Why George Why???

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post

Pratikshit Gupta, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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For the past five years I had been ahead of my friends, but this year I will be with many of my friends facing the same feelings that do. I am talking about The Winds of Winter. The sixth book in the series of A Song of Fire and Ice. I am talking about George R. R. Martin. I am talking about Game of Thrones. I am talking about whether Jon Snow survived or not, whether Arya succeeded in her tasks or not, whether Bran can do about the situations from that far away beyond the Wall.

I had read the previous five books in the series, but unfortunately the author could not complete the sixth book and the series eventually caught up with him. Earlier I was prepared with what is going to happen in the series. Maybe even tease my friends. But this year, I will be watching each episode with the fear, curiosity, and anger as my friends who hadn’t read the book. And this is all because George R. R. Martin could not complete the book. It was supposed to be completed by 2014, and then the deadline moved to 2015, then 2016. 2016 started with for me with very high hopes, but a recent rumor about the book that it will not be completed before 2017 has left me with disappointment.

The only good thing which has come in the recent news article is that the show will not spoil the book. This can only be verified after the book has been released.

The only thing we can do now is wait, and wait for how much more time we have to because the sixth is not the last book of the series. There is another book after and god knows how much time that will book will take.

River vs. Mountains

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Gaurav Singla, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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If one considers life of a person and tries to depict it on a time line, there may come many instances where one makes individual, dependent, and co-dependent, selfish, naive, rational and bold choices. All these “instances”, if we call them as turning points, can take one being on several different paths of life. Later we remember them as the road not taken as very poetically expressed by Robert Frost.

The term “Life” is even comparable to a river. Why I say so is that events leads us to new places, new experiences and to meet new people but who controls our events or these chain of happenings. Well, it seems to some that nothing is in our hands just luck. While other view is that we shape our own course of life with choice. The confusion is same to that depicted by Hindi poet with river and mountains, who will decide whether river choose its own direction of flow all the way down to plains and then to great oceans or it’s the mountains who paves the river path by leveling itself to change the course. Well, the right question is did the river knew where it was heading for? Or did land know where it was meant to take the river to? So is with choice and luck. The quest stills remains unanswered, even Robert frost dilemma.

The Death of the Progressive.

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Anupam Bera, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The progress of a nation is directly proportional to the progress of science and technology. Any prosperous country has shown the path of development as their inclination towards industrialization, which can only transform it from the dark denizens. A developed society has its foundation on pluralism, tolerance, individual freedom and free flow of information. These are also the basis of a community that thrives on scientific development and democracy. A democracy allows an individual freedom of thought and expression and the freedom to dissent and criticize. A dogmatic and authoritarian society can not be the offshoot of democracy. However the recent murder of Mr. M. M. Kalburgi and some other progressives like Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare belies this fact about India as a democracy.
Kalburgi had issues with the right wings Hindutva Group for they accused him of committing blasphemy as he had passed some derogatory remarks about Basava, 12th century philosopher in his work “Marga 1”. Two unidentified gunman murdered this Vachana literature scholar on August 30, 2015 at his residence. Such an instance cannot be part of nation that claims to be the largest democracy. The superstitious and dogmatic beliefs that Kalburgi and other anti-superstation activist fought for can only be shunned away with adequate scientific awareness among people. It is the fact that our ancient culture gave this freedom to freely discuss and criticize otherwise such landmark contribution in the field of philosophy, grammar, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and so on could not have happened. We all know the names of Indian scientists like Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Bhaskar, Sushrut and Charak are recognized globally for their scientific works. However there has been instance of the religious order attacking the scientific growth. For instance the church persecuted scientists like Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Halley, Darwin, Hubble, even Bertrand Russell.
There is no final word in science. It can question everything and can always give an alternative perspective to everything. Thus going by the values of science, India need to evolve a culture that can approach and appreciate questioning of every notion of age-old practices, traditions and religion.

If Chanakya were alive today…

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Ruchira Chaudhury, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


A philosopher, teacher and royal advisor. Intriguing, master strategist and witty. “Chanakya” also known as Kautilya, remains one of the most interesting characters in Indian history till date. His strategies and policies have been discussed and debated from time immemorial.

Ashwin Sanghi’s book “Chanakya’s Chant”, published way back in 2010 excellently blends together Chanakya’s Bharat and today’s Bharat (modern day India). A meticulous blend of History and Contemporay fiction, Sanghi has done an excellent job in combining two subjects that are poles apart and at the same time publishing an outstanding outcome.

