Sunday, April 22, 2018
Sri Harsha of Kanauj - A monograph on the history of India in the first half of the 7th century AD. by K. M. Panikkar.
Before I write anything about this book, I want to share my dilemma. I am a teacher of history at a college level. I am expected to teach according to the requirement of a syllabus. However, by experience, I have found that the understanding which I am developing through regular reading revolts against the central ideas of the curriculum.
Secondly, there are many aspects of history and especially of Indian History, which I believe the country learns from the textbooks. By now, textbooks have developed into a compilation of some points and narratives which could be easily reproduced by the students to pass the course which they are pursuing at University level. It does not serve any purpose.
Thirdly, there is a general notion and view among the teachers that the history or for that matter any subject should be made easy for the students. What does that mean? If you understand and have thoroughly imbibed the concept, then you may demonstrate it in numerous ways. The Make it Easy brigade have obtained doctorates in their subjects. They might have gone through the rigour of the research methods. They might have attained a perception about their thesis which could only be obtained by hard work. Therefore, they were awarded the doctorate. Now, what do they say when they want to make a subject essay for the students? No doubt, they are not expected to train the students to become the research scholars. But, what do they mean to say to make a subject essay to understand? In this efforts, they are more inclined towards the textbooks.
While reading textbooks also, one come across gaps in the interpretations and explanations of the historical facts. I had felt this shortcoming when after learning about the Gupta dynasty, there was a sudden decline in the Indian history. In between, a period of Harsha emerges. In that period, the region was saved from the attack of the Huns. Harsha organised five-yearly religious festivals in which he propitiated Buddha idol along with other deities. However, after his reign, the Buddhism virtually died out in India. Now, why was it so? I have some clues about the answers, but there are many issues which are to be told in more clearer manner. History is about the nation, a region, and positively about the 'We the People' with which the constitution begins. But, what is the history of 'We the People'?.
Fourthly, the four-unit format had made many chapters redundant. The chapter on Harshvardhan is mostly included in the fourth unit. As a result, no one care to read much about that. There is nothing much to learn in the textbooks, especially in the format in which they are coming up – the so-called easier way of learning.
Fifthly, there is too much stress on regionalism. The main argument or rather the dominant answer by some pundits is that if you do not write about your region, then no one will come from outside to write for you. If you do not write about the history of your region, then no one from other regions will come to write it for you. You are the right source and medium to write about your region, and therefore you have to write about the region. Is India a Union of States or the United States? I do not want the people from Political Science to answer this question. They are living in a world of fallacy and before answering anyone that they should check that why their subject has carried the term Science with it. I may like to read a journalist if I am given a choice.
Now when I came across a monograph on Harsh Vardhan, it was an obvious choice. It was another incentive to learn about K. M. Panikkar. Therefore, I am writing about it with high expectations.
The book was published by D. B. Taraporevala Sons & Co. Bombay( a publishing division of TATA sons in those days- not a listed company), in 1922.
It contains seven chapters including the Conclusion. A more detailed description follows.
Sardar KM Panikkar:
An ardent need is felt to emphasis that K. M. Panikkar, the author had expired in 1963. He was not a Marxist Historian (He defies all the favourite brands of the day.) and should not be identified with a Marxist historian with the similar surname and resembling initials. It was another thing that his daughter was married to a Communist leader. The other Panikkar is a Marxist historian who has generally associated himself with Bipin Chandra group apart from producing his individual works. Sardar K. M. Panikkar was an outright nationalist from South India. As a historian, as he had written in Atam Katha, that the Hinduism was the result of the fusion of Arya and Dravid which remained solid and unscratched under the onslaught of Muslim and European culture or Islam and Christianity. The fusion version of the age-old process which is presently comfortably called Hindu, merely made adjustments and arrangements in the field of society, economy and politics while facing the historical forces. The Marxist K. N. Panikkar would never approve of this theory and its working reality.
The Content of the Monograph:
The author has called it a Monograph. He has not used the phrases like A short history or A sixty minutes history and similar terms which are now becoming more popular.
There are 96 pages in the printed book. The content; the printed material on Shri Harsh Vardhan is spread over 82 pages. As already mentioned, there are seven essays. Six essays are related to Shri Harsh Vardhan. The name of the articles are as follows:
1. The Political Condition of India in the 6th century.
2. The Political Condition of the Reign of Harsh.
3. Harsh – the King.
4. The Social Condition of India in Harsha's Time
5. Harsh – the Poet.
The author has acknowledged with great emphasis that the contents of the fifth essay which is Harsh, the poet, is based on the material provided by Pandit Sastry A. D. Harisarma of Cochin.
