Tag Archives: shravancharitymission

BOOK REVIEW: WOLF TOTEM by Jiang Rong

Copyright@shravancharitymission

by Jiang Rong

Khidki (Window)

–Read Initiative—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A good book has many takers just as this one that was also adapted into a movie. I would give the book seven out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020.

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

*****

INTERESTING FACTS: THE THORNS IN IRAN-US RELATIONS

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Welcome to ‘Interesting Facts.’ Let me give you a gist of the inimical relations that exist between Iran and the US over the past many decades. They have had no formal diplomatic relations since April 1980. Pakistan serves as Iran’s protecting power in the United States, while Switzerland serves as the United States’ protecting power in Iran. Protecting power is a country that represents another sovereign state in a country where it lacks its own diplomatic representation. It is common to appoint protecting powers when two countries break off diplomatic relations with each other. The protecting power is responsible for looking after the sending state’s diplomatic property and citizens in the hosting state. If diplomatic relations are broken by the outbreak of war, the protecting power will also inquire into the welfare of prisoners of war and look after the interests of civilians in enemy-occupied territory.

    Political relations between Iran (Persia) and the United States began when the Shah of Iran, Nassereddin Shah Qajar, officially despatched Iran’s first ambassador, Mirza Abolhasan to Washington, D.C., in 1856. In 1883, Samuel G. Benjamin was appointed by the United States as the first official diplomatic envoy to Iran, however, the ambassadorial relations were not established until 1944. 

    Until the outbreak of the World War II, the US had no active policy towards Iran. In 1953, the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq was overthrown in a coup organized by the British and American governments. Many Iranians argue that the coup and the subsequent U.S. support for the Shah of Iran was largely responsible for the shah’s arbitrary rule, which led to the anti-American 1979 revolution.

    When the Cold War began the US was alarmed by the attempt of the Soviet Union to set up separatist states in Iranian Azerbaijan and Kurdistan. This fear was enhanced by the loss of China to communism and uncovering of the Soviet spy rings. Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the United States and their respective allies, i.e. the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc, after the World War II. The period is generally considered to live along the 1947 Truman Doctrine (an American foreign policy whose stated purpose was to contain Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War) to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union. More generally, the Truman Doctrine implied American support for nations thought to be threatened by Soviet communism.

    During 1952 and 1953 there happened the Abadan Crisis, when Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, began nationalization of, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). Established by the British in the early 20th century, Britain’s share in the profits of the company was 85%, and Iran’s share was 15%. But Britain kept its financial records hidden from the Iranian government. By 1951, the Iranians had agreed to support the nationalization of the AIOC, and as a consequence the Iranian Parliament unanimously agreed to nationalize its holding which was at that time, the British Empire’s largest company. The British retaliated with an embargo on Iranian oil, which was supported by international oil companies. Over the months that followed, negotiations over control and compensation for the Iranian oil were deadlocked, and Iran’s economy deteriorated.

    U.S. President Harry S. Truman pressed Britain to moderate its position in the negotiations, and not invade Iran. A gamut of American policies created a feeling in Iran that the United States was on Mosaddeq’s side, and that created a sense of optimism, that the oil dispute would soon be settled, with a series of innovative proposals to settle the dispute, giving Iran “significant amounts of economic aid”. Mosaddeq visited Washington, when the American government made “frequent statements expressing support for him.”

    But at the same time, the United States also honoured the British embargo and, without Truman’s knowledge, the American CIA stationed in Tehran kept “carrying out covert activities” against Mosaddeq and the National Front since the summer of 1952.

    As the Cold War intensified, oil negotiations stalled. The Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower replaced Democratic President Truman, when the United States helped destabilize Mossadeq on the theory that “rising internal tensions and continued economic deterioration…might lead to a breakdown of government authority and opened the way for at least a gradual assumption of control by Iran’s well organized Tudeh communist party. In 1953, the US and Britain, through a covert operation of the CIA called Operation Ajax, conducted from the American Embassy in Tehran, helped organize a coup d’etat to overthrow the Mosaddeq government. The operation initially failed, and the Shah fled to Italy, but in a second attempt the coup succeeded, and Mosaddeq was imprisoned.