The plot of the book is fast paced with sudden changes in the themes which keep the reader juggling between 340 BC and the modern day today; between Chanakya and Pandit Ganagasagar MIshra. As the political drama unfolds, Sanghi makes us question – “What if Chanakya were alive today?”; “What if he was a player in today’s politics?”; “Would his brilliance and principles be relevant in today’s murky politics?” and provides us an answer in the form of a current day king-maker and politician, Pandit Gangasagar Mishra.

The story is a basket of conceit, wit, treachery, jealousy, deceit and any other verb that could be associated with Indian Politics. Though, in my opinion, the modern day Indian Political representation in the book was a little exaggerated, but it does keep the reader enthused enough to read till the end. It is a well positioned political thriller that keeps one riveted. It is not just a bunch of pages penned down with an author’s imagination. Sanghi makes his readers think, question the rationale of the characters and think of alternate solutions. “What if Chanakya were alive today?”

References:

http://www.bookgeeks.in/entries/historical-fiction/chanakya-s-chant-%7C-ashwin-sanghi-%7C-book-review

Mockingbird in arena after 55 years…

The following article is my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sajal Raj, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
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          88 years old American novelist Harper Lee is all set to publish her second novel after 55 years. She is known for her sole masterpiece ‘To kill a Mockingbird’ which got published in July, 1960. The book was based on racism she experienced as a child in hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. More than 30 million copies of the tome were sold and it was listed as ‘Best novel of the century’ by the library Journal. The second novel, titled as ‘Go set a watchman’, will be published on July 14, 2015. Lee’s new creation was written before ‘To kill a Mockingbird’ and portrays her childhood and her father’s most heart-rending case.

         Nelle Harper Lee won Pulitzer Prize in 1960, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 and the National Medal of Arts in 2010 for her outstanding contribution to literature. Ms Lee is known for being a recluse and avoiding fame. Harper Lee’s fictional portrayals include Capote (2005), Infamous (2006) and The Jacqueline Susann story (1998). She is also known for articles like ‘Love – In other words’, ‘Christmas to me’, ‘Romance and high adventure’ and many more.

         ‘Go set a Watchman’ has already been settled for Amazon’s number one slot and five months before its publication it is already in bestseller’s list. Well, let’s hope this new manuscript will be even better than the last one.

 

Reference:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6306bb06-adeb-11e4-919e-00144feab7de.html#axzz3RAUbvFxw
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harper_Lee
http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2015/feb/08/harper-lee-profile-to-kill-a-mockingbird-sequel
http://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/events-news

gLitterature:- The Jaipur Lit festival 2015

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Avinash Mohapatra, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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The Jaipur Lit fest holds the distinction of being the largest free literary festival on Earth, held annually. It hosts a constellation of colossal minds in the world of literature to vanguard the discussion on diverse topics. Observed through a span of 5 days(21st – 25th Jan 2015), the cognition therewith is beyond mention. My choicest session was the most awaited final debate ‘Culture is the new Politics’. It was housed by Suhel Seth, Rajiv Malhotra, Arshia Sattar, Shazia Ilmi, moderated by Sanjoy Roy. The cynosure of the discussion was entirely in the Indian context.

My appreciation of the entire dialogue process shall find precedence in the ensuing paras.

Culture is the insignia of  ideas, customs, and social behavior, crafted by human intellect, regarded collectively. The Indian culture or say the Hindu culture, has the distinguishing feature of great assimilation and peaks of refinement. The pluralistic nature of the Hindu society coupled with the grandeur of evolving with time, has been the cornerstone of our existence despite multiple invasions by foreign aggressors. The liberty extended in Hindu culture should not however be boundless to unfettered extremes, as to temper with its integral fabric of pluralism and mutual respect. As Mr. Rajiv Malhotra very prudently opined – Hindu Culture should be like an Open architecture(as modern day internet). A society with the fountainhead of open architecture shall allow new people to come, new ideas to mushroom, but on the condition that they are good citizens on the principle of mutual respect. Here, ‘mutual’ is an important term, to be taken into account. Respect can never be unconditional or unidirectional – it has to be ‘mutual’. Hence, like any open architecture, diversity is welcome but if somebody tries to deride others, then it should be treated as a virus, that the system should get rid of. In this context, MF Hussain’s perverted painting of Hindu deities in sexual pose or Wendy Doniger’s misinterpretation of Hindu culture as an overtly sexual cult, are but mischievous attempts in bringing down Hindu belief system and faith. The lawsuits thus filed against these attempts brought a legal and methodical stall to their nefarious intents.