Bibliography Essay – The Seventh Essay:
It also contains a bibliography essay. In the bibliography essay the author has discussed the two major primary sources; namely, Harishcharitra by Bana and Yuan Chwang Travels translated by Watter. It is pertinent to observe here, that the New Cambridge history started their publication from 1922 onwards. It is a feature of the New Cambridge publication which the author of each book gives an elaborate essay on the sources used to write his work. In such articles, nearly all the types of sources like primary sources, secondary sources, interviews, journals and other sources are discussed. In case of the essay by K. M. Panikkar, the author has considered only two primary sources. He has given references to numerous other sources, and many of them are primary sources, which are shown at the appropriate places in Footnotes. The essay is exclusively devoted to the two primary sources, which are the main focal point of seeking the information.
K. M. Pannikar started his carrier as a teacher of history. He left that job in between and worked for the Princely States in different capacities. After independence, he accepted the position of a diplomat. He ended his career as an academician. During this period, he wrote many researched based works. The historians, especially the university level scholars, had evaluated him differently. However, if one undertakes an independent evaluation of his work, there is every possibility that the fresh observer may not reconcile with the observations of the experts. His writings may sound as biased and tilted towards Hinduism. However, his scientific temperament is equally apparent in his work. The branded historians are not ready to accept his views probably because they dismantled their strongly held observations. On the reverse side, the writings of Pannikar reveal the gaps in the writing of history. In this work on Harsha, this conflict and debate are apparent.
After completing the reading of this book, I have read a book on the historiography of K. M. Panikkar by Tarasankar Banerjee. The title of the book is "Sardar K. M. Panikkar - The Profile of a Historian."
Tarasankar Banerjee has written some observations on the writing of K. M. Pannikar as a historian. I have found the following views of Tarasankar Banerjee quite relevant for the book on Harsha Vardhan. They are given below.
Panikkar approach to history is not based on a technician's outlook but based on an appreciative and refreshing mind of an idealist and imaginative scholar to whom history was an art and not simply an autopsy of the past. (Sardar Panikkar historiography pp.17)
In the more simpler terms, it has been said of the author in an earlier referred source that Panikkar had a passionately sympathetic and imaginative mind. This very aspect of his analytic mind is depicted in his work on Sri Harsha of Kanauj.
He wanted to impress upon us is that the compartmentalisation of Indian History tinged with a narrow regional feeling may have a disastrous consequence on the basic unity of Indian culture. (pp 113, Sardar K M Panikkar).
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Neeraj Kumar I.P.S., the commissioner of police and Nirbhaya Incidence of December 16, 2012, may help many readers to identify the person who is an author of the book which is named "Dial D for Don – Inside Stories of CBI Missions".
The actual nature, quality and standard of the content of the book is well described by Suhel Seth in a comment given in the description of the book on the Amazon.
If a reader is interested in a more straightforward comment on the book, then the remarks of Ravi Shastri emphasises the entertainment factor of the book available where the previous remark appears.
Both the above-mentioned observations are provided in the Amazon portal itself at the selling page of the book. These are also included at the beginning of the book within the overall body of the content of the book.
The print length of the book is 297 pages for English edition. It was published by Penguin Random House India in 2015.
At the time of writing this commentary, there were 82 comments on Amazon portal on this book with the 4.2-star rating out of five. The remarks itself are fascinating reading. For any ardent reader of good literature and especially non-fictional works, it can be a learning course to evaluate the nature of the comments which a work obtain if it is actually substantial and useful work. Those who have given 1 star, their names are not revealed. But, their comments itself become intriguing. If a reader has an understanding of the inside stories of the power centres and people with higher authorities, then one may just smile at the thoughts of the jealous people who can be behind those comments. Secondly, as per the record of the Amazon, they have purchased the book. They have virtually foot the bill of the coffee which the writer might have consumed while writing the book. They are really quite generous in their act but unnecessarily exposed a baser side of their existence.
