodhi Crematorium in Delhi at 4 in the afternoon of the same day. During his lifetime, Khushwant Singh was keen on burial because he believed that with a burial we give back to the earth what we have taken. He had requested the management of Bahai Faith if he could be buried in their cemetery. After initial agreement, they had proposed some conditions which were unacceptable to Singh, and hence the idea was later abandoned. He was born in Hadali, Khushab District,  in the Punjab Province of modern Pakistan, in 1915. According to his wishes, some of his ashes were brought and scattered in Hadali.

    In 1943 he had already written his own obituary, included in his collection of short stories Posthumous. Under the headline “Sardar Khushwant Singh Dead”, the text reads:

    We regret to announce the sudden death of Sardar Khushwant Singh at 6 pm last evening. He leaves behind a young widow, two infant children and a large number of friends and admirers. Amongst those who called at the late sardar’s residence were the PA to the chief justice, several ministers, and judges of the high court.

    He also prepared an epitaph for himself, which runs as follows:

Here lies one who spared neither man nor God;
Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod;
Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun;
Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.

He was cremated and his ashes are buried in Hadali school, where a plaque is placed bearing the inscription:

IN MEMORY OF
SARDAR KHUSHWANT SINGH
(1915–2014)

A SIKH, A SCHOLAR AND A SON OF HADALI (Punjab)
‘This is where my roots are. I have nourished them with tears of nostalgia.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 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 & QUOTES EPISODE-20

Copyright@shravancharitymission

  1. Reading the tea leaves” is an idiom that comes from tasseography—(a fortune telling method) which is the practice of telling someone’s fortune by “reading” a splotched or smeared substance. For example, “everyone says things are going great for our company, but if you read the tea leaves you’ll see trouble ahead.”
  2. Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve—if you wear your heart on your sleeve, you openly show your feelings or emotions rather than keeping them hidden.
  3. Make short work of—means to complete or consume quickly, for example: The children made short work of the ice cream, or they made short work of cleaning up so they could get to the movies. This term, first recorded in 1577, in effect means “to turn something into a brief task.”
  4. 70% of all English words are Latin or Greek words.
  5. Originally, Hindu simply meant people beyond the river Sindhu, or Indus. But the Indus is now in Islamic Pakistan; and to make matters worse the word ‘Hindu’ did not exist in any Indian language till its use by foreigners that gave Indians a term for self-determination. Hindus, in other words call themselves by a label that they didn’t invent themselves in any of their own languages—the alternative to Hindu could have been Sanatan Dharma—says Shashi Tharoor.
  6. It’s time to vote: If turnout increases, it is believed: ‘People are unhappy with the government and that’s why they are turning out in large numbers to vote to express their anger.’ If the turnout decreases, it is believed, ‘that people are unhappy but since the opposition has nothing concrete to offer they have decided not to turn out to vote.
  7. Political analyst Milan Vaishnav, who co-authored with Devesh Kapur a book on political funding titled (Cost of Democracy) says India’s elections this time can cost up to $10 billion, much more than the 2016 US general election, which saw a spending of around $6.5 billion.
  8. The 19 trillion$-plus American economy hosts a poll spending of around $6.5 billion, and the $2.7 trillion Indian economy may host a poll spending of around $10 billion. Even if you measure everything in purchasing power parity and not exchange rate terms—by PPP, India’s economy is roughly half the size of that of America—so the comparison still holds with as much force.
  9. The Cathedral of Notre Dame was built 850 years ago.
  10. It was only in Notre Dame Cathedral: the coronation of Napolean and the canonisation of Joan of Arc took place. Here a special mass celebrated the liberation from the Nazis and the bell named Emmanuel was rung to mark the tragedy of 9/11. This is where France came to cheer or to mourn.
  11. Oxfam’s latest Wealth report points out, the nine richest Indians own as much wealth as 50% of the Indian population.
  12. The first European power, to implement a meritocratic civil service was the British Empire in India.
  13. 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record and this year-2019 could beat that. Arctic sea ice continues to disappear at an alarming rate and sea-level rises are threatening island nations and low lying areas. In India, 2018 was the sixth warmest year on record and all the six warmest years have come only in the last decade.
  14. A man goes to buy a national flag. The shopkeeper shows different sizes of the national flag to him. Then the man says something to the shopkeeper and the shopkeeper is shocked to hear that. Can you guess what was it that the man said to the shopkeeper? He asked, without thinking. “Can you show me other colours of the national flag?” Friends this is what absent mindedness can do to a person.
  15. It takes a contingent of 30,000 strong international media to cover Olympic game’s function with events spread far and wide.
  16. A house insurance costs just Rs 6-12 per day however only less than 1% people who can afford it have house insurance.
  17. Ayurveda is a 6000 year old science.
  18. Liquid biopsy being tested in the US may soon become a boon for cancer treatment.
  19. Delhi has more than 500,000 manual rickshaws on its streets: Of these, less than a fifth are licensed. And 80% of rickshaw pullers continue their back breaking labour by paying ‘hafta’ to the police that amounts to Rs 10 crore per month.
  20. Europeans began to wear underwear only in the 17th century when they discovered soft and affordable Indian cloth brought by the East India Company.
  21. With 5,000-mile coastline, India has historically been a great trading nation and in some periods, commanded as much as 20% share of world trade compared to 2% today. It always had a positive balance of trade with the world until the industrial revolution in 19th-century England when the mills of Lancashire made our handloom textiles technologically obsolete.
  22. 80 richest people own more wealth than what is owned by one-half of the human race and very soon just 1% people will own wealth which equals what the rest 99% would have.
  23. Food amounts for almost half of the (CPI) consumer price index basket of India.
  24. 6 crore, small entrepreneurs employ 12 crore people in India.