    Following the coup, the United States helped re-install Shah. In the first three weeks, the U.S. government gave Iran $68 million in emergency aid, and an additional $1.2 billion over the next decade. In the era that ensued, until the fall of Shah in 1979, Iran was one of United States’ closest ally. The US also played a critical role in founding the Shah’s brutal secret police to keep him in power. A US Army colonel working for the CIA was sent to Persia in September 1953 to guide local personnel in creating the organization and in March 1955, the Army colonel was replaced with a more permanent team of five career CIA officers, including specialists in covert operations, intelligence analysis, and counterintelligence, including Major General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, who virtually trained, the entire first generation of SAVAK personnel. In 1956 this agency was reorganized and given the name Sazeman-e Ettela’at va Amniyat-e Keshvar (SAVAK). These in turn were replaced by SAVAK’s own instructors in 1965.

    Shah received significant American support during his reign. He made frequent visits to the White House earning praise from numerous American presidents. Shah’s close ties to Washington and his modernization policies soon angered some Iranians, especially the hardcore Islamic conservatives. In the 1960s and 1970s, Iran’s oil revenues grew considerably. This weakened U.S. influence in Iranian politics while strengthening the power of the Iranian state versus Iranian public.

    The U.S. helped Iran create its nuclear program starting in 1957 by providing Iran its first nuclear reactor and nuclear fuel, and after 1967 by providing Iran with weapons grade enriched uranium. Iran’s nuclear program was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program. The participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran’s nuclear program continued until the 1979. But the Iranian Revolution toppled the last Shah of Iran. United States reached a deal in 2015 to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Sanctions relief under the terms of the deal freed over 100 billion dollars in frozen assets overseas for Iran and increased foreign access to the Iranian economy. In return, Iran had to temporarily agree not to engage in activities, including R&D of a nuclear bomb. The United States withdrew from the deal in 2018.

    The 1979 Revolution, ousted the pro-American Shah and replaced him with the anti-American Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. This surprised the United States government, its State Department and intelligence services, which consistently underestimated the magnitude and long-term implications of this unrest. Six months before the revolution culminated, the CIA had produced a report, stating that “Iran is not in a revolutionary or even a ‘pre-revolutionary’ mode.

    Revolutionary students feared the power of the United States, particularly its CIA, about whom they thought, would overthrow, the new Iranian government. Many students thought that the CIA would attempt to implement this through a countercoup strategy.

    Khomeini, referred to America as the “Great Satan.” He immediately got rid of the Shah’s prime minister and replaced him with a moderate politician named Mehdi Bazargan. Until this point, the Carter Administration was still hoping for normal relations with Iran, by sending its National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

    Meanwhile, the Islamic revolutionaries wished to execute the ousted Shah. On the other hand, Carter refused to give him any further support or help him to return to power. The Shah, suffering from terminal cancer, requested entry into the United States for treatment. The American embassy in Tehran opposed the request, as they were intending to stabilize relations between the new interim revolutionary government of Iran and the United States. However, President Carter agreed to let the Shah in, after severe pressure from Henry Kissinger, Nelson Rockefeller and other pro-Shah lobby in the US. Iranians’ suspicion that Shah, was actually trying to conspire, against the Iranian Revolution, only grew with time. Thus, this incident was often used by the Iranian revolutionaries to justify their claims that the former monarch was an American puppet, and this led to the storming of the American embassy by radical students allied with the Khomeini faction.

    On 4 November 1979, the revolutionary group of Muslim students, followers of the Imam’s line, were grossly angered, that the recently deposed Shah had been allowed entry into the United States. As a consequence they occupied the American embassy in Tehran and took American diplomats hostage. The 52 American diplomats were held hostage for 444 days. In Iran, the incident was seen by many, as a blow to American influence, and the liberal-moderate interim government of Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, who opposed the hostage taking resigned soon after. Some Iranians were concerned that the United States may have been plotting another coup against their country in 1979 from the American embassy itself. In the United States, the hostage-taking was seen as a violation of a centuries-old principle of international law that granted diplomats immunity from arrest and diplomatic compounds, the sovereignty, in the territory of the host country they occupy.

    The United States military attempted a rescue operation, Operation Eagle Claw, on April 24, 1980, which resulted in an aborted mission and the death of eight American military men. The crisis ended with the signing of the Algiers Accord in Algeria on January 19, 1981. On January 20, 1981, the hostages were released. The crisis led to lasting economic and diplomatic damage.

    In 1988, the US launched Operation Praying Mantis against Iran, claiming that it was a retaliation for the Iranian mining, of areas, of the Persian Gulf as part of the Iran–Iraq War. The American attack was the largest American naval combat operation since World War II.

    On July 3, 1988, near the end of the Iran–Iraq War, the US Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, shot down Iranian Airbus A300B2, which was on a scheduled commercial flight within Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. The attack killed 290 civilians from six nations, including 66 children. The United States has expressed regret for the loss of innocent life but has not apologized to the Iranian government.

