Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sleep Aylan Sleep

Sleep Aylan sleep,
peaceful eternal sleep.
Because the world has failed you,
humanity has failed you.
Your own people didn’t gave you refuge,
left you to die in deluge.
You should have lived a beautiful life,
grown as strong individual.
But the lust of power and money,
dreadful and corrupt politics,
has taken away your dreams,
your desire to live a happy life.
Now you are in heavenly abode,
with no fear to engulf you day and night,
no border to cross seeking refuge,
no sanctions to be impose upon you,
no rules and law to follow.
Tell God to grant peace in this world,
and other child’s fate be like yours.

(A tribute to Syrian kid, Aylan Kurdi died on the shore of Turkey seeking refuge)

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Rakhi: The Festival of Love and Goodwill

"Behna ne Bhai ki kalai me pyar bandha hai,
Resham ke taar se sansaar bandha hai."
Just a thread but has a deep meaning.
Rakhi or Raksha bandhan is the festival of love and duty between brothers and sisters. So strange just a knot on anybody's wrist becomes life-long relationship. Rani Karnavati had send rakhi to Emperor Humayum to protect her from invasion and he deeply respected it. Since then Indian Muslims started celebrating it. In 1905 when Bengal was divided by Britishers on religious ground then Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore started the 'Rakhi movement' when he asked Hindus & Muslims to tie ‘rakhi’ on each other’s wrist to mark the bond of love and unity which resulted in the unification of Bengal in 1911. A festival which has now become multicultural as it is celebrated by people of various sects and ethnic group and is not confine to any religion to cherish the bond of brother-sister relationship. I wish this festival becomes a movement in India and men starts respecting females as their sisters. Such festival which promotes love and goodwill should be highly respected.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Changing Attitude of the Indian Society towards Ageing & Disabled People as Presented in Bollywood Movies

                              “Tum hi ho Mata, Pita tum hi ho,
                                Tum hi ho Bandhu, Sakha tum hi ho.”
It is a famous song in the Indian society from ages and in this song, the Almighty God is being compared to father and mother. So such was the attitude of the Indian society towards their parents. Not only parent but earlier there was great respect for other elders including grand-parents, uncle-aunt and any other relative and neighbour. But now the society has seen a tremendous change in the attitude of people towards elders especially ageing people.
         With the advent of Globalization, commercialism and professionalism have reached its peak. With this change, the attitude of people towards religion and culture has changed. Now, there is a tremendous change in the life-styles of people. Their ways of living, dressing-sense, eating and even thinking is rapidly changing day by day. Now, life has become so fast especially in the big cities like Metros that nobody has got time for anybody. With this fast paced life, the moral values and human values are also degrading.
          We can easily see this in the behaviour and attitudes of the today’s youth. As we see in the present generation there is a degradation of mannerism. Now, the young generation is becoming more and more free, liberal, independent and modern. They have their own thinking and ideologies regarding different aspects of life. The philosophy of existentialism is rapidly increasing in the nature and attitude of today’s youth including students. Now they want to have their own individual freedom, choice and existence. So in the attainment of all this they are even going away from the path of moral values. They are also attaining many evil practices like- cyber crimes, consumerism; instill trust worthiness and many other things. Now the present generation does not want to respect their elders including their teachers.
         This can also be easily seen in the Bollywood movies. Films & cinema have become a part of every individual life. It is movies from which mostly people and especially youths are being inspired. It is believed that films & cinema are spoiling the society and now they have become the base of changing culture in the society. But they are the reflections of the society only. Mostly in the Bollywood movies we see that parents are very much loved by the hero and heroine. It is only in some cases and it is often the heroine’s father, who being an evil person, may be an underworld don is hated by the heroine as he does not allow her to marry the hero. There are many examples like- Karan Arjun (1995), Kaho Naa Pyar Hai (2000).
         In the movie Bagbaan released in 2003, we see the parent who not fairly treated by their children. A father, (role played by Amitabh Bachchan) who has given his whole life for fulfilling the needs of his children and the mother, (role played by Hema Malini) who has nurtured her children are not being look after by their children. They don’t want to keep them in their houses as they consider it difficult to fulfil their needs. A contract is made between all four brothers to keep either mother or father for 3 months each. Moreover they also don’t like their advice as they consider it to be interference in their privacy and freedom.
          This is the reflection of the society as we see now that in this fast changing and commercial world, now nobody has time to sit and talk to elderly people of their own homes rather instead of it they like to go for an outing, movie or any other enjoyment. They are being deprived of love, care and attention of their own children in many houses. Elderly people feel so neglected in their own homes that they become victims of many mental weaknesses and diseases. Sometimes they even try to commit suicide. There are many examples of these types of cases we see and hear in newspaper, magazines and televisions.
Now, we see that many Old Age homes have been made in many cities to look after the old people because they have been neglected by their own children.