INTERESTING LINES

  1. “You should teach your children that the soil under their feet are the ashes of their grandparents. To respect the earth, you must tell your children that the earth is full of the lives of our ancestors.”
  2. “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you—said PERICLES. He was a prominent and influential Greek statesman.
  3. When a man understands the art of seeing, he can trace the spirit of an age and the features of a king even in the knocker on a door, wrote Victor Hugo in his novel, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame.’
  4. The economy grows mostly at night when government is sleeping.
  5. ‘I had been the author of un-alterable evils; and I live in daily fear, lest the monster whom I had created should perpetrate some new wickedness.’ –wrote MARY SHELLEY the author of/ Frankenstein.’

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 VIDEO: WHY I AM A HINDU by Shashi Tharoor

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

 

By Kamlesh Tripathi

Author & Blogger

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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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)

*****

 

 

 

INTERESTING FACTS & QUOTES–16

Copyright@shravancharitymission  

Google sab janta hai. Google knows everything about everyone through their ‘search history.’ If Google were to enter the business of “Private Detectives’ or open a “Marriage Bureau” they probably would be the best among the trade, as Google knows everything about everyone. And through Google one can say even ‘Úncle Sam’ that is the US also knows everything about everyone.

A committee of senior statisticians has said that verifying 479, randomly selected EVMs, from a total of 10.35 lakh EVMs, achieves a confidence level of 99.99%. Raising sample size further yielded only ‘negligible gains’ in confidence levels. This would also roughly translate to one EVM per Lok Sabha seat. Election Commission says that VVPAT slip count from 1,500 polling stations in elections since March 2017 have matched completely with corresponding EVMs.

In 1939 Savarkar wrote the foreword of a book by a Nazi sympathizer and European born Hindu revivalist who called herself or you could say she wrote under the pseudonym of Savitri Devi Mukerji. Savitri Devi Mukerji lived between (1905-1982), and her real name was Maximiani Portas she was a mix of Greek, French and English parentage, she was a remarkable figure who, among other idiosyncratic beliefs, considered Adolf Hitler an avatar of Vishnu. Her book, prophetically titled “A Warning to be Hindus,” is a passionate polemic about the need for Hindu assertion. A prominent proponent of, deep ecology and Nazism, who served the Axis cause during World War II by spying on Allied forces.

