Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi Years- by Pranab Mukherjee

The Dramatic Decade focuses on one of the most fascinating periods in the life of this nation, the decade of the 1970s. This was when India found herself engaging with the true meaning of democracy. The nation displayed her commitment to liberty by extending full support to East Pakistan’s struggle for independence. Later, between 1975 and 1977, during the Emergency, she found herself grappling with the limits of personal expression. Finally, in 1977, India saw the emergence of the politics of coalition, with the Janata Party an amalgam of Indian parties opposed to the Emergency, comprising the Congress (O), the Bharatiya Lok Dal, the Jana Sangh and the Socialists, coming to power. This was a turning point in the history of the Indian legislature. This was the decade when Pranab Mukherjee committed himself to the role of a political activist. As one of the keenest observers of and participants in this dramatic decade, Pranab Mukherjee’s insights are invaluable. Indeed, he nudges our impressions of the 1970s. For instance, recounting the urgent appeal for Indira Gandhi’s midterm resignation, he asks which democracy in the world would permit a change of a popularly and freely elected government through means other than a popular election. Can parties beaten at the hosting replace a popularly elected government by sheer agitation? Was it not prudent for those who were determined to change the government to wait till the elections which were but round the corner? Does the rule of law mean that the remedies available to the common man are to be denied to someone holding an elected office? How could anybody replace her when the overwhelming majority of Congress MPs with a two thirds majority in the Lok Sabha resolved that Indira Gandhi should continue as the party’s leader in Parliament and thereby as the Prime Minister of India? Drawing from personal diary extracts, conversations with key players of the 1970s, and vital secondary literature, Pranab Mukherjee presents an exceptional portrait of a complex nation.
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

There is a paradigm in the universe that is the kernel for the success of people in their lives. This paradigm is hidden and has been known only to very few historically exceptional people. The elements of the paradigm are visible only in bits and pieces to the majority of the human beings. What if the unkempt paradigm is clearly compacted and present to the world? What if the 'secret' is revealed? Rhonda Byrne, the author of the book, the Secret, presents such an ultimate secret which will unveil the formula for a successful life. The Secret is a self-help book which relies on the dogma that the universe is governed by a law called the law of attraction. According to the law of attraction, one attracts what one focuses on primarily. If a person spends his/her life focusing on positive thoughts, then the person will supposedly attract positive energy and positive results; the same is the case with attracting negative energy. This belief is based on the idea that both people and their ideas are made up of energy and thus one can influence the other upon will and exercise one's wishes and obtain happiness in life. The book intends to render its readers a way to attain their ambitions in life and be successful. A detailed expansion on the idea of law of attraction is written to help everyone reading the book. The book is published in hardcover and is a 1st edition (2006).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Confession - John Grisham

An innocent man is days from execution. Only a guilty man can save him. Travis Boyette is a murderer. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high-school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched and waited as police and prosecutors arrested Donte Drumm, a local football star with no connection to the crime. Tried, convicted and sentenced, Drumm was sent to death row: his fate had been decided. Nine years later, Donte Drumm is four days from execution. Over 400 miles away in Kansas, Travis faces a fate of his own: an inoperable brain tumour will soon deliver the end. Reflecting on his miserable life, he decides to do what's right. After years of silence he is ready to confess. But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges and politicians that they're about to execute an innocent man?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MRITYUNJAYA BY SHIVAJI SAWANT

The Marathi Novel As Epic The search for the meaning of being is man's eternal quest and the subject of his greatest creations. Shivaji Sawant's
Mrityunjaya is an outstanding instance of such a literary masterpiece in which a contemporary Marathi novelist investigates the meaning of the bewildering skein that is life through the personae of the Mahabharata protagonists. For over two decades since its first publication the vast non- Marathi and non-Hindi readership remained deprived of this remarkable exploration of the human psyche till the publication of this English translation by the Writers workshop - a contribution for which there is much to be grateful for Mrityunjaya is the autobiography of Karna, and yet it is not just that. With deceptive case, Sawant brings into play an exceptional stylistic innovation by combining six "dramatic soliloquies" to form the nine books of this novel of epic dimensions. Four books are spoken by Karna. These are interspersed with a book each from the lips of his unwed mother Kunti, Duryodhana (who considers Karna his mainstay), Shon (Shatruntapa, his foster-brother, who here-worships him), his wife Vrishali to whom he is like a god and, last of all, Krishna. Sawant depicts an uncanny similarity between Krishna and Karna and hints at a mystic link between them, investing his protagonist with a more-than-human aura to offset the un-heroic and even unmanly acts which mar this tremendously complex and utterly fascinating creating of Vyasa. The beginning of the novel is riveting in its newness and simplicity: "I want to say something today.... a time comes when the dead have to speak too. When this flesh-and-bones living behave like the dead, then the dead have to come alive and speak out". That is Sawant's pregnant comment on the state of contemporary society, where class and caste ride roughshod over innate worth; where the most intimate ties are denied for the sake of conformity with social norms.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

