Library@Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom

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Library Jokes & Cartoons



Hillary Clinton Visits School Children 

Hillary Clinton goes to a primary school in New York to talk about the world. After her talk she offers question time.One little boy puts up his hand. The Senator asks him what his name is.


“And what is your question, Kenneth?”

“I have three questions: First – whatever happened to your medical health care plan? Second – why would you run for President after your husband shamed the office? And, Third – whatever happened to all those things you took when you left the White House?”

Just then the bell rings for recess. Hillary Clinton informs the kiddies that they will continue after recess. When they resume Hillary says, “Okay where were we? Oh, that’s right, question time. Who has a question?”

A different little boy puts his hand up; Hillary points him out and asks him what his name is.


“And what is your question, Larry?”

“I have five questions: First – whatever happened to your medical health care plan? Second – why would you run for President after your husband shamed the office? Third – whatever happened to all those things you took when you left the White House? Fourth – why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early? And, Fifth – what happened to Kenneth?

Filed under: library Jokes & Cartoons,

Book reviews


(Available in the library- Call No:923.6 MUH-B)

The idea of immigration to America as a way for the poor to improve their lives remains a powerful icon. Many liberals in particular remain mesmerized by this sentimental bit of patriotic mythology, bathed in a fuzzy glow radiating from Ellis Island. They seem little dissuaded by unkind reality, namely the many current, visible symptoms of American overpopulation – sprawl, resource shortages, school overcrowding, and pavement everywhere. Immigration romantics instead focus on the emotional appeal of the Land of Opportunity, where hard work and a little luck will lead to success.Liberal advocacy for continued high levels of immigration springs at least partially from a misplaced missionary urge to rescue, presumably based on the arrogant and racist supposition that those backward societies can never improve themselves. The huddled masses must instead be saved by relocation to the obviously superior America, which offers an array of services and opportunities that could never exist in countries run by darker peoples, according to the evident assumptions.Immigration can make susceptible Americans feel exceptional and generous while fulfilling the still-vibrant bootstraps myth of Horatio Alger, immigrant version. In an earlier century, Europeans bore the “white man’s burden” to “civilize” the benighted cultures under their colonial control; now a version of this twisted and dubious responsibility has been morphed into the “nation of immigrants” myth, implying that endless millions must be welcomed. Of course, the elitist psychological underpinnings of the immigration-as-rescue scenario are never examined by the people who accuse immigration restrictionists of being racist.

Clearly the rescuer has a more powerful position compared to the one being rescued. But what if there were an effective self-help strategy that proved the poor did not need to be rescued through immigration and that avoided all of its negative social effects? What if the poor could successfully uplift themselves in their own societies using the hard-scrabble skills they already possess? What if women were successfully empowered with financial responsibility in societies in which they had formerly been little more than slaves?

What if the key were not charity, but capital?

The Grameen Bank
Immigration enthusiasts who are fired by the missionary impulse to save the downtrodden of the world are using a fly swatter against an elephant. There are literally billions of poor on this planet who might theoretically be better off in the United States – but such an overload would swamp and sink the lifeboat. The sensible, humanitarian thing is to help the poor where they live. Microlending is also enormously cheaper: The Office of Migration and Refugee Services of the Catholic Church states that it costs “only” $2000 to resettle an individual in the United States – an amount that could supply loans for an entire village in Bangladesh.Another advantage to people remaining in their home countries is avoiding the culture shock that inevitably follows emigration from the Third World to the First. It is very stressful on families to relocate to a significantly different culture. Mature adults generally cling to the old customs as much as possible while young children easily soak up the new ways like sponges. Unhappy generation gaps often occur, particularly when those generations speak different languages. Young people are pressured to follow traditional practices that may have little meaning for them. They may join gangs of other young people in similar circumstances – kids caught between two cultures without feeling completely part of either. Violence and other forms of family dysfunction can be another result. How much better to foster a successful economic program that causes none of these problems.The assumption of American immigration enthusiasts that everyone on the planet deeply yearns to live in the United States is an arrogant and dangerous conceit. Everyone does desire adequate food, housing, and other necessities of life in a safe environment that includes personal and political freedom as well as cultural continuity. Professor Yunus has addressed these basic needs by creating an effective strategy that can help more people for less money and with minimal social stresses.

Microloans give immigration restrictionists an answer when they are accused of wanting to pull up the drawbridge. They can instead offer a positive message by pointing out that microlending is superior to immigration in every respect when improving the lives of the poor is the objective. It costs less per person helped, is kinder to the earth, improves the social standing of women, causes minimal family conflict, and strengthens local democracy. The program is known by legislators, but the connection has not been made that microloans are a better alternative to immigration, which is now having many destructive consequences in the United States. It is hard to make limitation sound positive even when it truly is the greater good. But microlending does indeed offer an upbeat story of empowerment and success. In addition to saying they are “against” mass immigration, reformers can say they are “for” effective self-help in the form of microlending. “Stay home and build a better life” should be the message.