The origin of the word Juggernaut comes from the Hindu God Jagannath. The word is derived from the Sanskrit—Odia Jagannatha meaning “World Lord” which is one of the names of Krishna found in the Sanskrit epics. Where, Jagata means world, combining with Natha meaning Lord. By the eighteenth century juggernaut was in common use as a synonym for an irresistible and destructive force that demanded total devotion or unforgiving sacrifice—the sense in which it pops up in novels of Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens, and even Robert Louis Stevenson, who applied it to Dr Jekyll’s foil. Mr Hyde. It was only Mark Twain in his autobiography, who described juggernaut as the kindest of Gods.

The concept of GDP was invented in 1937 by US economist Simon Kuznets, who was later awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1971. In 1944, following the Bretton Woods conference that established the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, GDP became the standard tool for sizing up the country’s economy.

India is now the largest market for Youtube with over 265 million or you could say 26 crore monthly active users for the video sharing website.

Last week five South Korean celebrities became the world’s first 5G subscribers. The service since then has been opened to regular subscribers as well. Simultaneously the US also saw a limited commercial launch of 5G networks. The intensity with which telecoms in the two countries are claiming they did first, underscores the stakes in this battle for supremacy and how competitive it’s likely to be.

2G opened up mobile telephony mainstream, 3G opened up the app economy and social platforms, 4G redefined businesses from banking to entertainment and transportation, 5G equals superfast communications that backers say will transform life as we know it. Its speed, responsiveness and reach could indeed revolutionise agriculture, utilities, law and order, healthcare, manufacturing, AI and virtual reality.

Whereas, South Korea and the US have launched 5G and China is in a great state of readiness. India on the other hand is yet to allocate spectrum for 5G trails. There is no doubt that rolling out this technology is seriously capital intensive.

During the 2014 campaign, Narendra Modi crisscrossed 3,00,000 km to address hundreds of rallies in person. Five years later, his energy is still undiminished. With 150 rallies already planned and more in the works, he is poised to convert the election into a presidential style contest once again.

Deteriorating quality of education in public institutions poses a serious threat to the Indian youth of today and tomorrow. As it directly affects about 65-70% of the students—those who use publicly funded institutions. 

Mumbai is one of the hottest stock markets of the world, with a gain of nearly 30%.

To go off the rails. Means to start behaving in a way that is not generally acceptable, especially being dishonest or illegal.

Tail wagging the dog means a situation where a small part controls a big part.

Magna-carta—is a document ensuring guarantee of basic rights.

Research shows that over a third of the US population is single. In India too, the demographic has been rising. They now number 74 million or 7 crore and comprise 12% of the female population.

The commonwealth is by no means a perfect institution. It is a legacy of the days when London was the centre of the world and Great Britain was the mother country.

From a peak of 90800 sq km under its control in 2015, IS (Islamic State) is now down to ruling over a mere 3% of Iraq and 5% of Syria today.

More than 80% of Google’s revenue comes just from its ad business. In the last quarter, the company earned $32.6 billion from ads and just $ 6.6 billion from other sources.

A strategic industry should be defined on the basis of its multiplier effect on employment.

India has fought three, and two half wars, against Pakistan, and one against China in the past 70 years. The halves are the limited Kargil war and the longer Pakistani covert war that continues. Two of them in 1965 and 1971 lasted less than a month. The Kargil war went on for three months but in a very small un-populated part of the country. The first Kashmir war began in October 1947 and ended a year and more later on December 31, 1948. The Sino-Indian war of 1962, too, was a month-long affair. Acutely aware of their own vulnerability, India and Pakistan have generally avoided the deliberate targeting of economic and civilian areas during their wars. But in this regard the future now remains unpredictable.

