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Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Tragic Magic of Human Logic by Dr. Sandhya Tiwari

The Tragic Magic of Human Logic
by Dr Sandhya Tiwari
Have you heard what I said!
I know, I understand and I can talk
Not just about my pet
I know all about my friends and friends’ friends
I also know about my neighbors’ friends and friends’ neighbors
Neighbors’ neighbors and so on....
Do you think I know only the people I interact with?

How sad! I can as well comment with authority on Jhumpa Lahiri
Shashi Tharoor, Chitra Divakaruni, Bharathi Mukerji
Oh...you think because of my doctoral topic of diaspora studies
I feel comfortable to speak about them with ease
Good Lord! I can prove and speak with assertion on
Ernest Hemingway, D.H.Lawrence, Mark Twain beyond question
Yeah...do you think
Due to Post Graduation where I studied hours together without a blink

Lo! I do comment, criticize and laud with authority
Not only KCR, Kishan Reddy, Jagan, Rosaiah, Chandra Babu
But also Manmohan, Chidambaram, Nitish Tiwari, Advani and others
If you believe that is because I’m an Indian
Snap!I know about Kennedy, Bush, Clinton, Obama, and all
Claps, shutterbugs, garlands galore
I am popular and all are floored

But when I question about myself
Silence surrounds....
Alas! At last I understand
I spent most of my life in a fairyland
Half bred, imagining full life led
Irrespective of the gender, caste and creed
Many of us live in a state of trance
Wondering this is life modern and advance
Lost in shams and farce
Away from the fact “Self Knowledge” is enlightenment
Into temporary state of sheer insensible entertainment
That’s the tragic magic of human logic.

Author's Bio: Dr. Sandhya Tiwari, a PhD in Diaspora Studies from Osmania University, has eight years of teaching experience and is presently working as an Associate Professor in English at Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology (SNIST), Ghaykesar, Hyderabad. She did M.Phil in American Literature and her favourite novel in American Literature is Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

Dr. Sandhya has participated and presented papers at national and international conferences, and enjoys teaching literature, ELT, and communication skills. She has passion for teaching which she believes is the noble profession.
Dr. Sandhya highlights a peculiar feeling of every man in her poem The Tragic Magic of Human Logic. She finds that we, the human beings, seem to be knowing so much about so many things, many being of high merit. But we know so little about ourselves.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

International Poetry Festival: 2010 held at J.K.C College, Guntur, A. P.

An International Poetry Festival: 2010 was held at J.K.C College, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh on December 21, 2010. It drew an enthusiastic response from both emerging and established poets from India and the world. Works from about 125 poets were selected for the anthology titled Poet's Paradise compiled and edited by P. Gopichand and Nagasuseela—lecturers in English and organisers of the festival. This fest was in sequence to National Poetry Fests held in 2008 and 2009 respectively organized by J.K.C. College.

The festival was inaugurated by K. Basavapunniah, President of the Nagarjuna Educational Society (Guntur), who also unveiled the book. The electronic version of the book, PDF, was inaugurated by J. Narendrath, Secretary of the college. The poets, who recited their poems, were given a ceremonial welcome and were adorned with a drape ‘uttariyam' (upper vest) by the organizers in their honour.

The anthology is a good repository of poems from some of the reputed poets such as Uktamoy Khaldorova and Azim Suyun from Republic of Uzbekistan, Rati Saxena, Sahitya Academi award winner, Peter Waugh from Austria, Mukhesh Williams from Japan, Boban Bogatinnovski from Kumanovo, Kurt F. Svatek from Austria, Dipika Mukherjee from Neitherlands, Chandrasekhar Sharma from Bhutan, Mohammad Fakruddin, founder president of Haiku Society of India and recipient of the International Man of the Year from Bangalore.

Some of the poems rose voice for the empowerment of women, while others sang yearning for peace in today’s strife-torn world. For instance, Heera Nawaj, who spent early years of her life in US, spoke of women-hood in her poem Arise and Shine. Professor Smita Tiwari captured the natural landscape in her poem The Surreal. While Khurshid Alam an emerging poet captured the attention of the guests, poets, writers, students and other audiences with the recitation of his two poems. Many of the audience thronged to Khurshid after he came down from the podium and had a healthy chat on poetry and other literary genres.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Two Poems by Aditya Shankar

Two Poems by Aditya Shankar

The House of My Old-man by Aditya Shankar

The house of my lonely old-man is a museum of clocks,
a museum of time

He keeps everything that cannot be undone:
probably multiple clocks in place of faithful country dogs—

the detectives obsessed with the forgotten
who raid our old fields and burrow deep
maintaining the eyes of a sad Buddhist,
not the grinning Dalai Lama in the calendar

The trade-off is simple:
scent of sunlight inside shady mangroves for Venetian blinds,
buzzing of jack-fruit flies for fans,
the entire house for the one who brought tanned pineapples from the field,
and left only the fragrance behind

The house of my old-man is a one-teacher school, the road to which
is a statement that has remained unsaid for years

The evidence it presents is unquestionable,
the exhibits are lost faces, not dials—

the one who passed by
the one who promised, but never came

He rang up office to say his clocks speak poetry—
a language that sweats soul through all pores
and burns bright like the sun
above the memories stacked in the attic

They sing like the old radio,
from the oldest of stations
constructing a lyric studded with similes—

to be heard only by the lonely,
the lords of time

Imagined in Three Quarters of a Second by Aditya Shankar

On a day when the pavement reeked sea-salt,
their city became a harbour

So as to keep a word to someone
to retrieve all that is temporarily lost
to mourn a long absence

sea played the raw music of a school band,
an endless symphony of melancholy

their fierce waves,
the jaw of an extinct predator retreating
with the bad omen of revenge

Betwixt a sleep and a sleep, as if between
two parallel sleepy alleys
no dream was washed away

The poet lost no images to the hungry crows,
though his words juxtaposed playful sea-fish

No one mistook a ship for an ancient sea animal

Sitting absent minded among pals in our regular restaurant,

Only that song which reminded you,
slowly revised itself with the rhythm of waves
and dissolved secretly into the depths.

Author's Bio: Aditya Shankar (b.1981, Thrissur, Kerala, India) is a bi-lingual writer and short film-maker. He writes in English and Malayalam, and publishes poetry and articles in leading journals, including The Little Magazine, The Word Plus, Indian Literature, The Literary X Magazine, Munyori, The Pyramid, Poetry Chain, Mastodon Dentist, The Wild Goose Poetry Review, Bayou Review, Meadowland Review, Words-Myth, Chandrabhaga, Miller’s pond, Message in a bottle, Aireings, Hudson View, Snakeskin, The Legendary, Literary Bohemian among others. His flash fiction has been published in The Caledonia Review and The Other Herald.

His short films have participated at International Film Festivals. Currently, he lives and works in Bangalore, after completing his B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering.

Aditya Shankar's poems are brilliant work of art. In the poem The House of My Old-man Aditya imagines himself to have grown old with life experiences while in Imagined in Three Quarters of a Second he is forlorn.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Theme of “Self Exploration and Quest for Belongingness” in Nancy Huston’s Novel Fault Lines by Dr Sandhya Tiwari


The Theme of “Self Exploration and Quest for Belongingness” in Nancy Huston’s Novel Fault Lines by Dr Sandhya Tiwari


Abstract
The life of the children belonging to the families caught in the web of self exploration, nostalgia, audacity of modernity etc. is adversely influenced. In this paper Nancy Huston’s Fault Lines is explored to study these aspects substantiating the aforementioned repercussions thereupon in general the family and specifically the children. It is analyzed through this study how the life of an individual is reduced to distorted-self, because of the unfulfilled desires and untapped emotions.

The Theme of “Self Exploration and Quest for Belongingness” in Nancy Huston’s Novel Fault Lines

Nancy Huston’s eleventh novel received much critical acclaim. Fault Lines protagonists are children of four different generations of the same family tracing their history traveling back in time, from California to New York, from Haifa to Toronto and to Munich. Though the central theme of the novel Fault Lines is Nazi atrocity; on re-reading the text one can find a subtle portrayal of the variation in the attitude of the same age group children but belonging to different generations. The engrossing structure of the novel makes it all the more appealing, where once you identify and understand the characters the plot stands out for.

The children, the protagonists in the novel, starting with the contemporary 6-year-old boy Sol to the narrative of his father Randall when he was 6, followed by Randall's mother Sadie and then Sadie's own mother Erra reveal their innermost thoughts in the form of observation, which in turn is tuned because of their maturity and psyche. With this clever structure, and a wickedly critical and smart view of world politics, Nancy helps us see firsthand how history gets erased and re-invented, and at the same time hints at the way how our perception of history changes with the influence of present.

Nancy draws the character of Sol, an arrogant boy from California, with biting specificity and detail, in the process exposing the dark side of American self-conceit, narcissism and undue child adulation. Through the character of Sol, she unfolds, is the adverse impact of technology on a young mind. Sol learns almost everything: from murder to molestation, seduction to resurrection sparing none. His inquisitive exploration and the knowledge about things, which are normally forbidden for children, make him feel he is an all-powerful and all-knowing roughneck. Sol's parents have child-proofed the house by covering the electrical sockets and putting soft corners on the entire furniture, but as soon as Sol is alone, he enthusiastically searches for images of pornography and torture on the Internet.