[The Grameen Bank online contains general information

and news about microlending around the world:

Reviewed by

Brenda Walker lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and edits the website 

Filed under: Book Reviews, , ,



  Manil Suri 

Manil Suri was born in July, 1959 in a city that no longer exists on official maps (Bombay, which now can be found under its new name Mumbai). He spent several years of his life acquiring degrees in mathematics (B.Sc. (1979), University of Bombay; M.S. (1980) and Ph.D. (1983), Carnegie-Mellon University) followed by several years climbing the academic ladder as a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (assistant (1983–89), associate (1989–94), full professor (1994–present)). This is the only job he has ever had, and he is amazed to wake up and discover (on most days) that he still likes it. He invites you to look up his academic webpage, and would be particularly pleased if you took a few minutes to read a brief description of his mathematical research (written in plain English, he promises, so please humor him).He claims that writing has been a way for him to escape the horror of being a mathematician. (It is rumored he also complains frequently to his colleagues of the horror of being a writer, declaring mathematics to be his only escape.) He wrote his first short story in 1985 and spent the next ten years finding out how wanting was that initial attempt. During that time he wrote maybe seven more stories, dabbled in some informal writers’ groups and even started a novel about a Pittsburgh woman and her transvestite son, thankfully abandoned after five chapters. One year, he spent weeks polishing up two or three of his best pieces and sent them out to thirty or forty literary journals. For his efforts, he was rewarded with the obligatory thirty or forty rejection slips. Typical acceptance rates even for obscure journals being 5% and lower, he is relieved he sought tenure in math, not creative writing.In 1995, he did have his first story, “The Tyranny of Vegetables,” published. Unfortunately, it was in a Bulgarian-language journal and he was only able to identify it by an author photograph next to the piece. He thinks the name of the journal is Orpheus, but as he is unable to read the title of the complimentary copy that came from Bulgaria, he cannot be sure.


He started The Death of Vishnu as a short story in 1995. It was inspired by the death of an actual man named Vishnu who had lived (and died) on the steps of the Bombay apartment building in which he grew up. By 1997, it had grown to three chapters, and he took it to a workshop at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts led by Michael Cunningham. Cunningham began his critique with the exhortation to “keep writing this at any cost” and ended it with “you must do whatever is necessary to finish this.” That’s when Suri realized that perhaps the time for dabbling had come to an end, perhaps he had stumbled onto the start of something more serious. Three years later, an excerpt, “The Seven Circles” appeared in The New Yorker, bringing in his first non-Bulgarian audience.

In addition to Michael Cunningham, Suri has taken writing workshops with two other wonderful teachers: authors Jane Bradley and Vikram Chandra. He has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the MacDowell Colony, and was the winner of the 1998 Jenny McKean Moore Residency Fellowship awarded biannually by George Washington University.

Manil Suri’s avocational interests include painting and cooking, which he claims are the only respites from the horror of being a mathematician and a writer.