S. Hussain Zaidi's Role in making the book.
S. Hussain Zaidi, a more established author of the crime thriller non-fictional works, has played a role in bringing out this book. He had sought the help of Neeraj Kuma I.P.S. in his activities of promoting his new release and observed that the person whom he had involved was equally a prospective writer. It goes to the credit of Zaidi to introduce Neeraj Kumar I.P. S. to Penguin publisher as a potential writer without caring to create competition for himself in his own field. Zaidi earns the praise of his readers for this role for acting most unselfishly. It is duly acknowledged by Neeraj Kumar I.P.S in the preface of his book.
In the preface of the book, the author Kumar recollected that he found faults with the book by Zaidi. The book in question was Byculla to Bangkok by Zaidi which I have already discussed on this blog. I have expressed some dissatisfaction with the content of the text and the writing style of Zaidi. I believe that Kumar had used his 'punches' on those very points. As a reader of Zaidi, I have found the work of Kumar is definitely a couple of levels above than that of Zaidi. Zaidi, being a person with journalist background and success with his book and Bollywood, writes for the producers of the Bollywood more than for the readers. I have pointed out that feature in my reviews of his book. Kumar has written a true non-fictional work with a better quality of literature. His work will definitely remain a reference work in the field of academics regardless of the caution which the writer has used in revealing the documentary proofs. Zaidi's work will also remain important because his work was readily picked by Bollywood and secondly he had trodden into an unchartered territory which the Indian intellectual field had not explored in Independent India. It will not be a surprise if tomorrow the people learn that some Bollywood movies are produced using the contents of the work of Neeraj Kumar I.P.S.
Neeraj Kumar is an alumnus of St. Stephenson's College of Delhi University. The author has made his alma matter proud by adding a new feather in his cap by contributing to the literature.
Neeraj Kumar I.P.S claimed that he was a reluctant writer. He expressed some apprehension about the purpose of such a writing. He knew that the ex-officers from different cadres had been writing about their memoirs. He was also apprehensive about the response of the readers. It is a general feeling among every writer when the writer ventures to write something for the audience.
Writing is not a simple exercise. Neeraj Kumar I.P.S has shown the quality of his calibre by taking up this task but defining the sphere of his work by himself. One can not dictate him, and that is the message. The publisher had approached him to write his memoirs. However, analytic and professional training guided him to frame the nature of the task himself. Probably, as an ex-officer, he was not accustomed to receiving assignments. He had lived his life by allocating and directing people to perform the tasks. So how can a publisher dictate him to deliver a pre-defined task? If an assignment has to be achieved, it was to be decided by him. He decided the contours of the assignment. He did exactly that. He did not write his memoirs. However, he decided to perform a task. He decided to write accounts of police operations in which he participated during his tenure in the CBI. Thus, this book was framed and written. He had selected 11 episodes from the repertory of his professional experience. He had exercised his discretion in choosing the cases. However, he had not shared the rationale behind picking the specific cases. No doubt, all of them are somewhere associated with underworld with a single person bossing over it except one. There was one episode which was not associated with the underworld. It was related to Punjab and its separatist movement. However, if we change the fulcrum of the set, then, the selection was somewhere guided by the interference of a neighbouring country in India. Such an angle of the collection of the episodes might have caused some dissatisfaction with some readers. Some of the comments in the review section of Amazon are about the naming of the title as well as the formatting of the title. The silhouette of Dawood Ibrahim is too prominent along with other people from the underworld. That might have been the cause of the dissatisfaction among such commentators.
On the whole, the book is envisaged, decided and framed by the author himself. While writing, Neeraj Kumar did not make it a casual affair. His senior, Raja Vijay Karan, who had written the forward to this book, showed great administration for the ability of the writer to write everything from his memory. However, the writer had done some extra work to make his work meaningful and useful as a work of cerebral activity. He has provided some exclusive photographs which are not probably available elsewhere. He had sought the help of diagrams and illustrations which are work of a professional. Raja Vijay Karan had remarked that Neeraj wrote out of his memory. However, within the book, the writer had mentioned that he was quite possessive of his laptop and fiddle with it regularly. The laptops were made available during the tenure of Joginder Singh IPS. Rest can be guessed.
The content of the book.
There are 11 episodes or cases which the author has selected.
His writing is too gripping and smooth that you glide through them without interruption. Some people have pointed out that he has written tough English. It is an amusing comment. If one reads it on the Kindle, then there is no issue of facing the problem of comprehending of any unusual word or term. A dictionary is built in. A mere click on an unfamiliar word will give a pop up with a meaning. All such words, when provided with a general sense, get fitted in the general narration that one may not face disruption in comprehending the whole scene.
