Posted in Books

Who is Savarkar?

“Who is Savarkar? And why is he so important?”

I asked this question to myself a few months ago when I heard this name repeatedly in various news articles regarding some controversy where the BJP and Congress had locked horns and were fighting. Incidentally, I came across the this article which aroused my interest even further and I deduced that he might have been an important person who like many others had been left out of the entire narrative regarding the Indian freedom movement.

When I look back at my school days and the history we were taught I don’t remember the name of Veer Savarkar very prominently and neither have I seen his frequent mention elsewhere. We do remember the names of Mangal Pandey, Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad but not much of Savarkar.

My interest was further aroused when i came across this book and decided to read it to learn more about Savarkar.

After completing the book here are some notes –

  • First of all it is a gripping narrative. There was never a dull moment in the whole book. So you can go for it.
  • Kudos to the author Vikram Sampath for the painstaking research he carried out of the vast range of original archival documents across India and abroad. He has also provided ample amount of references that the reader can cross-verify if he so desires
  • Another commendable aspect is that the author has not tried to thrust his opinion of Savarkar on the reader. He neither tried to glorify Vinayak Savarkar nor condemn his actions. He has presented the facts and historical events of that period in an objective manner
  • The book is an eye opener. We get to know so much about the Indian struggle for Independence. This part of the history has been completely kept hidden from the Indian population and we were made to believe that India got the freedom only due to the non-violence movement of Gandhi ji.
  • When you read this book you will realize that the armed struggle was not some random historical events that we read in school books. You will understand that the armed struggle was a very well coordinated movement and had spread to large parts of India and many countries abroad.
  • The amount of surveillance British had to put on Savarkar is also an indication of how important he was at that point of time.

Read this book if you want to enhance your understanding of the Indian Struggle for Freedom. Highly recommended.

Posted in Life Gyan

Lockdown Memories

  • These are the things that you may remember someday about the lockdown. 
  • Today is Sunday, 3rd May, 2020.
  • We are at Day 40 of social isolation.
  • Anybody who is alive today has never seen anything of this scale ever in their lives. 
  • Almost all big organisations have a Business Continuity Plan but none would have planned for a disruption of this scale
  • Schools, Colleges, Offices, Markets, Industries, Malls, Restaurants, Cinema halls are all closed
  • Flights, Trains, Buses, Uber, Ola are not operating
  • In many towns and cities all delivery services like Swiggy, Zomato, Big Basket are not permitted for fear of spreading the infection
  • All maids, drivers and house-help are not allowed into the homes or apartments
  • Only shops of essential items like groceries, medicine, vegetables etc are allowed to open for limited duration everyday.
  • All places of worship like Temples, Churches, Mosques are closed
  • Parks, beaches and other public places are not accessible to the public.
  • All sports events like Olympics, IPL etc have been cancelled or Postponed across the Globe
  • All religious and social gatherings have been banned.
  • Funerals related gatherings are limited to immediate cohabitants and max 15-20 persons and too with Police permission
  • Schools have been closed since mid March and most schools have started online classes on Zoom. 
  • There are floor markings outside and inside the stores to maintain appropriate distance between people.
  • Only limited number of people are allowed to enter a shop and the rest have to form a queue outside. When one customer exists then one from the queue is allowed to enter the shop
  • Friendly social gatherings even with neighbours or friends are not happening. Most sane folks are maintaining discipline and social hygiene.
  • People are scheduling video calls to connect with friends and relatives 
  • There is widespread fake news on social media
  • World-over there is shortage of masks, gloves, PPE kits and medical equipment like test kits, ventilators etc and most countries are having to buy it from China which miraculously has overcome this crisis and is back to business
  • People are wearing masks, most places now REQUIRE that you wear them to enter!  People are even making their own masks for sale or donation to medical facilities!
  • Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes and anything Lysol or Clorox is in short supply and limited per person.
  • Every city has been divided into tiny zones & an instant fine is being issued for crossing the zone without a valid reason. (Transport workers, Essential services, etc)
  • IT companies have adopted a work-from-home approach and are able to run most of their operations remotely
  • Small businesses and daily wagers are hard hit. Government is trying to provide food and assistance to the daily wagers, poor and needy folks
  • Amidst all this the silver lining is that the pollution levels have come down drastically and nature is thriving. 
  • There is hardly any noise pollution and we can hear the birds chirping again. 
  • I have heard in news that the long standing Ozone layer holes have self healed
  • At least everyone is acknowledging that probably we humans had taken too many things for granted and the pace of life was accelerating with every passing day but now this pandemic has put brakes on that mad race and everything has come to a standstill forcing people to reflect on they actions and their consequences
  • Today the Lockdown 2.0 comes to completion and Lockdown 3.0 begins for next 2 weeks. 
  • I am not sure what the future holds for us and how the “new normal” will evolve as we try to adapt to the changed circumstances and environment. However I hope people will remember at least a few lessons from this worldwide pandemic and will adopt a more responsible and deliberate lifestyle.
  • Remember life is precious & that nothing should be taken for granted. And above all let’s be grateful for where we are and what we have.
  • Stay safe and healthy…!
Posted in Life Gyan

After The Lockdown…

After the lockdown…what is the one thing that you will do differently as an individual?

It could be
– reducing the consumption of one time use plastics
– continue to help with household  chores
– buy more from local vendors etc etc..

The point is – are we going to do anything different after this experience or will we be back to our older ways and that too with vengeance.

So what is it that you will change in your lifestyle?

Posted in Life Gyan

The Price of Anything “Free”

There is nothing called Free Lunch.

“When anything is free, your freedom is the price!! “

Desmond Tutu once said, “When the Missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, “let us pray”.  We closed our eyes. When we opened  them, we had the Bible and they had the land.

Like wise, when social networking came, they had the WhatsApp and Facebook, and we had the freedom. They said it’s free. We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had WhatsApp and Facebook, and  they had our freedom.

When anything is “free”, your freedom is the Price.

Posted in Books

If You Love Your Books, Set Them Free…

Once you have read a book, what do you do with it? 

In most cases, it gather’s dust in your bookshelf. There are very few which we re-read or refer to over and over again. But the majority of them just lie there on the shelf waiting to be picked up again. Ron Hornbaker of Idaho came up with the idea of this site for the book-lovers. He urges them not be “shelf”ish with their books and invites them to share their books with other book lovers. How? Now that’s the interesting bit. 

Users can log in to this site called and create a unique ID for their books, label it and then “release” it. By “release” it he means give the book to a friend, relative, colleague or just leave the book at some place like a coffee shop, park or any other place where it is likely to be picked by another book-lover. 

When the book gets picked, the reader can report on this site that the book has been “caught” by entering the unique ID. 

Sometimes this cycle can be repeated many times before the trail is lost. And the journal entries created in the process allow you to track where your book has travelled – and it can be quite interesting. 

The top 10 BookCrossing countries
1. USA …………………….29% 
2. Germany ……………16% 
3. United Kingdom ..13% 
4. Netherlands ……….11% 
5. Finland ………………10% 
6. Canada …………………8% 
7. Australia ………………5% 
8. France ………………….4% 
9. Portugal ……………….3% 
10. Spain ………………….1% 

So far this concept is popular mostly in the Western part of the globe. With reading emerging as a popular hobby in India and with a young population which is ready to experiment with new concepts and ideas, this idea of book sharing has a lot of potential in Indian context too. I know a lot of book sharing happens in smaller groups of known people but this can take book sharing to a whole new level.