SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI

 

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
O P I N I O N S

Perspective |  Oped | Reflections

PERSPECTIVE

Career in the military
Selling soap and Army not the same
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)
T
HE Indian Army has contracted an advertising agency for Rs 7.5 crore to woo the country’s youth to pursue a career in the Army. The agency, using the soap selling techniques and advertising skills, promises a great lifestyle of glamour, excitement, waltzing in grand officers’ messes with beautiful ladies, playing polo, riding fine ponies, paragliding and golfing all the way, and much more. The agency goes on to ask the prospective candidate, “do you have it in you,” to take it all!

Need to rethink higher education
by Rajesh Kumar Sharma
T
HE whole issue of growth has come to be reduced to that of economic development and abandoned to the care of either experts or practitioners of populist politics. The civil society that should mediate the issues of growth and change between the people and the government, especially in a country of India’s size and diversity, has either failed to grow or is presumed not to exist.



 

 

EARLIER STORIES

SC snubs Modi
November 25, 2006
Hu’s advice
November 24, 2006
India, China move forward
November 23, 2006
Blasting peace
November 22, 2006
Tackling the big fish
November 21, 2006
Neglected lot
November 20, 2006
Scope of judiciary
November 19, 2006
The Senate nod
November 18, 2006
Fighting terrorism together
November 17, 2006
No diplomacy this
November 16, 2006
Cut oil prices
November 15, 2006
Danger ahead
November 14, 2006


On Record
Zafar, a major cultural catalyst: Dalrymple
by Charu Singh

W
illiam
Dalrymple’s latest book, The Last Mughal evokes a picture of Delhi which few know of, are interested in or want to remember. But it is a haunting picture of a massive cultural renaissance carefully nurtured in Bahadur Shah Zafar’s court that was violently stamped out by the British Raj and the Mutiny of 1857.

OPED

Follow Up
Success story in digital imaging 
by Reeta Sharma
Photography
and nuclear fusion? Discover the wonderful linkage. The person responsible for making photography indispensable for generating nuclear power is our own Indian — Nitin Sampat from Mumbai.

Profile
Another feather in the cap of Jayant Narlikar
by Harihar Swarup

HAS the life on earth come from “outer space”? It may have, claims noted astro-physicist Jayant Vishnu Narlikar. If his claim is true, then for the first time we have evidence that the life really does exist beyond Planet Earth and there is possibility that life on Earth has come from the outer space.

Diversities — Delhi Letter
UN concern on infections in hospitals
by Humra Quraishi

THREE days stand lined out — World AIDS Day (Dec 1), International Day of Disabled Persons (Dec 3) and Human Rights Day (Dec 10). These days help re-focus on the grim realities in different spheres.

  • Many more new books

 
 REFLECTIONS

 

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Career in the military
Selling soap and Army not the same
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)

THE Indian Army has contracted an advertising agency for Rs 7.5 crore to woo the country’s youth to pursue a career in the Army. The agency, using the soap selling techniques and advertising skills, promises a great lifestyle of glamour, excitement, waltzing in grand officers’ messes with beautiful ladies, playing polo, riding fine ponies, paragliding and golfing all the way, and much more. The agency goes on to ask the prospective candidate, “do you have it in you,” to take it all!

This desperate, perhaps ill-advised and expensive step, to hire an ad agency, had to be taken because few suitable candidates are opting for a career in the Army. This has led to paucity of officers though the Army has been accepting lower levels of performance at the selection centres.

Advertising agencies may deliver when it comes to promoting sale of soap, toothpaste and other consumer items. Promoters of housing schemes with fancy sketches are able to attract many a gullible buyer. But an informed consumer takes a number of other factors into consideration before making a choice. For him packaging, visibility, quality, cross-checking with friends, newspaper reports, other options and cost play an important part. All these issues come into play in varying degrees in arriving at the final decision. A prospective candidate would take all these issues into consideration before making a bid for a career in the Army.

There is no glamour left in a military career and this point is too obvious for any one to miss. Military officers no longer travel in uniform or wear it outside cantonments because the uniform has lost its glamour, charm, and regrettably, even the respect and deference due to it. No one ever visits a government office wearing a uniform, because he would be cold-shouldered and his work never done. As a military officer, one is loathe to grease palms and nothing gets done in a government office by clean hands.

