Book Reviews

Anthology of Popular Stories and Poems: A Review

Anthology of Popular Stories and Poems
Publisher: Notion press
Editors : Dr. Ram Awadh Prajapati : Dr.Sanjeev Kumar Viswakarma
Available on: Amazon, FlipKart : price: Rs. 200/

The anthology contains nine short stories written by nine authors and 18 poems written by 11 poets.

I shall review and attempt to give my opinions on some of the short stories. I keep in mind always that the readers are the best critics and judges for creative literature. It is because the writers write Not for themselves, Nor for the critics, they write for readers.

The Tyrant Tumour : By Tahir Ibn Manzoor : He is a journalist based - out in New Delhi:

The story is a biographical portrayal of glimpses of the life of a Kashmiri boy, Bilal who dreamt of becoming a star player at his age of twelve, but the tyrant tumor devoured his life. He lived the life of a living dead for four years and then breathed his last. He belongs to a village 75 kilometers away from Srinagar. He has his parents, one elder brother and two sisters. He suffered from brain cancer for four years and fought it bravely and with smiles. The story portrays the sufferings, pains and memories of his earlier life along with his courageous fight to win over the cancer in charming expressions woven with pretty, meaningful and apt words and sentences. I find impressive Indian English writing in the story. The sufferings, pains and memories of Bilal were shared by his parents, elder brother and sisters in such a way as if they were suffering from cancer themselves and they did what all they could do to keep him happy and save his life. They sold away their farm land which provides them livelihood for Rupees twenty lakhs and spent it for his treatment. His and his family members sufferings were portrayed in such a sensitive and effective style that the readers also can not, but share them as his own family members shared. The creativity shines brightly and brilliantly in the portrayals of images and feelings and expressions and that is the crux of the story despite the fact that there is NO creative theme or story as such in the short story. The further importance of the story is that it throws light realistically on the glimpses of the peoples' contemporary life in Kashmir.

I understand that the author made an attempt to symbolize the sufferings of the people with sufferings of the tyrant tumor patients because of the civil wars and firings between the terrorists and the army, but it lacks in clarity. It is a rare style of writing a short story.

Again in a Tight Corner : By Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Viswakarma, assistant professor, DDU Gorakhpur University, Utter Pradesh( India)

The author attempts to enlighten on the fall of standards in the education systems in the colleges, institutes and universities to a sorry and miserable state and the reasons therefor. He attempts to do it through the description of his own experiences and feelings and through conversations with his two colleagues, Birju and Ravi. From the descriptions and conversations, I have identified some reasons for the fall of standards in the education systems which I shall try to focus here.

The teachers have no freedom to use their experience and talent and prepare students with excellent talent and skills and improve the integrity of the university. They feel imprisoned environment.

The names of the teachers appear on all committees for preparing syllabus and time tables and other activities and functions, but they are not called and consulted. They are all prepared without their presence and consultation.

The students are the step-fathers of their teachers. They decide which teacher should teach them.

It is always the teachers whose results come out rather than those of the students who take examinations.

The sincere and dedicated work done by the teachers is ignored.

The results of end semester examinations came out. All the students of Ravi passed. Ravi could not understand how this miracle happened. He also wondered how the students who could not write their names also correctly in English have passed. Many students of the other two teachers who taught them with sincere and dedicated efforts failed.

The author clarified how it happened with minute details to the other two teachers. It happened through manipulations managed by the examiners. He also further clarified that there are some teachers who got jobs using corrupt means and they manage such manipulations in their vested interests. If anyone does not obey for such manipulations, he will be sent out. The three teachers began to search jobs elsewhere.

The author concluded the short story saying " There was really no job for teachers. This is the complete failure of the education system of this country.

The importance of the short story is that it deals effectively on the burning issue. It furnishes reliable and minute information on the corrupt practices which are harmful to the education system and thereby to the society as a whole. It makes the readers to think seriously on the burning issue.

As regards the style of writing, the information in part two of the story is nearly irrelevant to the main theme and it creates lack of coherence in the flow of the narration. The usage of sentence - The students were the step- fathers of their teachers- is unfair. The narration is not enriched with literary art and values.

I would like to offer my opinion on the burning issue. All students with a few exceptions study for a job. The governments spend huge money from the public finance on every student. After education also, you want that the governments should give you a job and feed you and your family with public finance and if not from private finance. The roots of the problem lie there only. Why should you study for a job only? The very objective of education for a job itself is defective and wrong. Why do not you think about an alternative? Why do not you study for skills, technology and management techniques for self employment of your own aptitude and choice? Why do not you prefer to live independent life proudly with earnings of the self employment? You can provide employment to others. You can build good wealth for yourself which helps for the growth of the National wealth. Why can not you do it? Such thoughts should arise in the minds of the students, their parents, educational institutes, teachers and professors and in the society as whole and it provides a solution to the burning problem. There are ample opportunities and facilities and assistance for self employment in our growing and developing economy

There is no use of crying- No job! The alternatives should be searched and implemented for healthy growth and development.