Nancy’s award winning novel is a subtle comment on how the life of an individual is shaped, and apart from the experience the predominant factor being the society. Though the human beings often feel proud of the technological advancement and the comforts, the underlying bleak side is hardly under consideration. Even careful parents are not able to ascertain the vicious impact of modernity based on technological advancement on the children. Added to this, in the predominant nuclear family structure of the society the young minds are exposed to the panorama of eternal truth and are hence the scapegoats of technically advanced modern society. Unable to comprehend or more aptly by miscomprehension, today’s children tend to believe that they have outgrown childhood and are but whiz kids.

Exposure to technological advancement mars the innocence in the child where he assumes himself to be the omnipotent.
In playschool I have to hold back so no one will guess the truth about my super intelligence my super plans my superpowers. (Fault Lines, p-31)
Nancy spares us neither the outrageous vulgarity of the hypocritical environment in which Sol's parents raise him, nor its appalling effect on his personality. Sol is convinced he is some sort of messiah, born with a congenital birthmark which bestowed on him all the superpower. His mother believes he is destined for great things but Sol is not exposed to the real life of a child where he has to learn things the way other boys do like self-care, to protect from electrical appliances and others stunt his growth by overprotecting him. The pretentious and malnurtured boy falls into the trap of being a megalomaniac even without a subtle notice either by the child himself or his parents.

The second narrator Randall is curious about why women do not show their full body when the child grows, why they show it to the husband, what the age of a child is when women think the child who once was a suckling baby has grown up and so on and so forth. But the questions in the mind of Randall are justifiable on the grounds of child curiosity, whereas Sol’s attitude is altogether that of a spoilt, brazen child bereft of innocence. He learns about the devastating impact of war between the Jews and the Palestinians, during the family’s one year stay in Haifa.

The third narrator Saddie is happiest only "when she can hold forth against evil". Kristina, her mother the last narrator, is so absorbed (obsessed) in singing, that she has little time for her daughter, Sadie, a tormented child buries herself in books. As an adult Sadie drags her family around the world in her obsession to know the truth about the Nazi Lebensborn—"fountain of life"—programmes designed to create a master race of Aryan children for the Third Reich.

Fault Lines shows the gradual corrosion of childhood innocence in the reverse chronological order beginning in 2004 and going back to 1982, 1962 and 1944. And this can be attributed mainly to the pretentious parenthood, though unconscious. An eloquent spokesperson of multiculturalism and hybrid existence Salman Rushdie equates love with a happy blend of differences:
I wanted to cling to the image of love as the blending of spirits, as mélange, as the triumph of the impure, mongrel, conjoining best of us over what there is in us of the solitary, the isolated, the austere, the dogmatic, the pure; of love as democracy, as the victory of the no-man-is-an-island, two’s-company Many over the clean, mean apartheiding Ones. (The Moor’s Last Sigh, p-289)
Rushdie in The Moor’s Last Sigh, which was written by him at a time when he was forced into hiding after the world famous ‘Rushdie affair’, reveals his intense desire to be heard. In the character of Moraes or the Moor, Rushdie depicts his own need for self expression. Likewise Nancy’s characters in this novel resonates the same yearning to be heard, to be loved, and to be understood.

When the narrators are dwelt in the chronological order it is Kristina the first narrator, who is at the threshold being the creator of the disconnected and discontented life spreading through four generations. Kristina’s unaccepted and unprincipled way of life leaves the lovelorn daughter heartbroken. Adoring arrogance the mother neglects the child, yet asserts she loves the daughter the most. After having borne a love child, Kristina is again in an affair with Peter, who she believes would promote and make her popular as a singer. Immediately after marrying Peter, she wants to rechristen herself as Erra. Peter tells people know the singer Krissy Kriswaty and to make that name popular he devoted two years of his life. In spite of undemonstrative disagreement from Peter, she swivels around repeating the name Erra.

Love defines the way of life, transcending divisions of religion and race. Love triumphs in their way of life as is evident in the marriage of a mother of a love child with her second lover. Betrayal of love for the sake of an illusory freedom and the material rewards mar the life of the young Saddie. As remarked by Salman Rushdie in his novel Shalimaar the Clown, Love betrayed turns into anger and revenge.
All that remained between them [Boonyi and Shalimar], perhaps, was hatred, but this yearning hatred-at-a-distance was surely also one of love’s many faces, yes, its ugliest face. (Shalimaar the Clown, p-263)
H.H. the Dalai Lama opines the same feeling:
Mother leads an appalling loathsome life yet the daughter is trying to make order out of chaos as a child. Sadie never wanted to show even the gravest of emotions like fear in front of mother and grandparents. The We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.
Suppressing her emotions Saddie learnt to remain quiet out of fear of rejection from grandparents, who wanted her to be bold often which connotes depriving the child the minimum affection and a few comforting words and out of fear of losing the “luxury” of staying with the mother. She wanted to impress her mother to allow her to stay and that she will not be a trouble to her mother.
The blocks are long and I’m afraid of getting lost, I’m afraid of dogs, I’m afraid of being kidnapped by a bunch of hoods but I want to prove to Mommy that I’m a big girl and wouldn’t be a burden on her if she let me come to live with her so I swallow the fear each time it rises…. ( Fault Lines, p-186)
Kristina madly in pursuit of fame sets a bad example for her daughter. Smoking and drinking till odd late hours, sleeping till late into the morning, ignoring the daily chores till they become urgent needing immediate attention. Saddie in turn becomes a more responsible and matured girl. The nightmare where her mother slips tiny babies into brown envelops on which she writes the names in red ink and drops them in someone else’s mailbox upsets her. Saddie was unfortunately exposed to the extreme lifestyle—grandparents were over-strict whereas her mother was very liberal—and she grows into a responsible child who serves bed tea to her parents.

Kristina, having had led an unhappy childhood herself, attempts to be a loving and caring mother. But her unintelligent handling of happenings in life results in turmoil. She was impressed by Joannhe, the boy who was adopted, to believe that the inmates of the family are callous. Their hatred is racist driven and they rather want to put an end to the German race. In no time she even starts stealing things on the impetus given by the same boy. She appears to be carried away by the fantasies of a care free life and gets influenced by him. The boy asks her to steal the jewellery and accompany him so that they can live freely forever. He also suggests her that she could sing and become popular.

Conclusion
Although there are several competing centers of attention identifiable with the thematic concerns in the novel Fault Lines by Nancy Huston, the Nazi atrocity, impact of war, exploitation based on caste and class system, type of upbringing, human craving for love and affection are some of the central ideas that constitute more or less the focal point of thematic significance since they provide the premises underlying the fictional structure. Caste system, though seemingly related to the Indian milieu and some other societies, has a universal dimension, which needs to be re-introspected.

Bibliography:
  1. Huston, Nancy. Fault Lines. UK: Atlantic Books, 2007.
  2. Rushdie, Salman. The Moor’s Last Sigh. London: Vintage, 2006.
  3. Rushdie, Salman. Shalimar the Clown. London: Jonathan Cape, 2005.
  4. www.google.com/dalailama
References:
  1. Huston, Nancy. Mark of an Angel. UK: Vintage. 1999.
  2. Huston, Nancy. Instruments of Darkness. US: McArthur, 1997.
  3. Divakaruni, Chitra Banerji. Dark Like the River. Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 1987
  4. Divakaruni, Chitra Banerji. The Mistress of Spices. London: Doubleday, 1997.
  5. Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies. New Delhi: Harper Collins, 1999.
  6. Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. Houghton Mifflin Company: USA, 2003.
  7. Rushdie, Salman. Midnight Children. UK: Jonathan Cape. 1981.
Author's Bio: Dr. Sandhya Tiwari, a PhD in Diaspora Studies from Osmania University, has eight years of teaching experience and is presently working as an Associate Professor in English at Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology (SNIST), Ghaykesar, Hyderabad. She did M.Phil in American Literature and her favourite novel in American Literature is Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

Dr. Sandhya has participated and presented papers at various conferences of national and international repute, and enjoys teaching literature, ELT, and communication skills. She has passion for teaching which she believes is the noble profession.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Life — Step by Step by Dr Alka Agrawal


Life — Step by Step by Dr Alka Agrawal


Loving someone from heart fills life
The rainbow appears not in sky but on earth
Heart dreams of unknown moments
Mind looses power of thinking.

Living with someone you love changes life
Future appears secured in other’s hands
Life’s routine is scheduled afresh
Plannings are made for new ones.

Fulfilling responsibilities together
Duties appear not burdensome but a game
Children fill the emptiness of home
Providing a feeling of completeness.

Tolerating each other’s mistakes creates a void
Trust shatters for lack of faith
Small conflicts turn into mountains
Former relations resurge with new importance.

Leading life peacefully becomes a dream
Ambitions smothering within heart
Laughing, loving and merry-makings
The outer attire of internal disturbance.