MADHUSHALA BY HARI VANSH RAI BACHCHAN


Harivansh Rai Bachchan's glorious book Madhushala is a collection of mystically woven 135 quatrains. Madhushala, meaning ‘The House of Wine', includes brilliant compilation of ballads that portray the various dimensions of life with the use of words like wine (madhu), house of wine (madhushala) and cup-bearer (saaki). The quatrain style of writing could be compared with the Urdu style ‘Ruba'i and has been inspired by Omar Khayyam's literary piece ‘Ruba'iyat'. The poems voice about the facets of human life like love, greed, anguish and resentment. As a reader proceeds with each page of the book, he/she gets to know the beautiful ways in which wine has been used as a metaphor to convey the prismatic reflection of life. Bachchan also openly spoke about the blind way of living in society and the sorrow it brings to the life of a common man. Through Madhushala, Bachchan touches one or the other sensitive aspects of every single person's life. Madhushala has been considered a must read for those who are in quest for the best Hindi poems. The book was released as a trilogy, originally in 1935 and subsequently in the years 1936 and 1937 under the titles of Madhubala and Madhukalash respectively. The poems have been adopted for dramas and dances as well. The book is available from Rajpal, published in 2013 as a hardcover. Key Features The renowned patriotic music composer Jaideep also composed Madhushala' s verses. Phrases from the book have been delivered by famous Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan in his shows, interviews and many other media events.

AMAZON TAKES ON GOOGLE


Amazon isn't just the everything store, it's the everything company. It deals with more than just shipping out massive amounts of products — it sells tablets and phones, cloud computing services, books, and now it's diving in to advertising. ​While the company already offers up ads as part of an affiliate program called Amazon Associates, its new advertising platform is said to take on the likes of the ubiquitous, all-powerful Google AdWords. (Video via Google) ​Amazon's ad platform is called Amazon CPM Ads — at least for now. Multiple reports say the final service will be called Amazon Sponsored Links. CPM stands for "cost per thousand impressions,"which is ad-speak for how much you'll get paid for every thousand views of an advertisement. ​TechCrunch reports the service will include ads from Amazon itself "as well as other 'high-quality' advertisers." The outlet says Amazon appears to be testing the service right now, as only some of the company's affiliates have been invited to give it a try. It seems if anything can take on the likes of advertising incumbent Google, it's Amazon. ​ As an analyst quoted in The Wall Street Journal reminds us, Amazon certainly knows a thing or two about people's purchases. "Amazon could use the data it has about buying behavior to help make these ads much more effective. Marketers would love to have another viable option." And Fortune says this would really be a one-two punch to Google's bottom line, because "Amazon is one of Google's largest ad buyers." Amazon would be building up its own advertising platform, all the while undermining its largest competitor.

SECURITY ANALYSIS


Security Analysis: Sixth Edition, Foreword by Warren Buffett is one of the most significant books in the history of financial analysis. The theory on which this book is based, was subsequently called Value Investing. The book attempts to teach the investors a new approach to assess the business that lay behind security. This book contains many examples based on actual events to show the tendency of markets to undervalue some securities that don't seem to be favorable. It explains how this could help the savvy opportunists, if assessed rightly. It basically shows how an investor who is professionally trained can utilize the financial analysis of the corporation to determine the intrinsic value of a company. Security Analysis further explains how Graham's margin-of-safety principle can be used to make profit. It shows the investors how stocks can be bought when the market price is way below its original value and then earn good returns. The book also discusses the genesis of corporate finance and financial analysis. Security Analysis: Sixth Edition, Foreword by Warren Buffett was published on 25th November, 2008 and is available in hardcover. It includes a short introduction to the book by Warren Buffet who benefited immensely from this book.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Home-grown fictions outsell international bestsellers