His New Book


Filed under: Author of the week, , ,

New Book Alert

New Books in the library as on 14/01/2008


        Author                  Title
 George, K  Concise dictionary of science
 George, K  Nobel laureates in science (1901-2004)
 Labour India  Labour India Brillian student Question Bank: CBSE Class X
 Grisham, John  Last juror
 Stowe, Harriet Beecher  Uncle Tom’s cabin
 Kipling, Rudyard  Jungle books
 Wells, H G  War of the worlds
 Carnegie, Dale  How to win friends and influence people
 Grisham, John  Playing for pizza
 Keller, Helen  Story of my life
 Canfield, Jack, et al.  Chicken soup for the soul healthy living: Heart disease
 Canfield, Jack, et al.  Chicken soup for the soul healthy living: Asthma
 Canfield, Jack, et al.  Chicken soup for the soul healthy living: Stress
 Archer, Jeffrey  Cat O’nine tales and other stories
 Archer, Jeffrey  Sons of fortune
 Narayanan, R K  Malgudi omnibus
 Grisham, John  Broker
 Grisham, John  Painted house
 Archer, Jeffrey  Kane and Abel
 Archer, Jeffrey  Twist in the tale
 Harris, Thomas  Silence of the lambs
 Grisham, John  Chamber
 Grisham, John  Runaway jury
 Crichton, Michael  Great train robbery
 Cook, Robin  Godplayer
 Cook, Robin  Shock
 Cook, Robin  Toxin
 Cook, Robin  Marker
 Grisham, John  Innocent man
 Henry, O  Collected stories of O Henry
 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia  Collected stories
 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia  General in his Labyrinth
 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia  Strange pilgrims
 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia; Rabassa, Gregory, Tr.  Autumn of the Patriarch
 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia  Chronicle of a death foretold
 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia  No one writes to the colonel
 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia  Innocent erendira and other stories
 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia  Of love and other demons
 Anita Nair, Ed.  Where the rain is born: Writings about Kerala
 Wilson, Edward O  Future of life
 Llosa, Mario Vargas  Feast of the goat
 Holt, John  How children learn
 Tully, Mark; Wright, Gillian  India in slow motion
 Bond, Ruskin  Lamp is lit: Leaves from a journal
 Christie, Agatha  Labours of Hercules
 Christie, Agatha  Evil under the sun
 Christie, Agatha  Nemesis
 Christie, Agatha  Murder is announced
 Christie, Agatha  Towards zero
 Christie, Agatha  Mystery of the blue train
 Christie, Agatha  Miss Marple’s final cases
 Christie, Agatha  4.50 from Paddington
 Christie, Agatha  Sittaford mystery
 Christie, Agatha  Secret of Chimneys
 Christie, Agatha  Hercule Poirot’s Christmas
 Christie, Agatha  Murder is easy
 Christie, Agatha  At Bertram’s hotel
 Christie, Agatha  Curtain: Poirot’s last case
 Christie, Agatha  Elephants can remember
 Christie, Agatha  They do it with mirrors
 Christie, Agatha  Parker pyne investigates
 Christie, Agatha  Passenger to frankfurt
 Christie, Agatha  Hound of death
 Katschke, Judy  Two of a kind: The sleepover secret
 Willard, Eliza  Sweet 16: Getting there
 Carrol, Jacqueline  So little time, Book1: How to train a boy
 Carrol, Jacqueline  So little time, Book5: Tell me about it
 Clark, Kathy  Sweet 16: Wishes and dreams
 Taylor, Barbara  Rocks and fossils
   Treasury of fairy tales and nursery rhymes
   Collection of fairy tales for storytime
   Fun-to-learn picture dictionary
 Arpita Barua  Three Billy Goats Gruff
 Arpita Barua  Rumpelstiltskin
 Arpita Barua  Snow White
 Pallavi Sah, Ed.  Ocean World
 Pallavi Sah  Prehistoric animals
 Pallavi Sah  Prehistoric animals
 Tonpe, Vaijayanti Savant  Little riding hood
 Swift, Jonathan  Gulliver’s travels
 Sunder, I; Sezhiyan, T  Disaster management
 Das, Asish Kumar; Mohanty, Prasant Kumar  Human rights in India
 Peeyush Arora  Dictionary Political Science
 Lakshmi Narasaiah, M  Globalization and international trade
 Pradeep Sharma  Human geography: Energy resources
 Pradeep Sharma  Human geography: The economy
 Lokanandha Reddy, G, et al.  Slow learners: Their psychology and instruction
 Pradeep Sharma  Human geography: The people
 Sujathamalini, J  Learning difficulties in children: Teacher competencies
 Prakash Kumar; Rai, K B  Right to know: A hands-on guide to the Right to Information Act
 Career Launcher  I want to be in Management: Experiences, Facts and directions for school and college goers
 Career Launcher  I want to be an Engineer: Experiences, Facts and directions for school and college goers
 Career Launcher  I want to be in the Armed Forces: Experiences, Facts and directions for school and college goers
 Career Launcher  I want to be in Media: Experiences, Facts and directions for school and college goers
 Career Launcher  I want to be in the Creative Field: Experiences, Facts and directions for school and college goers
 Career Launcher  I want to be in Sports: Experiences, Facts and directions for school and college goers
 Career Launcher  I want to be in Medicine: Experiences, Facts and directions for school and college goers
 Career Launcher  I want to be a Teacher: Experiences, Facts and directions for school and college goers
 Career Launcher  I want to be an IT Professional: Experiences, Facts and directions for school and college goers
 Laxman Mohanty; Neharika Vohra  ICT strategies for schools: A guide for school administrators
 Arun Kapur  Transforming schools-empowering choldren
 Campbell, Anne, Ed.; Fairbairn, Gavin, Ed.  Working with support in the classroom
 Ved Kumari, Ed.; Brooks, Susan L, Ed.  Creative child advocacy: Global perspective
 Venkatesan, S  Children with developmental disabilities: A training guide for parents, teachers and caregivers
 Valdiya, K S, Ed.  Coping with natural hazards: Indian context
 Palgrave, Francis Turner  Golden treasury of the best songs and lyrical poems in the English language
 Corbett, Jim  Man-eaters of Kumaon
 Corbett, Jim  Temple tiger and more man-eaters of Kumaon
 Corbett, Jim  Tree tops
 Corbett, Jim  Jungle lore
 Dochartaigh, Niall O  Internet research skills
 Jagbir Singh, Ed.  Disaster management: Future challenges and opportunities
 Hopkins, Diana; Cullen, Pauline  Cambridge grammar for IELTS with answers: Self study grammar reference and practice
 Sanjeev Gupta; Shameena Gupta  Mastering internet
 Ur, Penny; Wright, Andrew  Five-minute activities: A resource book for language teachers
   Best stories and tales of Leo Tolstoy
 Verne, Jules  Around the world in eighty days
 Baker, Philip  Secrets of super achievers
   Macmillan phrasal verbs plus