Aspiring for a better future
Ambitions limited to financial soundness
Loneliness amid speck of laughter
Then life is but an ocean of pain.

Author's Bio: Dr Alka Agrawal teaches English as an Associate Professor at N K B M G PG College, Chandausi, Moradabad (UP). She writes poems and stories and has special interest in Indian literature written in English. Her articles have been published in many journals and anthologies. She has presented papers at various conferences and seminars of national and international levels. At present she is working on a minor research project funded by UGC.

Dr Alka paints a picture of life what it may be if there is trust and what impact it can have if there is mistrust.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Three Visionaries by Khurshid Alam

Three Visionaries by Khurshid Alam

Three boys crossed the road
hand-in-hand swiftly in a matter of seconds
from the School for the Blind to the Times bus stop
as if there were no cars on the road zipping past
while I had to wait to pass for more than ten minutes.

Soon my face lost smile and turned sour
under the heat that I felt in the head and on the back
in the July heat of Ahmedabad
The boys were cool as if they did not bother
who stood by them. They talked in much glee
How they answered well in the class tests
How their teachers appreciated them that day
One got distinction, the second scored scholarship
the third aspired to go abroad soon for higher studies.
They laughed how they enjoyed the 2010 soccer matches
How Germany won and fell under the hypnotism
of Paul the eight-legged octopus the neo-Nostradamus
And they planned how they have to catch
the FIFA World Cup final on July 12.

They too wanted the prophesied Spain to win.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Night of the Hall-Ticket by Aparajita


The Night of the Hall-Ticket by Aparajita


I remember the night
Before her final exam
It was a casual check
I asked her about the hall ticket
Of her tenth final the next morning
She said that she kept it safely
In one of her books.
I looked at her brother, his eyes
Conveyed the message: “the night out”
For both of us, as she has to
Prepare for her final with care
We asked her to recollect when
She kept and where she placed
She said firmly, “In one of the books.”
We fixed the time at nine
As we finished our dinner
We dashed into the anxious search
As her books spread all over the place
“Can we find it tonight?" Asked my son.
“Have patience,” I said to him.
“She isn’t going to write the exam,
“Think about an alternative,” said her father
Before jarring himself into deep slumber.
She was giving a final reading
As her brother and I continued the search.
All the books in and out of the shelf,
“Let’s keep aside the checked ones”
Said he, looking at the clock.
“Don’t look at the clock, we need the
“Hall ticket by all means,” were
My words to him. We checked
Patiently in each and every text and notes,
And record and pad turning leaves one by one.
“Its half past two; shall we sleep?”
Asked my son but we couldn’t track.
“Please do some miracle, else I have to
“Run to the school for a photocopy”
I prayed to God, tossing in the bed
Hoping to sleep.
“Mummy, it’s in the front room,”
I heard her voice and rushed to her in my semi-sleep,
“What dear? Your hall-ticket?”
“Where is it?” I just rained a set of questions.
“It’s in the front room, beneath the table-cloth
“Where you keep flower-vase,
“On the show-case.” She mumbled
In her sleep and went into silence.
I rushed to the front-hall
And searched the place, it’s intact
Exactly in the place where she mentioned
In her half-sleep,
My son came from the other room
Rubbing his eyes; “We got it,
“She told me exactly where it is.”
“How can you tell me ‘the exact place’
“Where you placed it, ‘in your sleep?’”
I asked her with a grin and gleam
She said, “It’s all in my dream
“I came to know about the place
“Where I kept it so carefully.”
My son looked at me and said
“We missed our night’s sleep.”
I said, “Thank god, she slept
“At least for some time.”

Author's Bio: Aparajita is the pen name of Kameshwari Ayyagari, who is a lecturer in the department of Humanities and Sciences at Malla Reddy Institute of Technology & Science (M.R.I.T.S), Maisammaguda, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

Her poetry reminds us of the imagination of Nissim Ezekiel. Her picture on how one can remember ones belonging even in the dream if it is an obsession really comes into the open well.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

BLOGGING -- The in-thing by Dr Sandhya Tiwari


BLOGGING
-- The in-thing
by Dr Sandhya Tiwari

“Blogging”—
The new mantra…the “in thing” with Gen-Y
Not limited by the gender or age
Just like the teens, the celebrities and others got addicted to its usage.

Blogs are usually maintained by an individual
With regular entry and commentary,
Descriptions of events, graphics or videos
And with many more aided by the blessings of twenty first century

Blogs are a means of expressing otherwise remained “frozen thoughts”
They serve as the platform to unleash the creative genius
Imagine throwing a little stone into a still pond and watch the ripples
The cause is negligible but not the impact

Self power is true power and here there is a place for unrestricted and unconditional expression
But if left unchecked and untapped this free expression can orchestrate in creating unpleasant and uncalled for situations.

Not just for ourselves but for others
Caught in the whirlpool of modern flux
Let’s not confuse the modernity with audacity
Sense and sensibility both are prerequisites of humanity.

Author's Bio: Dr. Sandhya Tiwari, a PhD in Diaspora Studies from Osmania University, has eight years of teaching experience and is presently working as an Associate Professor in English at Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology (SNIST), Ghaykesar, Hyderabad. She did M.Phil in American Literature and her favourite novel in American Literature is Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

Dr. Sandhya has participated and presented papers at national and international conferences, and enjoys teaching literature, ELT, and communication skills. She has passion for teaching which she believes is the noble profession.

Dr Sandhya has the view that ever since the dawn of civilization the human beings adore and adorn the insatiable urge—the urge which turns into a surge…to innovate and to experiment. This is very much explicit in the fast paced technological advancement as depicted in her poem Blogging.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vishwanathan Anand is a Spanish

Vishwanathan Anand is a Spanish



Hey countrymen, run and get tattoos with scribbles Indian designed all over your body. Else you risk your nationality. Be careful. Hurry!

It is so hard to gain nationality of a country, sometimes you have to prove your nationality continuously in songs, in phrases; but it is so easy to lose it. Anyone can brand you a foreigner and you lose your nationality.

Recently a wide survey was conducted by the HRD across the country and it was found that many people who are living in India are foreigners while they are wrongly recorded as Indians. According to an estimate, publishers and printers have to invest millions of rupees in revising and making correction to their records.

Few of the popular players who are wrongly recorded as Indians are:



Vishwanathan Anand, a chess World champion, is a Spanish.
S Banguly, a cricketer, is an English.
Sidharth, an archery master, is a Swedish.
L Kathor, a shooter, is a German.
R R Yogi, an athlete, is a Canadian.
P T Siksha, an athlete, is a Japanese.
B Sithiya, a footballer, is a Chinese.
Balli, a WWF champion, is an American.
S Mirda, a badminton player, is a Pakistani.
P Mehwal, a tennis player, is a French.

I lament why we do not have our own players in the arena.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Journey by Train by Khurshid Alam

A flash fiction titled A Journey by Train by Khurshid Alam is published with Ubud Writers Festival. Visit the story to read it.

Read, vote, and comment
for its chance to win in the competition.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Painter’s Mantle by Nayanathara

The Painter’s Mantle by Nayanathara

Whenever I get time, I do pen a few lines of poetry or don the painter’s mantle,
Not a mere hobby or an idle woman’s pastime—
But an exploration of my long-lost identity, an honest expression of my thoughts,
An aesthetic unravelling of my past, present and future.

Quite often, I do spend a considerable time pondering over my life’s incorrigible patterns—
Its sudden undulations, its sloppy curves, mountainous terrains,
gargantuan crevices and gorges, its stupendous waterfalls…
After having thought long and hard, I finally wield my long, broad brush and palette of cool, placid colours.
In a span of few hours, a painting is created—
The sad rendering of a collage of images, fragments of broken desires etched into the canvas of life.

But today, what has happened to me?
All of a sudden, I’m at a loss with myself.
I feel perplexed and flustered at my indecisiveness, lack of clarity of thought…
I don’t know what to paint…
What should I paint?
Shall I paint you? Me? Or the dark, stormy turbulence of an unforgettable past?
I really don’t know…. I don’t have an idea.

I rack my brain for an answer. I had never felt like this before.
I never had such a dearth of ideas. But what has happened to me now?
I throw the brush down in a fit of desperation and anger.
The palette hits the wall and a riot of colours splashes across the ceiling;
A random mixture of soft, dark and violent colours…
In just a few seconds, a painting is born.
The whole of nature appears embedded in it;
The deep seas, dragon whirlpools, cave-mouthed tornadoes, wild forests and mountains…
Perfectly etched into the background are two dark shadows;
Two images trying to find a world of solace in the dark, unknown wilderness.

Author’s Bio: A Post Graduate in English with Diploma in Broadcast Journalism, Nayanathara has been working as a content writer for the past five years. She has contributed articles, features, and poems to several leading online web journals such as www.ndtv.com, www.kritya.in, www.museindia.com, www.literarymagic.com and www.keralaonline.com. She has also contributed articles for the supplements 'YES VIBES' and 'YOUTH EXPRESS' of India’s leading newspaper The New Indian Express. Recently, she completed an e-book on Indian Art and Mural Paintings for the website www.chillibreeze.com.

