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My Heart Leaps Up by William Wordsworth

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My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

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Indian Romance Fiction

“Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze”– That’s what a renowned American author, said. This aptly explains why the romance genre of fiction that relates to “one’s deep and strong emotional desires to connect with another person intimately or romantically”, remains immensely a favorite with readers across the globe.

With the romance fiction, the readers try to identify with the characters, become involved with them and find the pleasures as an escape from the struggles in their daily lives. That is where it surpasses other genres of fiction. Besides, it has the entertainment value, which is the prime objective of fiction. In North America, romance novels are considered to be the most popular genre, with a share of over 50% of all paperback books sold. The genre is equally popular in other countries.

In the Indian context, since ancient days people have been inclined towards romance and that has led to abundance of this genre in Indian literature.  Centuries ago there were several epic romance writers notable amongst them being Kalidas and Subandhu. The following stanza of Kalidas’s Sanskrit epic Meghdoot, where the Yaksha yearns for his beloved, depicts the intensity of romance:

“O my beloved, gentle breeze from the Himalayas blows from the North, and carries along the sweet sap from the twigs of the trees of deodar. I embrace it lovingly, as it has come from distant lands having perhaps touched thy body first.”

In the later literature, Saratchandra’s Devdas, written originally in Bengali in 1917, and later translated into other languages was the tragic story of an unrequited and doomed love that had so profound impact on the masses that it had to be told repeatedly with the movie adaptations.

Later, the romance genre in the contemporary Hindi fiction was made popular by various writers, the most prominent amongst them being Dharmvir Bharti’s Gunahon Ka Devta, which with its unusualness and the sensitive portrayal of Sudha and Chander touched readers’ hearts.

As far as the English fiction is concerned, earlier we had been enjoying the novels by foreign writers, but of late there have been several prominent authors like Chetan Bhagat (Two States), Durjoy Dutta (If It’s Not Forever, It’s Not Love), Truly Madly Deeply – Faraaz Kazi and others.  Indian romance novels have a huge following and some have been picked up for movie production.

Lately some subgenres of romance like contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance and young adult romance have evolved and it is expected that the Indian authors will continue to enrich these subgenre by their writings.

Irrespective of the changing life patterns, relationships of romance and love will remain as the essence of society. So, the romance fiction, which titillates, sends an aura of pleasure, brings tears, and touches the chords of hearts will continue to be written to entertain readers and bring succour to their parched lives.

Romance fiction will dominate the fiction scene in India and continue to captivate the readers. Till eternity.

*Ratan Kaul is the author of two romance novels,”The Full Circle” and “Wings of Freedom” (amazon.in)

 

Author Interview with Ratan Kaul

Author Interview with Ratan Kaul.

“Woh Subah Kabhie To Aayegi..” by Sahir Ludhianvi

In memory of the renowned poet Sahir Ludhianvi, on his 94th birth anniversary…I’ve taken the liberty to  translate a few lines from one of his great inspirational poem into English.

I aspire for   the (glorious) morning,
I aspire for the (glorious) morning
When the veil will be lifted from  murky nights
of  the centuries of (enslaving) dark periods
When  scary clouds (of miseries) will disappear
and  oceans of truth (and justice) will  appear
When (our) skies will  gyrate with joyous dances
and the  earth  will vibrate with ecstatic melodies
I aspire for  the (glorious) morning,
I aspire for  the (glorious) morning

***

Woh Subah kabhi to aayegi , Woh Subah kabhi to aayegi
In Kaali sadiyon ke sar se, jab raat ka aanchal dhalkega
Jab Dukh ke baadal  pighalenge, jab sach ka saagar chhalkega
Jab Ambar Jhoom ke naachega, jab dharti nagme gaayegi
Woh Subah kabhi to aayegi, Woh Subah kabhi to aayegi
—Sahir Ludhianvi

An ode to spring

AN ODE TO SPRING

At dawn when I open my doors, windows

I am greeted by my regular companions

Flocks of tiny, playful and lively sparrows

with spirited mynas, bulbuls, and pigeons,

Who come gliding from their night shelters

in the Kachnar, Champa, Harsingar, Neem

And Gulmohar trees, shrubs and creepers

adjoining and touching balcony of my room

They come looking for their daily feeds

with friendly tapping on my window sills

For jowar, bajra, corn and other seeds

even rice, wheat puffs, nuts and biscuits

Squirrels watchfully spy the bird rations

and it is a sight to see how they pick the nut

Clasp and gnaw on it with swift actions

hiding in the small openings in the parapet

Bird experts say sparrows are getting extinct

and no longer dwell in concrete jungles

But I am blessed with the idyllic mornings

with my little friends providing jingles

The sweet sound of sparrows chirping

their calls of mobbing, duets and mating

Make my idyllic and cheerful morning

as my mind is enchanted in their playing

But it is now time to bid adieu to my lovable pals

For getting prepared for my share of earthly tasks

And face the day’s targets, meetings and mobile calls

With the polluted air, din of horns and traffic jams

***

Good governance and justice for the common man

The present government’s commitment to ‘maximum governance with minimum government’ is well known. This has also been adequately reflected in the ten-point road map set out immediately after the new government was sworn in. It encompassed matters relating to economy; infrastructure; people oriented systems; education, health and water. Included also were transparency in government, building of confidence in bureaucracy, innovative ideas for governance, resolution of inter-ministerial issues, stability in government policies and time bound implementation of policies.