Golf and polo will remain a distance dream for the vast majority. What the Army will provide are, ample opportunities to develop leadership skills, camaraderie, initiative and a competitive spirit. There would be clean, healthy and orderly environment of a cantonment life to enjoy. It will keep one physically fit and mentally alert. Playing robust games with troops will be compulsory. Army career provides an opportunity to see this great country, its nooks and corners. One will get to see and feel national integration at its best. But in a materialistic world, all this does not take one far, when a frugal lifestyle and a limited budget is the ultimate reward.

Long separation from families, not seeing children grow up and ensure good education for them, repeated tenures in high altitudes, postings to uncongenial and remote areas and a lonely life at the posts are all part of a military career. Risk, stress and pressures of counter-insurgency operations lead to a multitude of medical and related problems, which are integral to Army life. No advertising agency can whitewash these basic drawbacks of service in the Army.

A cardinal principle of military leadership is not to make false promises. Breaching this time-honoured adage has it own perils, especially in the military. What the advertising agency promises is neither true nor can be delivered. Those few, who are tempted by the rosy picture painted by an advertising agency, will soon be disenchanted and become a liability to the service.

As economies look up and job opportunities and choice of professions increase, the competition shifts from amongst the employee to the employer. It is absurd for government employees, to ask for parity (in terms of pay, perks etc) with those in the corporate world, as the bureaucracy in Delhi are busy preparing such a case to present to the Sixth Pay Commission. 

The Army has to compete with the Civil Services in the job market. Since service in the Army has marked disadvantages, it has to be made more attractive than Civil Services in terms of pay, perks and pension to compensate for all the handicap of a military career.

What the Indian Army faces today has been the experience of other armies too. However, those armies did not lower intake standards nor resort to cheap gimmicks of advertising through ad-agencies. Instead, they have opted to live with shortages and insisted that the government make the service attractive by compensating for all the disadvantages a career in the Army suffers from. In Britain, the top brass simply dug its heels and made the government relent on making the military service more attractive than the civil service. After all there is no compromise possible on the issue of national security.

The military’s top brass has to get real, take heart and tell the government that a career in the military has to be made attractive to draw the right material into the officer cadre. Nothing short of that will work. Long separation from families, education of children, running of two establishments, extremely limited promotion avenues, early retirement and stress and risk factors have to be adequately compensated.

 The issue of “running pay band” for the Army officers, to compensate for lack of promotion avenues was taken up with the Fourth Pay Commission. In this case, the officer who misses on promotion continues to get increments in his pay and allowances, based on the length of service. General K. Sundarji, during his visits to my division prior to Operation Brass Tacks, told me that he had given his resignation to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee to use it, in case, “running pay band” was not accepted. Another Army Chief had to take a similar step to get free rations for the officers.

The Fifth Pay Commission took away the provision of “running pay band” and there was not a whimper from the Service Chiefs. Unless they impress upon the government the need for a substantial compensation in terms of pay, allowances and pension for their officers, for all the disadvantages a career in the Army suffers from, the Army will not be able to attract officers. The nation will either have to live with the shortages or accept lower standards and in both cases will have to accept the related fallout on the country’s security. No country can aspire to be a world power with a second-rate military. 

The writer is a former Deputy Chief of the Army Staff

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Need to rethink higher education
by Rajesh Kumar Sharma

THE whole issue of growth has come to be reduced to that of economic development and abandoned to the care of either experts or practitioners of populist politics. The civil society that should mediate the issues of growth and change between the people and the government, especially in a country of India’s size and diversity, has either failed to grow or is presumed not to exist.

The pace at which our economy is changing calls for a comprehensive response. It has to be far more representative and better dispersed. Globally, it is not just the economy but societies and cultures too that are changing. Since the consequences of economic change are complex and vast, we need to respond with a matching comprehensiveness and understanding.

This is where higher education has a crucial role to play in providing the intellectual apparatus for dealing with the situation. This apparatus is the civil society which comprises an engaged citizenry with global capabilities. Today, higher education is both a feeder of civil society and a major component of it. The challenges of globalisation cannot be met naively but require mature reflection and informed debate.

Today’s civil society has to comprise more than just decently educated graduates and “knowledge-workers”. The spaces of civil society have to include university and college campuses so that the range and quality of informed opinion may improve and the spreading malaise of indifference may be checked.

