Monday, October 20, 2014

Alia Bhatt- Brainless Beauty is youth icon

                                                          Hamari Pyyari Alia

It can be hailed as the most elegant and cherished love story of Indian History. It is believed that the Mughal prince Khurram fell in love with a simple girl who flew one of the two prized fantail pigeons and on being asked how she could have done such a crime she flew the second one too and said:'like this'! This naive girl went on to become his most treasured and loved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She was the daughter of Asif Khan and granddaughter of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, both of whom held positions in the Mughal court. (tajmahaltour).
Now look at the jokes about Alia Bhatt on social media sites
1. Alia Bhatt is so dumb that she thought Pani Puri, Sev Puri are all relatives of Amrish Puri.
2. Arnab: What's the first name of Modi?
Alia: Abki Baar
3. Einstein says: Be friends with Alia Bhatt and feel like a genius all the time!
4. When Mary Kom won a Gold Medal in Asian Games Alia Bhatt congratulated Priyanka Chopra
5. Alia went to buy a national flag on Independence Day and asked to show it in some other colors, or that she insisted to a shopkeeper to give her free cholesterol when she bought Sunflower Oil.
When the whole world is rejoicing the youngest Nobel laureate Malala Yusufjai for her overwhelming achievement of  human rights advocacy for education for women, our most pure, innocent Alia Bhatt has received unparalleled applaud in the history of Bollywood for being labeled as dumb.
Four lunatics were standing near fence of an asylum when a car stopped outside on the road and the owner who was driving, got down from the car to change the tyre since it had gone flat. While in the process he had taken out flat tyre he accidently strikes the plate  where he kept all the four nuts and the nuts rolled in the nearby drainage. Now the owner was perplexed as how he would manage to reach to a mechanic, when one of the lunatic suggested that he take out one nut from each wheel and put stepney with three nuts. He can then go up to a mechanic. The owner was surprised he asked "Hey, you have solved my problem. How is that you are in a lunatic asylum."
The man answered " Well, I may be a cranky, but I am not dumb."
That was the time when being stupid  was considered as the worst kind of stigma society can attach to anyone. Now Alia has surpassed Santa Banta and Blondes in stupidity.
Is Alia dumb or stupid? Or both?
Dumb, simply put, is when you don't know any better. This could be on an intellectual, mental, or educational level. It could also be due to a lack of exposure to certain behaviors and subsequent reactions, relative to any kind of 'life' situation. The rate at which you react and whether or not you think first before the action or reaction is somewhat relative. Definitively though, nothing is more evident after the fact, or nearly as important as the simple fact that you didn't know any better at the time.
Stupid, simply put, is when you know better, but you do it anyway. The first time you do your own laundry and toss bleach into a load of colored clothing, destroying everything... This is a dumb mistake. The next time you do laundry, and toss the bleach into the load of colors again? That is just stupid. You knew better from the first/past experience, but you did it anyways. (English language and usage).
Alia is neither dumb nor stupid.
She is pretty, innocent, charming, unworldly girl who has chosen to appear what she is not? Why anyone would do that. On the one hand when Kangana Ranaut in North and Kajal Agarwal in South has established themselves as the most intelligent heroines in Indian film industry, why an upcoming actress when labeled as dumb would rather approve of it. Look at her statements-
"I always say that I rather be stupid than pretend to be intelligent."
"I think that is very funny. Basically there are these twitter and Facebook jokes on me, because I am apparently stupid. They are very hilarious," she said.
"I don't feel bad at all. I find it very funny. It's a joke and you have to take it in a funny way. At least, I am crossing somebody's mind at some point of the day."
And it all started from Karan Johar's talk show Koffee with Karan when she said that the Indian President is Prithviraj Chavan during the rapid fire round.
How many actresses do you think know the name of the President of India. They could be counted on finger tips.
Then why so much hue and cry to culminate it into a meme. It is an invention of some brilliant mind (a marketing strategist) to encash a mistake and project an image of a person with whom adolescent youth can identify and can make fun as well. The statements given by Alia are very intelligent. A stupid person would never admit that he is stupid.
This is the ultimate glamorization of stupidity.
Bollywood had been doing it in the past. They have glamorized criminals, vagabonds, tapories, rowdies and Mafioso. They are expert in tilting negative shades in such a way that audience starts identifying themselves by a rationality of displacement in their subconscious mind.
But credit goes to Alia Bhatt for doing it off the screen.
So when you are laughing at Alia in all probability she too is laughing hard at you, for having successfully befooled you. Only time would show who has the last laugh, but by that time the purpose would have been served.      