   The tensions between the two countries have been going on and on, for years now, and God alone knows when it’ll end.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020.

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

*****

SHORT STORY: LESSON FROM AN ELDERLY MAN

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Once there was an old man from Arabia. He had three sons. When he was nearing his end, he called his sons to his death bed and told them, “When I die, you are to divide my belongings as follows.” He then turned to his oldest son and said, “I want you to take half of my worldly possessions.” Next he turned to middle son and said, “I want you to have one-third of my belongings.” Finally, he told his youngest son, “You shall have one-ninth of my worldly belongings.” Shortly thereafter the elderly man died. When an account was taken, of his possessions, it was discovered that all he owned were 17 camels. This made the sons uncomfortable, and they began discussing the division of those 17 camels.

    It was impossible to divide the camels exactly as per their father’s death wish. So, they began to quarrel among themselves about their share. Finally, not knowing what to do, they went to a friend of their father’s, for advice.

    The friend quickly realised that the 17 camels could not be divided into a half, a third and a ninth. He thought for a while and said, “I am poor. I own, only one camel. But if I give that camel to your herd, you can divide the camels according to your father’s wishes and have harmony among yourselves.’

    When he added his own camel to the 17, it became 18 camels, which could easily be divided as per his friend’s death wish. To the eldest he then gave one half, that is, nine camels. To the middle son, he gave one third, which turned out to be six camels. To the youngest he gave one-ninth of 18, which turned out to be two camels. And the boys left happily.

    When the elderly friend turned around, he realized, lo and behold, his own camel remained. He thanked God, saying—‘O God, Your wisdom surpasses all understanding.

The story illustrates the unwritten bliss that we never lose when we give.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

Short stories published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020.

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

*****

BOOK REVIEW: SPIDER’S WEB … Agatha Christie

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Cover Page

Khidki (Window)

–Read Initiative—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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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 the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

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

MIRAGE

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

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

*****

SHORT STORY: SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

STORY PUBLISHED IN BHAVAN’S JOURNAL

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)

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)

*****

INTERESTING FACTS: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS BETWEEN CHINA AND TAIWAN

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    After the spread of Covid 19 China is in regular news but for the wrong reasons. In this context let me take you through the hostile relationship between China and Taiwan. This relationship is also known as the Cross-Strait relations between China and Taiwan.

    Cross-Strait relations (is sometimes called Mainland–Taiwan relations or Taiwan–China relations). It refers to the relationship between the following two political entities, which are separated by the Taiwan Strait in the west Pacific Ocean. These political entities are:

  • The People’s Republic of China(PRC), commonly known as “China.”
  • The Republic of China(ROC), commonly known as “Taiwan”. Be very clear—PRC is China and ROC is Taiwan.

    Their relationship is complex and controversial due to the dispute on the political status of Taiwan after the administration of Taiwan was transferred from Japan at the end of World War II in 1945 and the subsequent split of China into the above two in 1949 as a result of a civil war. The matter hinges on two key questions: Whether the two entities are two separate countries (either as “Taiwan” and “China” or two Chinas: that is “Republic of China” and “People’s Republic of China”) or they are two “regions” or parts of the same country (i.e. “One China”) with rival governments. The English expression of, “Cross-Strait relations” is considered to be a neutral term that avoids any reference to the political status on either side.

    At the end of World War II in 1945, the administration of Taiwan was transferred to the Republic of China (ROC) from Japan, though, legal questions remained regarding the language of the ‘Treaty of San Francisco.’ In 1949, with the Chinese Civil War turning decisively in favour of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Republic of China government led by the Kuomintang (ie KMT a major political party in Taiwan) retreated to Taiwan and established the provisional capital in Taipei, while the CPC proclaimed the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and formed their government in Beijing. No armistice or peace treaty was ever signed so the debate continues even today, as to whether, the civil war had legally ended.

    Since then, the relations between the governments in Beijing and Taipei have been characterized by limited contact, tensions, and instability. In the early years, military conflicts continued, while diplomatically both governments competed to be the “legitimate government of China”. Since the democratization of Taiwan, the question regarding the political and legal status of Taiwan has shifted focus to the choice between political unification with mainland China or de jure Taiwanese independence. The PRC—People’s Republic of China nevertheless remains hostile to any formal declaration of independence and maintains its claim over Taiwan.