A recent unofficial count found more than 600 lions in the area, up from 523 in a 2015 census in Gujarat. Gujarat’s chief minister Vijay Rupani said. “Our efforts for lion conservation with support of local people have yielded good results. The number of lions now in Gujarat has reached the 600 mark.”

More than 2500 years ago Confucius said that those who govern should do so through merit and virtue, not inherited status. From the 10th century to 1905, Chinese officials were selected primarily through competitive exams and promoted through rigorous performance assessments.

When a sector with less than 15% of GDP supports a population three times its size, we have a convergence of rural and urban hopes which is jobs. You cannot lift rural incomes without absorbing at least two-thirds of those dependent on the farm in non-farm or urban jobs.

China’s staunch opposition has ensured that Taiwan remains the only major country in the world to be outside the UN.

Interesting quotes and lines.

Crime does not pay as well as politics—ALFRED NEWMAN, a US composer.

The ability to look without motive is missing in the world today—Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.

I noticed people coming out of restaurants always had more joyful faces than those coming out of temples—anonymous.

I knew nothing about anything. That means I ended up paying enormous attention to everything—anonymous.

When someone spoke, I saw they were only making sounds and I was making up the meaning—anonymous.

Sophocles, one of the three ancient Greek tragedians said he would prefer even to fail with honour than win by cheating.

There can be a world of a difference between knowing ethics and practicing ethics—anonymous.

In business you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate—CHESTER KARRASS, US author

