George Orwell & Bihar Connection


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 03 , 2012           11.59 P.M.

In today’s newspaper I read an innocuous article about my favourite writer George Orwell . It was about his birthplace in Motihari , Bihar . I always knew that he was born in Bihar but I was shocked to see the dilapidated building where George Orwell was born and spent some of his earlier years . Rooftop tiles are caving in and its neglected existence is precariously waiting for a calamity .

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Compare the above structure with Orwell’s well maintained house in London . You can see the difference .

George Orwell's House, Portobello Road - London.

George Orwell’s House, Portobello Road – London. (Photo credit: Jim Linwood)

Even his house in Burma , where he stayed for few years ,  is well maintained compared to the Motihari , Bihar house where he was born .

The house George Orwell stayed in while in Kat...

The house George Orwell stayed in while in Katha, Burma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar – Chief Minister , Bihar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bihar government headed by Nitish Kumar is doing nothing to preserve the historic structure . Nitish Kumar has time to visit Pakistan and sing paeans in praise of present – day rulers of Pakistan . He has enough time to criticize Narendra Modi and still maintaining relationship with Bharatiya Janata Party but he or his government has no time for preservation of George Orwell’s birthplace . I doubt majority of present – day dispensation in Bihar is oblivious of Orwell’s importance . For them demonizing Narendra Modi is more important .

[ To make Nitish Kumar and his ministers – in – crime aware of George Orwell’s importance , I am reproducing some fact about his literary genius from Wikipedia . ]

English: George Orwell in Hampstead On the cor...

George Orwell in Hampstead On the corner of Pond Street and South End Road, opposite the Royal Free Hospital. The bookshop has long gone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eric Arthur Blair

(25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950)

Eric Arthur Blair , known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist.

Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945), which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author.

His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″.

Cover of

Cover of Animal Farm: Centennial Edition

Category:George Orwell Category:Nineteen Eight...

George Orwell, 1984. This self-made image is based on a picture that appears in an old acreditation for the BNUJ.) Picture of George Orwell taken from File:GeoreOrwell.jpg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Orwell’s work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian—descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices—has entered the vernacular with several of his neologisms, such as doublethink, thoughtcrime, Big Brother and thought police.

It is sad that his birthplace is so neglected and is on the verge of extinction . I am a huge fan of George Orwell and during my Allahabad days , have read his above mentioned books , ” Animal Form ” and ” 1984 ” . I remember many dull and dusty summer afternoons and long , cold and wintry winter nights of Allahabad , when sitting in my room of Sir Ganga Nath Jha Hostel , I used to discuss these books with my friends and seniors . Orwell had huge fan following among my generation .

My generation used to hero – worship George Orwell . I am extremely sad and I know that every one of my generation will be feeling the same .

I , on behalf of myself and all the students and staff of my acting institute  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , denounce Bihar government in strongest term and urge them to shed their apathy . George Orwell is too important a literary giant to get this treatment .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

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200 Years of Charles Dickens


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 29 , 2012           00.30 A.M.

Charles Dickens, a former resident of Lant Street.

Charles Dickens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years ago , when I was still a child , my grand father introduced me to the world of books . He bought some books from Gita Press , Gorakhpur and gave them to me . Those were illustrated books about the lives of Bhagwan Ram and Bhagwan Krishna . Each illustration was explained with the help of a couplet . I still remember the name of the books ; BAL CHITRAMAYA RAM LEELA and BAL CHITRAMAYA KRISHNA LEELA  . I read those books countless times , almost mugged up each line and I still possess those books in my library in Deoria .

Since then I was hooked to the world of books and the fascination still continues many decades later . When I was in High School , I became member of GHARELU LIBRARY YOJNA of  HIND POCKET BOOKS , which was initiated by a famous Hindi publication house , Rajpal & Sons .