    In the meanwhile, non-governmental and semi-governmental exchanges between the two sides have increased. From 2008 onwards, negotiations began to resuscitate the three vital links of postal, transportation and trade between the two sides that was cut off since 1949. Diplomatic contact between the two sides has generally been limited to Kuomintang (KMT) administrations in Taiwan.

    Let us now dig a little deeper into the history of Taiwan. The early history of Cross-Strait relations involved the exchange of cultures, people, and technology. However, no Chinese dynasty formally incorporated Taiwan into the mainland China in ancient times. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Taiwan first caught the attention of Portuguese, then Dutch and Spanish explorers. In 1624, the Dutch established their first settlement in Taiwan. In 1662, Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong), a Ming dynasty loyalist, defeated the Dutch rulers of Taiwan, and took over the island, establishing the first formally Han Chinese regime in Taiwan. Koxinga’s heirs used Taiwan as a base for launching raids into mainland China against the Manchu Qing dynasty. However, they were defeated in 1683 by Qing forces. The following year, Taiwan was incorporated into the Fujian province in the south eastern coast of mainland China. However, over the next two centuries, the Imperial government of Qing dynasty paid little attention to Taiwan.

    But the situation changed in the 19th century, with other powers increasingly eyeing Taiwan for its strategic location and resources. In response, the administration began to implement a modernization drive. In 1887, a Fujian-Taiwan Province was announced by an Imperial decree. Within 10 years, Taiwan had become one of the most modern provinces in the Empire. However, the fall of the Qing dynasty outpaced the development of Taiwan, and in 1895, following its defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Imperial Government ceded Taiwan to Japan in perpetuity—forever. Qing loyalists briefly resisted the Japanese rule under the banner of the “Republic of Taiwan”, but were quickly put down by Japanese authorities.

    Japan ruled Taiwan until 1945. During this time, Taiwan, as part of the Japanese Empire, was a foreign jurisdiction in relation to the first Qing Empire, and after 1912, the Republic of China. In 1945, Japan was defeated in World War II and surrendered its forces in Taiwan to the Allies, with the ROC, Republic of China being then ruled by the Kuomintang (KMT), taking custody of the island. The period of post-war Kuomintang rule over China (1945–1949) was marked in Taiwan by conflict between local residents and the new KMT authority. The Taiwanese rebelled against KMT on 28 February 1948 in the February 28 incident, which was put down violently by the KMT. But in the process the seeds for the Taiwan independence movement, were thus sown.

    China was soon engulfed in a full-scale civil war. In 1949, the war turned decisively against the KMT and in favour of the CPC—Communist Party of China. On 1 October 1949, the CPC under Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing. The capitalist ROC—Republic of China government retreated to Taiwan, eventually declaring Taipei its temporary capital in December 1949.

    The island of Taiwan has an area of 35,808 square kilometres (13,826 square miles), with mountain ranges dominating the eastern two-thirds and plains in the western one-third, where its highly urbanised population is concentrated. Taipei is the capital and largest metropolitan area. Other major cities include Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan and Taoyuan. With 23.7 million inhabitants, Taiwan is among the most densely populated countries in the world, with a big population and a large economy. The political status of Taiwan remains uncertain.  It is no longer a member of the UN, having been replaced by the PRC-People’s Republic of China in 1971. Taiwanese indigenous people settled in the island of Taiwan around 6,000 years ago.

    Although ROC-Republic of China government, continue to claim, to be the legitimate representative of China, since 1950 its effective jurisdiction has been limited to Taiwan and numerous smaller islands.

    Taiwan is claimed by the PRC—People’s Republic of China, which refuses diplomatic relations with countries that recognise the ROC—Republic of China. Taiwan maintains official ties with only 14 out of 193 UN member states and the Holy See (jurisdiction of Bishop of Rome). International organisations in which the PRC—People’s Republic of China participates either refuse to grant membership to Taiwan or allow it to participate only on a non-state basis. Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organisation, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Asian Development Bank under various names. Nearby countries and countries with large economies maintain unofficial ties with Taiwan through representative offices and institutions that function as de facto embassies and consulates. Domestically, the major political division is between parties favouring eventual Chinese unification and promoting a Chinese identity contrasted with those aspiring for independence and promoting Taiwanese identity, although both sides have moderated their positions to broaden their appeal.

         What will you call People’s Republic of China (PRC)? I would certainly call it a big bully.