A culture on the premise of open architecture i.e being fluid,evolving,porous,adaptive,contextual – is the bedrock of a matured and healthy society. Such a culture should reflect in politics as well. However, when the political system becomes an opportunistic vote bank fiasco for short sighted success – the real problem begins. Politics should not control culture rather it should be the other way round. The lunatic fringe on either side of the political divide, hijacking the assimilatory power of the Indian society, has been the direct result of vote bank politics.

The proprietor of parliamentary democracy, the UK is a small country with relatively no diversity.  For a vast and diverse Nation as India, its worth contemplating if the parliamentary democracy is really suitable.Bottom-up consensus building nevertheless includes everyone’s opinion, but at the same time we have a rickety equilibrium, which is fragmented in nature. To put up in simple terms, parliamentary democracy gives rise to multiparty system, which in turn breeds alliance theatricals post election. Thus arises the need to cater to fringe elements in order to build consensus on an intended cause to a particular community satisfying the vote bank agenda. I feel the Presidential Democracy system of the United States can be a counter to such political nuisance in our country.

Suhel Seth categorized citizens as being either engaged, indifferent or enraged, based on different periods of modern Indian history. Pre-independence we were an engaged group; Post-independence period till 1971 we were an indifferent lot;Post-Emergency we have become an enraged mass. Over the last 4 years, the brand of intolerance in our country has become stunningly viscous. Mr. Rajiv Malhotra made it clairvoyant that outlet of anger is a barometer of frustration in the society and it should come out. Given a millennium of persecution at the hands of invaders and then deceit by politicians, the present outburst is an obvious affair. Selective bias of media houses in silencing certain voices has caused a surge of repercussions on the social media platform. The latter offers a good corrective to the power and hegemony of electronic media. Intolerance in any form is appalling, particularly when it gets subverted to the level of issuing threat to life for disagreeing with some religious discourse. Author of international best-seller ‘The Satanic Verses’, Mr. Salman Rushdie had to step down of Jaipur Lit Fest in 2014 after such a threat by fringe group elements. Bangladeshi writer Tasleema Nasrin has been on exile since the publishing of her masterpiece ‘Lajja’ that slammed the dictum of  Islamic fundamentalists. Disagreement of ideas should not be clamped down to disagreement with personalities, else it would be a libel to free expression. As a popular saying goes ‘You can’t live by the pen and die by the sword’.

In the evolving fabric of India, where tarka-sastra (argument) has always been pivotal in shaping ideas for future generations, the role of debate can’t be abjured.  Tight-lipped on religiously fragile issues for fear of backlash from fringe groups can do no good in clearing the fog of anxiety. It’s only through debate on as sensitive issues as religion, that the odds can be corrected. Till that day, the liberal elements shall keep asserting themselves against the guns and bombs of the bigots. Their points of view shall keep showing the mirror to the fundamentalists and unveil their ignoble face to the respite of mankind

Black and White world of “The Common Man”

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Puneet Kumar Garg, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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Once a teacher of the secondary school gave an assignment of drawing leaves to his students. As usual he was taunting on students while inspecting their drawings. But he fell silent as he looked at drawing of one of the students. Instead his words to this student were “You will be an artist one day”. At that very moment, RK Laxman had found the way in which he would be going to live his life.

Laxman started as a part-time cartoonist, working mostly for local newspapers and magazines. But his interest kept pushing him further and soon he became chief cartoonist at Times Of India newspaper. Through his iconic character of “The Common Man”, he kept targeting unethical and selfish politicians for five decades.

Utilizing his talent and wit, he played key role in business growth of various companies. Asian paints, in its early days, was struggling while competing with the well-known brands. The company was finding it difficult to project the image of brand as one which is consumer friendly. At this time, RK Laxman was approached and he made an advertisement cartoon of a boy painting the globe. The cartoon character who was later named “Gattu”, became a sensational hit and sales of Asian paints went four folds in next four years.