 Green, David  Contemporary English grammar structures and composition
 Pona Mohanta, Ed., et al.  Poems old and new
 Bero, Bibi  Faithful Dog and other stories
 Bero, Bibi  For the fun of it and other stories
 Bero, Bibi  Lucky Prince and other stories
 Bero, Bibi  Naughty helper and other stories
 Cotter, Lucinda  Princess Banana Peel
 Campbell-Muir, Angelique  Disney Pixar Cars
 Sanders, Jay  Magnificent Mavis
 Twain, Mark  Tom Sawyer
 Kipling, Rudgard  Stories from the jungle book
 Devraj  Complete guide to prose composition
 Vijaya Kumar, Comp.  World’s greatest speeches
 Murthi, R K  Complete guide to effective english writing
 Bond, Ruskin, Ed.  Puffin book of classic school stories
 Bond, Ruskin, Ed.  Puffin book of classic school stories
 Kipling, Rudyard  Elephant’s child and other stories
 Clark, Ronald W  Einstein: The life and times
 Cerf, Bennett, Ed.; Cartmell, Van H, Ed.  24 favorite one-act plays
 Blyton, Enid  Island of adventure, The castle of adventure
 Coetzee, J M  Master of Petersburg
 Muhammad Yunus  Banker to the poor: The autobiography of Muhammad Yunus
   Face to face India: Conversation with Karan Thapar
 Abdul Kalam, A P J; Rajan, Y S  Mission India: A vision for Indian youth
 Abdul Kalam, A P J  Indomitable spirit
 Martel, Yann  Life of pi
 Robin Sharma  Monk who sold his ferrari: A fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny
 Filipovic, Zlata, Ed.  ng people’swar diaries (From World war 1 to Iraq)
 Mandela, Nelson  Long walk to freedom: The autobiography of Nelson Mandela
 Shaw, Bernard  Arms and the man
 Gribbin, John  Search for superstrings, symmetry and the theory of everything
 Harris, Thomas  Hannibal rising
 Johansen, Bruce E  Global warming in the 21st century Vol.1; OUR EVOLVING CLIMATE CRISIS
 Johansen, Bruce E  Global warming in the 21st century, Vol.2: Melting Ice and warming seas
 Johansen, Bruce E  Global warming in the 21st century, Vol.3: Plants and animals in Peril
   Illustrated biography of Sardar Patel
   Illustrated biography of Rajiv Gandhi
   Famous stories for the young
   Illustrated biography of Lala Lajpat Rai
   Illustrated biography of Rabindranath Tagore
   Illustrated biography of Bhagat Singh
   Illustrated biography of Mother Teresa
 Blyton, Enid  Mountain of adventure, The shape of adventure
 Smith, Helen  How to start sending e-mails
 Shakuntala Devi  Book of numbers
 Shakuntala Devi  More puzzles
 Pokriyal, D B  Self Hindi Teacher (h)
 Jhumpa Lahiri  Interpreter of maladies
 Neruda, Pablo; Belitt, Ben, Ed.  Pablo Neruda: Late and posthumous poems 1968-1974
 Ali, Abdullah Yusaf, Tr.  Holly Qur’an
 Fischer, Louis  Life of Mahatma Gandhi
 Gott, J Richard  Time travel in Einstein’s universe: The physical posibilities of travel through time
 Michigan, E A  Spell check and speed writing
 Adyanand Nath, B, Ed.; Choudhary, N K, Ed.  101 great artists who shaped the World
 Kolata, Gina, Ed.  Best American science writing 2007
 Nutan Pandit  Questions and answers on pregnancy
 Varshan Stery  101 great wonders that shaped the World
 Wright, Andrew  Storytelling with children
 Adyanand Nath, B, Ed.  101 great authors who shaped the world
 Kuldip Nayar  Without fear: The life and trial of Bhagat Singh
 Lessing, Doris  Mara and Dann: An adventure
 Lessing, Doris  Time bites: Views and reviews
 Kiran Desai  Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
 OBrien, Derek  Ultimate India quiz book
 Shahrukh Husain; Samira Shackle  In search of the prophet
 Gandhi, M K  Autobiography or the story of my experiments with truth
 Anita Nair  Better man
 Shashi Tharoor  Elephant, the tiger and the cell phone: Reflections on India in the Twenty-first century
 Kamaladas  Summer in Culcutta
 Dinesh Khattar  Perason guide to complete mathematics for AIEEE
 Lohar, Prakash S  Cell and molecular biology
 Enger, Eldon D, et al.  Concepts in biology
 Dinesh Khattar  Perason guide to mathematics for NDA entrance examination
 Sharma, J K, et al.  Pearson guide to objective mathematics for engineering entrance examinations
 Mathai, Wangari Muta  Unbowed: A memoir
 Satyajit Ray  Golden fortress
 Satyajit Ray  Trouble in Gangtok
 Satyajit Ray  Killer in Kailash
 Satyajit Ray  House of death
 Satyajit Ray  Incident on the Kalka Mail
 Satyajit Ray  Secret of the cemetery
 Satyajit Ray  Emperor’s ring
 Bibi Bero  Land of gold and pearls and other stories
 Dickens, Charles  Christmas carol
 Dumas, Alexander  Three musketeers
 Shelly, Mary  Frankenstein
 Jerome, Jerome K  Three men in a boat
 Hardy, Thomas  Mayor of casterbridge
 Bell, Chis  Gost Grill
 Bell, Chris  Black Heart Bilko and the Cape Baran Rats
 Cotter,Lucinda  Princess Banana Peel
 Choudhury, Bani Roy  Robin Hood from the British Folklore
 Choudhury, Bani Roy  Stories from the jungle book
 Carrol, Lewis  Alice in Wonderland
 Choudhry, Bani Roy  Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves From the Arabian Nights
 Choudhury, Bani Roy  Aladdin and the wonderful lamp from the Arabian nights
 Choudhury, Bani Roy  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
 Choudhury, Bani Roy  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
 Sanders, Jay  Little Hippo
 Sanders, Jay  Little Hippo
 Sanders, Jay  Boss of the Farm
 Gratian Vas  Experiment with chemicals
 Neena Chowdhary  Experiment with ecology
 Deepanwitha Chattopadhyay; Gratian Vas  Experiment with space
 Deepanwitha Chattopadhyay  Experiment with water
 Deepanwitha Chattopadhyay  Experiment with motion
 Deepanwitha Chattopadhyay  Experiment with materials
 Deepanwita Chattopadhyay  Experiment with magnetism
 Neena Chowdhary  Experiment with light
 Deepanwita Chattopadhyay  Experiment with air
 Deepanwita Chattopadhyay  Experiment with heat
 Neena Chowdhary  Experiment with food
 Deepanwita Chattopadhyay  Experiment with electricity
 Gratian Vas  Experiment with weather
 Deepanwita Chattopadhyay  Experiment with sound
 Harrison, Peter  Investigations:Inventions and discoveries
 Mellet, Peter; Rostron, John  Investigations: Aircraft and flight
 Oxlade, Chris  Investigations: Machines
 Kerrod, Robin  Investigations: Wild weather
 Farndon, John  Investigations: Planet earth
 Bennington, Stephen  Investigations: Computers
 Graham, Ian  Investigations: Space
 Kerrod, Robin  Investigations: Volcanoes and earthquakes
 Challoner, Jack; Walshaw, Rodney  Investigations: Rocks and minerals
 Harrison,Peter  Investigations: Cars
 Ramalingam Pillai, T, Ed.  D C Books English-English-Malayalam Dictionary
 Joseph, N K, Ed.  D C Books Hindi-Malayalam-English Dictionary
 Warrier, M I; Narayana Bhattathiry et al, Ed.  D C Books Malayalam-English Dictionary