And this would be impossible if we continued to take the walled IT-services zones as “knowledge cities” and the training in technical skills as everything that education means. In nearly all technical and management institutions, students are imparted no more than professional and vocational training. Don’t they have any role to play as socially responsible agents of action?

We stridently announce our intention to produce world-class engineers, scientists and managers, but shouldn’t we also produce world-class scholars in humanities and social sciences? Don’t we need a committed citizenry with a cosmopolitan vision and global capabilities that can critically analyse the changes brought by globalisation and by our responses to it? Matters of ecological balance, economic equity, military conflict, human rights, religious identity and linguistic and cultural plurality require a wide-based higher education that is not biased against humanities and social sciences.

Indeed, higher education has to be conceived imaginatively without pettiness. Only then we would be able to contribute to a civil society which the changing world order demands, a civil society in which critical reflection and articulation have adequate space to play freely. The destinies of countries and civilisations are too valuable to be left to parochial ideologies and narrow interests. 

The writer is with the Department of English, Punjabi University, Patiala

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On Record
Zafar, a major cultural catalyst: Dalrymple
by Charu Singh
William Dalrymple
William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple’s latest book, The Last Mughal evokes a picture of Delhi which few know of, are interested in or want to remember. But it is a haunting picture of a massive cultural renaissance carefully nurtured in Bahadur Shah Zafar’s court that was violently stamped out by the British Raj and the Mutiny of 1857.

His powerful narration of Delhi is based on previously untranslated Urdu and Persian manuscripts that include Indian eyewitness accounts, and the records of the Delhi courts, police, and administration during the siege. He has won several prizes including the Wolfson Prize for History 2003. Dalrymple is an unusual combination of a historian, scholar and writer with a knack for making history readable. He speaks to The Sunday Tribune in an exclusive interview.

Excerpts:

Q: The Last Mughal is a highly emotional work. What shook you so much about this period?

A: There is a very good reason for being very angry about what happened during that period. This was a city of about a million people in the middle of a major artistic renaissance, in terms of poetry produced at this time in terms of miniature paintings and in terms of the intellectual exchange between the East and the West. Yet, by January 1858 this was reduced to a city of ruins littered with corpses without a single living creature except a few abandoned cats and dogs and a garrison of British soldiers. You would have to be very detached and cold hearted not to get angry about this period.

Q: What impelled you to do an entire book on Zafar and the last days of the Mughal court?

A: This book is a portrait of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s city and he is a symbol. A symbol of all that is lost in this destruction of Indo-Islamic civilisation. What brought me back to this period was not Zafar although he was a very poignant and sad character but a great civilisation that flourished in Delhi for over 300 years being uprooted and entirely destroyed. There is something inherently sad and worth recording about a civilisation in its last throes whether we are talking of ancient Rome or Mughal India. My favourite history book which is a model for this book is Steven Runtsmen’s book, The Fall of Constantinople, 1453.

Q: What was most significant in your research?

A: When I discovered these “Mutiny” papers at Delhi’s National Archives for 80 years, it struck me that you could do something with this material. We managed to pull out some 85 per cent of the papers. Very few specialist essays have been written based on this material. One cannot help but speculate why Delhi got neglected in studies done on the Mutiny.

I immediately saw the massive potential of the material. The collection I came across comprises papers found in six sepoy camps, papers found in the Chancery and civil services of the rebel forces including records of the different police thanas and of the kotwal. Also, explicit records of the court of justice and complete paperwork that existed in the rebel forces when the city was recaptured by the British in 1857. This represents the most unbelievably rich treasure trove on the Mutiny.

Q: Don’t you think Delhi got neglected by Indian historians?

A: Look at it this way. Till now no one knows how hard Bahadur Shah Zafar worked on the eve of the Mutiny. Prior to the Mutiny, Zafar’s major achievements were cultural having inherited nothing. Nonetheless, he acted as a catalyst. As a major cultural catalyst and producing a cultural renaissance in his court in Delhi in the 19th Century, this is also a period of unparalleled Hindu and Muslim unity and mutual endeavours. The more extreme tendencies of India were restrained.

Anyway, what can an 82-year-old poet with an artistic temperament and a mystical bent of mind do in a massive uprising at his doorstep? When he is hampered by an equally difficult kingdom with very limited resources and so little administrative experience. Could he have suddenly turned around and found the wherewithal to feed, marshal and administer 100,000 armed persons that turned up and what could he manage? It's a very tragic story. There are no heroes in this story but it is one of massive cruelty and barbarism.