However, while the confidence building in bureaucracy has made the list, an important point missing is the reinforcing our judicial system, which is also deeply linked to the justice for the common man. The fact remains that there is need for an immediate debate about accelerating the adoption of measures for restoring the confidence in the judiciary which, from the advent of civilization has been of utmost importance as a part of good governance

To elaborate it further, it would be pertinent to have a look at the meaning of governance.  It simply means “the action or manner of governing a state, organization …” and that would obviously include conducting of public affairs in a manner that would render good justice to the subjects of a state.

 It is notable that Naïf Al-Rodham, in his 2009 book Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man: a Philosophy of History and Civilisation Triumph, had included participation, equity, and inclusiveness as well as the rule of law in the eight minimum criteria for ensuring good national governance.

 In this connection, the following quotes from our scriptures, Manu Smriti and Kautilya’s Arthashastra are also relevant:

 Manu Smriti:

  Chapter VIII, Para 12: “But where justice, wounded by injustice, approaches and the judges do not extract the dart, there (they also) are wounded (by that dart of injustice).”

Chapter VIII, Para 15: “Justice, being violated, destroys; justice, being preserved, preserves: therefore justice must not be violated, lest violated justice destroy us.”

Kautilya’s Arthashastra

Book III, Chapter I:  Concerning Law: “As the duty of a king (and the administrators of justice) consists in protecting his subjects with justice, its observance leads him to heaven.”.

 Unfortunately, however, the present Indian legal system, a legacy of the British, is inadequate and needs a lot of fresh thinking and corrective actions by the government. 

One problem which the government has to address is the acute suffering which the common man seeking justice in India faces due to inordinate delays, high costs and limited reach to the judicial forums. This is aggravated by the fact that there is long pendency of cases in the courts. The figures are stunning.  Pending cases in Supreme Court are around 65,970 (as on 1.7.2014); in High Courts around 4.5 million and in district courts over 26 million in 2013.  This massive grid-locking at the judiciary needs to be undone by immediate filling of vacancies, appointment of new judges and adoption of new technologies.

  Another is the restoration of trust in the judiciary, which has been declining of late.  This can be achieved by ensuring the transparency in the judicial appointments, independence of judiciary, and institutional checks and balances. Whether the collegium system, which works in a the exclusive domain of judiciary in a closed environment,  and where one set of judges take decisions about judicial appointments,  should be replaced by other systems with a broader  decision making platform  is a matter that has to be decided by the government expeditiously.  Same is the case about strengthening judiciary as an independent institution free from bureaucratic interference. Otherwise, the democratic fabric of our democracy would continue to be damaged.

 There is  another important perspective to these problems, which the new government cannot overlook. By virtue of its constitution, India is a welfare state and as per the directive principles of state policy laid down in Part IV, the State has to promote the welfare of people by securing and procuring effectively a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life (italics mine).

 It is imperative that  the  government, judiciary and the entire legal fraternity  rise to the aspirations of the common man and generate a judicial environment where mass public would be always comforted by a feeling that there is a fair and unbiased institution to provide speedy justice to him.

*************

 

 

GREAT REVIEWS FOR WINGS OF FREEDOM–A HISTORICAL NOVEL SET IN INDIA

I’m thrilled to share that WINGS OF FREEDOM has received fabulous 5 star reviews on amazon, goodreads, shelfari and readersfavorite

Here’s the latest 5 star review from http://readersfavorite.com/review/6274

Book Review

Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite

“Wings of Freedom” by Ratan Kaul is set in the early 1900s when British Imperialism was at its peak. The Indians struggled for their independence from the British just as the British struggled to keep control. This fictional story transports readers back in time to an era where interracial romance was illicit. Our tale is a forbidden romance between a young college student, Raj Kumar, and an eighteen year old British national, Eileen. It is 1911, the year King George V held his coronation in Delhi. Shortly before the King’s arrival there was a fire in the Royal Camp. The British suspect arson and a possible assassination attempt. Two of Raj’s friends were accused and murdered despite their innocence. The Indians were a peaceful people but Raj was angered and turned against the British imperial rule. Eileen was the daughter of a British officer. Unlike most Brits she obviously loved the country, the culture and the people. 

“Wings of Freedom” is a beautiful love story. While the characters are fictional the author has created it in a non-fictional setting. He has captured the essence of the turbulent era. The plot captured my attention and held me hostage to the last page. I felt as if I was invested in the relationship of the young couple and the Indians. The romance itself was mesmerizing but when you add the demands of society, the treachery of the era and the risk involved when Raju and Eileen fall deeply in love, it becomes a great story. The love story would have stood well alone but the author didn’t stop there; he spent much time in research allowing him to create an entertaining plot that was also informative. He also allowed the characters to develop at their own pace. It is with great honor that I highly recommend this book.