          As now people don’t like to keep their parents at their houses which are resulting in the increase of many evils in the society like degradation of culture and mannerism, theft, robbery, murders and many other crimes. Parents those who are not able to look after their children properly and being neglected they are sometimes indulge in many mal-practices. Because of this, now there is a rise of juvenile crimes in our country and the society is very badly affected by it. Even children are being themselves victims of many mis-happening like kidnap, rape and murder because there was no body to look after them properly in their own homes.
         Earlier our society was considered as a society based on moral values, culture and tradition because young people were always guided by older people, not only of their family but also their society and community. But with the rise of globalization and westernization, everything has changed, which has a bad effect on the society as slowly and slowly moral values, culture and tradition everything is vanishing.
         But in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam released in 2001 we see the portrayal of idealistic sons who have great respect for their parents and other elders of the family. There is a depiction of moral and cultural values in the family. In Hum Sath Sath Hai released in 1999, we see an ideal family in which all the family members care and love each other very much. They also gave respect to their elders. The story is quite similar to the great epic, Ramayana.
         But these values are rapidly decreasing in today’s youth and now each individual wants to lead an existential life i.e. individual freedom, choice and existence and hence does not want to live in bondages of any kind. He/she does not want to live according to the strict rules & regulations imposed by the elders. So for this purpose they like to live separately from their elders. As now, we see that the joint family system is slowly and slowly vanishing from the society and giving way to nuclear family system. Married couple does not want to bear the responsibility of their parent’s and don’t want to live according to their wishes. The increasing commercialization had led to the rise of materialism and the demand of money. So to lead a prosperous life, it is necessary that both the husband and wife should work. And sometimes for better option they leave their parent’s homes to establish themselves in big cities. Moreover, the un-married youth, also want to live a free and liberal life and so for this purpose they prefer to live in hostel instead of their own homes.
        Suryavansham, a 1999 Hindi drama by legendry hero Amitabh Bachchan is a sensitive movie regarding the relationship of father-mother, their son and daughter-in-law. Amitabh Bachchan playing the dual role of father and son is supported by Jayasudha, Soundarya, Rachana Banerjee, Anupam Kher and Kader Khan. Although the movie didn’t do well on financial ground but it is highly praised for its storyline and lyrics. The movie is a story common Indian family, where priority is given to the esteem of the family. As an average Indian story, it is exemplary depiction of the liabilities of a responsible father with a son who is dutiful, wife who is virtuous and the family unified by psychological bonds.
         So there are very fine examples of Bollywood movies dealing with the ageing issue from the beginning of its history till now and many more to come in the near future.
         Disability, another weakness of humanity is accepted in a different way in an Indian society. In the Indian mythology, it is believed that anybody who has possessed any kind of disability is because of the evil deeds of his previous birth for which he/she has been punished. It is cursed for which he has to suffer. So the Indian attitudes to disability is two forms of mythology: the traditional Hindu myths which still play an important role in shaping social norms and values, and the “modern myth machine” of Bollywood, which has impacts on popular culture and society.
            In Hindu mythology, the portrayal of people with disabilities is overwhelmingly negative, but also exhibits a strong gender bias in terms of the perceived capacities of disabled men and women. Disabled men in the Hindu myths are in some cases powerful and capable people. We can see the example of the visually impaired king Dritarashtra and the orthopedically impaired Shakuni, are the representative of the forces of evil in the Mahabharata war. Such people were although powerful but evil and cruel disabled men.
There is another image being reinforced by historical figures such as Taimur Lang. In contrast, women with disabilities in Hindu mythology are simply irrelevant. A prime example comes in a story from the Karthik Poornima, where Lord Vishnu refuses to marry the disfigured elder sister of Lakshmi, saying that there is no place for disabled people in heaven. The sister is instead married to a peepul tree.  
            In Bollywood films there are several common images of disabled men and women. There are some common features of portrayal of disabled men and women in the cinema. Firstly, the disabilities of hero or heroine are typically acquired after birth rather than congenital, “normalizing” the actor somewhat. Equally, the disability is quite often cured during the course of the film. In addition, the stars are often from better-off socio-economic strata, with resources to promote their integration, though they remain often dependent on others.
           Apart from these similarities, there are also gender differences in perceptions of disabled people in Bollywood movies. First, men with disabilities feature far more often than women with disabilities. Second, men with disabilities are often loved by a devoted woman without disabilities (as in Saajan released in 1991), whereas women with disabilities are rarely loved by men without disabilities (and in cases where they are such as Mann, the men loved them before the onset of disability). Third, women with disabilities almost never attain economic self-sufficiency. While male stars with disabilities may not be very wealthy, they can attain such independence. Finally, the disabilities that women are portrayed with are very rarely ones that impact their physical appearance, so that they largely remain beautiful. Overall, women with disabilities in India cinema are doubly weak – women and women with disabilities. This contrasts to more frequent portrayals in Hollywood cinema of women with disabilities who have strength and discover independence.          