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)

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)

*****

 

 

 

Interesting Facts: The Grand Trunk Road (GT Road)

Copyright@shravancharitymission

The old face of GT Road

    The Grand Trunk Road was formerly also known as UttarapathSadak-e-AzamBadshahi Sadak, is one of Asia’s oldest and longest major roads. For at least 2,500 years, it has linked the Indian subcontinent with Central Asia. It runs roughly 2,400 kilometers from Chittagong, Bangladesh to Kabul, Afghanistan, passing through Allahabad (now Prayagraj) Howrah, Delhi, and Amritsar in India and Lahore and Peshawar in Pakistan.

    Chandragupta Maurya the cynosure of Mauryan Empire in ancient India, built this highway along the ancient route called Uttarapatha or Uttarpath in the 3rd century BC, extending it from the mouth of the Ganges in Bangladesh (also called the delta) to the north-west frontier of the Empire. Further improvements to this road were made under Ashoka. It was rebuilt many times under Sher Shah Suri, the Mughals and even the British along the similar route. The old route was re-aligned by Sher Shah Suri to Sonargaon (central Bangladesh) and Rohtas (Bihar). The Afghan end of the road was once rebuilt under Mahmud Shah Durrani. The road was again considerably rebuilt in the British period between 1833 and 1860.

    Now I’ll take you through the highways the numbers of which mostly start with N. The road coincides with current National Highway1 (Chittagong to Dhaka), and then N4 & N405 (Dhaka to Sirajganj in Bangladesh), N507 (Sirajganj to Natore again in Bangladesh) and N6 (Natore to Rajshai in Bangladesh and towards Purnea in India). The road further moves on NH 12 (Purnea—Bihar to Bakkhali—West Bengal),  then NH 27 (Purnea to Patna), NH 19 (Kolkata to Agra), NH 44 (Agra to Jalandhar via New Delhi, Sonipat, Panipat, Ambala and Ludhiana) and NH 3 (Jalandhar to Attari, Amritsar in India and towards Lahore in Pakistan) via Wagah. Then you have N-5 Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat (this Gujrat is a city in Punjab province in Pakistan), Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Khyber Pass (towards Jalalabad in Afghanistan) in Pakistan and highway AH1 (that is Torkham-Jalalabad to Kabul) in Afghanistan.

   Over the centuries, the road acted as one of the major trade routes in the region and facilitated both travel and postal communication. The Grand Trunk Road is still used for transportation in present-day Indian subcontinent, where parts of the road have been widened and included in the national highway system.

    The Buddhist literature and Indian epics such as Mahabharatha provide the evidence of the Grand Trunk Road even before the Mauryan Empire. It was called Uttarpath or Uttarpatha or the “Northern road”. The road connected, the eastern region of India with Bactria in central Asia north of Hindu Kush.

    The road before the modern Grand Trunk road was built by emperor Chandragupta Maurya and was based on the highway running from Susa (a city in Iran) to Sardis in Turkey. During the time of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BCE, overland trade between India and several parts of Western Asia and the markets of Bactria went through, the cities of the north-west, primarily Takshashila (Pakistan) and Purushapura (modern-day Peshawar in present day Pakistan). Takshashila was well connected by roads with other parts of the Mauryan Empire. The Mauryas had maintained this very ancient highway from Takshashila to Patliputra (present-day Patna in India). Chandragupta Maurya had a whole army of officials overseeing the maintenance of this road as told by Greek  diplomat Megasthenes who spent fifteen years at the Mauryan Court. Constructed in eight stages, this road is said to have connected the cities of Purushapura, Takshila, Hastinapura, Kanyakubja, Prayag, Patliputra and Tam-ralipta also known as Tamluk in West Bengal, a distance of around 2,600 kilometres (1,600 miles).

     The route by Chandragupta was built over the ancient “Uttarapatha” or the Northern Road, which was mentioned by Panini, an ancient Sanskrit philo-logist, grammarian, and a revered scholar in ancient India. Emperor Ashoka has recorded in his edict about having trees planted, wells built at every half kos and many “nimisdhayas”, which is often translated as rest-houses along the route. Emperor Kanishka is also known to have controlled the Uttarapatha.

     Sher Shah Suri, the medieval ruler of the Sur Empire (Sur Empire was an empire established by a Muslim dynasty of Afghan origin), is known to have rebuilt Chandragupta’s Royal Road in the 16th century. The old route was further re-routed at Sonargaon and Rohtas and its breadth was increased. 

