Thursday, August 31, 2017

Amrita Pritam

Today is the birth anniversary of Amrita Pritam,the first poetess of Punjabi.Her poetry is one of longing and desire and has an underlying streak of spirituality to it.She broke new ground in a departure from the conventional love poetry and lived an unconventional life proving herself to be quite a rebel.Her autobiographical work 'Raseedi Ticket' is candid and honest to the point of being a tell all and hide nothing account.
She has written wistfully of her affair with Sahir Ludhianvi expressed more through letters that they exchanged with each other.The second to come in her life was a painter Imroz, with whom she shared her life till her death.
Her Hindi novel "Band Darwaza" is one of its kind.
A recipient of Sahitya Academy Award,Gyanpeeth Award,Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan, she has inspired many a woman poet.
Our humble tributes !

Maria Montessori

Today is the birth anniversary of Dr. Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori, the Italian physician and educator who devised the Montesssori method of education in different stages for children between the age of 2.5 and 12. The Montessori method is universally accepted and is practiced in most of the Public and Private Schools. 
Our humble tributes !

Keeping pace with times

I am an old fashioned person and it takes me quite some time to adopt and adapt myself to new things, be it new technology or dress designs.I got for myself a mobile phone as late as 2010, while my wife and kids had it much before. Same with dress design. In the '70s when bell bottoms were the rage, I remained stuck with the out of vogue medium width pants. We used to have buttons to fasten the fly in front of the pants. In 70s only the more convenient zippers came. Quite later I had pants stitched which had zippers.
Ignorance is not always a bliss. I thought it was enough to pull the zipper up. Much to my embarrassment, once on returning from the bazaar, when I began to change, I found the zippers had betrayed me. Mercifully no one had pointed this out to me. Perhaps it went unnoticed or the persons meeting me ignored it to save me from embarrassment.When I talked about this to a close friend, he told me that after pulling up it had to be locked by pressing the strip down.
Since then I have been careful enough not to be subjected to wardrobe malfunction !

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


हिन्दी सिनेमा के लोकप्रिय गीतकार स्व॰ शैलेंद्र की आज जयंती है .यदि गायक मुकेश राज कपूर की आवाज़ थे तो शैलेन्द्र उनकी भाषा या शब्द.वास्तव में ये राजकपूर ,मुकेश, शैलेन्द्र और शंकर-जयकिशन की चौकड़ी थी जिसने वर्षों तक सिनेमा और संगीत प्रेमियों के दिलों पर राज किया। उनने शन्कर जयकिशन के अलावा एस.डी. बर्मन, सलिल चौधरी, जैसे अन्य सन्गीत कारों के लिए भी गीत लिखे !
आवारा, गाइड, तीसरी कसम, सन्गम, अनाड़ी, मेरा नाम जोकर, सुजाता, बरसात आदि फिल्मों के लिये उनके द्वारा लिखे गीत आज भी लोकप्रिय हैं ।
फ़िल्म बूट पालिश का मशहूर गीत - चली कौन से देश - उनके द्वारा लिखित ही नहीं बल्कि उन पर फिल्माया भी गया है ।
सीधे सादे शब्दों का प्रयोग कर अनेकों कालजयी गीतों की रचना करने वाले शब्दों के इस महान जादूगर को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Toru Dutt

Today is the 140th death anniversary of Toru Dutt, (1856-1877) arguably the first Indian poetess in English. She was born of Bengali parents in Calcutta –now Kolkata .Though less widely known than Sarojini Naidu, her immediate successor as far as English poetry by Indian women is concerned, her literary output , in terms of maturity and literary merit is something to marvel at keeping in view the fact that she lived on this planet only for 21 years. Her Bengali Hindu family later converted to Christianity.Toru Datt spent about four years in England and France, during which she learnt French and also honed her skills in writing . She wrote in English and French and besides poems she also wrote two Novels one each in English & French. She was well versed in Bengali too and in later stages of her short life span learnt Sanskrit also. Sometimes a parallel is drawn , comparing her with John Keats who had also died of consumption at a young age of 26 , leaving a precious treasure of English Romantic poetry. She was sharply critical of the injustice meted out to Indians by the British and did not hesitate to express her disapproval of the same.
Though a convert to Christianity, her interest in Indian tradition, Hindu mythology and mythological figures remained in tact . Her poem ‘Lakshman’ is about the dilemma of Lakshman on being exhorted, taunted and scolded by Sita to compel him to go to protect Ram who had gone hunting for Golden Deer at Sita’s behest. It is common knowledge, Sita was abducted by the demon King Ravan , when she was alone and mistakenly crossed the Lakshman Rekha , drawn to form a protective ring around the hut where the three were dwelling at that time during exile.The poem itself is a fine specimen of poetic genius of Toru Dutt. All her English poems are always a pleasure to read . Her poetical collection ‘A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields’ though published 1876 brought her fame and recognition ,only after her death.
Our humble tributes to this poet prodigy !