 ©Vipin Behari Goyal

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cover Page of Novels By Vipin Behari Goyal

                                                What is in the Cover Page
The art of cover design of a book has become very important these days. Authors and publishers spend a lot of time and money on that. The buyers who are sincere readers have started taking the decision to buy a book on the basis of cover design. Though they also might read the blurb of the book to decide if the contents of the book suits to their taste. They also cast a cursory glance at the bio of the author, if they have not already heard about him. Does bio help them to decide whether to go for the book or not in any way? Or the cover design is the most important thing when a book is in hand. What makes the first impression on the mind of the reader title of the book or blurb, name of the author or his bio? If a reader has already heard about a book or author and he has already made up his mind to go for it, then of course there is no stopping for him.
Many publishers put the title of the book and the name of the author on cover page without any artwork. Still, those books are sold in volumes. But those authors belong to classical series for whom one can say "even name is enough". Those books are like jewels in the bookshelves which the owner proudly displays. Nothing distracts your mind from the contents of the book.
What could enhance the beauty of a good book? Amrita Pritam's books use to have paintings of Imroz as cover design. It was a unique combination to show how two different artists perceive a phenomenon with same intensity, except that a writer depends more on the imagination of reader while painting the picture of a scene with a keyboard on the screen.  
Sometimes an author would be puzzled if the cover page is more important than the content he has written. Many times publishers ask the author if he has any cover design in his mind. If he is suggesting one, the publisher would distort it with so called artistic improvisations that the author would even feel ashamed to condemn it.
Who is to be blamed if the cover page is totally irrelevant to the crux of the story? It is made on the basis of the title of the book and has nothing to do about the contents of the story. The cover designer is not a reader mostly. He is someone who more or less is, technically adept to tackle a cover design software. Cover designing a book is not lucrative profession, or rather it should not be. There is ample scope in other commercial fields for them like advertising. Publishers are commercial people, they are in the trade to make money. They are not a philanthropist or social activist. They are only happy when they earn profit by selling books. So they adopt gimmicks of attractive, sensational cover design. The reader might be misguided but the purpose of publisher has been served.
Author at a point of time is made to think that he has done some mistake by writing a book and having desired to see it published. So he suffers the punishment of harassment and pecuniary losses with determination to succeed.
Because he has faith in genuine readers.
Howsoever complicated this business of publishing and nexus of publisher, copy editor, cover designer, distributor, typesetter, professional reviewers, advertisers may become obnoxious, but the whole trade is merely a link between author and reader.
In India the youth has become mature as readers and his craving for serious reading is apparent. The days of Indian M&B and that type of cover designs are counted. May be they would target preteens instead of Young Adults in the future.
Kudos to generation x...y....z...