I used to order books and used to receive them through post office . One muggy afternoon , when the post man delivered packet of books to me , I opened the packet with excitement . There was a book titled DO SHEHRON KI DASTAN . I glanced the book and went through the introduction and got to know the name of the writer . It was Charles Dickens . I also got to know that original name of the book in English . It was A TALE OF TWO CITIES .

It was my first introduction with the celebrated British writer . Though I could not complete the reading because I got bored . Many years later , when I was doing post graduation in Allahabad University , I got to know the writer once again . A TALE OF TWO CITIES was in my course and this time I was able to understand it properly . I then realized beauty of his prose and appreciated his style of narration . Hindi translation , which I read years ago , was not lucid enough .

 

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Cover via Amazon

When I read in the papers that 2012 is the 200th birth anniversary of the celebrated British author and novelist , I decided to note down my encounter of Charles Dickens also . These old memories , which were consigned in some dark and hither to unvisited corners of my being , rushed to the firmament and I decided to become a part of the 200th anniversary celebration of Charles Dickens .

My curiosity reached its zenith , when I read a news item in a paper . The heading was enough to draw my again to Charles Dickens .  ”  Christopher and Jonathan Nolan Explain How A TALE OF TWO CITIES Influenced THE DARK KNIGHT RISES “

Charles Dickens a.k.a. Charles John Huffam Dickens , ( 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic who is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period and the creator of some of the world’s most memorable fictional characters .During his lifetime Dickens’s works enjoyed unprecedented popularity and fame , and by the twentieth century his literary genius was fully recognized by critics and scholars . His novels and short stories continue to enjoy an enduring popularity among the general reading public .

Born in Portsmouth , England , Dickens left school to work in a factory after his father was thrown into debtors’ prison . Though he had little formal education , his early impoverishment drove him to succeed . He edited a weekly journal for 20 years , wrote 15 novels and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles , lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer , and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights , education , and other social reforms .

 

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dickens rocketed to fame with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers . Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity , celebrated for his humour , satire , and keen observation of character and society . His novels , most published in monthly or weekly instalments , pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction , which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication .The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience’s reaction , and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback . For example , when his wife’s chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities , Dickens went on to improve the character with positive lineaments . Fagin in Oliver Twist apparently mirrors the famous fence , Ikey Solomon ; His caricature of Leigh Hunt in the figure of Mr Skimpole in Bleak House was likewise toned down on advice from some of his friends , as they read episodes . In the same novel , both Lawrence Boythorne and Mooney the beadle are drawn from real life – Boythorne from Walter Savage Landor and Mooney from ‘Looney’ , a beadle at Salisbury Square . His plots were carefully constructed , and Dickens often wove in elements from topical events into his narratives .Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha’pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them , opening up and inspiring a new class of readers .

Dickens was regarded as the ‘literary colossus’ of his age .His 1843 novella , A Christmas Carol , is one of the most influential works ever written , and it remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre . His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to G. K. Chesterton and George Orwell—for its realism , comedy , prose style , unique characterisations , and social criticism . On the other hand Oscar Wilde , Henry James and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth , loose writing , and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism .

Most of Dickens’s major novels were first written in monthly or weekly instalments in journals such as Master Humphrey’s Clock and Household Words , later reprinted in book form . These instalments made the stories cheap , accessible and the series of regular cliff-hangers made each new episode widely anticipated . When The Old Curiosity Shop was being serialized , American fans even waited at the docks in New York , shouting out to the crew of an incoming ship , “Is little Nell dead ? ” Part of Dickens’s great talent was to incorporate this episodic writing style but still end up with a coherent novel at the end .

Charles Dickens published over a dozen major novels , a large number of short stories (including a number of Christmas-themed stories) , a handful of plays , and several non-fiction books . Dickens’s novels were initially serialised in weekly and monthly magazines , then reprinted in standard book formats .

