By Manju Gupta
Lead to Win, Harshit Bhavsar, Universal Hunt, Pp 218, Rs 195.00
This self-help book, which provides the roadmap to success, stresses the point that the line between dream and vision is execution. As the author claims, the book is meant for all those who desire to experience a successful life by leading it. This is true but only if you have the leader within you, because if you do, then the book helps you gain a better understanding of leadership traits and in awakening the leader within. It tries to dissect leadership and its importance in leading a successful life by feeling satisfied, experiencing growth and succeeding in achieving one’s goals. Right from birth, we all are evolving but those who evolve to the maximum in life, emerge as leaders whom others try to follow.
Life is a process of defining the purpose of living and then finding the means for executing the same. In the process, this means improving on the purpose and at times, redefining the purpose as well as the means of achieving the same. What is important in the entire process is relishing this sequence, elevating the benchmark and evolving as humans, until one feels thoroughly successful and satisfied.
Many a times, we hear that leaders are born and never made. This is normally believed by people who never aspire to be leaders. We all have a leader within us, which is a combination of characters coming out in several degrees or proportions under certain situations. “Leaders aren’t born; they are made,” says the author.
Back home in India, Mahatma Gandhi envisioned an independent and united India. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned an America with equal rights for all. Nelson Mandela envisioned delivering his people in South Africa from bondage of apartheid.
In other words, this book unlocks the latent potential and identifies the leader within; helps recognise, develop and strengthen leadership traits; understand, respect and support others for collective growth; create strong sense of purpose, clarity of thoughts and fruitful action.
(Unihunt Consulting Private Limited, 405 Shukan Complex, Swastik Crossroad, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad-380 009; www.universalhunt.com)
The story of triumph of the Goddess
Durga, Gauri Kelkar, Wisdom Tree, Pp 58, Rs 169.00
This story, taken from Indian history, tells the tale of Goddess Durga, the Divine Mother who is considered by Hindus of all hues and colour as the protector of the universe against evil thought and deed. Her name in Sanskrit means ‘invincible’ and in often referred to as Devi or Shakti.
As is already known, the Gods and demons (asuras) were constantly at war with each other. There came a time when the demons became so powerful that they were in a position to wipe the entire race of Gods. This was particularly so in the time of Mahishasura, who was the most powerful demon king on Earth, blessed with the boon that no man or God could destroy him as he had done long penance to become indestructible. Power had gone so much to his head that he went about destroying humans. His rule of tyranny terrorised the people but they were helpless. He then turned his attention to conquering the Gods. The Gods became worried and decided to create a woman goddess to destroy Mahishasura. They called her Goddess Durga and endowed her with ten arms, each representing the ten geographical directions including the three dimensional space above and below – heaven (devalok) and the netherworld (patala). She was given a fierce lion as her vehicle for transport.
The book describes how she goes and confronts Mahishasura and on being ridiculed for daring to confront him despite being a weak woman, how riled she gets, becoming all the more fierce towards him. At first Mahishasura sends his army of demons to fight her but they suffer defeat at the hands of the army that Goddess Durga creates by taking a deep breath and exhaling out an army of a thousand soldiers. Leading from the front, she rides her lion through the demons, with her lion destroying many demons while running wild.
This book has other tales on how Goddess Durga vanquishes the various smaller demons to establish a reign of peace.
The story is usual but the illustrations are eye-catching.
(Wisdom Tree, 4779/23, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110 002; [email protected])
Revolutions brought about on blogosphere
By Manju Gupta
The Blogging Revolution, Antony Loewenstein, Jaico Books, Pp 294, Rs 350.00
The author-journalist from a Sydney-based foundation considers the internet both a liberating and a restrictive force, while presenting a counter narrative to the mainstream perspective on the world around us. It is a colourful account of the bloggers in certain parts of the world where one-party rule is in existence.