Q: You also built up the character of Ghalib. He is one of the main characters in the book.

A: I tried to take 10 characters and follow these through in the book. Ghalib, certainly, has a lot to offer, his letters before and after the Mutiny, his poetry on the eve of the storm in Delhi and after. Then prior to Ghalib, I used the poet Zauq, later Zahir Dehalvi and his writings in Urdu dating to this period. On the British side also, I used certain characters. Basically, these were my means for carrying the story forward.

Q: What is the reason behind your consistent fascination with Delhi?

A: Only people in Delhi find my fascination strange. This is something demanding of interrogation. Delhi is a very important cultural centre and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. My question is, why no one else writes about Delhi and why this massive archive has been left untouched? 

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Follow Up
Success story in digital imaging 
by Reeta Sharma

Photography and nuclear fusion? Discover the wonderful linkage. The person responsible for making photography indispensable for generating nuclear power is our own Indian — Nitin Sampat from Mumbai.

Nitin Sampat
Nitin Sampat

Nitin has the distinction of doing pioneer work in this field for the United States. “It was a unique experience. The US Department of Energy had established a laboratory for laser Energetic with a most expensive $ 100 million laser. This laser is supposed to hit the nuclear target, which is about 1millimeter (mm), to generate sun’s energy”.

He says, the challenge before him was how to make it cent percent sure that the laser would hit that 1millimeter point of the nuclear target. After sustained research, he built up the place in such a manner that hundred of cameras were fixed up to target that particular 1 mm area. He connected all those cameras to the computers that would control and focus all cameras together.

“This was a very demanding job but I am glad that we succeeded. Without any fault or failure that 1mm was beautifully nailed by the cameras to enable the laser to hit the nuclear target. This is called ‘nuclear fusion’ and I worked in this lab for 11 years. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction that photography made it possible,” he recalls.

Unassuming and humble, Nitin had done his B.Sc in Chemistry and Physics from Bombay University. He is the great grandson of Dwarka Das Narain Das Sampat who was one of the three pioneers who laid the foundation of Bombay talkies.

Dwarka Das, in collaboration with Abudllali Yusaf Ali, was the first to exhibit foreign films in India. He then founded Imperial Film Company in 1926 followed by Kohinoor Film Company, which produced India’s first three films, namely, Bhakat Vidur, Malti Madahav and Sati Ansuiya.

The times when Dwarka Das was producing films was the silent era of the Indian film industry. He also opened Hindustan Photo Films. But unfortunately in a fire everything got burnt down. Over night he became a pauper and had to start life from a scratch by selling newspapers on the roadside. Like phoenix, he emerged from the ashes of his companies to re-establish the Motion Picture Processing Cine Lab.

There is an interesting story associated with Dwarka Das. Nitin Sampat was born on the day his great grandfather died. The entire family believed that Nitin was the re-incarnation of Dwarka Das Sampat. Quite like his great grandfather, Nitin was always itching to do something that would be challenging.

In 1982, he reached the US to study photography in University of Ohio. But the teachers found it difficult to handle his non-stop queries. They suggested him to study at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) at Rochester. Soon Nitin joined Photographic Science at RIT and did his Masters Degree. It was this degree which helped him to face the challenge of ‘nuclear fusion’.

When Nitin successfully faced this challenge, the world of photography was already going through a rapid change.

“The technology related to photography was changing at neck-breaking speed. The negative film rolls were getting outdated and moving towards digital. At this juncture, I decided to take up the teaching career. Apart from teaching students I also picked up corporate education in imaging and photographic science,” he says.

By 1994, he became a full-time Professor and Chairman in the Department of Imaging Technology at RIT. Today he is a unparalleled name in teaching imaging to the engineers of the entire world. The biggest computer company Hewlett Packard of Singapore brought him to India in August.

He held hands on workshop with the engineers in Bangalore for two weeks. Today, he is a name to reckon with as an active educator and industry consultant in photographic and digital imaging – both in technologies of system design and imaging and business strategy. His clients in the world include HP, FBI, Fuji, Kodak, Polaroid and Motorola.