She participated and presented poetry in the International Poetry Festival 2008 organized by Kritya. Two of her poems have been published in an anthology of poetry titled A Posy of Poesy released by the Department of English, J.K.C. College, Andhra Pradesh. Besides writing poetry, her other interests include painting, reading and music. Her maiden anthology of 43 poems titled The Scent of Frangipani published by FOLIO, Thiruvananthapuram was released recently.

Nayanathara believes that writing is not her hobby but it is her identity which she cannot discard in any condition. She searches deep into her life, which is the life of any individual, and paints the life as it is on the canvas. Suddenly she finds that she suffers from a bout of inexpressiveness but her dedication to poesy makes her recover the inability and she finds her scribbles making a sense finally. Nayanathara’s such feeling comes from a deep love to musing and worship to poesy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

55 Fictions or 55-Words Fiction by Khurshid Alam

55 Fiction or 55-Words Fiction

She Avoided My Countenance by Khurshid Alam

I forgot to bring my certificates in original to submit in the office as a bond. The beautiful HR accompanied me to bring them along lest I ran away to escape the bond. I took an auto-rickshaw. She switched her cell phone on and talked all the way—to avoid my countenance and proximity.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life in a City by Yamini

Life in a City by Yamini

Life in a city starts with
an alarm—
a whistle
that is blown in the house next door
not by a child but by the cooker.

While life in the country starts with
a song—
sung by a cuckoo,
A wake-up call—
beguiled by a cock.

Yet
people throng to cities,
in pursuit of opportunities
losing
the more precious opportunity,
to live with nature.

Should I give a call to all,
to live with nature–a priceless treasure?

Author's Bio: Yamini is the pen name of Nagamani Nanduri. A research scholar (PhD) at Andhra University, Yamin is working as a lecturer in the department of Sciences and Humanities at Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology, (S.N.I.S.T.) Yamanampet, Hyderabad (A. P.). She has seven years of teaching experience.

Yamini shows great concern about the life, which is more mechanical, in the city. She argues that we run to the cities for pleasure but the country has more pleasure awaiting us. Her call is very apt given the rising concern over warming of earth world wide.

She has the power to say the simple thing in simple words through poetry.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

War Toy Boy by Patricia Hilliard

Introduction: Patricia Hilliard is a freelance writer and political activist. Her fiction genre is Social Realism. She has self-published two novels. One "Pledge Unspoken" about students protesting the U.S. war in Vietnam and "Making Changes," about union organizing among women office workers in the U.S. insurance industry.

The story War Toy Boy is written based on a discussion with an elderly Afro-American neighbor who told the writer how he felt about the boys in their neighborhood.

War Toy Boy by Patricia Hilliard

I tried to reach out to him. I knew he’d be a boy in trouble some day. He stood there defiant with the toy machine gun in his hand, his dark brown eyes glaring at me with hate. I was the enemy. That was clear.

I smiled anyway and tried to be reassuring.

“Hey, there,” I called cheerfully. “That’s quite a machine gun you have.”

I had played with toy guns as a boy and I remembered the power I felt. His defiance did not fade into friendliness. He was not playing. He was preparing himself for a real war. His hate ran deep and strong. He pointed the gun as if to shoot me. He saw my body drop to the ground. But it didn’t. So he turned and ran away.

I spent the morning raking the autumn leaves in the yard that were falling as quickly as the temperature was dropping here in the Northern Hemisphere. I watched as the neighborhood boys—three of them now—ran back and forth over the yard, in and out between the apartment buildings. They were in a mock battle with three other boys. The three others were white kids, equipped with all the expensive toy guns, camouflage and canteens their parents could afford.

But my boy’s team was not as well financed. Their toy guns were smaller, cheaper. They dressed themselves in regular clothes, but made up for their lack of fancy U.S. military “camo” print by dressing all in black. This would have been a great camouflage idea had they been playing at night.

I raked the leaves into three piles almost as high as my hips. One near the fence, one under the big oak tree and one near the gate. If I knew boys, they’d be in these leaves in just a few minutes.

Now that the leaves were removed from the lawn, the grass could grow during the winter. I leaned on my rake and looked at the work I had done. Here I am, sixty-five. I have made it from childhood through all of life’s challenges—especially the hate that my dark complexion tended to garner—how incredible. A feeling had come over me lately, I wanted to help someone else make it through life with the knowledge I had gained. Well, my raking was done, so I went into my ground-floor apartment and deposited my rake in the closet with my boots.

On the table were the letters and brochures from various do-gooder organizations. They would appreciate my help, but the neighborhood boy haunted me. I still saw his angry eyes burning into the depths of my soul. Why? I don’t know. I tried to figure it out as I cut up some onions to fry with my potatoes for dinner.

Let’s see. This was a little Arab boy. I don’t know what country his parents might be from. Maybe he was Iraqi, I don’t know. I thought about what that might be like, being a kid from a country that is being bombed by the country you’re living in now—the U.S. I never had to go through anything quite like that when I was a kid. Kids always pick on each other. It must be terrible to be an Arab boy in a country where most of the other kids would call you a terrorist.

I remembered how his angry brown eyes confronted me this morning. He took aim at me with the machine gun as though willing my extermination. The bullets of hate pierced me deeper than I had expected. I was felt vulnerable then, like some old geezer that ought to be put to rest because I was a waste of society’s resources.

Just pull the trigger.

I moved around the kitchen with a great sense of fright. It occurred to me that this child was going through so much anguish. Every day on television, we were told that people needed counseling for “post traumatic stress disorders”. What about this child? Who was helping him cope with this conflict? I needed to reach out to him. It was my duty. I could be preventing a future catastrophe.

My whole life I had maneuvered through the strong winds of opposition, trying at all times to sail myself in the direction of success and accomplishment. Now, here was a child being blown by a bad wind. He too was only trying to move in a righteous direction.

Suddenly, I heard screaming. I ran to the large window that looked onto the lawn.

It was the boys. They had found the military advantage of hiding in big piles of leaves. My team of boys was in the pile by the oak tree. The other three were in the pile by the gate. It was a full force shoot out. Then they dashed out of the leaves and ran across the yard to hide behind the buildings. What a glorious moment in military history. I had to laugh.

The orange sun was setting now, casting the long shadows of autumn across the brown grass. I sat down to eat dinner while watching the news. The war in Iraq was dragging on. It was being called a “quagmire.” The generals and the president seemed lost as to what to do next. The critics were becoming more vocal. The economy wasn’t doing so well either. That was a fright for me. How would I live if war inflation ate up the fixed income I had. I felt fear.

Fear, like the boy had. Fear and anger in his eyes.

I took my now empty supper plate back to the sink. Outside the window I heard yells. I looked out. It was hard to see anything. Dusk had come. All I could do was listen.

“You punk, you don’t deserve to live. My brother is over there in Iraq right now and he’s fighting for democracy.”

“Your brother isn’t doing anything for my people.”

“Shut up, I’ll bloody your nose.”

“Hit him.”

These words sent pain through my heart, but I knew I had to take action. I rushed to the closet and got my jacket and boots.

“Don’t forget your keys,” I told myself. “You don’t want to lock yourself out.”

I got the keys and went out the door.

It was now dark, but the lights on the porches lit my way. The boys were still yelling from behind the building. I struggled to see a tangled heap of camo print and black shirts. They were wrestling with each other on the ground.

“What are you boys doing?” I asked, sounding like an angry schoolteacher.

They looked up at me startled.

The white boys got up, grabbed their guns and held their ground. My boys also stood, but the Arab boy lay on the ground, his nose gushing blood.

“You boys shouldn’t be doing this,” I scolded. I moved toward them with my fist in the air. “What the hell’s wrong with you?”

I bent to help the Arab boy. I pulled the cotton handkerchief out of my hip pocket and wiped the boy’s face.

“Listen son, come into my place and let me fix you up. Hey, fellows, come and help me.” I motioned with my arm to his comrades in black, but they yelled and ran off in the opposite direction that the white boys had run.

So there he was, the Arab child that had pointed the machine gun at me earlier in the day. I could see he resented receiving help from the likes of me.

“Come on, son, let me help you. They shouldn’t be hitting you like that. You don’t deserve it.”

“Leave me alone,” he screamed, “I’m going home.”

“Let me help you. I can help you get those boys punished.”

He lifted himself as he pressed the handkerchief to his nose.

“I don’t need your help,” he said. He picked up his machine gun and walked away into the darkness.

I tried to escort him to the street light.

“Do you live near here?” I called to him. “Will you be safe?”

He looked back at me with doubt and disregard, then continued his journey up the street.

I went back to my apartment. Hung the keys on the hook and put my boots and jacket away. All night I wondered how a boy in his situation would ever cope with the contradictions in this society. It wasn’t until a week later—I was out raking the last of the leaves—that I saw him again, I wanted to see if we could talk.

“Hi there,” I said, smiling.

“Hello,” he said.