To present a realistic and revelatory account of the bloggers who live and write under repressive regimes, the author travels and meets private parties in Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Damascus, Cuba and Beijing, where he discusses the ways in which the bloggers are struggling to be heard under difficult conditions. He finds that where the internet is heavily censored, internal debate is opening and connections with the outside world are increasing. “Though many web dissidents were suppressed, their voices crushed and lives tortured in the process,” it is clear that the internet technology could play a key role in the social democratic movements. Nobody could have visualised such quick seismic changes in some of the countries.
“Revolutions thundered across the Muslim world in 2011. Regimes fell and leaders fled into exile. Millions of citizens rose up to oust and challenge largely Western-backed dictators in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Yemen and Syrian” after decades of anger, determination, pain, impotence and frustration. For a region with a majority population under 30-year old, most people have never known any other reality. So it is a time to celebrate and visualise a future with a steady job, justice, freedom and peace.
Leading American Middle East expert and blogger Juan Cole wrote in February 2011, “The protestors (across the Middle East) put their fingers on the phenomenon of the vampire state and concluded that before anything important would change, they had to put a stake through its heart.”
Autocrats in the Middle East have their matrix of control weakened by people’s power aided by the internet dissent using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, rolling Al-Jazeera coverage, Wikileaks revelations. “It was an intoxicating brew that only needed a catalyst to explode” and Tunisia provided the spark when a street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself alight on 17 December 2010 after constant harassment by local authorities. Local people posted a video online of Bouazizi and this was captured by Al Jazeera and was soon viewed by millions in the Arab world.”
In Cuba he finds a low percentage of bloggers (as low as 2 per cent of the population) because of lack of web access due to the US embargo, poverty and state restrictions.
In China, bloggers are likely to carry criticism than Chinese newspapers with success, including exposing the assault of street sellers by the local police. China however, has the largest number of netizens (228.5 million in comparison to US where they are 217.1 million).
The book is informative and enjoyable to read.
(Jaico Publishing House, A-2 Jash Chambers, 7-A Sir Phirozshah Mehta Road, Fort, Mumbai-400001; www.jaicobooks.com)
A collection of
1/7 Bondel Road, Gautam Benegal, Wisdom Tree, Pp 123,
The book by a writer, national award-winning animation film-maker, cartoonist and artist explores and expresses the experiences of a child to capture the essence of Calcutta city in the 1970s and 1980s. He presents 10 vividly sketched endearing vignettes of his growing up years in a quintessential Calcutta in an unpretentious but engaging recounting of the colours and characters that inhabit young Tutul’s world.
For a child, there is always a first time – first time when he sees the raindrops fall and wonders how the sky is dropping water droplets as the fragrance of wet earth seeps in through his nostrils; there is the first time when he sees a film at a theatre and the pictures fill his senses in the darkness as he clutches his mother’s hand, forgetting to breathe; a first time when he meets someone like himself and asks, “Will you play ball with me?”
Like the first time, there is also the last time when he says goodbye to a friend who is leaving the neighbourhood and many such incidents which create his world. Soon he grows up and finds that there are many worldly cares that need attending to.
The first story about a baul singer, Gourhari Das touches a chord in the reader’s heart. An 11-year old Tutul hears a young baul singer by the name of Sharma singing the baul song with a film song and who is derided by others for doing so because “he is not a real baul, you know. His surname is Sharma, not Das. And besides, a real baul would die before he would sing a film song.”
So the audience restlessly waits for Gourhari Das’s arrival and enjoys hearing Sharma strum away on the little ektara of his, whirl and pirouette on the wooden stage as “all four feet of him held three hundred people in thrall.”
Another story title ‘The Cyclist’ is about a 25-year old young man who, as noticed by Tutul through his window, goes round and round, without stopping for three days, with “food, bath, big job, small job, all on the cycle itself.”
This is a collection of poignant stories, told by one with a sharp observation power, taking unexpected turns to give old truths new meanings. The illustrations in black and white capture the mood of the stories.
(Wisdom Tree, 4779/23 Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi-110 002; [email protected])