Nitin is a very unusual person. He likes to maintain a low profile. Asked why he has not written any book, pat came the reply, “I am not interested”. However, when persisted for an answer, he said, “People write books for fame and money. I am not interested in fame as I wish to lead a quite life. As for as money is concerned, I have more work than I can handle. In any case, our Hindu philosophy is that we have come to this world with empty hands and will leave the world without taking anything with us. So why chase worldly materialism?

“Everything that we do in photographic science is a technical knowledge which in any case would be available for coming generations to follow”.

At present Nitin is working on the History of American Posters from 19th to 21st centuries. With the techniques of photography, this research work will present before the world the very original posters in a totally refurbished manner. He also has a business plan of reproducing original paintings with the help of photography.

“The photography related technology is growing at a heady speed and now we can reproduce the exact replica of any painting and one would not be able to tell the difference. This will enable millions of people to own the prized works of art in their homes at affordable prices,” reveals a beaming Nitin Sampat. 

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Profile
Another feather in the cap of Jayant Narlikar
by Harihar Swarup

HAS the life on earth come from “outer space”? It may have, claims noted astro-physicist Jayant Vishnu Narlikar. If his claim is true, then for the first time we have evidence that the life really does exist beyond Planet Earth and there is possibility that life on Earth has come from the outer space.

Recently, a team under Narlikar’s leadership, launched two 170 meters long “astronomical” balloons from a Hyderabad launch facility to an altitude of about 42 km. They carried sterilised samplers that captured atmospheric air. The idea was to see if there are microorganisms (germs) at that height.

The balloons’ altitude has a significance. Volcanic ash and factory pollutions, that may carry germs up into the atmosphere, do not rise beyond 25 km. So the presence of microbes at the height of 42 km will suggest that they were not going up; they were coming down from the Space. That is at the heart of what is called the Cosmic Ancestry Theory.

According to this theory, eternal spores carrying genetic material travel through the vastness of space for millions of years riding on orphaned comets. They are dormant agents of destiny that fall on different worlds like Earth. The life encoded inside the spores then emerges and in time species evolve.

If this is true, we were all birthed somewhere far away, in what we call deep space and not in some prehistoric oceans on Earth. The result of the second experiment is awaited. The first balloon was launched five years back.

Founder-Director of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Narlikar is respected across campuses as among those who choose to pursue the extraordinary. He is more than a mere academic. Much decorated for his contribution to development of science, he has been honoured yet again with the H.K. Firodia Award for Excellence in Science and Technology.

This Award is meant to recognise the scientists’ contributions to inspire the youth to take to science, develop scientific temper and offer innovative solutions to problems faced by the nation. Renowned as a science communicator, Karlikar is noted for his collaborative research work with his mentor Dr Fred Hoyle on throwing more light on Einstein’s theory of relativity. A world renowned astronomer, the late Dr Hoyle was recognised as one of the most creative scientists of the 20th century.

Narlikar repudiates the theory of astrology as superstition and ignorance. The idea that planets rule destinies originated in Babylonian and Greek cultures. Noting that certain celestial bodies exhibited random motions, Greeks called such bodies the planets (wanderers). They assumed that the wanderings of the planets are on account of their will power and the will of the planets are also exercised on mortals on earth. This is the basis of astrology, he says. There is no reference to astrology in Vedas, he adds.

It is well known now that planets are inert systems that move in mathematically determined orbits around the sun and are devoid of any will power. Having lectured in over 40 countries around the world, Narlikar says that it is only in India that he is questioned on the validity of astrological beliefs. According to him, astrology is as deep-rooted in the Indian mindset as the caste system. Every important occasion in one’s life should be decided astrologically like when should you move from your old house to a new one? Or, what is the auspicious time to travel?

Matching horoscopes to determine marital compatibility or determining the time for the swearing-in must be according to astrology. Scientists have conducted controlled experiments to determine whether planets exert any influence on human beings. No positive results were found.

Another spectacular achievement of Narlikar is setting up a science “exploratorium” in the Pune University campus. At the centre, children learn science while playing and tinkering with toys which are often made from throwaway household things or from low cost material.

Children learn to make toys, gadgets and paper folding and are able to freely tinker with interactive scientific demonstrations which encompass various scientific principles — air pressure, stability of objects, production of sound, magnetism and so on.