The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2007,32 vols. set

International Encyclopaedia of Careers and

Vocational Guidance, 05 vol. set

Penguin Year Book, 2008

Filed under: New Book Alert,

Book of the week


The Story of My Experiments with Truth

Mahatma Gandhi, 1929

(Available in the LibraryCall No:923.254 GAN-M)



Four or five years ago, at the instance of some of my nearest co-workers, I agreed to write my autobiography. I made the start, but scarcely had I turned over the first sheet when riots broke out in Bombay and the work remained at a standstill…

A God-fearing friend had his doubts, which he shared with me on my day of silence. ‘What has set you on this adventure,’ he asked. ‘Writing an autobiography is a practice peculiar to the West. I know of nobody in the East having written one, except amongst those who have come under Western influence. And what will you write? Supposing you reject tomorrow the things you hold as principles today, or supposing you revise in the future your plans of today, is it not likely that the men who shape their conduct on the authority of your word, spoken or written, may be misled? Don’t you think it would be better not to write anything like an autobiography, at any rate just yet?’

This argument had some effect on me. But it is not my purpose to attempt a real autobiography. I simply want to tell the story of my numerous experiments with truth, and as my life consists of nothing but those experiments, it is true that the story will take the shape of an autobiography. But I shall not mind, if every page of it speaks only of my experiments I believe, or at any rate flatter myself with the belief, that a connected account of all these experiments will not be without benefit to the reader. My experiments in the political field are now known, not only in India, but to a certain extent to the ‘civilized’ world. For me, they have not much value; and the title of Mahatma that they have won for me has, therefore, even less. Often the title has deeply pained me; and there is not a moment I can recall when it may be said to have tickled me. But I should certainly like to narrate my experiments in the spiritual field which are known only to myself; and from which I have derived such power as I possess for working in the political field. If the experiments are really spiritual, then there can be no room for self-praise. They can only add to my humility. The more I reflect and look back on the past, the more vividly do I feel my limitations.

What I want to achieve — what I have been striving and pining to achieve these thirty years — is self-realization, to see God face to face, to attain Moksha. I live and move and have my being in pursuit of this goal. All that I do by way of speaking and writing, and all my ventures in the political field, are directed to this same end. But as I have all along believed that what is possible for one is possible for all, my experiments have not been conducted in the closet, but in the open; and I do not think that this fact detracts from their spiritual value. There are some things which are known only to oneself and one’s Maker. These are clearly incommunicable. The experiments I am about to relate are not such. But they are spiritual, or rather moral; for the essence of religion is morality.

Only those matters of religion that can be comprehended as much by children, as by older people, will be included in this story. If I can narrate them in a dispassionate and humble spirit, many other experimenters will find in them provision for their onward march. Far be it for me to claim any degree of perfection for these experiments. I claim for them nothing more than does a scientist who, though he conducts his experiments with the utmost accuracy, forethought and minuteness, never claims any finality about his conclusions, but keeps an open mind regarding them. I have gone through deep self-introspection, searched myself through and through, and examined and analysed every psychological situation. Yet I am far from claiming any finality or infallibility about my conclusions. One claim I do indeed make and it is this. For me they appear to be absolutely correct, and seem for the time being to be final. For if they were not, I should base no action on them. But at every step I have carried out the process of acceptance or rejection and acted accordingly. And so long as my acts satisfy my reason and my heart, I must firmly adhere to my original conclusions.

If I had only to discuss academic principles, I should clearly not attempt an autobiography. But my purpose being to give an account of various practical applications of these principles, I have given the chapters I propose to write the title of The Story of My Experiments with Truth. These will of course include experiments with non-violence, celibacy and other principles of conduct believed to be distinct from truth. But for me, truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me. But I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him. I am prepared to sacrifice the things dearest to me in pursuit of this quest. Even if the sacrifice demanded be my very life, I hope I may be prepared to give it. But as long as I have not realized this Absolute Truth, so long must I hold by the relative truth as I have conceived it. That relative truth must, meanwhile, be my beacon, my shield and buckler. Though this path is strait and narrow and sharp as the razor’s edge, for me it has been the quickest and easiest. Even my Himalayan blunders have seemed trifling to me because I have kept strictly to this path. For the path has saved me from coming to grief; and I have gone forward according to my light.

Often in my progress I have had faint glimpses of the Absolute Truth, God, and daily the conviction is growing upon me that He alone is real and all else is unreal. Let those, who wish, realize how the conviction has grown upon me; let them share my experiments and share also my conviction if they can. The further conviction has been growing upon me that whatever is possible for me is possible even for a child, and I have sound reasons for saying so. The instruments for the quest of truth are as simple as they are difficult. They may appear quite impossible to an arrogant person, and quite impossible to an innocent child. The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of truth…

If anything that I write in these pages should strike the reader as being touched with pride, then he must take it that there is something wrong with my quest, and that my glimpses are no more than a mirage. Let hundreds like me perish, but let truth prevail. Let us not reduce the standards of truth even by a hair’s breadth for judging erring mortals like myself.

I hope and pray that no one will regard the advice interspersed in the following chapters as authoritative. The experiments narrated should be regarded as illustrations, in the light of which everyone may carry on his own experiments according to his own inclination and capacity. I trust that to this limited extent the illustrations will be really helpful; because I am not going either to conceal or understate any ugly things that must be told. I hope to acquaint the reader fully with all my faults and errors. My purpose is to describe experiments in the science of Satyagraha, not to say how good I am. In judging myself, I shall try to be as harsh as truth, as I want others also to be. Measuring myself by that standard, I must exclaim with Surdas:

Where is there a wretch

So wicked and loathsome as I;

I have forsaken my Maker;

So faithless have I been.

For it is an unbroken torture to me that I am still so far from Him, who, as I fully know, governs every breath of my life, and whose offspring I am. I know that it is the evil passions within that keep me so far from Him, and yet I cannot get away from them. But I must close. I can only take up the actual story in the next chapter.