I accepted this as an accomplishment. He looked at me and I looked at him. His eyes were no longer angry, just suspicious. I knew he was trying to figure me out, but he wasn’t going to let go of his doubt.

“I see you’ve recovered. You’re really strong,” I said. He accepted my complement with a smile of pride, but he was not going to let down his guard. He turned and walked away. I went back to my raking, hoping I had helped him realize some greater truth on his path to becoming an adult.

Note: The story was first published with the writer's own web site http://www.hilliardbooks.net/. The writer is the soul responsible for the idea she depicts in the story War Toy Boy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hues Divine by Anuradha Dorepally

Hues Divine by Anuradha Dorepally

Hues which paint your varied thoughts
Shades vivacious that add vivid dots
Tones that help you wipe a tear
Dyes that make you delve dear
Into the realms of soul as prayer

Somber, pastel, silent, jubilant
Fathom the tinges all different
Add the strokes that make life finest
Like earthen shades soothing and modest
Lighten the lives gloomy and hardest

Dash of drops—elixir to see the eyes twinkle
Wooden, turgid, staid, stains sedate
Sponge them up and smiles serene sparkle
Absorb the colours, insipid and bland
Smear them lofty, splendid and grand

For sure they are the hues of divine—
The Holi colours pure, pious and sublime.

Author's Bio: Presently pursuing PhD in English Literature from Dravidian University (Kuppam), Anuradha Dorepally teaches English at Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology (S.I.S.T), Ghatkesar, Hyderabad (A.P.).

In Hues Divine Anuradha paints a myriad of colours which make life pleasant. She celebrates Holi more than as a festival. She finds a powerful verve in colours that bring joys abound and eliminate all woes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Muslim Community has Failed as a Community by Khurshid Alam

Muslim Community has Failed as a Community by Khurshid Alam

"Muslim community has failed as a community"

Muslim community has failed as a community. It has not developed educationally, culturally, economically and politically when compared to other communities. The community is not apace with time and changes. This phenomenon is worldwide excepting a few examples.

But is there any introspection into this? Some give reasons but the Muslims do not agree to, and the Muslims themselves do have no clue into this. In absence of introspection, there seems to be no remedy in place and there seems no hope of change till far distance.

"Muslims suffer from a unique syndrome—move upward but silently"

It is important to note that there is no dearth of intellectuals among the Muslims but they are divided, basically in their approaches. On the basis of approaches, Muslim intellectuals can be divided into two types: one type is of that group which is silent on all issues. Such Muslims suffer from a unique syndrome—move upward but silently. They fear to talk about modern changes even though they may be following them to better their life. They change themselves but they do not talk on them much and in public. They do it silently.

For example they adopt family planning programs (to control population) but they do not have the courage to say in public that they have stopped child birth deliberately, prefer one-wife norm and have aversion to polygamy but they do not raise voice against those who go for it, educate their female children (as well as male children) and encourage them to take service or job but they do not fight against those who force their female children in seclusion or parda.

"they have reservation about whether modern changes have compatibility with their religion"

This group of silent Muslim intellectuals (SMIs) has given birth to the Muppies culture which is much in discussion nowadays and which is not behind on any front of progress. This shows that the Muslims understand that they have to change but they have reservation about whether modern changes have compatibility with their religion. So they fear they would be at the risk of rejection if they pronounce changes openly. Moreover, this chunk is too small and does not help to change the image of the entire community. However, their silence is not desired as it does not promote progress down the ladder of the society. Progress is not fast and does not impact all sections of the society.

"they seem to be sure that Islam is incompatible with modern changes"

Second type is of Muslim intellectuals gone awry, they go one step further and voice against Islam the religion. The reason behind such an attitude is that they seem to be sure that Islam is incompatible with modern changes just opposite of the SMIs who think modern changes incompatible with Islam. They think it is too hard to bring changes at the mass level in the Muslim community and so they should better dissociate from the mainstream Muslim community as early as possible.

"non-Muslims take them as the real intellectuals"

Voicing against a religion (Islam in this case) or a culture is an easiest art, it brings the persons in limelight in a flash and they do disassociate themselves from the community successfully. Unfortunately those who are non-Muslims take them as the real intellectuals. They think such Muslims are talking on the subject, which has not been much talked upon traditionally and so they need support to enjoy the freedom to say against, no matter what they say. And they buy such rebels and pamper them.

There are many examples of such Muslim intellectuals who vomited venom against Islam and earned name among the non-Muslims (though at the same time they became infamous within their own community). Salman Rushdie became famous for his mis-adventurous Satanic Verses, Taslima Nasrin for Lajja, and most recently A Hirsi Ali, a famous writer, has joined the same league—they all have time and again jumped into the subject which involved religious controversies. They were against the popular voice that the largest Muslim community holds to.

"They are the greatest marketers along with being intellectuals"

Can anyone say what good Salman Rushdie gave or did to the society? Or what people like Taslima Nasreen, and Hirsi Ali achieved as people like Amartya Sen and Muhammad Yunus achieved by doing good to the society. (Sen and Yunus have revolutionary ideas that are democratic and different from the convention). Yes they achieved one thing for sure: they all have secured their positions in their respective jobs. They are the greatest marketers along with being intellectuals.

"no religion on earth is compatible with modern changes"


It is high time that the Muslim community should introspect the reason of under development? It should adopt modern changes and progress on the same scale as other communities are doing. But the Muslim community seems scared of even discussing how to change the entire perspective. Somewhere the Muslims fail to understand that no religion on earth is compatible with modern changes yet other communities are progressing and that they are not in a position to accept that the modern changes need not be interpreted through religion all the time. In other words, religion should not be let define social, cultural, and political spheres of life.

"Muslims are the greatest sufferers from both the sides"

The Muslims need people like Asghar Ali Engineer, a promising reformist; M J Akbar, a famous journalist of par excellence; and Azim Premji, a business baron; in larger number. They need to be more proactive and should talk much on the social issues, progressive thoughts, and changes in the open to spread them to the common people. Perhaps the Muslims need greedily an Aurobindo Ghosh to re-interpret Islam, a Raja Ram Mohan Roy to re-define social changes, a Mahatma Gandhi to re-address politics, a Mustafa Kemal Pasha to ensure a secular administration; and not an Osama-bin-Laden or a Talibanic ideology which can do nothing but create a fear of terrorism, which in turn creates a sense of insecurity both for the Muslims and the non-Muslims; and the Muslims are the greatest sufferers from both the sides.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Silent Revolutionary by Khurshid Alam declared winner

The Silent Revolutionary by Khurshid Alam declared winner

One of my stories titled The Silent Revolutionary has been declared the winner in an All India Creative Writing Contest run by a bilingual magazine Kaal4Flash (read as ‘Culture Flash’) based in Kolkata. K4F is to bring out a magazine with the writing pieces of the winners from all categories.

In this story I have depicted a character who belongs to a society where a change is not accepted –a change is regarded rather as an aberration. The protagonist likes changes as he wants to keep apace with time. He implements changes on himself but at the same time is scared from the people. He feels he would be at risk if the people of his society take notice of his behavior. He fears he would be threatened, beaten, or even banished. So he keeps his revolutionary ideas secret but he follows them as soon as he gets an opportunity.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

55 Fictions or 55-Words Fiction by Khurshid Alam

55 Fiction: Three new 55-Words Fictions or 55 Fictions.

At Sankalp

At Sankalp they met after a long time, talked after a long gap, enjoyed life after a long span. Yawned with long mouth, sighed with long breaths; their everything-long snap was ever rememberable.

The Cane Corso

The Cane Corso, an Italian type of mastiff, is trained not to bark at the strangers. They are left to the stray canine affair. The CC will guard its master and open the chance for a vacancy for a human care taker.

The Irritant Maulvi

A maulvi encouraged the audience to ask questions—to show his brilliance at a public speech. Two boys began to query even at smallest things. The audience was amazed at his brilliant replies. ‘These mother fuckers are rascals; they ask silly questions. I can’t continue.’ All were spellbound to see the maulvi’s face turn blue.

Note: The word 'maulvi' in Urdu means a religious preacher of Islamic tenet.

Monday, July 12, 2010

55 Fictions or 55-Words Fiction by Khurshid Alam

Here are three new very very short stories that belong to the 55 Fiction or 55-Words Fiction genre.

Television is an Art

Once Woody Allen said, “Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television.” To this I added politely, “And television is an art.”

The JAM Game

The HR invited all the employees to the JAM game to celebrate the company’s inaugural anniversary. All jumped in the deschooling program. They were no engineers, QAs, writers, and managers any more. They went prancing with toffees, chocolates, and fruits.

Her Photos at Matrimonial Sites

She posted advertisements on many matrimonial sites when I was beside her. She showed me her beautiful photos there; and allowed me to add more adoration to her bio.

She said she could marry me but she had a different faith. She passed many days and nights with me without a plan though.

Monday, July 5, 2010

55 Fictions or 55-Words Fiction by Khurshid Alam

55-Words Fiction or 55 Fiction is a Short Short Story genre. In other words, 'it is a form of microfiction that refers to the works of fiction limited to a maximum of fifty-five words.'

