Tag Archives: ramayan

BOOK CORNER: “READING GANDHI–Perspectives in the 21st Century … by Ranu Uniyal, Nazneen Khan and Raj Gaurav Verma

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     This treasure of essays is edited by Ranu Uniyal, Nazneen Khan and Raj Gaurav Verma. All are distinguished academicians. The trinity teaches English at Lucknow University. The book is a publication of Pencraft International published in 2022. The price of the book is Rupees 800. The spine of the book is less than 200 pages. Let me begin by saying that the book is too complex for an average reader. It is an assortment of fourteen articles written by renowned academicians. Perhaps their normal diction would also be complex for the average reader, I guess so. And I only wish the content was simpler and easy to read just like the simple persona of Gandhi.  

    Gandhi is a revered surname in the world. The subject book explores the relevance of M. K. Gandhi in contemporary times and also links it up with times to come. It covers the dispensation of justice, human rights, conflict and peace-building, along with his evergreen mechanism of non-violence and Satyagraha which were focal to him. The essays in this volume focus on inner strength, brotherhood and self-discipline. His persona becomes a rendezvous a nukkad for discourse in the post-colonial era. Practical ideas on food, dress and day-to-day living are included in this study so also his impact on world literature. His philosophical ideals and spiritual experiences reflect his views on truth, identity and nationhood. The book covers the impact of Gandhian thoughts on late capitalism, neo-colonialism and post-truth. It opens debates on many significant issues troubling mankind. Therefore, it will be of interest to scholars of postcolonial literature, gender and cultural studies. Simply put, the book coaches you on the Gandhian way of living and reacting in today’s utopian and dystopian world.

    The august trinity has edited some painstakingly written articles by historians, academicians and writers such as Bhikhu Parekh, John Thieme, Neelam Saran Gour, Pritish Acharya, Alok Kumar, Papia Sengupta, Hardeep Ranjitsinh Gohil, Neena Gupta Vij, Roopa Vijay and Meenakshi Vijay, Amrita Sharma, Suchitra Awasthi, Vishakha Sen, Fatima Sahrish and Raj Gaurav Verma. After reading the book I wondered if the learned authors had simplified the dhoti-clad half-naked fakir called Mahatma Gandhi or complicated him. The title of Mahatma was bestowed upon Gandhi by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. Mahatma is a simple soul as we all know. But being simple is not so simple, as it generates complexities for others, perhaps. Surely, this book is not for an average reader but more for academicians who already know Gandhi and it’ll help them in further hair-splitting on his larger-than-life persona.

    The narration gives a full-circle view of Mahatma Gandhi. It offers you the following: The title starts with an introduction by the trinity. Thereafter, the cynosure, Gandhi, is discussed in various articles and in various ways. There are several silhouettes of him. Then comes the juxtaposition of R.K. Narayan, Politics and Gandhi, and isn’t it amusing when a child labels Gandhiji as a man who kept three monkeys and made salt, says the next article titled, ‘On Gandhi.’ Gandhiji became renowned because of the Champaran Satyagraha. He used to walk for 18 km a day which he did for many years. In the process, he may have walked more than 59000 km. Then comes, Truth, Ethics and Theory: Gandhi and the Heuristics of Living. A mental shortcut to living. These are all improbable-sounding words in today’s context. Despite all our ideological compulsions why does it seem so difficult to disown Gandhi completely? Writing about Gandhi in the twenty-first century, to begin with requires a good amount of ground-clearing.  There is so much muck in the air because of the language row in India. But Gandhi had his own thoughts on a Common Language for India. The Ramayan and the Bhagwat Gita were very dear to the Mahatma and he had done two Gujarati translations of the Bhagwat Gita which is mentioned in the article titled, ‘The Purpose and Perfection: Two Gujarati Translations of Bhagwat Gita by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.’ Mahatma Gandhi is seen as an exceptional force in world politics because he fought with a technologically superior imperial force without resorting to modern weaponry. Gandhi had a diet chart for every Indian in his book titled ‘Gram Swaraj.’ The article ‘Gandhi and Food’ says it all in its narration. What a personality Gandhi was. His dress code had the lusciousness of a fakir that became the national symbol and his sartorial flavour also had the insignia of Colonial Protest. On a true vibrant civilization and the real edifice of education Gandhi’s book ‘Hind Swaraj’ still stands out.

There are so many descriptions of Gandhi by so many researchers in the book. The book is well-edited with a good flow of sentences. There is relevant day-to-day information about Gandhi in the narration for eg he used to write 700 words every day and used to walk 18 km a day. Since the book is a recent publication I would desist from being a spoiler so I won’t reveal more. But yes unlike violence Gandhi’s non-violence acted silently and slowly, and took its own time, but in the end, it delivered.