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Today is the birth as well as death anniversary of Ingrid Bergman , one of the most celebrated actresses who worked in European and American Cinema. Born this day in Stockholm in 1915, she started with Swedish films and became a leading actress . Her stint in the American cinema started with a film Intermezzo- A Love Story (1939), a remake of the Swedish film Intermezzo (1936) in which she had worked before. Despite her inability to speak English, she went on to work in movies like Adam Had Four Sons, Rage In heaven, Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in 1941. She is best known for her role in the classic film Casablanca (1942), in which she appeared opposite Humphry Bogart . She also worked in For Whom The Bell Tolls (1943) a film based on the novel of Ernest Hemingway, bearing the same name. Even Hemingway felt that Bergman was best suited for the role. She also worked in Gaslight ( 1944 ) which won her the Academy Award for the Best Actress. The Bells of St. Mary’s, a 1945 film won her nomination for the best Actress Award.

She also starred in Alfred Hitchcock films , Spellbound, Notorious and Under Capricorn. She also received the Best Actress nomination for her role in Joan of Arc. She worked in five Italian films also. 
In her acting career she won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe awards , one BAFTA award and the Tony Award for Best Actress. 
She died of breast cancer this day in London, in 1982 aged 67. 
Our humble tributes !

Major Dhyan Chand

Today is the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand, the legendary hockey player.An army man, he started playing hockey in regimental tournaments and graduated to being a member of the Indian Army team and in 1926,was selected as a member of the Indian Hockey team. Apart from other extraordinary feats in the field, he is mostly remembered for winning India three consecutive Hockey Gold medals in 1928, 1932and 1936 Olympics held in Amsterdam, Los Angeles and Berlin respectively.
His goal scoring skills were legendary and in all he scored 1000 goals in his career. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in the year 1956 and remains the only Hockey player to have been awarded so.
Our humble tributes to this greatest Hockey player of all times !

Dr. Jivraj Narayan Mehta

Today is the birth anniversary of Dr. Jivraj Narayan Mehta – Jivraj Mehta for short- a renowned medical practitioner educated home and abroad. He later turned a freedom fighter also remained for sometime a private physician to Mahatma Gandhi. Founder of many medical institutions of repute in India, he made immense contribution to medical research in India . Thrice elected President of the All India Medical Congress, he was also a President of the Indian Medical Association.
He was the first Chief Minister of newly carved state of Gujarat from 1960 to 1963. He served as the Indian High Commissioner to the U.K. from 1963 to 1966.
Lately an award has been instituted in his name which is awarded to outstanding medical practitioners. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1972.

Our humble tributes !