          The movie, Vivah released in 2006 is an example where we see a physically affected woman being accepted by the hero. The story is that two young people, the role played by Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao who are engaged have developed liking for each other. Unfortunately a misfortune occurs before the wedding and the girl is caught in the fire. Although she is saved but her body is burnt including face. But the hero, who is shown to be an ideal man, accepts her with her flaws.
          However, it is also a fact that many films have sought to enhance the sensitivity of society towards the needs, rights, sensibilities and potential of people with disabilities. Dosti, being produce under Rajashri Production’s was released in 1964. The movie is a best illustration of leading characters dependency due to disability. We see the friendship of two friends, in which one is lamb and the other one is blind. But being good singer and noble men are being loved by many people. Another example of fine illustration of leading characters depending due to dependency is Gulzar’s Koshish released in 1972. It is a highly sensitive movie focusing on deaf-mute couple, a classic role played by sensitive actors Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bachchan. Gifted with disabilities they are leading a secluded life but facing the outer world with their courage and determination. Sparsh released in 1984 by Sai Paranjpe is a poignant film on this issue. It is different from previous movies as it depicts the conflicts between disabled with those of able-bodied. Based on conflicts it highlights various complexes and issues related with the mental approaches and sensitivity of able-bodied and disabled people. Naseerudin Shah, the leading character of the movie is a blind man. He is the centre of all the activities. A performance very well played by him giving a prolific touch to the film.
         Gujarish released in 2010 is a highly sensitive movie, revealing the story of a physically handicapped hero who was earlier a painter but now is willing to die because of his disabled plight. He asks mercy from his government to allow him to commit suicide or to kill him but is not granted. In Koi Mil Gaya (2003), the mentally handicap hero is being loved by a beautiful girl. Some other examples are; Jagriti, Main Aisa hi hoon, to name few.
         Lagaan is an excellent example of a mainstream film that has highlighted the process of inclusion of a Dalit disabled person. Released in 2001, it is about land tax during the times of Britishers. In the absence of opportunities for interaction between people with disabilities and society at large, such films have played an important role in highlighting aspects of the lives of people with disabilities that are not clearly understood and in dispelling myths and biases that society holds about them. Films such as those noted have also demonstrated the attempt of non-disabled people to understand people with disabilities. 
          So disability has been portrayed in Hindi movies from the beginning but recently commercial movies have started a trend and that is focusing on some rare diseases which are in form of disability. There are many new diseases explored by Bollywood in the movies and the role of victims being played by leading stars and superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and others. Through this they are also creating awareness among the masses for those diseases which are not known to masses. The best part of these movies is that they don’t show the disable person to be a poor mean creature rather a strong individual. So they teach us not to sympathises with them but treat them with love, care and affection.
          Sanjay Leela Bansali released Black in 2005 which is considered as a historic film focusing on a deaf-mute and blind girl played by actress Rani Mukherjee. She is also suffering from a brain disorder causing senility named as ‘Alzhemeir.’ Earlier Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed Khamoshi-The Musical (1996) which is also based on the theme of disability. Starring Salman Khan, Manisha Koirala, and the role of disable parents of Heroine is being played by Nana Patekar and Seema Biswas. The movie as the name suggests is musical in nature with music in its background. The movie tells the story of deaf and dumb parent who inspire their daughter to make her career in music. So it is a movie based on disabilities of parents being dependent on their children.
         Khamoshi was not as successful as is Black because of its intensity and passion. Rani Mukherjee named as Michelle McNally acted very immensely the role of a blind, deaf and mute girl who is a high spirited girl. In her childhood she was inflicted by an illness resulting in her plight for lifetime. The title of the movie Black symbolises the life of Michelle which is dark as she lives without sight, sound and words to speak. She is shrinking in her dark world and is not able to breathe properly until a teacher named as Debraj Sahay played by Amitabh Bachchan comes in her life and makes a difference by moulding her personality. He teaches her the meaning of words and how to express them. By the influence of her teacher, Michelle develops a sense of pride to live as a strong individual by deciding to graduate from college. But there are many hurdles in her life- she has to face the world which has a different perception to deal with disable person; even her teacher becomes mentally disturbed. Michelle being firm in her decision pursues her goal facing all challenges and narrates her story of victory.
         Taare Zameen Par which was released in 2007, directed and acted both by Aamir Khan is a phenomenal film. Being very successful at box office it has highlighted a disease named as ‘dyslexia’ which is found in children. In the movie, there is an eight year old boy, played by Darsheel Safary who is suffering from this disease. It is an important film of the deade focusing an eight year old child who is suffering from ‘dyslexia.’ The child suffering from this disease has difficulty with learning, decoding the word, spelling, reading accurately and fluently. The movie teaches the parents to understand the problem of their children and try to remove them. It also gives a strong message that ‘every child is special’ and if they are not academically good then they can be good in other field. So there is a need to understand their talent and give them right direction. Aamir Khan starring Ghajni released soon after Taare Zameen Par in 2008 depicts the character of a person who after injury has develops a disorder named as Amnesia which means ‘short-term memory loss. As depicted in the movie, amnesia is a forgetful film with a short memory span for just few minutes.