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 & QUOTES EPISODE 15

Copyright@shravancharitymission

INTERESTING FACTS 

  1. Hamletian dilemma: The phrase is derived from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. When Hamlet, the prince of Dutch learns that his father was murdered by his uncle, he is in a dilemma as to whether he should avenge his father’s death or continue ruling the kingdom.
  2. Begusarai was once known as the “Leningrad” of Bihar, or the “Leningrad” of East. It was recently in news again, because the Communists, are trying to field Kanhaiya Kumar from this pro Communist constituency. Leningrad as we all know is a place in Russia. The famous siege of Leningrad lasted from September 1941 to 1944. By the end of the siege, some 632,000 people are thought to have died with nearly 4,000 people from Leningrad starving to death on Christmas Day, 1941. The first German artillery shell fell on Leningrad on September 1st, 1941.
  3. Teacher absenteeism accounts for the loss of up to one-quarter of the primary school spending. A World Bank Report estimates this loss to be about $2 billion a year in India, just at the primary level.
  4. With a median age of 27.9 years in 2018, India’s population is quite young. By 2020, youth will make up for 34% of India’s population.
  5. Forty-five million young people have been added to the voters list since 2014. Based on 2011 Census, about two crore youngsters turn 18 every year, even though not everyone gets registered to vote.
  6. India has shown responsibility and restraint by targeting a satellite at 300 km altitude, as opposed to China destroying a satellite at the height of 857 km in 2007, which created a lot of risky debris. But even the Indian test has a small likelihood of creating some debris that gets thrown into the higher orbits.
  7. One of the reasons for lesser concern with India’s test has to do with the height of the test. At 300 kilometers, the debris may survive just for months, if not weeks. At 800 kilometers, the Chinese satellite debris has already survived for more than a decade and may survive for a few more years.
  8. India has demonstrated that it can take down satellites in Low Earth Orbits of less than 2,000 km above the surface.
  9. There are over 22,000 artificial objects currently in the orbit that are being tracked by one government agency or another. The European Space Agency estimates that currently there over 34,000 pieces of debris in the orbit that are larger than 10 cm in size; close to a million pieces between 1 cm and 10 cm; and 128 million pieces of debris less than a centimeter in size. With reducing satellite size and the increasing frequency of space launches, this is only set to grow rapidly.
  10. UTSAVA- is a Sanskrit word. Where, UT –means to ‘let go’ or remove and SAVA means worldly sorrows hence the complete word UTSAVA means to “let go your sorrows.”
  11. In the Scandinavian countries without any reservations, around half the MPs are women. In India we only keep talking of 33% which is not happening.
  12. Earth orbital safety in the 21st century is as vital as shipping lane security was, in the 20th century.
  13. The Lucas critique, named after Robert Lucas‘s work on macroeconomic policy making, argues that it is naive to try to predict the effects of a change in economic policy entirely on the basis of human relationships observed in historical data, especially highly aggregated historical data.
  14. Marriage industry of India boasts about 10 million weddings a year.
  15. There are reports that Pakistan is collaborating with China to develop a fifth-generation fighter aircraft. India too needs to double up.
  16. In Hindu philosophy the soul is interpreted as being without a gender.
  17. Security cooperation was one of the reasons why PM Narasimha Rao formally opened diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, followed by purchase of India’s first IAI Searcher unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and an air combat manoeuvring system from Israel in 1996. 
  18. India is the largest single market for Israeli arms. Israeli arms sale to India is only second to Russia, having gone up by 650% in the past decade, now amounting to $715 million in 2017 alone. IAF misslies fired in Balakot reportedly used Israeli made SPICE-2000 GUIDANCE KITS.
  19. Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Tel-Aviv in July 2017 and then came the visit of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to Delhi in January 2018.
  20. Israel is virtually a ‘nation-at-arms’ country. It has always had conscription, or draft, or compulsory enlistment of people in national service. Every Israeli man (who’s Jew or Druze, excepting those with medical disabilities or religious scholars) above 18 serves in the military for 36 months, and every Israeli woman for 24 months.
  21. The National bill of Israel passed in 2018 specified Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. This makes Israeli state closer to a theocratic one.
  22. Iron and steel accounts for roughly 15-20 % of the total cost in real estate.
  23. Global warming: When Americans were experiencing bone-chilling temperatures on January 29, the world was actually 0.3 degrees warmer on an average compared to a baseline from 1979 to 2000.
  24. Among all the 13 tiger range countries, India alone has the maximum number of tigers (70% of the global wild tiger population) and their source areas. This impressive gain is there despite the fact that our per capita forest is only 0.06 hectare as against the world average of 0.6 hectare, apart from having 60% of global livestock, 17% of world’s human population, with a forest productivity of around 1.34 cubic metre per hectare per year as against world’s average of 2.1 cubic metre per hectare per year.
  25. It has been documented that around 67,911 hectares of forest cover has been lost in 188 districts of India between 2009 and 2011 due to encroachment.

Quotes

  1. Earth: The soil is her flesh, the rocks are her bones, and the wind is her breath; trees and grass her hair. She lives, spreads out, and we live on her. When she moves we have an earthquake—Rabbi Ezekiel Malekar
  2. In real life it is the hare who wins—ANITA BROOKNER, award winning novelist.
  3. Mary Shelley projected through the character, Frankenstein. We all are threatened by the monsters we create. They don’t come into being on their own.
  4. Every fair-minded person holding a position of authority must support the few who have stood up against the injustice being perpetrated in the name of blasphemy—ASMA JAHANGIR, Pakistani Human Rights lawyer and activist.
  5. If you don’t have a coalition with you, you will have a coalition against you—SHIMON PERES. Israeli politician who served as the ninth President of Israel.
  6. ‘No book is perennially useful to mankind,’ says English philosopher David Hume.

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)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: THIS UNQUIET LAND … by Barkha Dutt

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

THIS UNQUIET LAND

(STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES)

By Barkha Dutt

(Published in 2016)

Publisher: Aleph

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

    There is an old saying. ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.’ I think the saying fits in quite well in this case as you’ll come across many lives in this book.