Monday, August 28, 2017


Poems by 
Lily Swarn 
Publishers :Authorspress, New Delhi 
ISBN 978-93-86722-45-4
Pp: 236
Price: Rs 395/-
Lily Swarn‘s name became known to me only about a year and a half ago. It was perhaps in the month of February, 2016 that I chanced upon a poem posted by her on her Facebook Page . The poem caught my fancy being about the mental state of a young college girl making her way to/from an eating joint serving Chinese food , just alongside the stairs that lead from Baljee’s , the Mall Shimla down to Lower bazaar through Middle Bazaar. My hometown, Shimla being in the backdrop , the poem struck an instant chord with me. Facebook friendship followed and since then I have been a regular reader of her poems as also her wonderful posts in lyrical prose. She also introduced me to Facebook Page being operated by her in the name of her late son Gobind Shahzaad Singh- a victim to a terminal diseasein his early twenties - which also has an enormous following . This maiden published poetry collection by her is rightly dedicated to him . 
Lily Swarn has been an all rounder , excellent in academics & a Gold Medalist, who dabbled in dramatics, acting in English plays and was also student Editor of the English section of the magazine . To cap it all, she has recently won The Reuel International Prize for Poetry,-2016 .
Her poetry conforms not only to the simple and popular definition of poetry given by Worsworth as being ‘ spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings , taking its origin from emotions recollected in tranquility ‘ but also to the more subtle purpose of poetry given by T.S.Eliot who calls poetry ‘ not a turning loose of emotion but an escape from emotion , not an expression of personality but an escape from personality ‘ . Eliot further emphasizes the presence of both emotions and personality for making an escape from these possible. I think this also explains the background of Lily Swarn proverbially ‘wielding the pen again’ , though literally she presses the alphabets on the key board of her I phone and with what ease !
Apart from the statement of the fact that the collection is dedicated to her Late son, the Foreword by Dr. Ampat Koshy, the Preface and Acknowledgements by the poet , the tributes to the poet recorded by some well known names in Modern Indian Poetry in English, form an integral part of the collection .
A Trellis Of Ecstasy is a collection or rather a bouquet of about 140 and odd poems divided into sections like ‘ The Prize Winning Poems’, ‘ Conversations with my soul’, ‘Nature Poetry’, ‘Love’, ‘ Spontaneous Ponderings’ , ‘ Portraits’ and ‘Alliterations’ . This division is perhaps to facilitate the reader in marking his/her first preference to start reading , though I am sure that no one would leave the other sections unread or untouched, such is the magic hold. 
The poet comes across as a keen observer of persons and phenomenon. She is also well read . In her Nature poems, all sights , sounds , pictures and smells come alive as she spews out the names of scores if not hundreds of flowers attributing to them rare characteristics which are spelt out poetically and have a mesmerizing effect. She talks of Spring as well as Autumn and tells how they affect us in various ways. Though an urbanite, hills and mountains not only fascinate her but also seem to beckon her.She mentions Yogis, and Derveshis in her poetry and that speaks of her mental make up and predilections . Religion in a general way forms a theme of some of her poems. Her religious bent of mind is reflected in the poem Guru Govind Singh, the Tenth Guru or the Dashmesh . Her late son was named after him . A quote from the holy Guru Granth Saheb is a daily feature that she posts regularly . She can also write convincingly and with authority on Kali or Durga. She is steeped in mythology too and a poem is about Aphrodite, the Greek mythological entity. 
The images she builds are just amazing . 
She is quite at ease with astronomical , architectural terms . Geographical phenomena. She talks about veins, arteries and other medico- physiological terms with authority and is quite convincing. 
In ‘Love’ poems she does talk of emotions , the demands that love makes upon a person, the prerequisites for entitlements to love . Passion mostly runs as an undercurrent with nuanced expression unlike in her Nature poems where she is more explicit and forth coming . 
Since poetry is a reflection of life and life experiences , it is not goody goody all the time. Her poetry at times becomes sad and morbid , and she speaks of death , gore, bloodshed , poverty , deprivation, exploitation also. A realist and a down to earth person ,she finds false sense of grandeur , ego, condescension rather repulsive. 
In the very first poem ‘ Guava Tree’ we find a little school girl’s adventure of ‘stealing’ from a guava tree. ‘ Double Diva ‘ heralds the arrival of a younger substitute , stealing the thunder from a senior much to the latter’s discomfort and discomfiture. 
‘ Meena’ is about a woman whose glamorous world comes shattering down with the new found fact that she is suffering from AIDS.
‘ Jalebi Amidst Poverty’ relates a poor girl’s adventure of stealing and savouring a piece of Jalebi , a delicacy promised her many a time but never given, and the vendor chasing to hit her. 
‘Sunaina’ is about a girl, only fourteen and a domestic help , becoming a rape victim . 
‘ Guru Gobind Singh ‘ about the Great Guru ,the saint Soldier riding his blue steed .
‘Sohni Mahiwal’ about the saga of love and separation . 
‘ Why Fret ‘ gives a new sociological- psychological perspective to Draupadi of the Mahabharat. 
There are poems for every mood and temperament . Some contain deep philosophy . 
Apart from other literary merits, the outstanding features of this collection are her excellent vocabulary , her felicity with the language and her way with the written word. 
A poetry lover’s delight !

Friday, August 25, 2017

Antoine Henri Becquerel

Today is the death anniversary of Antoine Henri Becquerel, the French physicist who is credited with the discovery of the presence of Radioactivity. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 along with Marie Curie and Pierre Curie.The Becquerel family has produced four generations of outstanding scientists.
Becquerel , the unit to measure radioactivity is named after him.
Our humble tributes !

Thursday, August 24, 2017


ROBERT HERRICK whose 426th birth anniversary falls today was a seventeenth century poet . He was one of the Cavalier poets and belonged to a group that prided itself in being called Ben’s sons , so enamoured were they of the genius and poetry of Ben Jonson , a classical poet. A prolific poet he wrote about 2500 poems , some of which are included in his collection known as ‘Hesperides' . Not acknowledged as a great poet in his own time and the eighteenth century, his poetic genius came to be discovered in the nineteenth century and he is now
counted amongst the greats of English poetry till today. His poetry is romantic and sensual, sometimes alleged to be bordering on the obscene .Though he wrote of love , he never married and died a bachelor. The following two specimens of his poetry seem contradictory inas much as while in one he exhorts young maidens to marry while there is still time, in the other he reiterates his resolve not to marry .
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry”.
“A Bachelor I will
Live as I have liv’d still,
And never take a wife
To crucify my life”
Our humble tributes !