          In the same year in 2008, U Me Aur Hum starring Ajay Devgan was released. The movie focuses on a disease which is not so known by people, ‘Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a mental disorder named after German physician Alois Alzheimer. As a progressive and fatal brain disease it is still not curable. It is irreversible disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking power leading to the loss of ability to do even simplest tasks.
           Paa, is a remarkable film released in 2009, it will always be remembered for the performance of Amitabh Bachchan. The movie is all about a child who is suffering from a rarest disease, ‘Progenia.’ It is a very uncommon and terrible disease which ages the body many more times faster than normal leaving teens with frail bodies of people nearing 100 years old while not damaging the intelligence of the person. So it is an accelerated aging disease which is found rare. But the most dangerous thing is that the child experiencing the disease has life expectancy from 10 years to 23 years. Amitabh Bachchan is playing the part of the boy, Auro who is suffering from progeria. He is a 12 years old intelligent and witty boy but suffering from this genetic disorder. His mental level is of his age but physically he five times older.
           Auro is a cheerful boy, very much loved by his mother who is a gynaecologist, the role played by Vidya Balan. Amol Arte, a politician is his father who has left his mother before his birth. He a cold blooded politician is on a mission to prove the world that ‘politics’ is a bad word. Amol is unknown that Auro is his son because of the concealment by Vidya. They both met in the school when Amol visited and took him to Delhi to see the President’s house. Auro knowing about his father want to unite him with his mother. Though Vidya still feels hurts but for Auro’s sake she forgives Amol, who is happy to have his wife and son in his life. When Auro reaches his 13th birthday, his health deteriorates as his physical health catching up. He being successful in his attempt to unite his parents, succumbing to his disease says his last words, “Maa” and “Paa” before dying with smile on his face.
          My Name is Khan which was released in 2010 starring Shah Rukh Khan is considered as a milestone in the Indian film industry for the theme as well as acting of the hero who is suffering from a disease named as Asperger’s Syndrome (asperger). It is a neurobiological disorder, a kind of autism illness. The person suffering from this disorder finds it very difficult to interact socially. He/she has a normal intelligence and language development, but exhibits autistic-like behaviour and their lack in social and communication skills is clearly visible.
         Anurag Basu’s ‘Barfi’which was released in September 2012 is remarkable film on disabilities of two persons. Actors Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra have played the lead role in it. The movie is believed to change the perception about the abilities of the disabled in the Hindi cinema as earlier for mainstream cinema it was difficult to seamlessly integrate the differently-abled into its plotline. The main character of the movie is Barfi who is deaf and dumb but still he enjoy every moment of his life with smile on his face whatever the situation is. Though he works around in imperfections but he takes everything as it is. He falls in love with a girl named Shruti, a role played by Illeana D’Cruz. She too falls in love with him because of his innocence, mischievous and happy go lucky self. Although loving him so much she marries somebody else because of the pressure of family and society. Though being failing in love, he begins his life in a new way by giving chance to autistic girl named as Jhilmil Chaterjee (Priyanka Chopra) to enter into his life. He is able to understand the girl and thus a bond is developed between the two.
         Disability has been depicted in different ways in different movies. While some have shown disability as dependence, others have not. So we can say that films are also inspiring and working for the upliftment of the disabled people. There are many NGOs who are working for betterment of old and disabled people. Some NGOs are organizing training workshops for people with disabilities on film making, and conducted sensitization sessions with Indian scriptwriters and film-makers. They are also seeking financial support to establish a national disability film and communication centre which would conduct research on portrayal of disabled people in film and media, develop an archive of films on disability issues, sensitize film makers, journalists and other media people, and directly support film makers, in particular disabled film-makers, through availability of basic equipment and studio facilities.
         But being human it is also our moral duty to love, respect and give proper care and attention to the old and disabled people whether in our family or in neighbourhood.

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2. Bhugra D (2006), Mad tales from Bollywood: Portrayal of Mental Illness in Conventional Hindi Cinema, Maudsley Monographs, Psychology Press.
3.  Bollywood into Diseases- Dyslexia, Alzheimer, Amnesia, Progeria and Asperger, (Jan 12, 2010), TELLYONE, [Online: web], URL:, [Accessed: 20 Sept. 2012]
4. Downing, John D.H. (1987), Film and Politics in the Third World. New York: Praeger Publishers.
5. Swaminath G and Bhide Ajit (2009), Cinemadness: In Search of Sanity in Films, Indian Journal of Psychiatry, Oct-Dec; 51(4), pp. 244-246.
6. Kannan, K and Batra, Sushma (2012), Disability and Cinema, We Care Film Fest, [Online: web], http://www.wecarefilmfest, [Accessed on 10.09.2012].