©Vipin Behari Goyal

Saturday, July 12, 2014


                 COPYRIGHT LAW IN INDIA

Indian English Writers started feeling the necessity of registration of the work when they constantly faced plagiarism, whether it was music industry, film production or literary work. It is a theft and rather a worse kind of theft. The pain and agony of original, creator are beyond words. The thieves are tactful, shameless and prepared for a long legal battle, being rich they can afford it. The poor creature has already lost half the battle when his work is stolen. He has to prove that he is the creator of his own masterpiece.
Every writer suffers from the trauma of apprehension that his work will be stolen. Which is also not unreasonable. Though theoretically the copyright is automatic as soon as the original work is created. But when you will fight a legal battle it would not be enough to say so. All over the world, there was concern over growing plagiarism so when Berne Convention, which started in 1886 was revised from time to time and is now applicable in 162 countries out of roughly 190 countries and protects literary and artistic rights of creators resident of any of these countries.
There are lots of legal complications when any controversy arises. Like in famous trial of "Three idiots" it was established that even if the economic rights are assigned away (and in this case, Bhagat assigned away his rights to any movie based on the book), the moral rights continue to vest in the author. Though it is different issue how much of the "Five point someone" was an original work, and what was the percentage of its resemblance with the work " Snapshots from Hell" by Peter Robinson. I personally think it was more than 3-5 %.
Government of India under Ministry of Human Resource Development has opened an office which registers all kinds of intellectual properties. So if you are a writer and have written a book, whether it is published or not you can get a certificate of registration of your book. Never send your manuscripts to a publisher without getting a copyright certificate. You can apply online for registration on the following website

It is users friendly website. Though I had to exercise some patience, but I was able to get the certificate for the manuscript of my novel based on Hindu Mythology "Apsara~Nina Bonita" 

eBooks are not considered as published work.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fooled by Translation

                      Fooled By Translation


Had India not remained slave to British for many centuries, our perception of English as a language would have been different. The words like Pre-Colonial  and Post-Colonial Literature would not have segmented our rich heritage of Sanskrit and Hindi Literature. One can dare say that amazing books have been written in Hindi and regional languages in India, which are at par, if not superior to books written in English. India has not come out of the spell cast by “Queen’s Language” which British thought was their monopoly.

However, USA also remained a colony but the English was already a native language of America, which is acknowledged as American English. While the Indian English is considered as crude copy of standard British English and has failed to develop an identity like American English.

The fact that despite critiques accused “Of man and mice” a masterpiece by John Steinbeck for vulgarity, racism and slang, the author was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature and American Literary Association classified the book as “Most challenged book of 21st Century”.

The Nobel Laureate of USA, Saul Bellow, Canadian born American author was brought up in Chicago and English was his native language. His books viz., The dangling man, Herzog, Seize the day, Revelstein are written in American English which has its own set of rules for  spelling, grammar, punctuation and style which are sometimes in contradiction to standard British English.

Most of the popular books that we read were not written in English originally. For example Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez, Paulo Coelho wrote in Spanish, Fyodor Dostoyevsky , Anton Chekhov Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol, Maxim Gorky, Boris Pasternak, Vladimir Nabokov, in Russian,  Haruki Murakami Yasunari Kawabata in Japanese, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Victor Hugo  Gustave Flaubert, Simone de Beauvoir in French.

These are only a few examples of popular authors. Sometime you may come across a bad translation and then it would be difficult to complete that book. Jacques Derrida says

“What must be translated of that which is translatable can only be the untranslatable. ”

Original always lacks its translation. It depends upon the translator if it fills up the gap in the way a story was created and perception of the reader, or widens it. Samuel Beckett who was a bilingual author who wrote in English as well as French said that the translator’s failure is, thus, an ‘interesting failure’.

Most of Indian knows good English but they are afraid of speaking and writing something because they think that some would mock at them, who has nothing substantial to say but has little better knowledge of grammar or punctuation.

The proper outlet for the creativity of such persons is translation of rich Hindi and regional language literature into English, if they have nothing to say anything of their own.

English is the lingua Franca of the world. If what is said is understood as it should be, the purpose of the language is served.

It is high time we make our own Chicago manual (may be Mumbai Manual) . The Mumbai has more English speaking people than anywhere else in India, and that too without hesitation of getting a tag.


                                                           ~Vipin Behari Goyal

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Honesty is the best policy

                                    Honesty is the best policy

Like in all other walks of life, in literature also “Honesty is the best policy”. When it is written with honesty and read with equal or rather more honesty, it makes the book immortal. The more burden lies on the shoulder of the reader. If he reads the book that are based on false values, it means he appreciates and promotes Hippocratic literature. Ultimately he becomes responsible for dragging the society in the wrong direction. He does not want the people to understand the true meaning of life, and condemns any efforts made in that direction by the author as well as other readers. Why he would do so?