Today is the birth anniversary of Shivaram Hari Rajguru the Indian Independence activist. Born this day in 1908 at Khed near Pune , Maharashtra in a family that held strong nationalistic and anti British feelings, in his late teens he joined the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army and became an associate of revolutionaries Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev.He was co accused of killing the British police officer J.P.Saunders to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai in a lathi charge ordered by him.He along with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and others stood trial, was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging.

He along with Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev kissed the noose on March 23, 1931 in the 23rd year of his life.Post independence,his birth place was named as Rajgurunagar in his memory and honour.
Our humble tributes to the young martyr !

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Arati Saha Gupta,

Today is the death anniversary of Arati Saha Gupta, the Indian long distance swimmer.She was the first Asian woman to cross the English Channel in 1960.

She was also the first woman sportswoman to be awarded Padma Shri.
Our humble tributes !

Monday, August 21, 2017

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Today is the death anniversary of , the maestro who raised the level of Shehnai from a popular folk instrument to Concerts as early as 1937 when he performed on stage in Calcutta.An internationally acclaimed artiste, he had the distinction of playing Shehnai on the eve of Indian Independence in 1947 and also on the eve of Republic Day in 1950 in Lal Qila, a tradition which was carried on for years. 

He was a recipient of Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan,Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna.
Our humble tributes to the maestro and the legend !

Digambar Vishnu Paluskar

Today is the death anniversary of Digambar Vishnu Paluskar , Hindustani classical vocalist. He is credited with bringing classical music to the public domain by giving a public performance in a Concert charging nominal fee. This was a break away from the Gharana tradition, in vogue those days.He is also credited with the founding of Gandharva Sangeet Mahavidyalay, the first of its kind in Lahore. This was later shifted to Bombay.
Today we have many branches including Delhi, Ghaziabad and Pune.He also sang the original version of the popular bhajan- Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram.
He died this day in 1931 aged 59 .
Our humble tributes to the maestro !

THE BET – Anton Chekov

Two friends a Banker and a Lawyer enter into a philosophical debate on the award of capital punishment and hold opposite view.While the banker is of the view that Capital punishment is better than a long term in solitary confinement , the Lawyer is of the view that even long imprisonment is the better option as even a hardened criminal can reform himself and become a better person and deserves to be given a chance.
They want to try it out practically . The Lawyer volunteers to subject himself to solitary confinement for fifteen years – totally cut off from the outside world with the stipulation that on successful completion of self imposed confinement, the Banker would pay him a sum of Two Million Rubles.The Lawyer is kept under strict observation and vigil in one of the lodges in the banker’s garden . He is allowed food, drinks,books, can listen to and play music , can write letters . He is required to jot down a written order/request for the things he needs. .He is not allowed to cross the threshold of the lodge; he cannot meet anyone , can’t hear human voice. The necessary items are passed on to him only through a small window , which is also a source of natural light. The initial phase of confinement finds the lawyer feeling lonely and dejected and he busies himself only with drinking and eating. Getting fed up with this routine, he takes to reading books and gets so much interested that he covers the entire gamut of knowledge about religion, history philosophy literature science,the Gospel and what not.He also learns many languages and reads classics.In between he writes a note to the banker in six languages challenging to find a mistake in the text. Gradually he gets evolved , becomes enlightened and is disenchanted with all things material like money, name , fame - virtually every thing that common people hanker after. As the fifteen years’ period draws near, the banker starts worrying as to from where he will arrange the huge sum of two million Rubles to the Lawyer, as during this period he has suffered a lot financially on his investments. . 
A day before the completion of the term of solitary confinement , the Banker hits upon a plan to kill the lawyer so that he does have to pay anything. To carry out his plan , as he enters the lodge of the room , he finds a person sitting motionless, with his back towards the window, visibly reduced to a skeleton . In the candle light , the banker finds a note written on a paper which speaks of the transformation that the lawyer has undergone during this period. How he has become disillusioned and disenchanted with all material things . In the last part of the note he writes of his resolve to break the term of the agreement by leaving five hours before the term expires forgoing the wager amount as he thinks nothing of million of Rubles or any amount for that matter. The Banker puts back the dagger, carries the note and comes back weeping profusely and shedding tears of repentance. 
The crux of the story is contained in the note itself . The decision of the Lawyer to break the pact unwittingly saves him from being killed by the banker and also saves the banker from the guilt and crime of committing a murder.

A masterpiece by Anton Chekov !