The book needs to be simplified for an average reader. The articles are well-researched and give you a plethora of facts about Gandhi that will entice you to read the book. There should have been a summary at the end of each chapter to simplify the deliberations. Who could imagine a 5ft 5 inches tall person weighing about 46.7 kg with a BMI of 17.1 kg—which means underweight will lead India to freedom from the fierce British Raj? But why should anyone read this book? Well if you want to know if Gandhi was responsible for the partition read this book. In the same manner, if you want to know more about Gandhi here is the book.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our Publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K; Herrick District Library, Holland and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, USA; Black Gold Cooperative Library Administration, Arroyo Grande, California).

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

AWADH ASSAM AND DALAI LAMA … The Kalachakra

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

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

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

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘SHIKHANDI … And Other Tales they don’t tell you’ by Devdutt Pattanaik

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‘SHIKHANDI … and other tales they don’t tell you,’ by Devdutt Pattanaik.

The subject title was published in the year 2014 by Zubaan in collaboration with Penguin Books. The price of the book is Rs 299. Although, I had heard about this book some time ago I had not read it. I took the book to hand only recently. It comprises of some 176 pages.

    The book deals with the discovery or Invention of Queerness. There are different types of people in the world with different types of physiology. There are races, religions, communities who define queerness in their own peculiar manner. Before planning to write this book I’m sure the author must have done a great deal of homework. He must have studied various communities, races and religions to spin out the content of this particular book. I find a growing trend in some publishers these days where they place the name of the author more prominently on the cover page, and in bigger fonts, than the title of the book which only goes to show that the publisher has more confidence on the brand of the author on account of his or her accumulated titles than the subject book’s content. But this obviously comes after the author has made a mark for himself. Is this one such case I wonder?

    The subject title was published in the year 2014 by Zubaan in collaboration with Penguin Books. The price of the book is Rs 299. Although, I had heard about this book some time ago I had not read it. I took the book to hand only recently. It comprises of some 176 pages.

    The author has made a few daring attempts in the book to put Hindu Gods and Godesses in utter starkness that makes them look frivolous which the author could have avoided. And that also gives one a feeling that the intention behind that act of God is not comprehensively understood or narrowly missed by the author well enough, even when, he has gone through Hindu texts, and some fifty-four select bibliographies that he mentions in the book. The author runs all over. From queerness to hijras, cross-dressers, Gods, mythology and the short stories therein, and then finally it appears as if the author has lost direction. Where, one starts missing the central theme of the book, but was it even there one wonders. In some pages, one wonders, if it is just a collection and free-fall of short stories which is not what the book was intended to be.  Even the emotions of characters are not elaborately emoted. The author goes on to say that India is an agricultural community and so it was common to see women as mere fields with men as the farmers who sow seeds.

    The author has captured the content of this book in thirty chapters mostly out of Hindu mythology—Mahabharat, Ramayan including South Indian and other religious texts such as Purans, Bible and Greek mythology. The author builds the content of queerness on the premise that—Patriarchy asserts men are superior to women. Feminism clarifies women and men are equal. Queerness questions what constitutes male and female.    Queerness isn’t just modern, Western or sexual, says mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik. Take a close look at the vast written and oral traditions in Hinduism, some over two thousand years old, and you will find many overlooked tales, such as those of Shikhandi, who became a man to satisfy her wife being put under a cover. Playful and touching—and sometimes even disturbing—these stories, when compared with their Mesopotamian, Greek, Chinese and Biblical counterparts, reveal the unique Indian way of making sense of queerness. Net-net the book is about the queer retelling of, Indian myths, by the author. But I also have a different take on this book.

    The book would have been more powerful had ‘Queerness’ not been the title or the central theme of the book. For it is dominated more by short stories where queerness spins out as a by-product. And the stories needed to be presented with more of a foreground and background. Author ne dil khol ke nahin likha hai yeh kitab. He has tried to stuff in a lot of content in very few pages and therefore the book doesn’t impact you.

  I would give the book six out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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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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WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL LOW?

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    ‘I’m feeling low, sad or depressed’ is something we all hear almost on a daily basis from friends, colleagues, peer groups, relatives and even close family members. You may call it depression, a state of mind, a dejected syndrome, life style occurrence or all in one, as it is difficult to delineate? So, for the time being let’s call it a ‘Sad State of Mind (SSOM). The frequency in some may be high and in some low. However, it spares no one, except children up to a certain age group. Does it therefore mean, that as soon as you start facing life you encounter SSOM?