    Fruit trees and shade trees were planted. At every 2 kos, a sarai was built. The number of kos minars (the medieval Indian milestones along the Grand Trunk Road in north India) and even the baolis were increased. Gardens were also built alongside some sections of the highway. Those who stopped at the sarai were provided free food. Sher Shah Suri’s son Islam Shah Suri also constructed an additional sarai in-between every sarai originally built by Sher Shah Suri on the road towards Bengal. More sarais were further built by the Mughals also. Jahangir under his reign issued a decree that all sarais be built of burnt brick (toughened bricks) and stone. Broad-leaved trees were planted in the stretch between Lahore and Agra. Jahangir also built bridges, over all water bodies that were situated on the path of the highways. The route was referred to as “Sadak-e-Azam” by Suri, and “Badshahi Sadak” by the Mughals.

    In the 1830s the East India Company started a program of metalled road construction, for both commercial and administrative purposes. The road, now named Grand trunk Road, from Calcutta, through Delhi, to Peshawar (present-day Pakistan) was rebuilt at a cost of £1000/ mile. A Public Works Department along with a training institute (the erstwhile Thomason College of Civil Engineering which is now known as the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee) was founded, to train and employ local surveyors, engineers, and overseers, to perform the work, and in future maintain it along with other roads.

    The road is mentioned in a number of literary works including those of Foster and Rudyard Kipling. Kipling described the road as: “Look! Look again! and chumars, bankers and tinkers, barbers and bunnias, pilgrims – and potters – all the world going and coming. It is to me as a river from which I am withdrawn like a log after a flood. And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle. It runs straight, bearing without crowding India’s traffic for fifteen hundred miles – such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world.”

     The ensemble of historic sites along the road in India was submitted to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2015, under the title “Sites along the Uttarapath, Badshahi Sadak, Sadak-e-Azam, Grand Trunk Road”.

    Psephologists sometimes refer to the area around the GT Road as,“GT Road Ambala to Sonepat sector, which has 28  legislative assembly seats within the context of elections. During the elections in Haryana the area on either side of the GT Road form constituencies where there is no dominance of one caste or community. So, it is referred to as the “GT road belt of Haryana.”

    Roads are like living beings. They keep transporting men and material centuries after century.

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)

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)

*****

 

 

 

GOD SAYS …

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Aap  Sabhi  Mahanbhavon , Kadardano  Aur  Khawateeno   Ko
‘ EID  MUBARAK ‘
       ‘Aadaab ‘
Wish  you  A  Very  Happy  Morning!!!
Put  On  Your …
  ‘BINACA  SMILE’
And  Listen  to  this
Interesting  Conversation  Between….. 
‘Man   And   God !
A  man  in..,
      ‘GOD’s  SHOP’
Man ….
        ” What   Do  
       Do   You   Sell ?
GOD…..
        ” Whatever  
      Your   Heart
         Desires …”
MAN …..
         “I   Want 
          Success   And
          Happiness..”
GOD……SMILES ,
           And    Says …
           ” I   SELL  
        ONLY   SEEDS
                     And
        NOT   FRUITS “

By Uma Misra

 

*

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)

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)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: THE RSS–ICONS OF THE INDIAN RIGHT by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    It is a well-researched book published in the year 2019. The publishers are Westland Publications, Chennai. The main book comprises of some 405 pages and then you have the end notes and the index. The price of this book is Rs 799. Before I touch the book, let me brief you, about the author.

    Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay began his career in journalism in the early 1980s and is best known for his reportage on the rise of Hindu organisations and their politics. He writes columns for several newspapers and web portals, and is also, a well-known face, on the Indian television news channel, as a political commentator.

    His other books include the best-selling Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times; and Sikhs: The Untold Agony of 1984. Nilanjan is an unabashed college drop-out. He lives with his family in Delhi-NCR.

    The subject book comprehensively explains the genesis of RSS. In present times RSS is almost close to an untouchable organisation for some in India and even abroad. But why, is the moot question. On the face of it, RSS has been, an apolitical organisation in many ways, so to say. But why and how did this right wing organisation become pan India. Was it to save the Hindus and unite them against the onslaught of Muslims primarily, and why forget the British tyranny against Hindu culture—primarily the caste system. The book explains it all through the individual accounts of eleven RSS icons that the author goes on to detail. In a nutshell can one say RSS was a befitting counterweight to the Muslim League? Figure it out for yourself by reading the book. Taking the cue from the book further.

        In the history of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is known for the domineering presence of Konkanastha or Chitpavan Brahmins, it is probably one of the biggest rarities of fate that its founder was born into a family of migrants from a village in Telangana.