7. Mowlana, Hamid and Wilson Laurie J. (1990), The Passing of Modernity. New York & London: Longman.
8. Pal, Joyojeet (2012), Will Barfi Change the Way Bollywood Treats Disability?, First Post Bollywood, [Online: web],, [Accessed on 25 Sept.2012].
9. Pal, Joyjeet (2012), Sensory Impairments and Cinema in India, Film Impression, [Online: web], URL:, [Accessed 28 Sept. 2012].
10. Palicha, Paresh C. (2003), Reel life's physically challenged, Metro Plus, Kochi, The Hindu, [Online: web], URL:
11. Ventakesh, M R (2008), Disability Glare on Bollywood – World Bank Study Finds Sensitivity, not Strength, in Films, The Telegraph, Calcutta, [Online: web], URL:, [Accessed 28 Sept. 2012].

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Book Review of 'The Poetic Achievement of A. N. Dwivedi' by Pallavi Srivastava

Srivastava, Pallavi. The Poetic Achievement of A. N. Dwivedi. Allahabad: Kitab Mahal, 2011. ISBN: 978-81-225-0579-5. Pages 169,
Reviewer: Dr Shamenaz Bano, Associate Professor (English), Dept. of Humanities, Allahabad Institute of Engineering & Technology, Allahabad.

          Pallavi Srivastava is a scholar of English Literature who has completed her D. Phil in English on the poetry of Nissim Ezekiel, A. K. Ramanujan and A. N. Dwivedi from University of Allahabad, Allahabad (U. P.), India. The book under review peeps into the poetic achievement of A. N. Dwivedi, who is a contemporary Indian English poet, critic and editor. This is her debut book in which she has attempted to explore the poetry of A. N. Dwivedi with minute precision and succinctness. In the ‘Preface’ of the book she describes her intention of writing the book on the poetic greatness of the literary genius from Allahabad.
         Srivastava has divided the book into 6 chapters. The first chapter, ‘Introducing the Poet’ deals with life, career, identity and greatness of A. N. Dwivedi not only as a poet but also as writer, critic and editor. His entire literary career especially focusing on poetry has been discussed in this chapter. Amar Nath Dwivedi has been an eminent Professor of University of Allahabad, he is credited to be the author of number of books on English literature and Indian writing in English including A Handbook of Philology (1972), Toru Dutt (1977), Indo-Anglican Poetry (1977), Sarojni Naidu and Her Poetry (1981), Kamala Das & Her Poetry (1983) and The Poetic Art of Ramanujan (1995). He has edited some of the very popular anthologies like, Indian Poetry in English (1980) and A Garlands of Flowers in three volumes (1987) which have also been prescribed in the courses of various Universities in India including the University of Allahabad. Not only has this he also edited many other books on fiction, drama, short stories and criticism. He is a multifarious genius as he has translated a number of Hindi poetry into English in some of the edited books.     
          While the second chapter, ‘Hindu Religion and Philosophy in A. N. Dwivedi’s Poetry’ illustrates the religious and philosophical elements in the poetry of A. N. Dwivedi. All the poems of A. N. Dwivedi imbibed with Hindu religious and philosophy has been taken one by one demonstrating the richness of his techniques and how far they are helpful in tracing out the trends regarding preserving the mysticism in the contemporary landscape.   
         The third chapter, ‘Indian Customs, Rituals and Superstitions in A. N. Dwivedi’s Poetry’ focuses on the concerned attitude of Dwivedi towards his tradition and culture, and with its customs, rituals and superstitions. She has discussed the presentation of naturalistic and objective vision of his native surroundings in his poetry.
         “Plato believed that poetry and literature are inextricably tied up with the values and ideologies of the culture as a whole: art is not separate from the socio-political sphere.” This is depicted in the fourth chapter, ‘Social and Political Currents and Cross-Currents in A. N. Dwivedi’s Poetry’ which throw light on the social and political aspects reflected in Dwivedi’s poetry.
         ‘The Poetic Craftsmanship of A. N. Dwivedi’s Poetry’ is the fifth chapter which clearly reveals the artistic quality in Dwivedi’s poetry. There are many special qualities in his poetry which is beautifully presented by the writer. He has invented innovation with verse technique which is seen in his poem “Job Hunting Today.” In the same way, his use of image and symbols shows vividly the poet’s sharp poetic vision and artistic taste as believed by Srivastava.
        The last chapter which is sixth in series, ‘Conclusion: An Assessment of A. N. Dwivedi’s as a Poet’ analyses Dwivedi as poet deeply rooted in the tradition of Indian English poetry. Srivastava believes that ‘Dwivedi through his practice has opened up new possibilities in Indian English poetry. It is noteworthy that he has exhibited his remarkable Indian sensibility through his works without any inhibition’ (161). She has very artistically assessed Dwivedi as a poet depicting all his special qualities in a creative way.
