Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Home and the World - Book Review

After reading Gora, "Ghare Bhaire" was my next choice (Ghare - Home, that which belongs to home, Bhaire - That which is from outside, or external). I read the treanslation (by Surendranath Tagore) of Ghare Bhaire (Rabindranath Tagore).

Once again Tagore has proven his brilliance. The words he uses in his sentences are like pearls in a necklace. The way he expresses himself is simply exquisite.

You have a point of view (POV). You want to put it through. How do you do it?

Ask Tagore.

He creates characters out of all possible POVs and makes them part of his drama. They then unfold , making you think it is a story. In the end you find Tagore has expressed almost all the POVs in a subject. Such was how I felt after I read this book.

Spoiler - Dont read further if you plan to read the book.

This is the first time I am reading a novel, that tells the story from three different angles. i.e, the book unfolds as "Bimala's Story", "Sandip's Story" and "Nikhil's story". I saw a tamil movie which was also of the same theme (i.e narrating from different POVs, i.e Virumaandi).

Quite a nice concept really. Instead of being a third person who narrates the story, or the hero who tells his journey, this is one more way to develop a novel. I really loved the triumph of mankind over blind patriotism. The love for a fellow human being winning over the love for one's caste, rigid values etc. (as Nikhil's master has shown). And as usual, Tagore's women are strong characters and rich in values.

On the whole a good read. I would rate this at the same level as Gora. I am now latching on to A History of the World in 10.5 chapters by Julian Barnes (suggested by one friend of mine).


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

History of Religions

Found this nice website:

However, there is a slight misgiving I have about the above website. It shows Hinduism as the name of the religion as it is today. However, the word "Hindu" is a coined word (and it was coined by the Britishers for all it takes :) just a few hundred years ago).

Before this word was in place, there were Shaivites, Shanmugaites, Vaishnavites, Kali Worshippers etc throughout India. To unite them all under one head, the Britishers used the word "Hindu".

I would call the religion as the "Vedic" religion, or rather the Vedic Way of Life. The Vedas together with the Upanishads, and the other "Angas" (parts) such as Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. make up the core of the religion people of the Indus Valley (India).

One more flaw I see with the above map is that it mentions "Hinduism" to have started at around 3000BC. But in the Mahabharata itself there is mention of the Vedic Lore, which clearly implies that it predates the 3000 BC period mentioned. Also, Ramayana which is a part of the "Itihasa" (history), studied as part of Vedic education, predates Mahabharata. There is mention of the 4 vedas in the Ramayana. Vedas themselves mention that there is no specific "Starting" point for them.

Also, there is very little mention of Nature Worshippers, Aboriginal religions, and about other religions practiced in other areas of the world (it cannot be possible that the other parts of the world were not doing much about religion all that time :) ). Maybe, the reason why it was left out was because,that information is not available or that those religions are today non-existent.

Anyways, that apart it is quite interesting to see the above URL.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


The news channels seem to be full of the Shilpa Shetty Racism issue. I read this article and I thought of blogging about it as well.

The trio also complained that Shilpa had touched other housemates' food with her hands.
Danielle said: "You don't know where those hands have been."

After so many thousands of years of civilisation, are we truly educated? Seeing the remarks that have been made against the actress I am full of sympathy for her.

We saw what happened in France a few months ago. The movie "Crash" was well directed and brought out a lot of important facts.

Looks like Racism is there to stay.

The more one is educated and the more one is wealthy, the lesser he cares about all else. Especially about fellow humans. Arrogance in one's race and lack of confidence on the part of the oppressed race, is the root cause for Racism.

But the oppressors do have a reason to be arrogant about.

Do we Indians not foolishly try to imitate the west in all we do?
Do we Indians not look upto them?
Did Vivekananda gain praise because he preached in Kanyakumari or in Los Angeles?
Did the Bhagavad Gita get notice because of us or because Einstein had some good things to say about it?
Did the Vedas Gain prominence because of Max Muller or because of Ved Vyasa?

I request all Indians to just think about this. Let us stop looking up toward the westerners for each and everything in our life and take pride in our own culture and tradition.

Confidence in oneself will automatically eradicate Racism. If all races are very self confident, there is no question of Racism.

I request Shilpa to stay calm in this situation and act like a matured Indian. We Indians are too matured to react to this kind of silly childish remarks. Please know that in this issue you have my fullest support.