Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Children’s literature is being taken seriously: Ruskin Bond

Compared to 10 or 15 years ago, children's literature is now being taken seriously by publishers, says author Ruskin Bond. (Image: BCCL)

Compared to 10 or 15 years ago, children’s literature is now being taken seriously by publishers, says author Ruskin Bond. (Image: BCCL)

New Delhi: Keeping children riveted to a book is not an easy task and requires responsibility and sensitivity, legendary author Ruskin Bond, who at 81 has more than 150 titles to his credit, says. The popular storyteller is also gratified by the fact that children’s literature has grown impressively and is now taken seriously by publishers.

“Writing for children is more responsible and one needs to be sensitive. If they don’t find the first few pages interesting, they will keep it away,” the uncannily witty Bond, who weaves magic with his pen, told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of a meeting with five children who have been selected in the ‘Child Reading to Child’ initiative of the Landmark bookstore chain.

Reading has always been a minority hobby even during his school days, though it has improved over the years.

“I often hear that reading habits of children today are affected by the internet and gizmos. During my schooltime, before the age of TV and the internet, there were very few kids who enjoyed reading. So I don’t think it has to do anything with the internet,” said Bond, who is warming up to the release of his new book “Rusty and the Magic Mountains” next month.

“…India always changes people, and I have been no exception”: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala


According to Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the German-born author and screenwriter, who was born today in history, 07 May, 1927:

“They are no longer the same because I myself am no longer the same. India always changes people, and I have been no exception.”

Heat and Dust

Chapter 1

Narendra Modi condemns attack on offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned the attack on the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Idries Shah, author and teacher in Sufi tradition, died today in history: 23 November, 1996

Idries Shah

Idries Shah

Idries Shah[pronunciation?] (16 June 1924 – 23 November 1996) (Persian: ادریس شاه‎, Urdu: ادریس شاه‎, Hindi: इदरीस शाह), also known as Idris Shah, né Sayed Idries el-Hashimi (Arabic: سيد إدريس هاشمي) and by the pen name Arkon Daraul, was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition who wrote over three dozen books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and culture studies.

Born in India, the descendant of a family of Afghan nobles, Shah grew up mainly in England. His early writings centred on magic and witchcraft. In 1960 he established a publishing house, Octagon Press, producing translations of Sufi classics as well as titles of his own. His seminal work was The Sufis, which appeared in 1964 and was well received internationally. In 1965, Shah founded the Institute for Cultural Research, a London-based educational charity devoted to the study of human behaviour and culture. A similar organisation, the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK), exists in the United States, under the directorship of Stanford University psychology professor Robert Ornstein, whom Shah appointed as his deputy in the U.S.

In his writings, Shah presented Sufism as a universal form of wisdom that predated Islam. Emphasizing that Sufism was not static but always adapted itself to the current time, place and people, he framed his teaching in Western psychological terms. Shah made extensive use of traditional teaching stories and parables, texts that contained multiple layers of meaning designed to trigger insight and self-reflection in the reader. He is perhaps best known for his collections of humorous Mulla Nasrudin stories.

Shah was at times criticised by orientalists who questioned his credentials and background. His role in the controversy surrounding a new translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, published by his friend Robert Graves and his older brother Omar Ali-Shah, came in for particular scrutiny. However, he also had many notable defenders, chief among them the novelist Doris Lessing. Shah came to be recognised as a spokesman for Sufism in the West and lectured as a visiting professor at a number of Western universities. His works have played a significant part in presenting Sufism as a secular, individualistic form of spiritual wisdom.

Video: “The India of André Malraux”

André Malraux in India

André Malraux in India

Video: “The India of André Malraux”, a country which André Malraux, the French author who was born today in history, 3 November, 1901, visited after his father´s death:

“André Malraux was a French adventurer, award-winning author, statesman and known for his interest in archaeology. He came to India after his father’s death and traveled extensively through Indochina and China. He was on friendly terms with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Indians will recall that during India’s ordeal André Malraux made a public declaration stating that he was willing to go and fight for Bangladesh. Three thousand Frenchmen, among whom senior officers, then immediately proposed to follow his example. The film narrates the life of André Malraux and his relation with India through interviews, images of old archaeological items and other old footage.”