       Kamala Das, the famous Indian poet has highly praised Dwivedi for his invaluable contribution to the Indian English poetry in a letter addressed to him. She writes:
                         I have enjoyed reading your poetry. It is rooted in
                         tradition and might sound strange to those who are
                         not familiar with the Indian ethos.
This is the greatness of Dwivedi’s poetry that his vivid expression of variegated colours of Indian ethos is liked by the people who are themselves excellent in creativity in the field of English literature.
          Truly, the critic in Srivastava has given a fresh interpretation of A. N. Dwivedi’s poetry right from the beginning till the end. For this, she applies the natural methods from various angles to show him in true colours as a poet with a philosophical and mystical blend of mind. She had also compared Dwivedi with some famous contemporary Poet of Indian English Literature like Nissim Ezekiel.  She is successful in tracing out his hidden dimension for the readers who will now read his poetry in a new light. It is almost a complete book as it discusses Dwivedi’s poetry and his art from different perspectives. Full credit goes to the writer who has done so much of hard work in bringing out such a masterpiece book. This is a highly recommendable book for the researchers working on Indian English poetry particularly on A. N. Dwivedi. 


I Am a Proud Indian

I am a proud Indian because I have born in a country where a Mahatma, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born who showed the path of peace and non-violence to the world.
Where leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Maulana Azad fought for the freedom of the country.
Where martyrs like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Ashfaq Ullah Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil and many others sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country.
Where a Saint, Mother Teresa had served poor and destitute relieving them from their pains.
Where social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy & Sir Syed Ahmad Khan fought against the rigid superstitions existing in the society and reformed it.
Where couplets & riddles of Kabir are read in every households irrespective of caste and religions.
Where we have examples of heroic women like Rani Lakshmi Bhai, Razia Sultan, Rani Ahilya Bai Holker, Chandbibi & many others to inspire females.
Where ‘Iron Lady’ Indira Gandhi became the third woman PM of a country.
Although we have problem regarding safety of women, still women of our country are competing with men in every fields.
Where A. P. J. Abdul Kalaam is called as the ‘Missile man of India.’
The country which has reached Mars in its first attempt.
Where both male and female astronauts have landed on moon and space.
Where both men and women are conquering ‘Mount Everest.’
A nation which has become ‘World Champions’ in hockey, cricket, chess, billiards & snooker with many successful sport stars in other sports.
Our Bollywood industry which is considered as second most popular industry in the world and the television industry is also one of the most popular around the world.
There are much more things to be proud of and credit goes to the collective efforts of many Indians. And these achievements took place much before one year.
So no, political party can take the credit of all these achievements and no leader or political party is bigger than the nation.
If a single individual takes the credit of making 125 crores Indian proud, than he is a big ‘Feku.’

Book Review of Michelle Cohen Corasanti's The Almond Tree

Michelle Cohen Corasanti, The Almond Tree. UK: Garnet Publishing. 2012. ISBN: 9781859643297. Pages 348, /US $ /UK £
Reviewed By: Dr. Shamenaz, Associate Professor (English), Dept. of Applied Sciences & Humanities, Allahabad Institute of Engineering & Technology, Allahabad
“Humanity is greater than any religion in the world.” This is true in the context of Michelle Cohen Corasanti, who though being a Jewish has depicted the sufferings of Palestinians and the atrocities of the Jews in her novel, The Almond Tree.
        Being a Jewish American, Michelle has BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a MA from Harvard University, both in Middle Eastern Studies. Gifted with intelligence, she also holds a law degree. She has lived in many countries like France, Spain, Egypt and England. She has spent seven years living in Israel, so she is a close witness of Israel- Palestinian issue. She herself has experienced the situation hence she is able to pen down it in a very realistic way. Currently she is living in New York with her family.
          The protagonist of the novel, The Almond Tree is Ichmad Hamid and the story revolves around him and his family. Author has depicted his life, his struggle against a tyrannical rule, his patience, courage, determination, killing instinct and the ability to win against all odds and adverse situation in a very realistic way. His story is a source of inspiration for all those people who are let down by the problems and hardships of life.
        The novel opens with a mischievous child playful act leading to her painful death which affects the whole family. In this way the beginning of the novel has a very painful and pathetic scene. Ichmad had a happy life with his parents, brothers and sisters till the age of seven. They owned a big house with a beautiful garden where his mother has planted colourful flowers whose smells surrounded the atmosphere when wind blew.
         But one day more than dozen soldiers came and took away everything from them. They fenced their land and home with barbed wire and they were forced to leave their ancestral place. After the loss of their possession they started living in a mud-brick hut that was smaller than their chicken coop but it was their fate to live in there.
