Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Review: Lajja

Title:         Lajja (Shame)
Author:    Taslima Nasrin
Publ.:        Penguin India
ISBN:        978-0-140-24051-1
MRP:         Rs 250
Pages:       216

The Sanskrit word ‘Lajja’ literally means ‘Shame’. This book makes one think about the basic tenets upon which a nation must be built. The firebrand writer Taslima Nasrin shot to fame with this novel that first came out in Bengali language in 1993 and was banned by the Bangladesh government after a few months of release. Since then Ms. Nasrin has come in the hate-radar of Islamic clergy and fundamentalists. This novel is more of a mirror that shows the society and the government of Bangladesh their real faces that are indescribably ugly. However, despite getting numerous death threats and after years of exile, the author still refuses to apologize or to be silenced. I think Ms. Nasrin can be called a writer in the truest sense because her work is powerful and deep enough to bring a change in thinking, to show a whole nation its ugliness and to make a dent in the rotten perceptions, changing their track to some extent. That is why Lajja is considered an important book.
Through a fictional story, the disastrous effects of the ‘Babri Masjid’ demolition upon Bangladeshi Hindus are shown. Many true-life incidents and census analyses have been provided so that each point made has a factual backing.

The story revolves around one Dutta family that resides in a place called ‘Tikatuli’ in Bangladesh. Dr. Sudhamoy Dutta, the head, I think, represents the ideal fundamentals upon which the country was conceived. A true patriot and honest to the core, Dr. Sudhamoy fervently takes part in all the national movements but is left alone, ill and paralyzed in his later years; his idealism fails him and he gets reduced to a mute spectator to the crumbling principles, increasing hate-crimes and death of secularism in his beloved country after its liberation. This is what Bangladesh has been shown to become after gaining independence- weakened by injustice, stripped of idealism and paralyzed by genocide.  

His son Suranjan Dutta represents the educated and optimistic Hindu youth. At 33, he remains unemployed because of hatred and unfriendly laws against Hindus and thus unmarried as well. He is somewhat of an idealist too and loves his country ardently. However, just like most Hindu youths, he gets nothing but discrimination and antipathy. Finally, his spirit of secularism dies out leading to depression. The way he takes his revenge on a street-worker Shamima, is heart rendering.

Kironmoyee Dutta, Suranjan’s mother is a silent, religious, sacrificing, but unhappy woman who broods in the background throughout the novel, though she puts up in any and every situation stoically with her family, esp. her husband. She represents the under-privileged Bangladeshi Hindu masses that love their country but desire to leave for a ‘safe’ place like Calcutta. After a point, her tears dry out and she submits to her husband and her fate.

Twenty-one years old Maya, the youngest child of Duttas’, is a beautiful and educated young woman and represents the dignity of Hindu women that gets brutalized and lost in the sacrilege and torture inflicted upon the Hindus by their own Muslim brethren.

The family keeps holding on to its idealism, loyalty, and patriotism even when they face poverty and destruction by Muslims enraged over the Babri demotion. However, when the old bonds get strained by bias and intolerance, their hopes hit a hard ground and start cracking up. Apprehensively, Duttas arrive upon a decision they could not even think of earlier.

It is surprising that the book has been written by a Muslim as the author rips apart the hypocrisy of the Bangladeshi government, hell-bent upon Islamizing the entire country and their apathetic and barbaric behavior towards the very same Hindus who once stood by their side in various movements against the oppressors. She openly accuses the religious fundamentalists and even the common Muslim citizens of a prejudiced behavior. There are no purple passages because the purpose of the book is altogether different. Interestingly, Ms. Nasrin completed this book in seven days.

Lajja is not only revealing because of the facts and figures given but it makes one think about the disastrous effects of power going in the hands of fundamentalists. It shows how intolerance, fanaticism and bigotry eat-up secularism and peace in such a nation. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Review: Far From The Madding Crowd

Title:         Far From The Madding Crowd
Author:     Thomas Hardy

I have my late grandpa’s 1952 unabridged, printed in Great Britain HB copy of this novel published by Macmillan & Co, that I really cherish. The story is set in late 1800s in a fictional place named Whetherbury and revolves around a beautiful, strong-willed and independent girl named Bathsheba Everdene who has three men in love with and chasing her. An orphan Bathsheba’s life gets transformed when she inherits her heirless uncle’s farm and becomes a rich farm-owner. 

The three men –simple and diligent Gabriel Oak, rich and passionate Boldwood and smart and temperamental Francis Troy, fancy Bathsheba and she chooses one of them as her husband. However, things take a turn for the worst when a juvenile valentine-card prank goes wrong and after her marriage, old skeletons along with a horrible secret, tumble out and create an emotional mayhem leading to a fitful murder. 

The story is well woven and keeps the reader glued. The metaphors are lovely but long descriptions of how farms, sheep-rearing and farm-markets operate seem to be over-stretched. Overall, the book is wonderful! 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Catch-Up Kid!

It is no secret that children who are healthy are often the brightest, for a healthy body is the foundation of a healthy mind. A tired body can never make a child participate in activities that develop physical fitness and alertness, like games and other sports. It is now a norm to make a kid a complete bookworm. I agree that studying is indeed a good thing and every parent wants his/her child to be well versed in some foreign language like French, to know beautiful verses by heart and to top in all subjects in school but no one bothers to check what is put up on stake for all this. A stunted physical growth is caused by many factors; it may be a heavy school bag. According to a study done, an average schoolbag weighs around six kilos and we cannot even imagine how a child with a poor health carries it every day. Another thing is too much time spent in studying and that too becomes inevitable sometimes as the exams approach or the child approaches higher classes. However, the good news is that it is not too late, especially when we have something that can revive the growth as well as make up for the lost growth for a child. It is Horlicks Growth +. This product has been designed by specialist doctors for children aged 3-9, a time where most of the growth takes place.

A child with low weigh and height factor will always feel inferior and this complex will definitely spill to other compartments and thus in the long run he will be alone, down with a deep complex. Such children often develop suicidal tendencies; self-torture becomes one of their many behavioral issues. In our efforts to prevent all that the phrase ‘long run’ is rather not appropriate because children grow up really fast and the time we have in their growing up years is short. Here, we can rely upon one thing very easily and that is Horlicks Growth + that has a high protein quality essential to maintain an appropriate height-weight ratio and which gives visible and measurable results in mere six months. Parents who keep very busy can give Horlicks Growth + to their children and ensure that their growth and development takes place according to the standards of a healthy body.

It is however a problem that children are often moody and choosy in matters of food, especially health drinks and supplements. But there is nothing to worry as this drink comes in two delicious flavors of chocolate and vanilla that are commonly liked by all children. Those who have no time or no good shops in their vicinity, can order this online too with a click! There are few things that should not be compromised and the growth of your child is one of them. After all, what can be a greater gift parents can give than a good health & fitness? It is the best gift indeed sans an iota of doubt!

Please visit the website for much more info and height-weight calculator @ https://growthplus.horlicks.in/

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Waves- A Haiku

Waves wash names on sand
Mortal fingers proudly carve
Sea chuckles on our inanity


Pic Link