Upbringing of a person plays a very important role. What type of parents, school, friends and environment an individual is subjected to in early childhood, frames his personality. Society condemns a person with a negative approach, but it is society that has played an important role in making him so. “I am not OK, you are not OK” to “I am OK you are OK” an individual has to travel a long journey, identify his conditioning and work on it to make his mind pure and unconditional.

We may think that it is the best option for anybody and he would readily accept once it is pointed out to him. But unfortunately it is not so. Such people have another problem of inflated ego. They are not ready to accept that their projection to outward situations of life is imbalanced and they need to work on it, on the contrary they become furious and react aggressively to defend their self projected image in their subconscious mind, that they are perfectly normal.

If you come across such person by misfortune, who are commonly called pain, you know where, believe me you are at the end of a blind alley. This is the high time to rest on laurels on behavioral therapy and subjugate yourself and the subject in the hands of supernatural powers. Some miracle may happen and the strong bond of stimuli and response in the mind of the subject would break, and he would be able to see the spark of Holy light that dwells in the pure unconditioned mind.

Honesty is a tool to explore the different realm of your psyche and thus takes you to the core of your existence.
                                                              ~Vipin Behari Goyal ©

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fiction and Philosophy

Fiction and Philosophy

Fiction without Philosophy is not literature. It is only a story which may not even have any moral. You don’t learn anything but you feel entertained. It could be a good time pass or a way to kill the time. Lying on a beach, travelling in a train or bus, we see lots of people doing it. Though instead they should prefer to how the breeze is playing with the waves of the sea, people surfing, vendors selling and clouds are drifting. Instead they read a story which a thriller, suspense, romantic or 50 shades, which takes your mind to ugly imagination and you overlook the beautiful realities spread before your eyes. I would prefer to lie still, close my eyes and listen to the fine music of nature. It may happen that my inward journey takes me to some deeper realm of my existence and I may find a magical pearl that may unfold some mystery of life.

Love stories have always remained a part of literature as love has remained an integral part of life. There are no two love stories that are similar as there are no two human beings who are exactly same. Everyone has a different perception and conditioning of mind to reflect differently from others. That makes every love story unique, so if a writer can identify that uniqueness and narrate as to what makes it unique, he could write a meaningful love story.

Love is an emotion just like many other emotions that we culture. I find hate is a more powerful emotion than love. Though both of these emotions make a person irrational, and finally a philosopher.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pulp fiction Versus Kerosene literature

Pulp fiction Versus Kerosene literature

 The pulp fiction was a term used in America in the early years of the twentieth century for cheap magazines and books sold on book stands. The covers were glamorous but the cheap pulp paper was used for printing the story and articles. The stories were action packed and romance was at its zenith in such books. Such books were popular with young adults. Some writers of pulp fiction later became celebrities and wrote popular fiction in literary style. After world war two the paper became very costly and such books slowly disappeared from the market. Later with the advent of Television the market of such books became obsolete and it became a talk of a bygone era.

Almost the same type of books and magazines were popular in India also during the same time till in sixties Hind Pocket Books came out with one rupee books. The pulp fiction was called “Ghasleti Sahitya” in India, which meant Kerosene Literature. It was called so, because in the opinion of bourgeois it was stinky as kerosene , and it could even stink the mind of readers. Such books were sold wrapped up in yellow foil so that curious bystanders do not pick up and turn the pages. Anonymous became the synonym of Mastram. Many bestselling authors of Hindi emerged from a community of readers and writers of these books.

During all these years great literature was written all over the world, especially in Europe,  e.g. F. Scott Fitzgerald, E. M. Forster, Ernest Hemingway, Aldous Huxley, Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf, W. Somerset Maugham, Albert Camus, Joseph Conrad,  D .H. Lawrence, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Sinclair Lewis, Arthur Conan Doyle, James Joyce, Andre Gide, Rudyard Kipling,  Hermann Hesse, Ayn Rand, Jean Paul Sartre etc. wrote wonderful books which are categorized as “Classic Literature”.