        His father was once very rich and owned Oranges grove which was owned by his family from generations. He was able to sold his oranges in the entire Middle-East and Europe but after the invader came, he was not allowed to sell it outside the village and his market shrank to just some thousand villagers. From a young age, Ichmad was very diffirent from the other boys of his village. His brother Abbas was very social and had many friends but he was not like him. Abbas and other boys of the village idolised Jamal Abdul Nasser, Egyptian President, who stood openly against Israel and was championing Arab nationalism and Palestinian cause. He was a hero for them but for Ichmad, it was Albert Einstein, the great scientist. His brother, Abbas always played games and running outside with his friends all the day but he was a reader, a thinker and didn’t compete with the athleticism of his brother.
         His father worked in construction, building houses for the Jewish settlers, which was not liked by the people of their village. Many of them refused to build houses for the Jews on the razed Palestinian villages and others because of Israeli policy of ‘Hebrew labour’: Jews only hired Jews. Many boys at school use to say bad things about his father working for the Jews.
        It was his twelfth birthday which brought a great disaster and misfortune to the family. A day before his birthday, he heard some footsteps outside his house which he mistook that of thief. Getting worried about the stealing of food which his mother and sister, Nadia has worked hard to prepare and his father has saved all year to buy, he came out of the house to check it. But it was Ali, an extremist who wanted liberty from the Jewish rule by the help of gun. He terrified him and hid the weapons in the dirt and told him not to tell anybody, not even his father. Being scared about his family’s death, he did not tell his father but it was big mistake committed by him leading to the arrest of his father on ground of terrorism. Two weeks later, soldiers came again and pour tear into their house, killing his younger sister, Sara and their house was set on fire.
         After his father was sent to prison, he had a very hard and rigorous life. Being the eldest son of the family it was his duty to work for their livelihood. His brother, Abbas also joined him in his hardship and they both worked very hard to survive. And this struggle of the protagonist and his brother, Abbas is depicted by the author in a very pathetic that anybody who reads the book will feel compassionate for them.
         Though Abbas helped his brother in his struggle, but a time came when he left him, it was so because he decided to marry Nora, a Jew. Being a Jew she was fully concerned about the sufferings of the Palestinian people as she was true humanist. It was this quality of her that inspired Ichmad to marry her. She sacrificed her life in saving Ichmad’s house from being bulldozed by the Israeli army.
        Although sufferings so much in the hands of Jews, still his father didn’t have a bad opinion about them and this was the foundation which made the character of Ichmad. He learned the lesson of peace, equality and humanity from his father which served to make him a good human being. And throughout his life, Ichmad worked together with his Jews friends and teacher irrespective of the conflict existing in his part of the world. And the result was that he won the Noble prize for Physics with his teacher Professor Sharon.
           In Ichmad’s life, the role of Teacher Mohammad is that of a Godfather. It was he who convinced him to study after his work and gave him tuitions. He benefitted him by motivating him to pass scholarship examination and further it was he, who was responsible for his admission in the Hebrew University. He always inspired and counselled him whenever he needed his advice. And it was Ichmad’s father also who always guided his son on the right path of progress and development though his mother, Um Ichmad and his brother always protested against his decision. Later on, his mother realised that Ichmad was right in his way. Even at the end of the novel we see Abbas also praising his brother for his deeds. So it was the guidance both from his father and Teacher Mohammad that he brought pride to his family and people.
         To give it a native touch and make it interesting the novelist has used many Arabic and Hebrew words viz, baklava (3), kaffiyah (7), moshav (13), charishma (19), paraffin, herbalist (21), funchsia (23), hummus, taboulie, Sheikh El Mahshi (31), pita, zatar, laban (39), Ilhamdillah (54), semolina (59), katayif (77), Allahu Akbar, falafel (78), baba ghanouj (125), kepah (129), kiriyah (144), loubia al zeit (150), kanafi (151), sahlab (198), kaftan (239), dabkeh (252) Pitzizah (255), Shalom Acshav (258), kallaj (295).
         Through this novel Michelle has highlighted many problems of the Palestinian people as the people from Ichmad’s village were not allowed to dig deeper wells although they were the native people. And they complained that the new people diverted the water from their village by digging deeper wells. They had barely enough water to drink and the new people were swimming in it. There were lands filled with olive trees but they all have become barren because the Jews have planted landmines into them.
         Michelle has adopted a humanistic approach to the Israeli-Palestinian problem as though being a Jew; she has depicted the sufferings of the Palestinian people and the atrocities committed by the Jews in the novel. This is what, Taslima Nasreen says: ‘let humanism be the other name of religion.’ This book is an eye-opener for those people who are not aware of the sufferings of the Palestinian people. But she has also given a message that Palestinian and Israeli can work together for the upliftment of humanity.