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Utpal Dutt

Today is the death anniversary of Utpal Dutt, a popular actor of Bengali and Hindi cinema.He started his acting career as a theatre artist Working in English and Bengali theatre , he is known to have acted in many Shakespeare and Brecht plays. Later he moved to acting in Bengali and Hindi films and in a career spanning over four decades,he worked in movies like Saptapadi, Bhuwan Shome, Shakespeare Wallah,Chowringhee, The Guru, Saat Hindustani, Bombay Talkie, Calcutta 71,Mere Jeevan Saathi,Gol Maal, Shaukeen, Ek Adhuri Kahani, Honeymoon,Julie, Amanush, Shaq,Do Anjaane, Swami,Naram Garam, Agnipath, Agni Pareeksha, Aar Paar, Aagantuk and many many others.
His large expressive eyes and dialogue delivery were his USP.

A winner of many film awards like the National Film Award for the Best Actor , Film-fare award for the Best Comedian which he won three times,he was also honoured with a Fellowship of the Sangeet Natak Academy for his lifetime achievement.
Our humble tributes to the versatile actor !

Dr.Shankar Dayal Sharma

Today is the birth anniversary of Dr.Shankar Dayal Sharma, the ninth President of India. An erudite person with indisputable academic credentials, he had been an alumnus of Lucknow University, Cambridge University, Lincoln's Inn and Harvard University , besides serving also as the Vice President of India ,he had tenures as a Union Cabinet Minister and also held Gubernatorial assignments in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.
Our humble tributes to the luminary !

आचार्य हजारी प्रसाद द्विवेदी

आज हिन्दी के महान लेखक - उपन्यासकार, निबंधकार, आलोचक आचार्य हजारी प्रसाद द्विवेदी की जयन्ति है। शान्ति निकेतन सहित अनेक संस्थाओं में हिन्दी शिक्षण से सम्बद्ध रहे।
उनकी प्रमुख रचनाएँ अशोक के फूल, बाण भट्ट की आत्मकथा व अनामदास का पोथा हैं। भक्ति कालीन साहित्य का उनका अध्ययन एवं शोध अद्वितीय है। 
पद्मभूषण से सम्मानित हिन्दी साहित्य के इन पुरोधा को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Sardar Swaran Singh

Today is the birth anniversary of Sardar Swaran Singh . A member of Nehru's first Cabinet in 1952, he held important portfolios in the Cabinet and was the longest serving Union Minister.A well educated person with degrees in Physics and Law, he also held teaching assignment before joining politics.
He was a recipient of Padma Vibhushan.
Our humble tributes !

Friday, August 18, 2017


Almost all the stories of Leo Tolstoy are an extension of Biblical sayings .
‘The story of Ivan the Fool' appears to me an extension of the saying “Blessed are the meek for they shall rule the world “ or nearer home the saying “Chandre de 15 te Bhole de 16” .
The story revolves around three brothers - Simon the soldier, Taras the stout , Ivan the fool -, and their dumb sister Martha . The old Devil and the three Imps are of course the villains in the story. Simon , a warrior goes to serve the King , Taras goes to the town to work with a merchant and Ivan who is called the fool because he is not worldly wise or street smart stays in the village, works hard in the fields and takes care of his old parents and the dumb sister. Simon the soldier does well and is rewarded with a higher rank and the assignment of an estate by the King and gets married to nobleman’s daughter ; Taras does equally well , earns a lot , is able to enjoy good life, and gets married to a merchant’s daughter. But enough is not enough for both the brothers. Simon’s wife squanders money and Taras just wants more. By turns they come to their father to claim their share of the property. The father initially refuses to give them anything as they have not contributed anything to the household .Ivan, magnanimous and good hearted that he is, making nothing of the scorn and disdain that his two arrogant and highflying brothers have for him persuades his father to give them their share . Simon takes away some goods and Taras half the foodgrain & the grey stallion . The old Devil is peeved at this peaceful settlement among the brothers and thinks of spoiling the game. He deputes an Imp each to thwart the plans and smooth going of three brothers.They aim to ruin the three brothers and make them sworn enemies of one another , so that they finish themselves fighting amongst themselves. The Imp deputed to Simon induces in him a feeling of false grandeur who takes on the army of a rival king but due to Imp’s machination and evil designs powder in the guns gets damp and renders the guns useless . Besides, the Imp has raised an army of straw soldiers for the rival side . As a result badly Vanquished, Simon has no option but to return home,having his Estate confiscated and narrowly escaping being imprisoned . Similarly, the Imp deputed to Taras induces him into a buying spree and Taras after exhausting all his money runs into debt . He too is left with no other option but to return home. Meanwhile, the Imp deputed to Ivan finds him a hard nut as despite obstacles put by the Imp in Ivan ploughing the field, undaunted Ivan ploughs the field and catches hold of the Imp who is lying buried in the ground and releases him only after getting three cure-all roots, one of which he takes and is relieved of his stomach ache.Ivan release the Imp saying ‘ ……God be with you “ At the very mention of God, the Imp falls into a hole in the ground and disappears .
After the day’s work is done , Ivan returns home only to find Simon and his wife who have returned to live with him . Not humbled by their changed circumstances, they force Ivan to stay out as they can’t stand the smell that comes from him . Now Simon’s Imp comes to the help of Ivan’s Imp but finding him nowhere puts himself in his place and plays all the evil tricks that he can. He too gets caught and is released only after he has had a miracle of making money by rubbing oak tree leaves in his palms. In course of time all the three Imps meet the same fate and are finished .
To make a long story short, Ivan the Fool , eventually marries the King’s daughter and after King’s death becomes the King.
Getting no report from the Imps , the Old devil himself comes looking for them and finds that they have been finished. He sets about the job of ruining the three brothers turn by turn and gets the better of Simon and Taras and almost ruins them. However, when he comes to play tricks on Ivan, the Old Devil gets defeated in his own game. Now Ivan is the unchallenged King , his brothers come to live with him . In his kingdom everyone gets food and shelter , but the condition is that only those with callused hands are allowed to sit on the table to eat and those who do not work themselves manually have to make do with the leftovers. Tolstoy through Ivan thus preaches and propogates the dignity of labour .
The taste of pudding is in the eating , so please take time off to read the story !