    In the early decades of the 19th century, several landless Brahmin families who made their living as priests in Nizamabad district, were forced to flee their homes under the Mughal rule. Many chose to settle in Nagpur, a city that was ruled by Maratha Bhonsle kings, mainly because, the dispensation, supported Vedic learning. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar’s great-great-grandfather was among those who had made the city his home. Gradually, these immigrant families from Andhra Pradesh began to assimilate, and not only did they adapt to Maharashtrian customs, but also began looking up to local historical icons as their very own.

    The book gives a good account of partition and the initial Bengal links of some of the RSS leaders such as Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Golwalkar aka Guruji that goes to show how Bengal was indeed the think-tank of that India. The book unearths certain facts that we’ll never venture to find out in our day-to-day life. One of the peculiarities of national politics at that time was the practice of simultaneous membership in multiple organisations. For instance both the Indian National Congress and Hindu Mahasabha boasted of common members.

    RSS was formed for the promotion and safeguard of Hindus. And at the time of partition when refugees entered India from Pakistan RSS did stellar work in looking after them in terms of food, shelter and security. These refugees soon started off with small trade but they didn’t snap their relationship with the RSS, rather they became members of RSS. And did you know that Veer Savarkar was not a member of BJP’s erstwhile political avatar the Jana Sangh, nor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), but leaders of the Sangh Parivar, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, always held him in great esteem.

    Yes a fog of mystery does surround the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh—or RSS even today—the largest cadre-based organisation in the world. The political tow-chain that goes on between the RSS and its political offshoot earlier Jan Sangh and now BJP is covered in the individual accounts quite comprehensively which is otherwise a mystery for the common man of India.

    The author chronicles the personal and political journeys of the most important men (and a woman) of the Hindu Right-wing, digging up, little-known, but revealing facts about them. Let me narrate a few of them only to build your interest in this book.

    KESHAV BALIRAM HEDGEWAR: The founder of the RSS, and its first sarsanghchalak, was called ‘Cocaine’ as a young revolutionary, who transported subversive literature for a group back home in Nagpur. Although, Keshav was originally a Brahmin from Telangana, he had little trouble in securing entry into the subversive world of Bengali radicals.

    VINAYAK DAMODAR SAVARKAR: This leading light of the Hindu Right had once invited the vegetarian Mahatma Gandhi to dinner and had told him that unless one consumed animal protein, one would, not be able to challenge the might of the British. Well … few had faced the tyrannical wrath of the British Raj than Veer Savarkar having spent an aeon in Kalapani—so was it a reaction to the deep agonies that he suffered in the jail?

    MADHAV SADASHIV GOLWALKAR aka ‘GURUJI’: The iconic ‘hermit-ideologue’, whose appointment as sarsangchalak was challenged by many in the RSS itself, had maintained, the only work that needs to be done is to unite and organise fragmented Hindu society into a large corporate entity through the daily work of RSS.

    SYAMA PRASAD MOOKERJEE: A brilliant academic-statesman who became part of Nehru’s Cabinet. Mookerjee had several differences with the prime minister. He once asked Nehru: ‘Are Kashmiris Indians first and Kashmiris next, or are they Kashmiris first, second and third, and not Indians at all?’

    BALASAHEB DEORAS: This towering pracharak had a strong dislike for religious rituals, and referred to himself as a ‘Communist’ within the RSS—‘it is highly debatable if he believed in God, or if, in any way he needed Him.’

    DEENDAYAL UPADHYAY: The man who propounded the ‘philosophy’ of integral Humanism was opposed to the partition of India and recommended that, ‘if we want unity, we must adopt the yardstick of Indian nationalism, which is Hindu nationalism, and Indian culture, which is Hindu culture.’

    These and other leaders, including Vijaya Raje Scindia, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani, Askok Singhal and Bal Thackeray, are all covered in the book. Through the individual stories of the organisation’s tallest leaders, a larger picture emerges. In spite of a three-time ban on RSS in a multicultural and secular India—and despite the RSS’ insistence that it has no truck with electoral politics—the group is, and will be, the hand that’ll always rock the BJP’s cradle. The author by and large maintains a fair balance between criticism and appreciation of the RSS which I liked. He has done a good amount of homework and has got inscriptions from various sources which only adds to the flavour of the book. Yes narration is in long and at times bulky.

    Last but not the least, even if you fear reading a thick book, you could still read it as, one icon at a time, which will not make it monotonous. The chapters are self-sufficient. Language is plain quite easy to understand with occasional verbose. I would give the book seven out of ten. It makes an informative read.

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)

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)

*****

 

 

 

   

INTERESTING FACTS: KINGDOM OF PRAGJYOTISHA

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Pragjyotisha was an old mythological kingdom linked to the historical Kamarupa that falls under present day state of Assam and North east.