On the other hand in Hindi, the famous authors who created parallel classical literature during the same period were Bhishma Sahni, Dushyant Kumar, Devkinandan Khatri, Dharamvir Bharti, Hajari Prasad Dwivedi, Jainendra Kumar, Kamleshwar, Kedarnath Agarwal, Krishna Sobati, Mannu Bhandari, Mohan Rakesh, Nagarjun, Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, Phanishwar Nath Renu, Padma Sachdeva, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Sachchidananda Vatsyayan, Vishnu Prabhakar, Yashpal etc. .

It looks like best literature in Hindi and English was written during the first half of the twentieth century when pulp fiction and kerosene literature was also equally or rather more popular if we decide the popularity by sale. Thousands of copies of cheap (in price) detective novels by Ved Prakash Sharma, Surendra Mohan Pathak and Keshav Pandit were sold on the date of release. They were James Hadley Chase, Frederick Forsyth and Earl Stanley Gardner of India.

What attracted people to these books? There was no TV, Video games, Internet and other numerous means of entertainment.  Middle class, half educated youth was attracted by pulp fiction as bees are attracted by nectar. These books were sold in 25 Paisa which was called Chawanni or a quarter of a rupee. Later everything that was cheap or vulgar was called “chawanna”. That was the only source of entertainment where you can extract the full value of your money provided you can read. In those days the rate of literacy (which meant people who could read and write their name) was  hardly ten percent, so reading a book was a status symbol and folks were impressed by it. Especially because this type of fiction provided enough scope for imagination.

If for a moment we get rid off of our English mania, the Hindi literature created during the first half of the past century was much superior to or at least at par with literature created in Europe, and the USSR. USA at that time was more busy in the economic growth of the country.

This is high time we accept the work of all authors and honor the talent of creative writing ignoring what is being written, if it  is popular amongst the masses.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The future of English fiction writers in India (2)

The future of English fiction writers in India (2)

The interesting generalization about Indian English Authors who have become famous recently is their background. They have a higher technical degree and work in Banks/Financial Institutions. What makes them author? Except that they were born to be authors. They had a natural talent for the art of telling a story. Whatever novels have been written and published in the last one decade which one of them fall in the category of English Literature?

Encyclopedia Britannica defines “English literature, the body of written works produced in the English language by inhabitants of the British Isles”. Many famous authors of English Literature settled outside the British Isle like James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Aldus Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, Robert Graves, and Graham Greene etc. The books written by Indian authors are classified as Indian English Literature or IEL. In India English has a status of second language. English as a second language (ESL) is the use or study of English by speakers with different native languages.

The countries like Great Britain, USA, Canada and Australia form an inner circle where English is the primary language. India and Singapore, are extended circle of English where it is the second language in a multilingual society. The third category is of countries like China and Japan, which form expanding circles where English is getting popular as a foreign language.

Unfortunately it is not the Hindi our mother tongue and national language, but English is the lingua Franca that connects the whole country. Much powerful literature has been written in regional languages which need to be translated in English. The business of publishing books seems to have more moral and ethical responsibilities, which again is a debatable issue. But one thing is sure that the future of Indian English fiction publishers is co-related to the future of Indian English writers.

The future would not be decided by The Great Authors like Vikram Seth or Arundhati Roy as they do not have mass appeal. Their novels were read by book lovers, who was already reading foreign authors. The English novels of Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi etc. found a niche market.

A niche market is defined as “the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing. So the market niche defines the specific product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact.”

Kudos to the authors and publishers!!!

Salute to the whistleblowers and torch bearers!!!

The niche market is hungry and few books that have come so far are only appetizers.

Give them healthy food, lest they fall for junk food.

                                                                               ~Vipin Behari Goyal
                                                       … To be continued F578YXJTTSNV

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Why Murakami did not get a Nobel?

Why Murakami did not get a Nobel?

When everyone waited expectantly that the Nobel prize for literature for 1912 would go to Murakami , the name of Mo Yan was announced. Not many had read him before. Some booklovers even never heard about him. People sought consolation in the fact, that at least some Asian has won the prize.