Here I'm presenting two stories from a collection of my 55 Fictions.

The Red Corridor

History is a most colourful treatise. Some most heinous crimes of the world have also painted the chapters.

You can’t pass safe through the Red Corridor. You can hear the blustering of people, army, and police across Dantewada>Narayanpur>Chhatisgarh through Nepal>Bihar>Andhra Pradesh>India!


Playing God


Ekta Kapoor has made television a platform to play god. In her soaps, you can see many people dying and coming alive after each next few episodes. Many have grown their bones but the skin yet glow. Other young players play old.

Valuable Resource:
55 Fiction on Wikipedia

Poems 'Mirror Filled with Guilt', 'The Root', 'Voyeurism', 'Plagiarism' published with ken* again

Four of my new poems Mirror Filled with Guilt, The Root, Voyeurism, Plagiarism are published with ken* again in Vol. 11, No. 2, Summer 2010.

To read these poems, please visit:
ken* again

If this page does not load, please visit:
Contemporary Poetry Post

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Memories of Moonlight by Aparajita



Memories of Moonlight by Aparajita

Through coconut leaves
Flows the silvery light
While the leaves move gently
The moonlight plays hide and seek
The cow under the peepal with its calf
The serene water in the nearby pond
The swaying lilies in the mild breeze
The scent of jasmines in the summer night
In the night’s hug sleeps the silent world
While I drench in the silver light
Grandpa adjusts his silvery beard
Our silver pug stretches at my bedside
Talat’s song carried by the wind
Soothes my chilled mind.


Author's Bio: Aparajita is the pen name of Kameshwari Ayyagari. An avid reader of poetry and fiction, Aparajita is a lecturer in the department of Humanities and Sciences at Malla Reddy Institute of Technology & Science (M.R.I.T.S), Maisammaguda, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Her poetry paints vivid imagery and takes you on a tour in the world of pure imagination where you will forget anything about the world for a moment.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blessing Ceaselessly published with The Quatrain City

One of Khurshid's ekphrastic poems titled Blessing Ceaselessly is declared Runner-Up in The Quatrain City Poetry Contest # 7, dated June 20, 2010.

To read the poem, please visit:

The Quatrain City run by the writer Jack Huber.

If this page does not load, please visit:
Contemporary Poetry Post

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Society with No Forward Caste by Khurshid Alam


A Society with No Forward Caste
-- Caste-based Census may Leave India with No Good Caste, No Good People

Many organizations, institutions, and media groups launched campaigns against the idea of caste based census in India. All the polls depict that the people at large are not happy with the caste based census, which our leaders must take note of.

Some political parties are demanding that caste be included in the census which was abolished after 1931. Notably these parties are those which have the records to have divided the people on the basis of caste from time to time. Mandal commission (1990) is a good example in this case.

Bad side of caste-based census

Economic factor: The vice behind caste being a factor in the census is nothing but economic and greed. Once a caste is recorded and recognized, the people belonging to this caste group would demand for economic gain through reservation. In 1931, when census was carried out based on caste system, some communities declared themselves as upper caste. Then there was no reservation in British India. Now it is possible that the reverse of this can happen to gain benefits from reservation, and those who really deserve but do not record themselves as lower caste may suffer.

Social factor: Social differences based on caste have no logic as they are based on birth, while our bahaviour and culture is largely a learned behaviour and is not based on birth. It is a matter of concern that the political leaders, who are claiming to do good to the people, are so ignorant that they do not know how to develop a society. They merely believe that once a person is born in a certain social class, he cannot change forever and that he must cherish the benefits because of his birth. These political leaders want to teach the people to be lazy instead.

Political factor: Since reservation is based on caste, many political parties and leaders demand their caste to be recognised as backward, even though certain castes have never been traditionally regarded as backward. The agitation of the Gujjar community in Rajasthan to be given the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status in 2008 is such an example. It is to be noted that they already enjoy the benefits of belonging to the Other Backward Class in the state. The Meenas, another caste community in Rajasthan, followed the same path of agitation and won the ST status. Both the castes earlier belonged to the upper caste system in the society. This is only because they want to gain the benefits of reservation.

Similar agitations for recognition of new castes as backward are going on in many states in India, especially those which are widely divided on caste basis. This race has the danger to initiate more conflicts for other castes to be declared as backward and claim the benefits of reservation.

If caste is included in the 2011 census, we will have a society with no forward caste left at all. We will be on the risk of creating an India with no good caste and no good people.

References:
1. Rediff.com

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Scratched Thoughts!!! by Arya


Scratched Thoughts!!! (A Poem)

Carefully optimizing life, I moved on,
Contemplating the fact that I am stirred
Then, with tranquility around, a sound I heard
“Don’t you want to look back once?” echoes to me referred

Scratched duplicated thoughts,
Why was I getting them in the first place?
I had chosen what was meant to be
It was karma, for me to displace

Peace is a strange word
It rages many wars
I had lived upon this notion of peace
Fighting endless unwanted wars

It was a resonance of emotions or
Was it a deep abyss of thoughts?
I was at a pavement of the road
That I had already crossed.

There were flowers on the way,
& there were pebbles piled upon
Plucking the stones, I gathered them all
& left the flowers for companions, I moved on…

Author's Bio: Arya is the pen name of Abhay Chokshi. Arya a technical writer in a software company based in Ahmedabad (India). He is an emerging writer but has the fire of a great writer. He would like to define himself as: I am a writer with a panache. Just a bore on few days but on other ones, I am as inquisitive as radiant moving water. I love to write (I know everyone says that but..) and that separates me from the rest. Someday, I will prove my point. I am slightly insane but then world needs a bit of it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Views & Comments on 'Everybody draws Mohammed'

Views & Comments
on
'Everybody draws Mohammed' an article that appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 28 June 2010, on page 1.

‘Everybody draws Mohammed’ is the article that does not only bring a truth what length the fanatics can go in the name of religion out but also shows that the vandalism is the business of some people who gain on it. However I think two aspects are important to make clear here. One that liberty is often wrongly understood by us, particularly by those who think themselves super-intellectuals or super-liberals. Liberty is the freedom to speech and we have to fight, as people have always fought throughout historical records, to speak freely against all the odds that hold humanity back. We must speak against all those things that are atrocious, that go in the name of the religion.

But cartooning a religious person is not liberty; rather it is against the liberty of the person who is subject in the competition between the super-liberals and the fanatics. (However, please note cartooning a non-religious person is different). Likewise tearing or burning holy books or destroying religious places cannot be the example-act of liberty. The destruction of the Buddha images at Bamayan (Afghanistan) by Taliban in 2001 cannot be said the act of liberty. Liberty holds a positive perspective and should not encroach on the sentiments and liberty of the people at large. For example we do not have the freedom of abusing any person, it is derogative. At the same time we must not be silent against raising questions that religious trite forces us to do without acquiesce.

Second, any person committing blasphemy is subject to public condemnation and can even be trialed, but to the civic laws and not to the religious or personal laws. Such a person cannot be killed just because what he said or did is blasphemous. We must be tolerant of that level so as we can understand what those who oppose a thing have in their mind. Tolerance of the highest level also promotes liberty in the long run.

Moreover the liberty of derogatory representation of a belief is the destruction of virtual entity, while fanatic treatment of killing a blasphemous is the destruction of physical entity. Both ideologies are destructive and not good for the society, whereas the very purpose of liberty is the betterment of the society. Importantly, I would ask, why anyone insists in representing a religious person in a derogatory way.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Assert the Truth published with Daily Love

A new poem titled Assert the Truth is published with Daily Love a journal dedicated to the literature of love and romance of the best quality today.

To read the poem Assert the Truth by Khurshid Alam, please visit:
Daily Love.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

No Balkanisation of India, Please by Khurshid Alam

No Balkanisation of India, Please

Our Patriotism in Question
Perhaps we the Indians define our nationality differently from the people of other nations. Our feeling of national identity is narrow which ends with the geographical boundary of the state we immediately belong to. When we think of India, our state (read region pun intended) appears as a country before us, and not the entire of India as a unified country. It is hard to find a man who associates himself with the end-to-end boundaries of the country. The dispute based on regionalism which surfaces so frequently in different parts of the country reflects such propensity. This feeling is age old with us. Maybe our constitution makers realised this and so to create solidarity they declared India a union of states and not the united states (as America is).

India cannot Sustain Balkanisation
In recent past years the issue of regional alienation has increased to an alarming condition. The demand for a separate state for Telangana in Andhra Pradesh is a burning example of this case which gets worst with the claim for the state for the people of that state only as it is in the case of Maharashtra.

The demand for a separate state for development is another case but a state cannot close its door to the people from other parts of the country. First, because India is a unified nation, and all the Indians have equal right on its all resources. This is guaranteed by none other than our constitution. Second, Indian’s strength lies in its integration and not in disintegration: India cannot sustain Balkanisation.