        It is a very good and interesting novel which spellbound the reader whoever reads it. Anybody reading it will mesmerise by the quality of narration and depiction of each and every incident by the author which also reminds us of the great novel, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It is a semi-historic novel and is recommendable for all the lover of English literature.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Book Review of Coolie the Sovereign by T. Sai Chandramouli

Bhimanna, Dr Boyi. Coolie the Sovereign, translated by Dr T. S. Chandra Mouli. Hyderabad: Deepti Technicolour, 2012. Pages 102,
Coolie, the Sovereign (Kuuli Raju) is a political play written by Padmabhuashan Dr Boyi Bhimanna and translated into English by T. Sai Chandramouli. Dr Bhimanna is a great literary figure in Telugu literary firmament. His contribution to the literature especially Telugu is immense and highly liked. His creative genius works include; Paleru, Adikavi, Valmiki, Veda Vyasuda, Raja Vaishtam, Raabhilu, Gudeselu Kaalipothunnaiju etc. They have a very good impact on Telugu speaking people. His extraordinary genius can also be measured in his metrical poetry, lyrics, free verse, drama and literary criticism. He is considered as a socialist because throughout his life he wrote for the upliftment of Dalit of his region. He has dedicated the play to Sri Vemula Kurmayya Garu who was the then Minister in composite Madras state.
          Dr T. Sai Chandramouli is a well known figure in the literary in the world. Hailing from Hyderabad, he is a poet, translator and critics who have published several anthologies and poetry collections. He has translated many Telugu fiction and poetry which have extensively published.  His translation of Coolie, the Sovereign (Kuuli Raju) into English is a great tribute to the Telugu legend, Padmabhushan Dr. Boyi Bhimanna.
        Coolie, the Sovereign (Kuuli Raju) is a political play but it can also be termed as social play as it deals with the upliftment of the most marginalised class, Coolie. Dr Bhimanna wrote the play in 1942 and staged it with the title ‘Kashta Jeevi.’ It was also serialized in the weekly of the time, ‘Navajeevan.’ After that it went for modification many times and at it acquired an absolute from with the title ‘Kuuli Raju.’ It is considered as a reputed play which was published in 1948 in the regional language, Telugu and now it has been translated into English by Dr Chandramouli.
         Dr Bhimanna was deeply involved in the upliftment of Dalits and this concern of his is reflected in all his mythological and social dramas. Being a reformist, he was greatly inspired by the views of Mahatma Gandhi that a Dalit lady should be the President of India to substantiate the term ‘freedom.’ This also means that he was greatly influenced by the philosophies of Marx and Lenin.
        Dr Bhimanna was a firm believer of social realism which he felt that only be possible when the Coolie acquire power to govern. The play, Coolie, the Sovereign (Kuuli Raju) depicts the struggle between ‘the haves’ and ‘the haves not’ as on one side it is the exploiters, the landlord and their cronies and on the other side it is the marginalised class, the agricultural labourers who subsist with meagre earnings. So these two are the warring group and their struggle can be termed as ‘dharma yuddham’ in Hindi.
        Madhumurthy is the male-protagonist of the play, who after the completion of his studies comes to the village and is shocked to know the travails of the working class to which he belong. The two female protagonist characters, Paramjyothi and Mithra tell him how the working class are being exploited. These two female characters are lifelong strong support to him in his movement against their exploitation. Madhumurthy receive a very good job opportunity in the Government sector but he forgoes this golden offer and instead of it devotes his life for the welfare of the coolies.
        The Coolie Union realized that the only medium to get justice and end all sufferings is to clinch power to govern. For this they contested Election and were fortunate to win it. Premkumara, the landlord’s son who was of progressive nature also supported them raising his voice against his own father. After their triumph, the young lady, Paramjyothi was elected as President of free India. With this the welfare of the downtrodden & marginalised class began and the lands of the landlord were given to them.
        This drama gives a very moral message to the society which is ‘strength lies in unity.’ It reflects that if all the exploited classes stand united and fight against tyranny they win surely wins and can also capture power and govern. Though it is a social and political drama but we can also call it as a poetic play. Although it is not like T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral but the playwright has used poetry at many occasion to express the feelings and attitudes of the characters and also the situations. This is the traditional folk art form of Telugu alone called as burrakatha. The English version, Coolie, the Sovereign contains all ornaments of Kuuli Raju in terms of crisp dialogue, songs, prayers, sloganeering, metered poems, love lyrics and bhajans etc. It seems to be a difficult task for the translator to carry all these traditional Telugu elements into an alien language, English. Kudos goes to him to overtake such a tough venture.
         The play has been divided into 12 Acts depicting the great struggle of the marginalised sections of the society in a heroic way. By translating it, he has tried to retain some original expression in Telugu, which is the source language of the play. As he says:
                    “Retention of the original flavour of the source text is an
                      essential feature of any translation. Literary translation
                      differs from translation of documents. Creativity, an asset
                      an impediment, aided by intuition enables a translator
                      render justice to task undertaken.”
Hence in this way the pain taken by the translator is phenomenal. And so celebrating the Hundred and second birth anniversary of Dr Boyi Bhimanna, it is indeed a great tribute to him by T. Sai Chandramouli who has launched the English version of Kuuli Raju. It is a must read play for people interested in Subaltern or Dalit literature.