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Miss Laila, Armed And Dangerous - By Manu Joseph: Book Review

There are books no meant for Right-wingers like me, some would say. On the face of it, Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous is one such book. But then, a question kept coming back to me again and again while I read this book- How often does it happen that you do not agree (even detest) many things the author writes but still are unable to put the book down on account of an unmitigated charm of brilliantly written words which do not let you go?
     This work of fiction is not a fiction too far away from the real world. It draws characters from real, contemporary world, name them differently (only slightly, so as the resemblance to the person living and dead is pronounced and hard-to-miss). The writer's journalistic prejudices come in clear view when he writes about Damodarbhai , the Miss Laila equivalent of the Prime Minister Narendra Damodarbhai Modi, or when he writes about Sangh (he calls it that, plainly and simply). Damodarbhai never actually steps into the story, but keeps hoverin…
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Nausea - By Jean -Paul Sartre : Book Review

There are some books which take time to grow on you. Some books will never hold you long enough to be able to impact you unless you are, well, their 'type'. Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre is one such book. I, fortunately or unfortunately, am of the type. I remember finding in a moment of serendipity, Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche  one night in the shared rented house, left by the landlord gathering dust in a shelf, and staying up till the dawn reading it. I found myself a changed man after reading that. I read Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground much later and the philosophy lingered for a very long time. Those were the books from the aftermath of which my modest intellect could barely survive.
A philosophical Novel, which is more of a study in existential philosophy than a Novel with a story-line, places Sartre in the list of greatest existentialist writers in the history. It is a matter of sheer coincidence that I read Nausea and The Fall by Albert Camus in a gap of…

My Take on Padmavati Controversy

It doesn't take long for the mob to appropriate the ownership of the anger of common men and women. Before one could even take note, a rightful fury fades in the surging, unruly waves of voices calling for violence. What begins as a worthy protest, quickly descends into dark, disgusting and dirty depths of fanatic fury. 
In no time, we becomes them and once the faces are wrapped into the color of the blood, it is impossible to identify the one from the other. We have seen this earlier and at times dropped our heads in disgust, turned our noses upwards in annoyance when voices rose and "Satanic Verses" - a novel by one excellent writer, Salman Rushdie was withdrawn. When there were rioting men out on the streets for a Facebook post, we laughed at the those highly-inflammable sensitivity of men with allegiance to intolerant middle-eastern minds of the people, stilling stuck in the middle-ages. Whenever debates happened on the growing intolerance among the Hindus vis-a-vis I…

India, That is Bharat-5: The Making of BharatVarsha

The Making of Bharatउत्तरम यत्समुद्रस्य, हिमाद्रेश्चैव दक्षिणम।  वर्ष तद्वारातम नाम भारती सन्तति। - विष्णु पुराण 
"The land which lies north of the Oceans, and on the South of the Snow-peaked Mountains, there live the descendants of Bharat, after whom the land shall be named." – Vishnu Purana
There has been an agenda in the Independent India to prove that India did not exist as an entity before the British or the Mughals landed, depending on whether the Historian owes allegiance to  Madarassa or to Macaulay. There are facts and references spread out and people like us who spend large part of our non-entitled lives chasing the middle-class dream of career and life, depend on their interpretation and inference to learn our history. Once we know our History, we understand our unifying and common origin. It then becomes difficult for those wanting to draw wedge between us, to do that. It also makes them difficult to continue their intellectual hegemony over the people who have disc…

The Quiet American - By Graham Greene- Book Review

Writer: Graham Greene Genre: Fiction, Classis Rating: Must Read Every writer has a story to tell. It is all about a story which finds its way to the paper. We all tell stories. What makes a story well-told and great, to my mind, is the connect the writer establishes between the story and the environment which sets the context of the story. Once we understand the world in which the story unravels, we are immediately hooked to it. In a subtle view, the writer sets the context which helps the reader learn the micro as well as macro contexts of the story. A great story like Stendhal's Red and Black is not only the story of the protagonist, but it also narrates the French revolution, the sudden absence of Napoleon from the french world within which the protagonist falls in love and out of it. 

The Quiet American by Graham Greene is one such exceptionally told story which contextualizes the murder of an idealist, tentatively a propagandist, American, Alden Pyle in Vietnam, struggling betwee…

Women in Vedas - The Fake Story of Sati Pratha

Biggest problem which Hinduism faces when it is being evaluated through the western prism of Abrahamic faith . I was watching a speech by Sadhguru where he mentioned a very critical defining feature of Hinduism. He says, unlike Western faiths, Hinduism did not place anyone at a pedestal where questions would not reach. Forget the Prophets and Masters, even Gods were received with affection and a list of questions. Nothing was ever beyond debate in Hinduism, not even Gods. This very nature of Hinduism has often been cause of concern and confusion for Western thinkers, troubled by a religion, which is seeped so deep into our culture of exploration of truth through investigation and examination. When the western scholars approach the Vedic Indian wisdom, oftentimes their approach itself is based on the assumption that they are approaching a civilization, a religion which is inferior to theirs. This makes it hard for them to accept a society which was an intellectually flourishing society…

The Grand Game of Shaming the Sanatana

Ever sat down in the dark of the night besides vast and violent river Ganga and watched a lonely earthen lamp floating its way into oblivion? When I look at the way world has changed in the recent centuries, and two leading younger religions overwhelmed the globe, I often feel, India as that singular, silent lamp floating amid turbulent waves in a hostile world. When I look at the way things happen all around, makes me believe even more on that. 
We mostly look at the small, mischievous gestures and wave it off as routine impertinence of the intellectual elites. But the meanings often are deeper and the game, much bigger. We always think a small piece does not matter, a little giveaway here and there, after all, life is but a criss-cross of well-meaning mutual compromises. But what we miss is the key term- mutual. Unless it is mutual, it is not compromise, it is subjugation, even if it means yielding an inch. That is what Five villages meant for the Pandavas in The Mahabharata. The fiv…