Orchestrated Paranoia
However, the agitation for Maharashtra for the Maharashtrians only demands a rethinking whether it is a genuine demand. The political parties which agitate give the logic that people from outside are taking the pie of the butter of the state’s progress. Given the report of Mumbai Human Development Report 2009, the Maharastrians have already an upper edge in the government jobs and public representation, which is like in any other state. Also, the immigrants to Mumbai are more from the other parts of Maharashtra than outside. Therefore the agitation does not find itself near to justification. The very basic reason behind the agitation is utterly false. The thought that Maharashtra belongs to the people of that state only and the people of that state have the only rights to all its resources is absolute paranoid.

The political parties which limit their agenda to the interest of a certain people only is nothing but the ‘immense revelation’1 of a people over the other that can dangerously push the entire people to the verge of acute social crisis. This is rather an orchestrated panic which originates from the concept of keep others away whatever the reasons.

Migration cannot be Stopped
Today when the world is narrowing and the people are migrating to the lands of better opportunities more frequently than before; this struggle cannot be justified from any angle. Sadly such agitation is confused with patriotism. If we are really patriotic we must remember Neale Donald Waloch’s words who aptly said, ‘I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.’ Typically, there are many organisations world wide which are working for the betterment of the condition of the immigrants who come to their countries. Some notable organisations are Strangers into Citizens and the East London Communities Organisations (TELCO) in the UK, and Immigrant Solidarity Network in the US among others which are struggling rather for homogenising the immigrants and ensuring all the rights of the citizens of the countries they settle.

Secondly, and very importantly, the Indians have a very different demographic tendency than the people of other countries do. The immigrants homogenise themselves into the local milieu very fast. The migrants successfully reproduce themselves as the people of the state where they settle with time. History is replete with innumerable examples of the people who came from other states, but homogenised themselves soon. They are better known as the people of the states where they settle, which is more of self willingness than a political or external force.

Thirdly, though it may seem ideal, it has farsightedness that every society must have wide enough space to welcome the other people into it. This fabric is more required than wished for which guarantees longevity of the very society in question. A rather purer society has the risk of being extinct sooner or later.

Decentralisation is the Best Solution
Such agitations have bagloads of lessons in disguise that now is the high time that every state must develop in all sectors. And the developments should be decentralised so as all parts of the state progress evenly without any bias. If a state lags behind on the scale of development, the people would have no option but to travel to the other parties, comparatively to more developed ones. This disbalance may award a ground to the vested interests to agitate for their own benefits.

References:
1. J B Slater. "Editorial", Mute, p-6. Vol. 2 #7, 2008.
2. Mumbai Human Development Report 2009, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2010.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 - 7 August 1941)











Rabindranath Tagore


7th of May is the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore was born in the Jorasanko mansion in Kolkata (West Bengal, then undivided Bengal) on 7 May 1861 and died at the age of eighty on 7 August 1941.

Lovingly called Gurudev, Tagore was a litterateur of exceptional talent. He was a poet, novelist, musician, and playwright. He wrote largely in Bengali and translated many of his works in English himself with some variation to suite the literary complexity.

He wrote many poems, stories, dramas, and composed music. Of all, Gitanjali (song offerings), Gora (of fair complexion), and Ghare-Baire (In Home, Out of Home) are some of his popular works. Tagore was the first Indian, and at the same time the first non-European, to have received the Nobel Prize for Literature for Gitanjali in 1913. In literature, his place is among some of the few leading litterateurs of the world.

Rabindranath Tagore’s poems offer spirituality when you want to worship, tranquility when you yearn for acute mental peace, and delight when you want to rejoice in literary imaginative world.

Gitanjali is a collection of about 103 poems which are "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse". William Butler Yeats wrote a preface to this collection. Here is a poem from Tagore’s Gitanjali that has a message that can make you spiritual in the real sense of the term:

I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!

My hopes rose high and methought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.
The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say ‘What hast thou to give to me?’

Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.

But how great my surprise when at the day's end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.

Valuable Resources:
Rabindranath Tagore
Gitanjali


Copyright Notice: Readers can freely use the text of this journal but they must give due credit to this journal and must use the extract as quotation.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Reviews on the poems published in Ryze during the week, April 24-30, 2010.

Review: 1
Title: A pet is not a child, some say...
Genre: Poem
Author: Diane Tegarden
Publisher: Ryze Business Network

Review: Diane Tegarden creates a world of exceptional love and compassion for the pets in her poem A pet is not a child, some say.... She finds the pets are nothing less than our children as we bring them up with all the morals as we do our children. We try our best to keep them happy. We are worried when they fall ill or are in trouble, and we feel sad at their loss.

Though the poem is lacking in crafts, the poet’s use of words at some places is picturesque such as the lines:
“They soon outgrow your baby toys
and cute little childhood habits.”

Review: 2
Title: 3 poems : rock ; paper ; scissor
Genre: Poem
Author: Priya Shah
Publisher: Ryze Business Network

Review: The poem Rock is mere an obsession, which does not seem to go beyond. Paper is yet again tethered around the inseparable requirement of the stuff paper, while Scissor promises some hope for crafts.

Review: 3
Title: I P L Confetti
Genre: Poem
Author: Manohar Bhatia
Publisher: Ryze Business Network

Review: Manohar Bhatia flashlights on the indoor as well as the outdoor spectrum of the Indian Premier League for cricket in his poem I P L Confetti. You can see the people reacting to the current goings on, on the cricket ground as it offers something for everyone. At the same time, Manohar is worried about the fate of the glamorous game, given the recent allegation of irregularities and corruption.

Review: 4
Title: Exciting Journeys-Unpredictable Destinations
Genre: Poem
Author: Rampyari Walia
Publisher: Ryze Business Network

Review: The poem Exciting Journeys-Unpredictable Destinations depicts promises of a good future poet. Though the subject is well known, the expression is yet innovative. There lies its strength. When you have thirst for something you take onto the journeys without fear that is what Rampyari says straightforward.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

There is Much in a Name by Khurshid Alam


Introduction: Celebrating the birth anniversary of William Shakespeare on 23rd of April. According to records, Shakespeare was baptized on 25th of April 1564 (and died on 23rd April, 1616). Though exact date of his birth is not recorded anywhere, he is believed to have born on 23rd April, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. His birth anniversary is celebrated on this date worldwide.

In India there are many societies, associations, universities, and libraries which persevere and promote the literature of William Shakespeare. They organize many programs on Shakespeare’s anniversary. Some of the popular organizations are:

Shakespeare Society of India (Kolkata)
Shakespeare Association of India, MKU Madurai, (Tamil Nadu)
Shakespeare Society of India, 1398 Dr Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi.
Shakespeare Society of Eastern India, Kolkata.


There is Much in a Name

‘What is in a name?’ wrote William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet (1595). Shakespeare had the view that there is nothing in a name, for a rose is a rose by whatever name it is known. Since then this became a phrase and is quoted worldwide. But Shakespeare perhaps had little knowledge of the science of naming, according to which a name is a given tab and that different people of the world have different conventions of naming. A name carries a file of information. Names indicate coterie of a people that includes associations such as creed, caste, language and regional identities among others. For example, one can simply understand which culture William Shakespeare belonged to. But what if his name were “Willayat Miyan Sheikh Peer” much rhyming with “William Shakespeare”? His old identity would be immediately suspended. Just by changing his name he would be identified as a Muslim who rather belongs to the Indian sub-continent cultural conglomerate than the Western counterpart.

In his Sonnets published in 1609, Shakespeare shrouded the identity of some persons. Among them one prominent example is of “Mr. W. H.” without providing a clue to the initial whom he dedicated the anthology. Second example is of a dark lady with whom he is alleged to have an illicit relation, and whose name he never mentioned in any of his sonnets. His intention in not mentioning these names was clearly to keep the secret in the dark for ever, and the researchers are always halfway to the truth. Maybe only Shakespeare knew what impact it would have if he had named the persons he referred to in his writing?

Some years back, a police station in central Calcutta in India raised its name plate during the renovation that read as “Sexpeare Sarani” instead of “Shakespeare Sarani”. It created much criticism in the media and intelligentsia. But why criticize if there is nothing in a name. After all, was it not localized in the true sense of the term, like Mumbai from Bombay?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Effect of Environment by K Anand

You cannot escape the effect of environment.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Poem on a Prose by Keya Patel

I sang it with rhythm
It became a poem
I read it with stops
It became a prose
I don't know when I changed
But I do know when a poem changed to a prose.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Poems Published

Read my three new poems, A Stone Lizard, Tell Lies, Empty Chest published with ken* again, the literary magazine, Vol. 10, No. 4, Winter 2009/2010 at Contemporary Poetry Post.

These poems give a literary refreshment.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hindi as a Language -- an Analytical Perspective by Khurshid Alam

Introduction: Hindi Diwas was celebrated on 14th September 2009. On this day a TV channel arranged a long discussion on Hindi as a Language – its present condition, its permissibility, its acceptability, its future and its usage in daily life of the people of India.