    Perhaps yes, and it transcends all age groups, sex and even professions. Where, it encounters everyone in the journey of life. I too have suffered from SSOM. It comes uninvited, and at odd hours like an unwanted guest, not knowing how long it will stay. One day when I got frustrated. I decided to cross check with some of my colleagues and friends if they too were infested by SSOM and most of them said yes. I wasn’t surprised. As it leaves you hapless, makes you lethargic and impedes you from doing even your normal chores at home and routine work at office. And, in this manner it also affects India’s GDP and leads to a negative trail. So, I decided to do something about it.

    First, I thought of ways and means to prevent it, if not cure it. Or, find a sound way to dispel it but failed in doing so. So, I decided to survey some men, women, students, professionals, academicians and politicians with just one startling question:

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‘WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL LOW?’

    Sample size was two hundred. And to my astonishment no one sulked at the very question. In fact, everyone just promptly replied in a one-liner, which I am writing below as quote-unquote or verbatim. Results showed that every person had a way of resolving his or her own SSOM but broadly preferred to stay under the nine sub-headings mentioned below.

SURRENDER TO #ALMIGHTY … He will take care

    I talk to God. I visit the temple. I chant verses from holy Ramayana. I read a few pages out of my handy Gita. I flip through my Holy Quran. I go to the Gurudwara. I pray to Goddess Durga. I read a few pages of Holy Bible. I watch a devotional channel on TV. I recite Hanuman Chalisa. I ponder over my equation with God. Mind you, I didn’t find anyone telling me that I go to a powerful person to resolve my SSOM.

INTROSPECTION & MEDITATION … helps you in rediscovering yourself.

  I meditate. I introspect. I ponder over my past. I start worrying about my future. When did I help someone last? I try and remember. Why did I hurt someone? I think. Why did I make fun of someone? I regret. Perhaps it’s a reminder for some noble deed.

TO SERVE … gives a feeling of soul cleansing.

    I donate. I feed my cat to some milk. I feed ants. I feed a cow. I feed a street dog. I feed my pet dog. I feed an old beggar.

PHYSICAL EXERTION … refreshes you to take on the world.

    I take my dog for a walk. I go for a swim. I jog for a while. I go cycling. I go golfing. I go swimming. I go to the gym. I go to the spa. I do indoor exercises. I do deep breathing, it helps. I go fishing.

ENTERTAINMENT … rejuvenates you.

    I open my bottle to have a swig. I read a novel. I switch on the TV. I go for a movie. I watch cricket. I start playing computer games. I read jokes. I play indoor games. I laugh in my toilet, as you would in the laughing club. I sing in my bathroom. I watch a cartoon channel. I Play with my Pet. I listen to music. I play my keyboard. I smoke a cigarette. I eat excessively.

MIND DIVERSION … helps you forget.

    I read anything just anything lying around. I start writing. I start painting. I go and sit in the lawn amidst plants. I call up my girlfriend. I call up my boyfriend. I call up Dad. I call up Mom. I call up my daughter. I call up my son. I call up my daughter-in-law. I call up my wife. I call my up husband. I call up my best friend. I speak to my boss, he gives me some sound advice. I start thinking of pending work in office. I speak to my mentor. I flip through a magazine. I read newspaper. I go for a drive.

KILLING SSOM … with other powerful thoughts.

    I think of my last holiday and the pleasant moments with my family. I build determination to confront the situation that makes me feel low. I recall, ‘No matter how bad things are they could be worse.’ ‘Nothing is permanent’ I say to myself. I think of the best surprise of my life. I think of the best episode of my life. I think of an ugly episode of my life. I still have a healthy body and soul so why worry. I have a loving family so why feel low. I have a bright career so why feel low.

DOING NOTHING … just another way of handling by not reacting.

I sulk. I just shut my mind for some time. I know something good is coming next so I don’t bother. I just doze off. I take a small break from work. I just have a cup of tea. I do nothing and wait for the mood swing to be over. I stop eating. I fiddle with my mobile. I consider it to be like common cold, so I just move on. I believe in- no matter how bad things are something is going right and no matter how good things are something is going wrong; this balances life. Even the President of the US suffers from SSOM so who am I? Feeling low is cyclic, so why worry. Once in a while we all feel low, perhaps it’s the order of the nature. Chalta hai- don’t be too serious about life, let life be serious about you.
    The moral of the story is we all feel low at times, and many a times during a lifetime. Whilst, such occurrences happen, we should not feel isolated and down beaten as it happens to most human beings on the planet. Life is not a bed of roses but a constant struggle and more the struggle is shared more life becomes easy to take on and this is a small attempt towards that.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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Share if you like it

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

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