His excellent artistic ability won him many awards, including Ramon Magsaysay Award, Padma Vibhushan and doctorate from University Of Mysore. By 2010, his health started deteriorating. He suffered multiple strokes and was put on wheel chair. On 26 January 2015, he took his last breath in this world, leaving behind a massive void in Indian journalism.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._K._Laxman

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-01-26/news/58470229_1_asian-paints-gattu-early-years

Indeed a White Tiger!!

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Ruchira Chaudhury, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Most books have a good start and then die out halfway through and almost all novels sound the same! These are the two discoveries made in Britain’s premier award show, The Man Booker prize, after the judges had dug through a novel each day for six whole months. In such times, a new voice is most welcome and rare, which led to Arvind Adiga’s debut novel “The White Tiger” winning the 40th Man Booker Prize way back in 2008.

A retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, the protagonist of the novel, the novel is a reflection of India’s class struggle in a globalized world. The book is represented in the form of a series of letters by Balram Halwai to the Chinese premier telling him how life in India really is. India is, the sentimental imagery of the poor and needy, the doe-eyed children but what Balram tells and believes is poverty is corrupting and thus, creates monster. “This, he should know, because he is such a monster himself!” – The Economist.

Balram’s journey from Delhi where he works as a chauffeur to a rich landlord to Bangalore where he kills his master and flees after stealing the money to his metamorphosing into a successful entrepreneur; the novel has touched upon issues like religion, caste, poverty, etc in India. When the country is shedding off a history of poverty and unemployment, Balram claims to be the “tomorrow”, but his violent bid for freedom leaves us to the question of him being another thug in India’s urban jungle or a revolutionary and idealist? As Balram’s education proceeds further, he becomes all the more corrupt. But, as a reader, my sympathy for the teaboy never falters.

As quoted by The Economist: “In creating a character who is both witty and psychopathic, Mr Adiga has produced a hero almost as memorable as Pip, proving himself the Charles Dickens of the call-centre generation”, and I could not agree any less.

Arvind Adiga’s captivating debut novel explores with wisdom and acuity the realities of two different Indias and tells us what happens when the inhabitants of one clash with the other. Though Adiga’s message is not novel, Balram’s appealingly acute observations of the social turmoil in India is both winning and disturbing at the same time and keeps us in the lookout for answers until the last page and beyond. Indeed a White Tiger! Not Balram Halwai but Arvind Adiga himself.

References:

http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/india/adigaa.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Tiger

Rushdie’s first NOVEL in 7 Years

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Anshul Rastogi, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


Sir Salman Rushdie is all set with his new project ‘Two years Eight months and twenty eight nights’ to be released in mid of September, 2015. The novel will be 250 pages long and will be an amalgamation of myth, romance, antiquity and tragedy. Random house publishers have acquired copyright for the flick. The book will be a folk tale based on the Arabian nights

Rushdie, a Kashmiri Indian novelist, has always been the centre of controversies. The booker prize winner is a main stream novelist and has also contributed in children books, essays, short stories and non-fictional books. He is known for his classics like ‘Midnight’s children’ & ‘The Satanic Verses’.

Rusdie hold the title of ‘Commandeur de I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France’ in 1999. He has written 11 novels till date which have been published in 40 different languages across the globe. He was also listed in Times magazine as one of the 50 greatest novelists since 1940’s. Let’s see what stir he creates with his new classic.

Reference:

http://www.salman-rushdie.com/about-2/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salman_Rushdie

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3299.Salman_Rushdie

http://www.salman-rushdie.com/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11155631/Salman-Rushdie-to-release-new-book.html

R K Laxman ki Duniya

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Mayank Nayak, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Well-known Indian cartoonist, illustrator and humorist RK Laxman died on the evening of 26th January, 2015 at Pune hospital. He was suffering urinary infection and chest related problems. Suddenly, He stopped responding to his medication, which resulted in a multi-organ failure and eventually his death.

He was famous for his ‘you said it’ cartoons, which was featured in the Times of India, and depicted the common man’s every day problems. He had received prestigious awards like the Ramon Magasaysay and Padma Vibhushan award for his contribution to arts.

According to me, the world of Indian cartoons will never be the same without his master-pieces. The witty sarcasm on prominent issues and the way he portray them to society was extra ordinary. The world of RK Laxman always shows us the mirror and provoked us to rethink on the situation. Surely  he will not speak to this world again but his cartoons will always give voice to his unspoken words.