    The first mentions of this kingdom are found in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, in the sections not written much earlier than the first century. There is a mention of this kingdom in the Kishkindha Kanda of the Ramayana, where the kingdom is placed in the west near Mount Varaha and on the sea. In Aswamedha-parva (or the book of Horse Sacrifice) of the Mahabharata, Arjuna faced Vajradatta of Pragjyotisha. Vajradatta was the son and successor of the king Bhagadatta, third in line to the throne of the Naraka dynasty of the Pragjyotisha Kingdom.

    The ancient kingdom Pragjyotisha was preceded by Danava dynasty and was a contemporary of Bana dynasty of Sonitpur (central Assam). This is indiscriminately mentioned in the Hindu Epics and ancient Hindu literature.

    According to the epics, King Bhagadatta ruled the kingdom during the time of the Kurukshetra War, where he met his death. Much details of the kingdom were picked from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Kalika Purana and the later Yogini Tantra among others. The Yogini Tantra is a 16th- or 17th-century tantric text by an unknown author of Assam and it was dedicated to the worship of Hindu goddesses Kali and Kamakhya.

    There are various references of Pragjyotisha kingdom in the Mahabharata such as:

  • Arjuna defeats Bhagadatta, the king of Pragjyotisha, during his military campaign to collect tribute for Pandava king Yudhishthira’s Rajasuya yagya, or one could say the sacrifice.
  • An encounter took place between Bhagadatta and Arjuna for days together, each desirous of a victory over the other. Bhagadatta, regarded Indra as his friend, and therefore, sooner than later he befriended Arjuna.
  • King Bhagadatta of Pragjyotisha kingdom accompanied by all Mlechchha tribes inhabiting the marshy regions on the sea-shore; and many mountain kings came to attend Yudhishthira’s Rajasuya sacrifice. Mlechchhas, were people of foreign extraction in ancient India. The Sanskrit term, mlechchhawas used by the Vedic people.
  • The great warrior king Bhagadatta, the brave ruler of Pragjyotisha and the mighty sovereign of the mlechchhas, at the head of a large number of Yavanas came to the Rajasuya Yagya sacrifice.
  • Bhagadatta was one of the distinguished Chariot warrior (Maharathi) in the Kaurava army that fought the Kurukshetra War.
  • The ruler of Pragjyotisha, the brave king Bhagadatta was the foremost of those maharathis, who could control an elephant with an elephant hook. He was skilled in fighting from the neck of a war-elephant and was also skilled in fighting from a chariot car.
  • Bhagadatta, the king of Pragjyotisha, fought in Kurukshetra War as a general under the Kaurava generallisimo Bhishma. He also fought under Dronacharya another Kaurava generalissimo. He was killed by Arjun.
  • After the Kurukshetra War, Arjuna fought a war with Bhagadatta’s son Vajradatta, at Pragjyotisha, to collect the tribute for Yudhishthira’s Ashwamedha yagya.
  • By destroying the demons such as Mauravas and the Pashas, and after slaying Nisunda and Naraka, Vasudeva Krishna had again rendered safe the road to Pragjyotisha.
  • The Asuras had a city named Pragjyotisha, which was formidable, inaccessible and impregnable. It was there that the mighty Naraka, the son of the Earth (Bhumi), kept the jewelled ear-rings of Aditi, (mother of many Gods) having brought them by force. Aditi’s sons (the Devas) were unable to recover them. Beholding Krishna’s prowess and might, and the weapon that was irresistible they requested him for the destruction of those Asuras. Krishna agreed to undertake the exceedingly difficult task. In the city of Nirmochana Krishna slew six thousand Asuras, and cut them into innumerable pieces with his weapon. He killed Mura and hosts of other Rakshasas, and then entered that city called Pragjyotisha. It was here, that an encounter took place between the mighty’ Narakasur and Krishna. Slain by Krishna, Naraka finally lay lifeless there. Having slain the Earth’s son (Bhumi-putra or Bhauma), Naraka and also the demon Mura, and having recovered those jewelled ear-rings, Krishna returned with undying fame. Krishna obtained the title of Murari because he killed the demon Mura.
  • When Krishna went to Pragjyotisha, Naraka with all the Danavas did not succeed in capturing him there.
  • Vasudeva Krishna mentions that when he and his army was at Pragjyotisha, fighting there, Chedi king Shishupala, Krishna’s cousin and enemy, came and burnt Dwaraka, the capital of Yadavas. Vasudeva Krishna belonged to Dwarka.

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)

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)

*****