26th November, 1925

Filed under: Book of the week, ,

Quotation of the week

“Divine knowledge is not borrowed from books. It has to be realized in oneself.”


Mahatma Gandhi 

Filed under: Snippets,

Young World Quiz (January 25, 2008)




1. The name of the bay where George of ‘Famous Five’ fame lives is…?

2. The ‘least expensive production car in the world’ announced recently is called….?

3. Name the ‘national poet’ of Scotland, the author of the famous ‘Auld Lang Syne’, whose birthday is celebrated on this date.

4. How is the ‘Battle of the Ardennes’, a major offensive that finished on January 25, 1945, commonly called?

5. Which famous TV cartoon series did Stephen Hillenburg create?

6. ‘MESSENGER’ is a NASA probe launched to which planet?

7. Who was the first child to win a ‘Golden Ticket’ in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

8. Apple recently announced the world’s thinnest notebook computer, with a thickness of 0.16-0.76 inches! Name it.

9. What is the collective noun for apples?

10. Which member of Top Cat’s gang is into jazz music?

11. How many humans took refuge in Noah’s Ark?

12. “Doctor No” was the first film of which iconic literary character?

13. How many funnels did the ‘unsinkable’ sport?

14. The Duvaliers, François and Jean-Claude, have been the heads of which Caribbean nation?

15. Which emperor commissioned the “Arc de Triomphe” in Paris?


1. Kirrin Bay
2. Tata Nano
3. Robert Burns
4. Battle of the Bulge
5. SpongeBob SquarePants
6. Mercury
7. Augustus Gloop
8. MacBook Air
9. Bushel
10. Spook
11. Eight
12. James Bond
13. Four
14. Haiti
15. Napoleon I

Filed under: Young World Quiz, ,

Talks with a writer

 John Grisham

(alternate text)
Books in the Library by the Author

Call No                  Title
823 GRI-B         Broker
823 GRI-B         Brethren
823 GRI-C         Chamber
823 GRI-I          Innocent man
823 GRI-L         Last juror
823 GRI-P         Painted house
823 GRI-P         Playing for pizza
823 GRI-P         Pelican brief
823 GRI-R         Runaway jury
823 GRI-R         Rainmaker

For writers struggling to get an agent or a publisher, it’s almost too big of a dream to think of reaching the best-seller list. Now, think of being the top-selling author, in the world, for an entire decade. John Grisham reached that almost impossible pinnacle. He was the top-selling author of the 1990s, and including his work in this new century, he totals more than 100 million books sold. 

His books continue to dominate the publishing landscape. When his most recent novel, The Broker, was published in January of 2005, it sold more than 80,000 copies in its first week of release. And that figure only includes sales at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Waldenbooks.

Grisham has worn his success well over the years. He remains accessible, personable, and friendly. And he uses his powerful position to benefit a number of worthy causes. He endowed a visiting writer position at the University of Mississippi that attracts prestigious authors to Oxford each year. He also funded a number of fellowships so that talented students can study in the creative writing department at Ole Miss. He has built athletic fields in Mississippi and Virginia for local little leagues. And he was so affected by the devastation from Hurricane Katrina that he gave $5 million to the relief efforts.

We were honored that Grisham was willing to speak with us about the legends of his publication, his work habits, and his theories of writing suspense.

Slushpile: It’s the late eighties, you’re an attorney, you’ve got a family, and you’ve been a state legislator. What prompted you to add writing a novel to your already busy schedule?

Grisham:  I was driven by a story. I created this wonderful courtroom drama set in a small town in Mississippi, as seen and told through the eyes of a young attorney, like myself. My motives were pure, I was not dreaming of best-seller lists and big fat royalty checks.

Slushpile:  I recently read a claim (inaccurate, I believe) that you self-published A Time to Kill. Can you please set the record straight on how your novel came to be published by Wynwood Press?

Grisham:  Wynwood Press was a new, small unknown publishing company in New York in 1989. Everybody else had passed on A Time to Kill, Wynwood Press took the gamble. Printed 5,000 hardback copies, and we couldn’t give them away. Wynwood later went bankrupt, or out of business.

Slushpile:  Likewise, the story of The Firm publication has been retold and recast into legend. Like a tall tale, aspiring authors often recount this extraordinary set of circumstances and mix in a healthy dose of exaggeration and falsehood. What is the definitive account of how The Firm was published by Doubleday?

Grisham:  A bootlegged copy of the manuscript of The Firm was misappropriated from some unknown place in New York, either the offices of a publisher or an agent. It surfaced in Hollywood, where some guy ran 25 copies, said he was my agent, and sent them to all of the major production companies. He got nervous when they started making offers. At some point he called my agent in New York, and the rest is history. It was an unbelievably lucky break, and I had nothing to do with it.

Slushpile:  At what point during the success of The Firm or The Pelican Brief (or maybe it was another book) did you realize that this wasn’t going to go away, that your success wasn’t a temporary accomplishment, but that this was going to be your career?

Grisham:  Just before the publication of The Firm in March of 1991, Doubleday offered a two book deal. At that point, I knew I could write books for a long time and not worry about the mortgage.

Slushpile:  You’ve now authored about 18 books. How have your writing habits changed over the years? Do you do anything differently now as opposed to when you were writing A Time to Kill or The Firm?

Grisham:  Not really. The books are written from August to November, from 6 a.m. to noon, five days a week. Old habits die hard.

Slushpile:  Do you think your work has changed over the years?

Grisham:  Not intentionally, and not to my knowledge. Read The Firm, then read The Broker, and see for yourself. There has been no deliberate effort to change writing style. I have tried over the years to become more efficient with words and produce 400 page manuscripts, as opposed to 500. Also because I have become lazier.

Slushpile:  What are your goals for future books?

Grisham:  My goal each time out is to write my best book ever. It’s that simple.