The quick, pacy and low-priced reads by contemporary Indian authors have become a rage among the Ranchi youths. The book shop owners in the city admit that youngsters prefer a Chetan Bhagat and Ravindra Singh to a Richard Dawkins. Teenagers can relate to the love stories set in metropolitans. Reshma Kumari, a second year student of Ranchi Women's College said, "I love reading Ravindra Singh. The climax of his novel, 'I Too had a Love Story' put me to tears". Nonetheless, there are some who still swear by the foreign authors. Aryan (21) said, "I am buying a Nicolas Sparks book for my sister. I hope she appreciates my choice." S K Jaiswal, owner of an old book store in Tharpakna, said: "The social networking sites have destroyed the habit of reading. The writers usually come up with hackneyed story plots that have clicked with the audience in the past". Hindi translations of famous English novels are also popular here. Amish Tripathy's ?The Immortals of Meluha', translated to ?Meluha ke Mrityunjay' for the Hindi readers, have received good response. Shop owner of a book store at Firayalal chowk, Pradeep Burman said, "Approximately 800 to 1000 copies of home-grown love stories sell every month. The readership comprises youth ranging between 16 and 22". He added, "Few youngsters, however, look for motivational books as well." An MBA aspirant, Aman Dev said, "Most of the stories have associated plots and one gets tired of reading them after a certain point of time. The frenzy is common among the first generation English readers". Chetan Bhagat stories harp on similar storylines but as long as his book makes money, he gets to rule the market, he added. The international bestsellers, mostly non-fictions, are still missing from the book shop racks. The National Book Trust (NBT) organizes book fairs every year but not much is done to develop reading habits among the youths of the city.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Accidental Prime Minister:The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh By Sanjaya Baru

Get it here In 2004 Sanjaya Baru left a successful career as chief editor of the Financial Express to join Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as his media adviser in UPA 1. Singh offered him the job with the words, ‘Sitting here, I know I will be isolated from the outside world. I want you to be my eyes and ears. Tell me what you think I should know, without fear or favour.’

The Accidental Prime Minister is Baru’s account of what it was like to ‘manage’ public opinion for Singh while giving us a riveting look at Indian politics as it happened behind the scenes. As Singh’s spin doctor and trusted aide for four years, Baru observed up close Singh’s often troubled relations with his ministers, his cautious equation with Sonia Gandhi and how he handled the big crises from managing the Left to pushing through the nuclear deal. In this book he tells all and draws for the first time a revelatory picture of what it was like for Singh to work in a government that had two centres of power.

Insightful, acute and packed with political gossip, The Accidental Prime Minister is one of the great insider accounts of Indian political life and a superb portrait of the Manmohan Singh era.

WAR OF THE WHALES:A TRUE STORY BY Joshua Horwitz

Two men face off against an all-powerful navy—and the fate of the ocean’s most majestic creatures hangs in the balance.

"A gripping, brilliantly told tale of the secret and deadly struggle between American national security and the kings of the oceans."—Bob Woodward

War of the Whales is the gripping tale of a crusading attorney who stumbles on one of the US Navy’s best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound—and drives whales onto beaches. As Joel Reynolds launches a legal fight to expose and challenge the Navy program, marine biologist Ken Balcomb witnesses a mysterious mass stranding of whales near his research station in the Bahamas. Investigating this calamity, Balcomb is forced to choose between his conscience and an oath of secrecy he swore to the Navy in his youth.

When Balcomb and Reynolds team up to expose the truth behind an epidemic of mass strandings, the stage is set for an epic battle that pits admirals against activists, rogue submarines against weaponized dolphins, and national security against the need to safeguard the ocean environment. Waged in secret military labs and the nation’s highest court, War of the Whales is a real-life thriller that combines the best of legal drama, natural history, and military intrigue.

COURTSEY:aMAZON.COM