Now 70, Narlikar grew up in an academic and scholarly environment at home with a liking for both mathematics and Sanskrit. His father, Vishnu Vasudeva Narlikar was an eminent mathematician. He was Professor and Head, Department of Mathematics, Banasras Hindu University. His mother, Sumati Vishnu Narlikar, was a Sanskrit scholar.

Jayant himself was a topper in all examinations. He was founder member of the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy which was established in Cambridge in 1966 by Sir Fred Hoyle, his mentor, guide and philosopher. 

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Diversities — Delhi Letter
UN concern on infections in hospitals
by Humra Quraishi

THREE days stand lined out — World AIDS Day (Dec 1), International Day of Disabled Persons (Dec 3) and Human Rights Day (Dec 10). These days help re-focus on the grim realities in different spheres.

Maybe, some level of awareness has come about but the number of the affected isn’t declining. Even if one were to argue that medical facilities are coming up, to counter the growing numbers of the affected, the latest UN report, quoting WHO sources, states that at any given moment, some 1.4 million people worldwide are ill because of infections acquired in hospitals.

In developed countries, 5 to 10 per cent of all patients fall ill because of infections acquired in hospitals while in some developing countries a quarter of patients may be affected. According to the report, the WHO has come up with a simple way out to counter this. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers need to wash and clean their hands every time they see a patient.

In the Indian context, to the best of my knowledge, there is no data available on this, i.e. the number of those who get infected in hospitals. It could be a large percentage, with the conditions in and around. At times, it is almost frightening to go near those wards and corridors of hospitals.

A few years back, as I had called on a so-called VVIP, who had suffered a fall from an aircraft and was recovering in the special ward of All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, one was shocked to see monkeys loitering around (yes, as comfortably as the rest of the inmates). When I had pointed out this to the heavily bandaged man and his family, they showed their helplessness and said there was nothing they could do to counter the monkey menace.

Surprisingly, this persists to this day with mosquitoes also joining the brigade! What can the patient and caretakers do to ease out this rather ironical situation of acquiring more infections and disease whilst being lodged in hospitals? I am no medical expert, but I do strongly feel that for a developing country like ours, the alternative system of medicine needs to be given its due. It’s a pity that even herbs and herbal remedies are bypassed as disease and the numbers of the affected seems going up.

Many more new books

We Indians are definitely not lagging behind in book writing. Civil servant Shovana Narayan, who is better known for her ‘kathaking’, has been busy writing her autobiography. Titled Meandering Pastures of Memories (Macmillan India), it will be launched here today (Nov 26).

On Nov 30, a volume on Amitabh Bachchan will get launched. Simply titled, Amitabh — The Making of a Superstar, it is written by Susmita Dasgupta and published by Penguin Books India.

The same day, there would be the launch of artist Jhupu Adhikari’s book, Jhupu — A Life Drawing, together with an exhibition of his painting series on Turkey. All that and more on his 80 birthday with the Turkish Ambassador to India, Halil Akinci, playing the chief guest’s role.

On Dec 2, Penguin Books India and Ravi Dayal publishers are hosting an evening to celebrate the works of Shama Futehally. She passed away about two years back, but readers remember her through her works — novels, Tara Lane and Reaching Bombay Central and short story collections, Frontiers and The Right Words.

The trend that I very much appreciate is the coming together of English, Hindi and Urdu publishers and writers. This will strengthen the platform and help promote better interaction and outreach. In keeping with this, I am looking forward to the launch of Hindi writer Arun Prakash’s collection of short stories titled, Swapn Ghar, which has been published by Penguin Books India and Yatra Books.

The last three months of the year seemed the so-called booked months. This weekend comes Nobel Laureate Dr Shirin Ebadi. She will give a talk on Gender Discrimination and Sex Trafficking. She will also release a volume, The Place Where We Live Is Called a Red Light Area. Children living in Kalighat and Sonagachchi, Kolkata, have authored this book. 

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And when it is said to them, “Believe as the people believe,” they say, “Shall we believe as imbeciles believe? No, it is they, they who are the imbecilles, though they do not know.
—The Koran

The most terrible disease that can ever strike a human being is to have on one near him to be loved. Without a heart full of love, without generous hands, it is impossible to cure a man suffering of loneliness.
—Mother Teresa

Such is the distinctive glory of the True Guru; that through his grace and guidance, One can attain salvation even while living a normal domestic life.
— Guru Nanak

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