Slushpile:  Rumors on the Internet claim you are working on a nonfiction book about a death row inmate who turned out to be innocent. Is this true? If so, can you please tell us about this project?

Grisham:  Yes, it’s my first work of nonfiction. It’s a story of a death row inmate in Oklahoma who came within five days of being executed for a murder he did not commit, and was later exonerated by DNA evidence.

Slushpile:  Do you have any writing superstitions? Do you have any special habits, good luck charms, or talismans that you use?

Grisham:  Not really. I write at the same place, same table, same chair, with the same cup and type of coffee. The same computer has produced the last fifteen books, and it’s about to give out. I’m not the superstitious type.

Slushpile:  How do you think the publishing industry as a whole has changed since the late eighties, early nineties when you were first established? Do you think it has changed for the better or for the worse?

Grisham:  Obviously, there are fewer small publishers, more larger ones, much more consolidation. Truthfully, I don’t spend a lot of time studying the publishing industry. That may sound odd, but I concern myself with what I am writing. I rely on Doubleday to take care of the rest.

Slushpile:  Once you’ve turned in a manuscript, how long does it take Doubleday to get it on the shelves.

Grisham:  The first draft is usually in by November first, then a furious three weeks of revisions, with the goal of finishing finally by Thanksgiving of each year. The books go to press on December the first, then to the warehouses. They usually go on sale February first.

Slushpile:  Clive Cussler’s character Dirk Pitt has a Doxa diving watch as sort of a trademark item. Is there something you own or enjoy that you give to your characters? Airplanes seem to appear frequently in your work. Is this a fascination of yours?

Grisham:  Nothing in particular. I started flying and buying airplanes about 10 years ago, but it’s not a passion.

Slushpile:  Your fellow Doubleday author Dan Brown is enjoying a phenomenal amount of success and J.K. Rowling seems to set a new publishing record every day. As one of the few writers who know what they are experiencing, what words of advice would you give to Brown and Rowling?

Grisham:  Everything is temporary. The books will not always sell the way they are selling now, so enjoy the success but don’t let it go to your head.

Slushpile:  Both of those authors seem more private, more reticent with interviews and public appearances. If you could start all over again, do you think you might try to reserve a little more privacy for yourself and your family?

Grisham:  Probably so, but we’ve always been extremely private.

Slushpile:  What are you reading these days? What is the last book (fiction or nonfiction) that really excited and enthralled you?

Grisham:  I’m reading a biography of Willie Morris. The last good book I read was The March by E.L. Doctorow.

Slushpile:  Your friend Stephen King got a lot of attention, deservedly so, for stepping in and helping out Ron McLarty by endorsing The Memory of Running. He also got a lot of attention for taking the publishing industry to task in its rejection of McLarty’s work. Have you ever been tempted to help an unknown writer in such a public way? Would you ever do such a thing if a book really moved you?

Grisham:  I look at more unpublished manuscripts than I care to admit. With each one, I am always hoping to discover a great writer. I have yet to do so, but if it happened I’m sure I would make a few phone calls.

Slushpile:  You have helped writers by establishing the John & Renee Grisham Visiting Writer in Residence program that bring authors to the University of Mississippi to teach each year. T.R. Pearson was the first writer to hold this position and you became friends with him. How did you meet Mr. Pearson?

Grisham:  We met through mutual friends at Square Books in Oxford.

Slushpile:  You never took any writing classes but have said that you wished you did. If you could study with any writer, who would you choose?

Grisham:  Mark Twain.

Slushpile:  Aspiring authors are always told the importance of getting the “right” agent. What advice would you give them about selecting the right agent?

Grisham:  Take a long look at the other authors represented by the same firm.

Slushpile:  How involved is your editor? How closely does he work with you? What is your working process like?

Grisham:  Editing is not an enjoyable process. The editor, who is also my agent, looks at the second draft and makes extensive notes. Then I do the third draft, and the fourth and the fifth. The mistake that many big authors make is to get lazy and shy away from careful editing. You can usually tell it in their work.

Slushpile:  I know you’re swamped with strangers approaching you with a manuscript to read, or a CD to hear, or a movie script to review, or a legal case that “only you can solve.” What is the craziest thing you’ve ever had thrust upon you?

Grisham:  Nothing too crazy, just the usual assortment of manuscripts that end up on the front porch or at the office.

Slushpile:  How many times a week does someone come up to you and say “I’ve got this fantastic idea for a book. I’ll tell it to you, you write it, and we’ll split the profits.”

Grisham:  They don’t always mention splitting the profits. That normally comes in the second conversation. But, about twice a month someone will say, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea for your next book.” At which time I always say, “So do I.”

Slushpile:  If you were starting out today, how would you go about finding an agent or publisher?

Grisham:  I’d do it the same way I did it 16 years ago. I researched the agents, made a list of about 20 I thought looked promising, and did multiple submissions to them. If your writing is good, an agent will see it, sooner or later. There are many agents in New York, and they are all looking for authors.

Slushpile:  Let’s say an aspiring author can focus on writing a music column that will get him a lot of exposure, but it’s not fiction, it’s not his goal for writing. Should he concentrate on getting the exposure and building a name for himself? Or, should he focus on making his fiction as good as possible and worry about exposure later?

Grisham:  Make the fiction as good as possible, and everything else will fall into place.

Slushpile:  The Broker features quite a bit of discussion about Italian culture, food and geography. These sections are crucial to the plot, but there is still a danger of making the novel too much of a travel guide instead of a thriller. How did you balance the pacing of these discussions without losing too much of the actual “story” sections?

Grisham:  When you write suspense, you cannot spend too much time with other elements of the story, such as setting, food, wine, relationships, etc. It’s a long list. You have to continually keep in mind that you are trying to make sure the pages are turning at a rapid rate.