The writer has remarked that it is his first attempt. If it is the first attempt, then it has already crossed the highest level of perfection. The scenarios and milieus are created like an expert. The human feelings pull and pressures, angst and happiness on success are so correctly displayed through the words that it qualifies for the position of a masterpiece. The person is an alumnus of St. Stephen's College and held the highest post in the power echelons. The amount of drafting and reporting which he had done during his service, the varied experience at UN level and interaction with officers from different fields, culture, countries and professionals had already honed up his skills of writing. The issue before him was to address an equally varied panorama of readers. Every writer has this fear. He had the same. But, he had accomplished the task with perfection.
The forward is written by Raja Vijay Karan. The writer of the book definitely had a great admiration for the senior officer. Therefore, the author had invited him to embellish his work. The writer of the forward definitely provided a tone to the whole work. He had penned a glimpse of the constraints under which Neeraj Kumar, the author, had accomplished his task. He had also suggested in a hidden manner those hurdles in the system and jealousies of his colleagues which Neeraj Kumar had encountered during his service. Later, in chapter 8, the unmasking of Romesh Sharma and then in the last episode, Tracing of MK, the writer himself had shared all the turbulences and pains. It seems that he has taken his revenge in a very discreet manner by producing this work. Somewhere, it seems, that those who were behind the one-star marking, were actually such people.
However, one of the remarks by Raja Vijay Karan was very startling. He had called some of the underworld criminals as legendary. It is quite amusing if the police officer is rating them like this or is it a tongue in cheek remark? Probably, it is so, and the targets are someone else.
Raja Vijay Karan had also tackled the issue of a Caged Parrot and CBI. It seems as if he was rejoicing in the work of Neeraj Kumar and felt the satisfaction that the credibility and reputation of CBI had been salvaged by the writings and works of Neeraj Kumar. The jobs pulled out by Neeraj Kumar were definitely worth appreciating as they had long-term repercussions for the future diplomatic relations of the country regardless of the people who would frame the foreign policy of the nation.
Raja Vijay Karan remembered in great administration the work done by Neeraj Kumar in Prison reforms and making the police department more accessible to people through the use of the virtual world.
Raja Vijay Karan also emphasised the significance of police work for social and political policies of the government about maintaining the communal harmony.
Neeraj Kumar began with the preface. The plot of the book as framed by the author himself is already mentioned above. However, the preface is vital for learning about the working of CBI from a person who had worked in the department.
In the episode on Aftab Ansari, Neeraj Kumar discussed the role of American agencies in crime detection activities. Somewhere, while reading the contents, the blogger felt that the Indian police confidence level is overshadowed by the efficiency of the American police department. However, in the essay, he revealed that how did an Indian officer played intelligently on the ground when he managed the situation in foreign lands. He showed his astuteness in tackling the media also in foreign countries and thereby saving the nation from diplomatic embarrassment. In addition to that, in this very chapter, he had exposed the active role of Pakistan in the activities of India. He had shown in the case of Memon family that how Indian sleuths outwitted the Pakistani nefarious designs and organisations inimical to the Indian interest. However, it also raises a question that if our individual officers are so smart then why do we not contain the nasty neighbour.
In the episode of Aftab Ansari, he had brought out another angle of the problem of crime and terrorism in India. While revealing the development of Ansari career, he had exposed the role of the unlawful activities of the people from Hindu community wherein criminals like Babloo Srivastava and his coterie had grown. He had also taken up the contemporary issue of Kandahar hijacking case. Including all these issues, he had brought out a solution which required professional attention in South Block. He had talked about the synergy, mutual trust and cooperation mechanism. Probably, that is being now achieved through NIS.
In the second episode, Operation Desert Safari, he provided a glimpse in the working of the CBI and showed that how tricky and discreet activities are performed by the department. He had discussed the structure of the CBI also which could be useful for the uninitiated person if such a person knows only that much which the newspaper helps him to learn. However, he had talked about the archaic way of working of CBI, the lack of absorption of new technology and taking benefit from them. But, simultaneously he also showed that the officers of CBI officers are responsive and progressive also and quickly learn to get results from new technology. It is another thing, he had depicted a scene from last century. It is hoped that by now the scene may be entirely different.