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Urdu, the language I could not learn

उर्दू है जिसका नाम , हमीं जानते हैं ‘दाग़’
सारे जहां में धूम हमारी ज़बां की है
These words of ‘Daagh’ Dehalvi ring true in my ears.. The language has fascinated me since my growing up years. While in school, once during vacation, on my request my father bought for me an Urdu Qaida but unfortunately I could not go beyond learning and writing the alphabet.I found it pretty difficult to join alphabets to form words However, I did pick up sufficient vocabulary, listening regularly to the Urdu service of AIR and BBC. This came handy in my day to day working when later, I was assigned to the Revenue Service of the State, where there was proliferation of Urdu terminology in use since Todar Mall’s time , even in writing some orders though script was Hindi or Devnagari. Though much of Urdu shayari and literature is available in transcription, I feel handicapped , not being able to read and write Urdu.
In short, Urdu is Greek to me !

Monday, August 14, 2017

Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Today is the birth anniversary of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a social reformer and the founder of Brahmo Samaj. He is credited with making relentless efforts to abolish the prevalent social evil of Sati and opening the doors to Western education and thought.
He is also acknowledged as the Father of Indian Renaissance !
Our humble tributes to the great reformer and the visionary !

Shammi Kapoor

Today is the death anniversary of Shammi Kapoor, the first entertaining Romantic hero of Hindi cinema.Active for two decades from '50s to early '70s, he acted in many popular films like Tum Sa Nahin Dekha, Kashmir Ki Kali, Professor, Junglee, Jaanwar,Teesri Manzil, Dil deke Dekho Ujala, Bluff Master,Raj Kumar,Andaaz, Brahmchari, Singapore and others. He paired with all leading heroines of the time like Nutan, Madhubala, Asha Parikh, Saira Banu, Sharmila Tagore , the last two making their debut with him. 

Acknowledged as Elvis Presley of Hindi cinema , he is known for evolving his own dancing style.
Our humble tributes to the thespian

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bhikaji Rustom Cama

Today is the death anniversary of Madame Bhikaji Rustom Cama, a Parsi Indian lady who was a prominent figure in the Indian Independence Movement. A patriot and a nationalist to the core , she started with social service at Bombay and later actively participated in the freedom movement from London and Paris. She among other things is credited with unfurling the Indian National Flag as early as 1907 during a conference at Stuttgart, Germany.

Our humble tributes to this wonderful daughter of India !


The story is set in the city of Vladimir, Russia.Ivan Dmitrich Aksinov is a well to do merchant and a jolly good fellow.One summer he sets out to go to the Nizhny Fair to do some trade and business.His wife forbids him to go that day as she has had a bad dream .In the dream , when he comes back from town and takes off his cap, the wife finds that all his hair have turned grey.
Aksinov laughs off the matter and proceeds on his journey.En route he meets another merchant known to him and together they spend a night in an inn , of course occupying separate room each. An early riser,Aksenov , after making payment to the owner of the inn , starts his journey again. After covering about 25 miles, he stops at a place to give rest to the horse and sits to play on his instrument.After some time a troika arrives . An official and two cops alight from it and make inquiry from Aksenov as to where he had spent the night. On being told , they make a search in his luggage and much to the horror , shock and surprise of Aksenov, take out a blood stained knife. Aksenov is taken prisoner and is charged with the murder of the merchant who was staying in the inn the same night and also of robbing the merchant of twenty thousand roubles.