Slushpile:  How do you develop your plots? How detailed and developed are your plots when you start writing the novel? Do you use outlines or any other mechanism?

Grisham:  Outlines are crucial. I start with Chapter 1 and write a paragraph. Then Chapter 2, then Chapter 3. When I get to Chapter 40 the book had better be finished or I am in trouble. The outlining process is no fun, but it forces the writer to see the entire story.

Slushpile:  Some thriller or mystery writers focus almost exclusively on plot while others try to create a specific atmosphere and still others develop character and so forth. What is your main focus when telling a story?

Grisham:  Plot.

Slushpile:  What is your single-best, most-important, can’t-live-without writing tip you would offer to aspiring authors?

Grisham:  Write at least one page every day, without fail. If you’re trying to write a book, and you’re not writing at least one page a day, then the book is not going to get written.

Slushpile:  What is your single-best, most-important, can’t-live-without publishing tip you would offer to aspiring authors struggling to break into print.

Grisham:  Get a good agent.


Filed under: In conversation, ,

Career Corner

Course in ‘Mental health at the margins’



The Chennai-based Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), in association with University College London (UCL), will offer a short-term course in ‘Mental health at the margins’ between February 11 and 14. The course is aimed at enabling trainee participants to understand and better appreciate issues pertaining to debt, poverty, violence, stigma, power relations and how these can be translated on the ground, where actions to overcome these problems can impact most usefully and significantly. The focus would be on local problems and local solutions. The course is targeted at mental health professionals (social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nurses) from NGOs and government health institutions, working with marginal and displaced populations in south Asia. It will also benefit professionals from backgrounds such as rights activists, law enforcement officials, judiciary and donor organisations. The course aims to address the stated objectives through a variety of techniques over a three and half-day period.

It will include an overview of the field, challenges and differing solutions. Participants will, through interactive study, learn to generate ideas, and then apply these new understandings within a safe teaching setting. Within a package comprising theoretical study and experiential focus group learning, trainee participants will gain a fuller critical awareness and applied understanding of the pertinent issues. It would look at topics such as marginality. A UCL-BALM certificate of participation will be issued to participants.

Filed under: Career Corner, ,

Article of the Week


Lifelong Learning


A student says, “Yash need a marker.”
How does a teacher respond?
Usually this way: “We don’t say, ‘Yash need a marker.’ We say, ‘Yash needs a marker.'”
What the teacher needs is a new approach, according to Educational Initiatives, an organization working towards improving quality of education in schools through focus on assessment.Educational Initiatives conducts a diagnostic test “ASSET” from class 3 to 10 to measure children’s learning in schools. The questions designed in ASSET make a child think and understand the concepts better in English, Maths and Science. ASSET is taken by over 2,00,000 children from 1000 schools nationwide.It is generally accepted that children have their own understanding of how the world works prior to receiving formal instruction. In ASSET, we find various student responses, which derive a child’s misconception on a particular concept. Children are not learning with understanding, i.e. they perform better on text-book type direct questions, while faring poorly on questions which are application based on the same concepts.

Few real life examples from ASSET:

The below question was asked to Class 6 students. The correct option is B and out of 6858 only 25% answered correctly

About one-Seventh of the earth’s surface is desert. The term desert refers to an area which

is very hot
B. is Very dry
C. has no vegetation at all.
D. has all the above features.
Students of Class 6: 6858 and only 25% answered correctlyThis question tests the basic understanding of deserts as dry lands. Student understanding of deserts seems to be based more on the visuals in text books and movies that invariably tend to represent deserts as sand dunes, and fail to correlate the presence of cactii in deserts (which they do study) as “vegetation”. They also appear to confuse the extremity of desert climate with heat, not applying the fact that deserts can also get extremely cold. The below question was asked to Class 4 students. The correct option is A and out of 4626 only 31% answered correctly Neelu wants to give one third of the sweets shown below to her sister:Neelu wants to give one third of the sweets shown below to her sister:

How many should she give?A. two
B. three
C. four
D. five
Number of students of Class 4: 4626 and only 31% answered correctly

This question tries to test the basic understanding of fractions. The most common wrong answer given by students probably points towards the lack of understanding of the term ‘one third’. They are perhaps confusing the word ‘third’ with ‘three’ and are therefore answering B, three.
There is growing recognition that true/ false, multiple choice, and short answer tests do not give a true picture of what students know and have accomplished. These are primarily measures of memorization and recall, and do not always even test comprehension. They certainly do not give students opportunities to demonstrate that they can apply what they have learned or use their knowledge in creative or even just practical ways.The traditional techniques put the child in a horrible situation where he has to choose between ‘the teacher is right’ or ‘ the parent is right.’ “Creative teaching involves pedagogical skills.

Traditional learning• The teacher is the source of knowledge.
• Learners receive knowledge from the teacher.
• Learners work by themselves.
• Tests are given to prevent progress until students have    completely mastered a set of skills and to ration access to    further learning.
• All learners do the same thing.
• Teachers receive initial training plus ad hoc in-service training.
• “Good” learners are identified and permitted to continue their    education.
Lifelong learning• Educators are guides to sources of knowledge.
• People learn by doing.
• People learn in groups and from one another.
• Assessment is used to guide learning    strategies and identify pathways for future    learning.
• Educators develop individualized learning    plans.
• Educators are lifelong learners. Initial training    and ongoing professional development are    linked.
• People have access to learning opportunities     over a lifetime.

Source: Directions in Development, A report by World Bank

The changing scope of assessment is required. The shift in consciousness from assessment data as organizational hammer to its use as a tool in strategic planning is slow but critical if we in school are to truly develop learning organizations.

Filed under: Article of the Week, , ,


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