    Barkha began working in 1994 for a news show that was originally broadcasted on Doordarshan. Her entry into journalism coincided with the birth of private TV. But, then, why this book all of a sudden? Showcasing India’s fault lines that runs deep and wide. Some of them even go back, centuries. The book is some three hundred plus pages. Where, she has selected certain topics, that have been haunting India for quite some time now. And these topics have even besmirched India’s reputation abroad. Basically she has handpicked issues that she came across during her career as a journalist. And around those issues the book spreads like a Banyan tree, but without any storyline. Hence it is difficult to summarise or even write a synopsis. However, what I’ve attempted here for you is, the trait of the book. Along with its central points that will give a sense of what the book is all about.

    The book spins around issues and the issues spin around Barkha. It has a gamut of aspects—starting right from her childhood, including parents, education, career, enthusiasm and even frustration. But most of the time … it is India’s helplessness. So, not a very superlative narrative for the country I would say. But I guess it can’t be helped. Because, for most journalists the uncompromising tenet is to first broadcast the negatives comprehensively, and beyond that if the time permits a few positive outlines too. Remember by broadcasting achievements you don’t get as many eyeballs as you get by broadcasting disasters. To substantiate the point Barkha quotes a VIP who says—‘India is a country that moves from headlines to headlines.’ Of course sensational ones. 

     The central theme of the book perambulates around, the last hundred years of India. One could call it the not-so-recent as well as the recent events of India. But then, while cruising through the book one does get a stale feeling, as if you’re zipping through some old newspaper columns or an old magazine article in staccato effect. Certain pages get you a feel as if you’re negotiating a long prose, though well described but high on verbosity. And what really keeps you charged during such narrations, are things that you don’t know, and that too, within what you know and also what goes on behind the scene. Many of us know a lot about the Kargil war through electronic and print media. Yet, we may not know, how important a role, late Mr Brajesh Mishra played in solving the crisis. Or we may have heard about Bhanvari Devi rape case in Rajasthan. But we may not know that ‘Bhanvari Devi’ was the starting point in the rape history of India where the other end was ‘Nirbhaya.’ The title covers the following chapters. Where, each chapter appears to be a short book in itself.

    PLACE OF WOMEN:  the chapter is almost like the rape history of modern India. The description below is about Bhanvari Devi and how ghastly.

     ‘Post rape: ‘Back at the police station, she was asked to strip and leave her ghagra behind as evidence. It was past midnight when she made her way home draped in the thin cloth of her husband’s turban.’ she picks the narration from Bhanwari Devi rape case of Rajasthan and links it up with Nirbhaya.

    In between, the lady author also spreads across to other rape cases, that had figured in various headlines during all these years. At times the narration appears as a memoir with a lot of emphasis on the sufferings of Indian women vis-a-vis the unceasing tyranny of the Indian men. Something, that is even otherwise known to most Indians. But then she doesn’t really relay any out-of-the-box suggestions, to at least dampen the malaise. She gives a good account of a lady journalist. Problems she faced while commencing her career. And in all of that, she juggles quite well with the words but the content doesn’t seem to be very uncommon. In certain pages sentences are long. But then they are vivid and to the point. The book has a tilt towards feminism which is quite obvious.

     It’s high on lexicon for an average reader, who might have to Google more often, to keep cruising. Therefore, the target audience is clearly the elite. But shouldn’t books with such historical sparks be, in easy read format? She has dug out some exhaustive statistics on females of India, especially, working women, and their sexual harassment.

    The book has a striking hard cover. The title is appropriate and gets further substantiated by a pin pointing sub title that says—STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES. It is well presented in terms of font and flow. But it is still not a very moving book. As it swings between, diverse chapters and the personal memoir and does not have a linear penetrating plot. And it goes on and on. Sure intermittently it has interesting frills. As a messenger she has reported the happenings in the most erudite style, but has not presented too much of her own view points. She also touches upon the Gulabi gang of Uttar Pradesh that once operated in full flow. At places the narration is quite pungent when you compare it with the topic. Chapter deals with women’s issues, especially rape where it also cites three other cases. But then there are no incites or suggestions to solve the menace. She also goes on to describe the methodology of women politicians and about the callousness of women officers who are not sensitive to women’s cause. Superwoman versus supermom is comparison she draws quite artfully.