In Operation Desert Safari, he had again shown that how police could achieve the result through synergy, cooperation and mutual trust. During the narration, he remembered some of the other illustrious officers like Mohan Chand Sharma, an inspector of Delhi Police, who was actually shown in wrong colours in a different case. The officer was shot in the course of active duty.
Dial D for Don, the third chapter which has imparted name to the book, may attract the attention of those people who were interested in the news reports when the author was in service. However, the transcript which the author had provided is different from the lingo which Zaidi had claimed to be the language of the person when he had managed to talk to him. Zaidi, in his Dongri to Dubai, recollected that he was highly taken aback by his sophisticated style of speaking. However, the police officer had given a transcript of the talk with the controversial person who talked to him in tapori or Mumbyia lingo and even taunted the officer on a phone when he was going to retire in 2013. A police officer could thoroughly explain how to judge these people. They come across such persons every other minute. Such criminals would never accept their fault and counter you with their questions which are usually a product of their distorted logic and justification.
In episode 4, the author had revealed another side of his learning and education. He seems to have good knowledge of Hindu scriptures. However, his way of explaining the shlokas is materialistic and influenced by Delhite intellectual world. Secondly, he had tried to reveal the deteriorating morality of the common man in Indian and mismatch of the Government version of the social values of the society.
In episode 5, the unmaking of Latif, which was being eulogised in the movie by Shahrukh Khan in Raaez, the retired officer had again shown the intricacies of the working of CBI. They could not be done according to the manuals of conduct. It is the intelligence of the officers on the field which matters more than anything else.
The episode 6 turns out to be the most fascinating chapter in the book. It is surprising to note that the author had given a short note to the book and tried to explain his case. However, therein, a real sensational transnational activity had been narrated. However, a question is repeated again that why are we not able to counter the activities of the inimical neighbour if we can outsmart them on different stages on the international level and continue to do that till this day?
The episode 7 is similar to the chapter 6 in nature and demonstrate the abilities of the people who run the CBI. I believe those who had given star one ranking to this book, could be people or organisation across the borders.
Devil Wears Khadi, the episode 8, is believed to be the most liked chapter by the forward writer Raja Vijay Karan and writer himself. It is about Romesh Sharma, the person who could buy a helicopter for ₹40000 and keep it at his farmhouse in Delhi itself. In this episode, the writer had tried to share his angst as well as settle scores with his adversaries. Probably, it is the chapter which had gained one-star rating to the book. If the author had watched those comment, he might have smiled at it fully knowing who they were. The author had hidden many names and the restraint could be appreciated because of the position which he had held in power circle owing to his organisation. Here, on the social media, his adversaries had hidden their real identities.
The episode 9, on Salim Kurla, brings out another feature of the personality of the author. It seems that he had intentionally written the chapter in the way he had narrated it. However, again, in this chapter, it is proved that everything cannot be conducted as per some manual of law maintaining rules and espionage. It is the personalities of the people which matters.
The episode 10, on Jagtar Singh Tara, is an odd selection. It is another thing that it also brings about the personality traits of the writer which he had demonstrated in the field, and he might have included it to share the real nature of the activities which are performed by the career officers. The only justification for its selection is that the case was also allocated to CBI.
The episode 11, Tracing of MK, is the episode which is spread of his career in CBI and his posting as a police commissioner of the Delhi Police. He had hidden the names of the different cricketers but openly revealed the name of Manoj Prabhakar.
In the acknowledgement section, Neeraj Kumar had given importance to the role of Sayantan Chakravarty who helped him to polish his manuscript. Neeraj Kumar in the Dedication section as well as in the Acknowledgement section is more emphatic to stress his affection for his granddaughter, and he feels more like a grandfather who wants to impress his granddaughter. Throughout the book, a police officer had revealed a different shade of human being who was out there to exercise his authority to accomplish the task assigned to him.