All efforts including petitions for pardon made to the Czar having failed,
Aksenov is tried and sentenced to imprisonment and is deported to Siberia after being subjected to flogging.
He spends 26 years in Siberia in prison, learns to make boots , earns some money and purchases a book' The Lives of the Saints'. Good and a nice gentleman that he is, the earns the love and respect of fellow convicts due to his good behaviour.
One day another group of convicts arrives to serve the sentence.
As events unfold one of the freshly arrived convicts is Makar Semenich. During the course of exchange of notes , Aksenov grows strongly suspicious that Makar is the person who had murdered the merchant, but can do nothing about it.
After some days the prisoner authorities find out that a secret tunnel is being dug up by some prisoner to facilitate escape.One by one all prisoners are enquired about it . Aksenov, despite knowing that Makar has done it, does not divulge his name.
This brings about a change of heart in Makar and he confesses to the crime of having committed the murder and robbery for which Aksenov has been falsely accused and convicted.
Now the process for release of Aksenov has started.But one day Aksenov is found dead. His compensation is only being absolved of the charge for which he has suffered so much.
The title of the story says ...... but waits.
But in this case the wait has been too long !
Nevertheless, a masterpiece by Leo Tolstoy !!

Florence Nightingale

Today is the death anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. She gave the nursing profession a new respect and reputation herself becoming an epitome of self less service by attending to wounded soldiers day and night during the Crimean war. . She also earned the epithet 'The Lady with the lamp' .
Our humble tributes !

Friday, August 11, 2017

Khudiram Bose

Today is the death anniversary of Khudiram Bose, one of the youngest revolutionaries of the Indian Independence movement.The fire of revolutionary ideas was kindled in him listening to the speeches of Aurobindo Ghosh and Sister Nivedita. Joining revolutionary activities at the age of sixteen, he participated in some bomb attacks.Eventually caught and standing trial, he was sentenced to death by hanging.
He kissed the noose this day in 1908, aged 18 years, 8 months and 8 days only, becoming an inspiration of other future young revolutionaries.
Our humble tributes to the young revolutionary and the patriot !

टेढ़ी खीर

एक व्यक्ति ने अपने अंधे मित्र को खाने पर बुलाया । कोई भी पकवान आदि परोसते समय उसे दाल सब्जी आदि का नाम ले कर बताया जाता था । आखिर में जब स्वीट डिश की बारी आई तो उसे बताया गया कि यह खीर है । मेहमान मित्र ने कभी खीर नहीं खायी थी न ही नाम सुना था । प्रश्नोत्तर का सिलसिला यों चला –
खीर कैसी होती है ?
सफ़ेद ।
सफ़ेद कैसा होता है ?
बगुले जैसा ।
बगुला कैसा होता है ?
- अपने हाथ की अंगुली थोड़ी झुका कर बगुले की चोंच का आकार दे कर मेज़बान मित्र ने मेहमान मित्र से स्पर्श कराई और कहा -
ऐसा होता है ।
ओहो यह तो टेढ़ी खीर है, मैं न खा पाऊँगा !
मुहावरे का प्रचलन इस घटना से हुआ बताते हैं ।