Hindi as a Language -- an Analytical Perspective
We celebrate Hindi diwas on 14th September each year in respect of the adoption of Hindi as a national language of India. There are a host of programs and activities organized by schools, colleges, government and non-government organizations in the country on this occasion, and remarkably on TV shows. This year too a private TV channel hosted a program on it. Widely discussed concerns were: where Hindi is today, if the Hindi that is spoken presently is the correct Hindi, and what its future is.

Many scholars argued that there is a bleak future for Hindi. Such people were concerned that pure Hindi is not spoken in our country – it is rather a mixed bass hum of Urdu, English, and aliens words. They argued that other regional languages are spoken in purer forms but the case is not same with Hindi.

Those scholars who were optimistic opined that in whatever form Hindi is used today should rather be accepted as a correct or pure form of Hindi. So we should not be pessimistic about its future, they argued. Each side cited ample examples comparing Hindi with other popular languages of the world.

But the discussion was largely narrowed to for-and-against arguments. The scholars were good at their sides but they missed one thing; they missed to notice that Hindi as a language has acquired two sub-forms, which is hardly a case with other languages, even on the world arena. One, cosmopolitan Hindi (c-Hindi) and two, traditional Hindi (t-Hindi).

The cosmopolitan Hindi (c-Hindi) is more urbanized and secular in nature. It is largely spoken in metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and other cities. In addition to becoming the language of the people of cosmopolitan cities, the c-Hindi is widely used in Bollywood films, TV serials, radio, and media both print and electronic. Moreover, these media have played greater roles in popularizing the c-Hindi. As Oscar Wilde’s famous aphorism goes in the essay The Decay of Lying1 that, ‘Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life’, so the language used in Bollywood movies and TV soaps has been adopted by the people in the cities reciprocally. The people in corporate sectors and the youth at the college and university levels are the best brand symbols of this Hindi.

The c-Hindi, though basically follows Hindi grammar and syntax, is composed of a rich combination of Urdu, English, and some other native and non-native words derived from all contact languages, in addition to Hindi words usage. This is why we sometimes confuse this Hindi with Urdu, while it is not so. A language is recognized by its grammar and syntax usage. Its status in India is similar to English at the world level, which is considered more polished, reflects present India, and its speakers are regarded more potent.

Above all the c-Hindi is a melting-pot language to those people whose mother tongue is not Hindi but they use it. A large number of people, whose Hindi is not a mother tongue, who migrate to metropolitan cities, prefer to speak in Hindi than in the regional language. They learn the regional language a little later. For example, a Tamil speaking person when lands in Mumbai picks up Hindi sooner than Marathi. Likewise a Bengali in Ahmedabad feels more comfortable in speaking in Hindi than in Gujarati.

In this regard its status is very much similar to that of Urdu in Pakistan which is a language of adoption there. In Pakistan, Urdu is the mother tongue of less than 10% of the people but it is the national language of the people whose mother tongues may be either of the Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, and Baluchi languages.

Importantly, the scholars who express concern over the purity of Hindi are actually talking about the c-Hindi thinking that this is the real and only Hindi that the people are using throughout the country. They argue that the languages such as Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, and other languages are purer than Hindi. They are the advocates of archaic Hindi to the polished Hindi instead.

But they fail to distinguish the unique sub-forms of Hindi. It is to be noted that the traditional Hindi (t-Hindi), and not the c-Hindi, is originally the lingua franca of the people. The t-Hindi is as pure as any other language is. This Hindi is spoken by the largest number of people in India even today and is widely used in as different states as Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh with variance in regional flavor, dialects and accents. This Hindi is still the medium of written literature, and print media based in these regions. Its purity can be compared with the purity of any other languages of India.

Purity of a language is a subject of isolation. An isolate language is the purest language that we can think of. A regional language is used within a certain region and is by and large an isolate language in nature. Therefore, a regional language may be purer than a contact language. Typically, Hindi is both pure (or traditional) at the regional level and polished (or cosmopolitan) at the national level. Hindi has even brighter future than many other languages of India and the world.

Hint:
diwas – day

References:
1. Wilde, Oscar. The Decay of Lying: An Observation, Intentions. (1891, originally 1889).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Critical Essays

Four best literary critical essays:

Black Anomalies in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
August Wilson depicts black anomalies in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. A. Wilson is one of the great black writers who showcases the encumbrance which the Blacks were chocked in — the white tyranny of slavery.

Christopher Marlowe the First Rebellious in Literature
Christopher Marlowe is remembered largely as a great tragedy playwright but he was more than a believer in the Renaissance and creator of a world of his own...Marlowe rebelled against religious tenets, against social laws, against the submissiveness of human nature and against the literary theory.

Mid-Twentieth Century Sub-Urbane of America
Sub-urban life compared by Louis Simpson in the poem “In the Suburbs”and John Ciardi in the peom “Suburban”.

Jonathan Swift was a great dreamer of Utopia
Jonathan Swift was a great dreamer of Utopia, an imaginary land where every thing is so fine and orderly and not a misanthrope as he is alleged to be by a larger community of the critics.

To read in full, please visit:

Khurshid_Alam's_Essays_at_Shvoong

Friday, March 5, 2010

K-ulture Curry by Khurshid Alam

What is K-ulture Curry?

Introduction: K-ulture Curry is a concept which refers to a mix of cultures that a people follow. The writer Khurshid Alam argues that what we actually follow is a culture curry rather than a pure culture. When we refer to as our culture is the culture many of which symbolates are borrowed from other cultures, and similarly many of ours may have been adopted by others. Hence there is no thing as such our culture and their culture. It is simply a matter of variance because of different but temporary reasons.

K-ulture Curry
"no culture is or can be a forte of a people only"
No culture is or can be a forte of a people only neither there is a culture that is tabooed to be practiced by any people in the world. Culture is merely a practice of a certain set of the “symbolates” as the American anthropologist Leslie A. White highlights in a series of essays titled Science of Culture1. People practicing certain symbolates, which are a chain of symbolic actions, may be defined as the people belonging to that symbolate, or culture. A cultural symbolate is influenced by various symbols and factors such as religion and beliefs, philosophy, literature, arts, music, institutions, manners, lifestyle, food pattern, morals, customs, norms, civic systems and others (Williams, Raymond. Culture2).

"culture is always changing and evolving"
But culture is always changing and evolving, as according to Leslie. There is hardly a culture that is pure in the real sense of the term, what we practice is a culture curry instead. What we practice is a mix of various cultures, in many cases even foreign. What we mean by our culture is actually a pile of cultural symbolates that we practice at the time of discussion and that we do not practice certain symbolates at that point of time is obviously for the others, that is other culture.

Moreover, the sets of the cultural symbolates followed by a people for over a period of time (down the generations) and influenced by many other factors become unique to them and then may be said the culture of that people, which makes it the ‘popular culture’ (Goodall, J. The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior3). This uniqueness distinguishes a people from other people, but the uniqueness of the popular culture is generally too tiny which expands by time and with exposure to the people of other cultures and may tend to become a ‘high culture’. A high culture is a culture which practices maximum number of cultural symbolates and is open to adopt the symbolates of other culture fast.

"culture curry pot is always boiling"
Culture curry pot is always boiling! The adoption of cultural symbolates of one people by the other is a universal phenomenon and has been found worldwide since immemorial time but it is more rapid when people of popular cultures live within the geographical boundaries, are amicable with each other, collaborate together, share certain values, ideas and beliefs etc. This is even rapid in the era of post globalization. Melting pot of cultures, with reference to the American culture, is the best example at macro level of this culture type.

"culture curry is too hot and cannot be swallowed easily"
However, culture curry is too hot and cannot be swallowed easily. When different cultures come across, the possibility of cultural clash may arise particularly at the beginning. Especially when the people adopt the symbolates of other cultures consciously. Such cultural clash divides the people into two groups; one who are open to adoption and two, who oppose it. Both types are always there in the society. The best example of this scenario can be cited of some of the right wing Hindu political parties in India such as Shiv Sena (Chief: Udhav Thackeray, Maharashtra, 2009) and Sri Ram Sene (Chief: Pramod Muthalik, Karnatak, 2009) which tried to prevent the celebration of the Valentine’s Day by the Indians saying it a culture of Western people. There are examples of such clashes from around the world when some forces – social, political or religious – intervene to nib the adoption of the symbolates of a different culture.

"the pot of culture curry keeps on boiling and the symbolates permeate slowly"
Yet the pot of culture curry keeps on boiling and the symbolates permeate slowly. Some good examples of this logic can be taken of the Bermuda dress. It is a typical dress type of the people of the Bermuda triangle – an island in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Bermuda shorts are a little longer than half-pants (or English shorts) but shorter than trousers. A unique dress code of the people of Bermuda but is now well common in other parts of the world.

Remarkably, culture curry cannot be started by any person intentionally with a sense that they are adopting a new culture rather it is an act of imitation. The reasons of imitation may be many and uncertain but it permits automatically; first by few people and then by others. Soon the popular culture gains the aspect of the high culture.

References:
1. Leslie A. White, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The Science of Culture: A study of man and civilization. New York, 1969.
2. Williams, Raymond. Culture. 1981/1982.
3. Goodall, J. Boston. The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior. Bellknap Press of the Harvard University Press. 1986.

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