Kashmir: The unavoidable tragedy within a tragedy: By Iqra Mohiuddin:

She is a student of English literature. She concurrently is working on a book - Collection of poems from the hinterland.

Mushtaq Ahmad, 54 years old is working as a physics teacher in the government school. He has down turned eyes with a white trimmed beard and he was nicknamed as detective by his generous wife, Amina,49, who religiously adhered to the principles. He always thinks about the life-changing destructive events that began in 2020 by Corona virus and the health systems, doctors, nurses and the suffering patients. They have a son, Fazal,20.

One day, they heard that corona positive cases started in Kashmir also. Amina whispered- May God save us, we have witnessed a lot. They discussed on the precautionary measures to be followed and decided to follow them strictly. But, Mushtaq had the symptoms of corona positive and was admitted in the hospital. Amina and Fazal wanted to see him, but doctors did not allow them. After a few days, he was declared dead. Amina and Fazal could not have a last look at Mushtaq and he also could not have a last look at them. That was the dreadful and heart- breaking situation. His death ceremony could not be performed according to the religious code. Amina was also admitted in the hospital as she was suffering from hypoglycemia.When Mushtaq's body was lowered in the grave, Amina breathed her last chanting- Mushtaqa, Mushtaqa, Mushtaqa, I am coming to your way too. They lived happily with parallel- laid graves- the vein of love. The story was concluded saying- this is Kashmir in another way for you.

I understand that it means love and eternal love.

It is the content of the short story in brief. As regards the style of writing, the narration flows through the descriptions of the author and through conversations among the three members of the family. It is simple and easily readable and understandable. Coherence is maintained well.

The importance of the short story is that it puts in letters and words how cruelly and dreadfully the disasters are caused and how the human love and affection are severely severed and mocked at by the corona virus and all that was portrayed as live images as if the readers are witnessing them with their own eyes.

On the Bank of Someul Mic : By Zaher Alajlani : He is a Ph.D.student in the university of Cluj - Napoca, Romania :

The narrator lives at Cluj - Napoca working as an office clerk at an IT company. He handles client inquiries and responds to emails. He is 30 years old. He lives happy with his loving life partner, Cristina, a good job and nice apartment. One day, he found a man, barefoot and around forty years old throwing pebbles into the river one after the other and developed curiosity to know why he was doing it continuously without taking rest. He visited him several times and observed that he is not interested to talk to anyone and involves deeply in throwing pebbles into the river. He employed friendly, sympathetic, helping and intelligent approach and means and got some information from him through conversations made on several days.

He was doing that from the time he was released from mental hospital. The state said he is crazy and schizophrenic. He was throwing the pebbles so with a purpose. His name is Nicolae. He clarified why and how names are given and all are bags of flesh that have no significance or purpose beyond their physical functions.

He spoke about some crucial issues.

It has been the norm for the members of religious majority to persecute and brutalize minorities into assimilation and submission.

How is it possible for Muslims, gays, atheists and communists to unite against anyone?

Oaths mean nothing. Politicians take them all the time and they are the worst kind of liars.

He replied on the purpose of throwing pebbles. " I look for pebbles, I pick the ones I like, I go to the bridge and drop them in the river. The process is simple, beautiful and logical. What is so hard to understand about that?"

He asked the narrator no to come to him and leave him in peace.

The narrator understood that he is an educated intellectual.

The next day, he came to know about his demise and that the police said that he must have passed out and fallen into the river due to hypothermia. The narrator wept and wept until he knew- who I truely was.

The story concluded saying- what is the point of disturbing an outwardly blissful life? Why sacrifice every thing for the truth?

The style of narration is simple and easily readable. The conversations are brief and apt. The suspense creates curiosity for the readers to know about it and makes them to read with interest and think about it.

But, it disappoints readers as neither the protagonist nor the narrator clarified the suspense and it is difficult for the readers to understand it. The expression - her breasts were large - shows disrespect for women.

The protagonist did not speak about God and religion. He confirmed that he is not suffering from any mental disorder. He spoke about the cruel discrimination and inequality in social living. I therefore understand that he is a revolutionary and pretended as a mad man not to be identified as a revolutionary.

The suspense should not test the intelligence and patience of the readers and irritate them.

All the nine short stories were written by the writers who have profound knowledge on the themes of their writing and were ornamented vividly with realities and truths of life and social living. Different styles of writing were employed appropriate to the themes and they enriched the content for easy and interesting readability.

I am not good enough in poetry and hence I have not reviewed the poems.

The sincere efforts made by the editors in bringing out this anthology of lasting importance are appreciable and commendable.


More by :  Papa Rao Jayanthi

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