Novels

Short story collections

Christmas numbers of Household Wordsmagazine:

  • What Christmas Is, as We Grow Older (1851)
  • A Round of Stories by the Christmas Fire (1852)
  • Another Round of Stories by the Christmas Fire (1853)
  • The Seven Poor Travellers (1854)
  • The Holly-Tree Inn (1855)
  • The Wreck of the “Golden Mary” (1856)
  • The Perils of Certain English Prisoners (1857)
  • A House to Let (1858)
Christmas numbers of All the Year Roundmagazine:

  • The Haunted House (1859)
  • A Message from the Sea (1860)
  • Tom Tiddler’s Ground (1861)
  • Somebody’s Luggage (1862)
  • Mrs. Lirriper’s Lodgings (1863)
  • Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy (1864)
  • Doctor Marigold’s Prescriptions (1865)
  • Mugby Junction (1866)
  • No Thoroughfare (1867)

Selected non-fiction, poetry, and plays

[ Facts of his life and list of the books , written by him , are taken from Wikipedia . I express my deep gratitude . ]

 

Charles Dickens, ca. 1865

Charles Dickens & His Famous Chair (Photo credit: Penn State Special Collections Library)

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Christopher Hitchens : Death of An Atheist


Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 23 , 2011           01.30 A.M.

Christopher Hitchens , writer , columnist , journalist , public speaker , world-famous atheist and iconoclast died on December 15, 2011 at the age of 62 in Houston , Texas , USA .

I am a theist . I am a believer . I do believe in God . I do believe in  my culture , my traditions ,  rituals of my religion and have unflinching faith in above mentioned things .

But still I admire and have utmost regards for every iconoclast , every atheist and every non – believer .

During my childhood days , I read a lot about Charvaka , an atheist of yore , who was a non – believer .  Standing on the staircase of the temples , he used to criticize God and exhort and urged the people not to believe in God , while believers were going for Darshanam . No one hurt him . No one ever criticized him . He was not banished from the city by the king of the day . He was not persecuted for his iconoclastic views . Instead he was called Maharshi Charvaka by people and was revered . He was called an atheist philosopher and was given place in the pantheon of Indian Godhead . His works were not banned by the government of the day . People in India , who know Sanskrit , still remember his famous Shloka , which preached his atheistic and hedonistic views :

यावत्  जीवेत्  सुखम्  जीवेत् ; ऋणं कृत्वा घृतम पिवेत ;
भस्मी भूतस्य देहस्य ; पुनरागमनं  कुतः  ॥

[ As long as you are alive , live with opulence and pleasure . Even if you have to take loan , lead a life of fulfillment and luxury . after death , when your ephemeral body will be burnt , you wont return in this world . So the question of re – payment doesn’t arise . ]

Maharshi Charvaka fascinated me . So whenever I read about a new atheist , a new iconoclast , I am driven towards him , even though I would never follow him .

So  when I heard about Christopher Hitchens , I was intrigued . Most famous for bashing Mother Teresa as a fraud , he was very critical of Henry Kissinger , Bill and Hillary Clinton and Royal Family of Great Britain . Christopher Hitchens was admirer of George Orwell , Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson .

 

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

Image by rubenerd via Flickr

Though my behaviour would seem to be incoherent but I firmly believe in the saying of Voltaire :

” I disapprove of what you say ; but I will defend to the death your right to say it . “
I follow theism but I will always admire atheists , because you need guts to not believe in God and swim against the tide . Only Christopher Hitchens could have written ” God Is Not Great ” . You need courage to write this kind of book . Only he would have said this for Mother Teresa : ” She was not a friend of the poor .She was a friend of poverty .She said that suffering was a gift from God .She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty , which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction .”

 

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

It needs guts to support Salman Rushdie and oppose Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini . It needs courage to oppose Vietnam War but support Iraq War . It needs gumption to oppose Bill Clinton but support George W. Bush . He was a true iconoclast who regularly contributed in Vanity Fair magazine .

I deeply mourn his death and pray for his soul , though he would not have liked it .

May his soul rest in peace !

Amen !!

I know  your views Mr. Christopher Hitchens . You have every right to adhere to your views but so am I .

So , rest in peace gentleman ! And don’t get angry for my prayers .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

 

 

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