Thursday, August 3, 2017

मैथिलीशरण गुप्त

महात्मा गांधी द्वारा राष्ट्रकवि के रूप में सम्मानित मैथिलीशरण गुप्त की आज जयंती है।औपचारिक शिक्षा बहुत कम हुई और घर पर रह कर ही बहुत कुछ पढ़ा, सीखा व गुना ! बहुत कम उम्र से ही लेखन में रुचि रही ।
आचार्य महावीर प्रसाद द्विवेदी की प्रेरणा से खड़ीबोली में काव्य रचना प्रारम्भ की तथा प्रमुख आधुनिक कवि के साथ साथ खड़ी बोली के प्रथम कवि होने का उन्हें गौरव प्राप्त है । उनकी प्रमुख रचनाओं में महाकाव्य ‘साकेत’ का विशेष स्थान है जिसमे उन्होंने राम बनवास के बाद लक्ष्मण की पत्नी उर्मिला की मनोदशा का वर्णन किया है । उन्होंने रामायण की खल नायिका मानी जाने वाली रानी कैकई के पश्चाताप का हवाला दे कर इस पात्र के प्रति भी संवेदना और सहानुभूति जगाई है। ‘यशोधरा’ उनकी एक और महत्वपूर्ण रचना है । महाभारत के प्रसंग में अभिमन्यु की मृत्यु का वर्णन अद्वितीय है । राष्ट्र भावना से ओतप्रोत ‘भारत भारती’ में भारत के भूतकाल व वर्तमान का चित्रण एवं भावी स्वरूप की कल्पना उल्लिखित है ।महाकाव्य, खंड काव्य , अनुवाद एवं नाटक – सभी विधाओं में उन्होंने श्रेष्ठ सृजन किया है । उनकी रचनाओं में प्रेम, विरह, वियोग, देशभक्ति, राष्ट्र चेतना , ईश्वर भक्ति - इन सब का समावेश मिलता है । यह उनके काव्य की विशेषता ही है कि 45 से 50 वर्ष पूर्व के अपने स्कूल के विद्यार्थी काल में पढ़ी कविताओं की कुछ पंक्तियाँ मुझे आज भी याद हैं .
"माँ कह एक कहानी।"
बेटा समझ लिया क्या तूने मुझको अपनी नानी?"
"कहती है मुझसे यह चेटी, तू मेरी नानी की बेटी
कह माँ कह लेटी ही लेटी, राजा था या रानी?
माँ कह एक कहानी।"
संग्राम में निज-शत्रुओं की देखकर यह नीचता
कहने लगा वह यों वचन दृग युग-करों से मींचता -
"नि:शस्त्र पर तुम वीर बनकर वार करते हो अहो!
है पाप तुमको देखना भी पामरों! सम्मुख न हो!!
तात! हे मातुल! जहाँ हो प्रणाम तुम्हें वहीं,
अभिमन्यु का इस भाँति मरना भूल न जाना कहीं!"
दृग बंद कर वह यशोधन सर्वदा को सो गया,
हा! एक अनुपम रत्न मानो मेदिनी का खो गया ||
नर हो, न निराश करो मन को
कुछ काम करो, कुछ काम करो
जग में रह कर कुछ नाम करो
दो कार्यावधि के लिए वह राज्यसभा के मनोनीत सदस्य भी रहे ।
1954 में उन्हें पद्मभूषण से सम्मानित किया गया !
बहुमुखी प्रतिभा के धनी इस महान साहित्यकार को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Shakeel Badayuni

Today is the 101st birth anniversary of Shakeel Badayuni , the renowned Urdu poet and lyricist who penned immortal songs for films like Baiju Bawra, Mother India and Mughal-e- Azam. His lyrics for the films Dulari, Shabaab, Ganga-Jamuna, Chaudhawin ka Chaand , Gharana, Phool Aur Patthar and Do Badan deserve special mention. Mostly associated with the composer Naushad- and the duo worked wonders together- he also teamed well with Hemant Kumar and Ravi. The lyrics he wrote for Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam became immensely popular.
The non film ghazal- Aye mohabbat Tere Anjaam Pe Rona Aya, beautifully rendered by Beghum Akhtar is an all time classic.
He won the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award for three consecutive years 1961, 1962 & 1963.
A postage Stamp was also released in his honour in 2013.
Our humble tributes to the great poet and lyricist !


Today is the birth anniversary of Jaidev, the popular Music Director of Hindi films. Born Jaidev Verma this day in Nairobi, Kenya in 1919 ,he was brought up at Ludhiana. At the age of 15 he ran away to Bombay to fulfil his dream of becoming a film star and acted in some films as a child artiste and learnt some music also. He had to return to Ludhiana to take up family responsibilities when his father turned blind.He got his sister settled in married life.After his father's death he went to Lucknow in 1943 and learnt music from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
He went to Bombay again and as an assistant to Ali Akbar Khan, he composed music for Aandhiyaan and Humsafar.Later he became assistant to S.D.Burman , his first film with him being Taxi Driver.
His first success as an independent composer came with the film Hum Dono , the solo Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya ,Kabhi Khud Pe Kabgi Haalaat Pe Rona Aya & the duet Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar becoming instant hits. Earlier he had also composed music for Chetan Anand's Joru Ka Bhai & Anjali.
Later he composed music for Mujhe Jeene Do, Reshma Aur Shera , Gaman, Thi Reeta, Parinay, Alaap,Kinare Kinare,Gharonda,Ankahee and many others.It is to his credit that even when some of the films did not do well at the box office, the songs became and remain popular, thanks to the music.He also set to music Harivansh Rai Bachchan's Madhushala, recited by Manna Dey.
He was the first Music Director to win three National Awards.
He died a bachelor on January 6, 1987 .
Our humble tributes !