Despite the hype and nomination why Murakami missed it? The literary world debates like academician. Most of the books of Murakami are best sellers and after his epic IQ84 he was considered as a potential contender of The Prize. At least the name would remind people of a great work of George Orwell, since in Japanese language 9 is written as Q. The novel is interesting and two moons could be symbolic of many things. What it lacks is a nucleus. The Author is not an entertainer, he has a social responsibility. Where is the voice against social injustice and satires against totalitarian political system which 1984 had?

So far people know that Mo Yan wrote stories about his village, what he had seen and faced all his life. So it touches the core of the heart and makes you realize that human emotion all over the world are identical. Many would not like to argue whether Mo Yan’s work is hallucinatory realism or magical realism, for a common man all magic is hallucinatory.

Everyone believes that the decisions of committee have remained controversial since its inception in 1901. Chekhov and Tolstoy were deliberately overlooked just because they were Russian and “ideal direction” was misinterpreted to favor certain authors. But same is not true for Japan. Japan has already won the Nobel Prize in literature twice,   Yasunari Kawabata in 1968 and Kenzaburō Ōe in 1994.

If committee could ignore Kafka (“The Metamorphosis”, “The trial” and “The Castle”) himself, they could easily ignore the author of “Kafka at the shore”. Though his most popular work of Murakami is “Norwegian Wood”.

Let us listen to this famous Beatles song "Norwegian Wood":

The book reflects western influence on the author. He behaves differently in Japan and USA. He is not brand of Japan. An author carries the weight of cultural values and ethos of the community where he is rooted. If he is to go up, he has to go down.

The fusion of realistic and fantastic in the novels of Haruki Murakami is unparalleled but “The Wave” is not for that. The wave is of “Magical Realism” and “Red Sorghum” is about that.

                                                                                               ~Vipin Behari Goyal

Monday, July 1, 2013

Modern Masters of English Literature

          Modern masters of English Literature

“He dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, ... once more in the youthful superstition that poverty was the servitude of love.”-- One Hundred Years of Solitude By Gabriel Garcia Marquez .

The secret of happiness is not doing what we like but in liking what we do.” ― J.M. Coetzee

There are many more. These are first two names that come to my mind.  They have written books that influence our life. The thoughts and desires stacked in sub-conscious mind pop up and some conclusions are drawn when prejudices are shredded.

The Magic Realism of Márquez is captivating. We live in the town of Mocondo when reading his book “One hundred years of solitude”, and become a friend of Florentino Ariza while reading “Love in the Time of Cholera”. The academic debate to categorize his work as Realism, Magical realism, surrealism or Magical surrealism could be endless. For a non-literature reader it is fantasy and he would call it as  Simply Fantabulous. It was his childhood dream to write about his town but to weave a story like that surpasses many realms of human existential consciousness.

In the end when Aureliano deciphers parchments Marquez writes

“It was the history of the family, written by Melquiades, down to the most trivial details, one hundred years ahead of time. He had written it in Sanskrit, which was his mother tongue.”

It shows the eastern inclination of author where it is believed that Valmiki wrote the great epic of Ramayana in Sanskrit before birth of Rama.

His books are criticized for promiscuity and incestuous relations of his characters. Death, violence and revolutions have always promoted promiscuity and incestuous relations in the society. Author simply narrates multi-faceted human behavior in an interesting way.

Similarly “Disgrace” by Coetzee tells how a  human emotion of attraction and its exhibition scares the society to condemn and thrust disgrace on a noble man.

In “Life and times of Michael K “ Coetzee enters into the mind of a simpleton who is deformed and acts dumb.

It is not strange to find such characters in every society, but it needs exceptional talent to identify them and find a philosophy in their behavior. That is how immortal books are written by Grand Masters.

When authors become a celebrity the society is cruel to them. They are also required to pay a price like any other celebrity in the field of Politics, Cinema and sports which are more or less skills. I think the public should be kind to painters, authors, scientist and sculptors who are differently molded and are creative . Both the modern masters have inspired authors to write in their own unique style  and explore one of your own from  infinite  dimensions of literary styles.

Are some Indian authors in the queue?