THE COST OF WAR

    This chapter by and large takes you through the sad tale of Kargil War. During the war Barkha was often seen near the the LOC. It was well covered by the channel she was working for, then. I’m sure. She must be carrying evocative memories about it. Such memories don’t die. Rather, you carry them to your grave. In this chapter, she even goes on to describe the role of Brajesh Misra, principal secretary and national security advisor to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in quite a detail, which you won’t come to know unless you read the book. She even elucidates the role that the diplomats of India played in bringing the war to an end, together with the balancing act of the US. She throws up some good war statistics. But she could have vented her views more ferociously. The chapter has a lot of stuff from ground zero.

    It fleshes out some good war statistics. It also hazily talks about gun configurations. The chapter explicates extensively, about the various wars with Pakistan and even the border skirmishes with China. She mixes the blend of her career and the Kargil war quite efficiently. For the general public doesn’t know what all goes on behind the scene and this is where she makes a killing. Excellent and moving description about martyr’s cremation.

     The sentence that moved me was, ‘And so in Kargil without snow shoes or proper high-altitude gear, Vishal and other first-time troops literally crawled their way up to peaks as high as 18,000 feet, where the temperature slipped to as much as ten degrees below zero to fight for the honour of their platoons and regiments.’

TERROR IN OUR TIME

    The chapter covers the gory parliament attack of 2001. It also gives a good account of, the history of terrorism in modern India. In this the lady author covers selected terrorist attacks. She gives a wide coverage of 26/11 Mumbai attack, describes Ajmal Kasab’s episode in detail. And how, in that moment of disaster, communities come together in Mumbai’s Zaveri bazaar. Narration is good and content is extensive. She also sketchily talks about farmer’s suicide. As a true messenger she reports whatever is happening in India. She talks about various issues without any solutions. Then she goes all over and even touches upon Sheena Bora murder case in page 95. She then even adds Samjhauta express and Malegaon blasts. A lot of it is the same and reverberates in your mind as news items of those times. But yes there are some finer points too, which were kept under the carpet, which is interesting. ‘Extremism is a bigger threat than terrorism’ she hears from another VIP.

    But in the ultimate analysis I would ask. If such books even reach the think tank of the dispensation to act upon, or they just get into their personal libraries and sit their as literary accolades. She further makes an important point–200 districts have Maoist movement—India’s red corridor. Where, she richochet’s some good statistics. And gives a good hidden perspective of India, overall.

IN THE NAME OF GOD

    She covers Gujarat riots together along with with the rapes that happened in 2002. A lot of it is a recount of recent history. How kar-sewaks were murdered and Muslims were massacred as a consequence of that. But she nowhere blames the media for reporting inflammable stuff. Rather she rarely points a finger at the media. She covers Gujarat riots in great detail but has less to say about the sentiments of the relatives of the kar-sewaks who were murdered in Godara. The narration appears as catchy news reports without author’s own modulation. She talks about the strong points of Indira Gandhi. She covers Babri Masjid demolition too. And compares the trinity– Narsimha Rao, Rajiv Gandi and Rahul Gandhi

A CHRONICLE OF KASHMIR

    Barkha mentions the minute India released Maulana Masoor Azhar, Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed on 31.12.99 for hijacking IC-814 India turned into a soft state. Farooq Abdullah who was then the Chief Minister of J&K vehemently protested this. She narrates further, ‘the minute we gave in, India became a soft state; an apoplectic Farooq Abdullah, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir during the hijacking of IC-814, would tell me later. He phoned L.K. Advani, the then home minister, to vehemently oppose the release of terrorist.’ … She doesn’t hesitate in exposing India’s weakness. Then she covers the 1st suicide attack of the valley. Even harps about countries spreading terrorism, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. She of course has a lifelong obsession about J&K and doesn’t forget to talk about Nehru’s background and the birth and growth of JKLF. An interesting point that she makes is:

    ‘A month later in September, the prevaricating Maharaja Hari Singh made an offer of accession to India for the very first time. Nehru stunned him by making the deal conditional on the release of Sheikh Abdullah from jail. The maharaja refused.’ She also goes on to describe Patel’s conversation with Nehru. And of course she has described J&K’s constitutional history quite well and has also dealt with the malaise of Kashmir in detail.

OF POLITICAL DYNASTS, JUGGERANUTS AND MAVERICKS

    The chapter is full of anecdotal tales which the readers would love reading. It covers lady author’s encounter with various national and international leaders and even there close relatives. Where, it starts from Priyanka, Raga (Rahul Gandhi) and even Robert Vadhra. Barkha is curt and brusque when she wants to be. She compares Modi with Gandhis only to say, ‘Modi was determined to overthrow the political royalty of the Gandhis. He was a citizen who had come to take the kingdom.’ She disparages Raga, who had the luxury of several years of authority without any responsibility. But he neither became a minister in the government nor took charge of the party.

    She then goes on to describe the sum and substance of Arvind Kejriwal and at one point even draws a comparison between him and Raga. Both are youthful men, in their early forties—where, Arvind is acutely educated, and has a self achieved track record.

    Another interesting point that she makes is about Indira Gandhi under whose leadership Congress as an institution collapsed. She then spreads across to various political leaders of India and their parties. Her description about Mani Shankar Aiyar is engrossing. And there is a good compilation of political barbs. And of course how could she leave out Dr Manmohan Singh. L. K. Advani couldn’t have been left out either with his stories about Babri Masjid and his visit to Jinnah’s grave.

    The interesting comparision she draws is in between the ‘Chaiwala’ and the ‘Mufflerman’ (Namo and Arvind Kejriwal). Talks about ‘Achhe Din’ and ‘Make in India.’

    She opines about Modi, ‘I have always felt, in the many years that I have observed him, that Modi’s ambitions are personal not ideological.’

    I personally feel her overexposure to the affairs of Pakistan and Kashmir in some ways narrowed her journalistic prowess. She got branded. And that reflects in the book also. But then exposure is not always in your hands. She covers Nawaz Sharif and his delegation in the US, and his calling Manmohan Singh a ‘Dehati Aurat.’—that she clarifies.

    She talks about AAP party at length and the anti corruption movement.

A SOCIETY IN FLUX

    This chapter flows all over. It has no direction or plot. Whatever she felt … she has written about. And is quite a contrast to the previous chapters. I guess she wanted to close the book now. India is prone to disasters, so she talks about the Nagapattinam Tsunami of 2004, in Tamil Nadu which she had covered. She describes Ambedkar’s conversion ceremony to Buddhism. Where, she doesn’t forget to remind what Mahatma Gandhi had to say about conversion

    ‘I am against conversion, whether it is known as shuddhi by Hindus, tabligh by Mussalmans, or proselytizing by Christians.’

    Then she covers certain topics that had made it to the headlines. She of course digs into the history of India and fetches out things she had not come across in her career. She describes the pliant middle class of India. Talks a bit about the Modern School, where she had studied. Remembers, the Mandal agitation of 1992, and also brushes past IPL, Sunanda Pushkar and even Lalit Modi.

    Overall, a valuable read. Only if you’re interested in knowing how India operates or rather how the government of the day operates.

*****

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

*****

 

 

 

 

WATCH BOOK TALK: ‘TRAIN TO PAKISTAN’ by Khushwant Singh

Copyright@shravancharitymission