It is essential to observe that as a collective whole, the book is highly gripping and entertaining. In addition to that, the author has raised many issues concerning the police administration, law enforcing agencies and working environment. It is hoped that the Ministry of Personnel Affairs and the parent ministry the Home Affairs may evaluate it with the motive of improving the working of the law enforcement agencies. Many Universities have started Post Graduate Course in Police Administration. The book qualifies for being an excellent case study as well as a reference book.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
This post is a review of the latest book by Martin Medows. A shorter name for the book is Self Disciplined Producer by Martin Medows
I downloaded two free books authored by Martin Medows. I downloaded the third book by Martin Medows which was suggested in the books which I had already downloaded. I have commented on two of his books on this blog. I communicated with Martin Medows through emails. I checked his YouTube Displays. I watched a person talking to his audience. Is he the real Martin Medows? Martin Medows is a pen name of the author. I had sent him a direct question and asked him about his real name. However, he skipped the straight answer. He sends newsletters. In one of the letter, he announced the launch of his new book. He wrote that the price as suggested in the email would be increased after the promotional period ends. I bought the book. The book, Self Disciplined Producer - Develop a Powerful Work Ethic, Improve Your Focus, and Produce Better Results is the topic of commentary here. Quite a long title. However, the book is not long at all. It contains 100 pages. I bought it for ₹49. However, now it is for ₹260. In short, he has made a sale by his skills.
Martin Medows has repeated it in his book that he is not much concerned by developing social media content with the motive of promoting his book. He suggests a very pragmatic, workable and practical solution and it is, that an author should come up with a new title at a regular interval. That sounds a sensible thing. That is the nature of his advice. They are not elaborate. They are the matter of fact advice. They are experientialist advice. They are the direct action advice. He preaches what he practices. That is the hallmark of the contents of his book. On the other hand, he is not adverse to aggressively market his product. He has adopted the technique of developing an email list of interested readers. He brings his work in the multiple emerging formats of publishing like Audiobooks and podcasts. In short, he makes a sale by his skills.
Now something about the book and the contents.
The book is spread over seven essays. The content includes one Prologue, five chapters and ends with an Epilogue.
The chapter 1, The Common Habits, the writer talks about the procrastination and how to deal with it. He has given his analysis of the feature of procrastination. The writer has developed his narrative according to his analysis. He has referred to some sources which are available on the Internet. He has suggested some solutions to deal with procrastination.
In Chapter 2, If you can't wait, he writes about necessary sacrifices which one has to make to achieve success.
In chapter 2, he has made an observation. He writes, "Different techniques work for different people, so try few and see what works."
Now, the observation of the writer as mentioned above is correct about all the Self Improvement literature. I have already said it in one of my posts. The writer writes the similar type of the matter of facts statements.
The writer talks about Krav Maga technique. It seems that he is a rock climber and love this sport more than any other game. In one of his other book, he has also talked about some specific feature of self-improvement methods. Therein, he had informed of a software Xmind to record progress. He writes about such features in self-disciplining and improvements in a manner as if he is sharing his own secret. The actual thing is that one should develop the ability to learn and incorporate different devices and techniques in his daily life to improve one's personality. One should drop rigidity. One should remove aversions. One should stop making the final statements. One should be open to innovation and experimentation without compromising his morality and social ethics.
Chapter 3 is titled as Does his matter. In his promotional letter, the writer has asked a question for providing a new free ebook by quizzing that which is the third letter in the book. It was used as another marketing technique.
The central theme of the chapter is that one should adopt one target approach. One should make one's task simpler. One should watch for those tasks and acts which increases the productivity and profit. It is a very pertinent suggestion. We clutter our mind by numerous rituals and practices which reduces are output. It is more accurate in case of Indians – Bhartiyas as they have an instinct to develop rituals and rites about the general course of actions. The message of the writer is that one should get melted into one's passion.
The Chapter 4, is called Go for Extreme. This chapter is primarily about the time management. It talks about learning the limits of one's endurance in case of mind and physical strength.
The Chapter 5, is about the importance of rest.
However, he makes an interesting observation. While emphasising the need of doing exercise as a part of one's personality development, he writes, "I won't bother with citing scientific research about its well-known benefits." The point for attention in the line is the phrase "bother with citing scientific research". That is the thing. He writes about his experiential observations. It is writing norm which he has adopted that when he makes his statement, he substantiate with a reference which is termed as research-based fact. The emphasis of research-based facts; quoting of research-based reports of some institution, laboratory, universities or science magazine to authenticate one claim is a fashion, a fad, a norm. A writer tells about his observations. The writer provides references from thirty to forty sources. Where should a reader go? Is the reader expected to check every text? If one goes by scientific temperament approach, then he or she is supposed to verify the claim. It is not possible in the art of reading. The writers must say his thing. However, he should do it in a manner, wherein the narrative itself remains consistent. There is no need of giving references to different sources every time.
In the Epilogue, the writer has tried to summarise his whole work. The feature of the summary was seen being appreciated by one of the reviewer and commentator in the comment section at Amazon portal.
I end the essay with an observation. All these self-improvement books can be divided into two sets. One set contains books wherein the writer talks about some gurus, religious scriptures and esoteric philosophy for personality development. The second set is of such writers who refer to scientific observations and research reports. Both the groups adopt an anchoring in a faith system – if one refers to Godly things then other suggests Scientific things. Nobody talks about the actual person. One should tell that it is YOU who have to change. Even education system is not able to resolve the purpose of its endeavours. The society needs the individuals who are trained for their perfection. For that, the individual should learn to think and experiment. For that, he does not have to visit a laboratory, or fitness studio or psychiatrist. His self is with him and within him. He has to learn how to use the arms, hands, legs and brain. A person is not a car in which a mechanic will perform the maintenance operation. A person is a mechanic for himself. He has to develop faith in himself and improve his skills of a mechanic who can correct his body and mind machine. All the gyms, doctors, laboratories and psychiatrist can be a help. However, the deciding factor is the self.
The need is to develop the man in the man by the man.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
The complete name of the title is Mafia Queens of Mumbai – Stories of women from the ganglands by S. Hussain and Jane Borges. It was published by Tranquebar Press, Westland Ltd., in 2011. It was released before the two titles by the same author which were Dongri to Dubai, and Byculla to Bangkok and reviewed on this blog. It was published long after the earlier book by the same author titled The Black Friday. The Black Friday was published in 2002 and produced into a Bollywood Movie.
The different titles by the same author were published by different publishers. He had probably started with Penguin and later shifted to different publishers.
The book contains a forward by Vishal Bhardwaj, a highly acclaimed music director, a great fan of R. D. Burman (whom the blogger also admires), Indian film director, screenwriter, producer and playback singer. The blogger, being an ardent fan of Pancham Music got attracted towards Vishal's music in Maachis (1996). After that, the blogger followed the news items related to Vishal Bhardwaj.
However, when I, the writer of the blog, read the forward penned by Vishal Bhardwaj, I was highly disappointed and aghast to learn the mind structure of the celebrity whom I admired. He wrote that crime was juicier than spirituality. The startling comparison is beyond imagination. Probably, he intently framed the sentence to attract the attention of the reader but betrayed his mental makeup. As for his opinion about crime reporting is concerned, I am unable to imagine that in 2011 when he penned this forward, he did not correlate it to his work in the film industry which had already started portraying the crime world on celluloid. Maybe, there is a different world around me, about which I have no inkling, and it is beyond my perception and imagination. A music director with highly admirable sensibility and sensitivity that I compared him with Pancham, wrote such a distorted perception of the surrounding. I have abstained from using some more damaging superlatives and adjectives and believed that the term distortion conveys them all. Vishal Bhardwaj, if you happen to read here, then, kindly review and ponder about your thinking process. Writing a script to define a character is entirely different from writing a forward to a book which is being published.
Somewhere Zaidi had mentioned that he was always interested in writing a novel and some publisher suggested him to write in the non-fiction genre. It seems that the Novel writer in Zaidi remains unborn in him and continue to struggle to come out in his writings. It was quite evident in his other titles also, and some reviewers had even criticised his style of writing when he tried to give dialogues to his characters who were real people and not a result of the work of fiction. However, in the introduction of this book, he had tried to neutralise his critics by declaring in the introduction to the book that he would use 'Literary Licence' to present his material. He has used it in abundance, but his work is non-fictional. This book is an account of real people and shreds of evidence are provided in illustrations in the form of photographs and contents of the established documents which are referred in writing the book.
Geraldine Forbes, an established scholar on Women studies, while writing the history of the Women in Modern India, made an academic observation that those who undertake to study of women or gender relations, they encounter the problem of finding the factual material for the women and primarily by the women themselves. However, Zaidi has provided here a document which contains the material to work on the women studies even if they belonged to the categories of criminals. I can not claim to be a scholar, but it is my experience that one does not find any documented material on women. Geraldine Forbes in the Bibliography essay to her book had given a long list but commented on the shortcomings of each of the view. While describing the stories of different women in their role in different categories during the modern period of India, the narration always remained incomplete as there was a shortage of materials on women. Zaidi has used different sources to collect the material on women who were and are mainly concentrated in one region of India. He had recorded a quantity of oral history. Many of the profile which he had tried to delineate, remained incomplete but here is an attempt to develop an archive of a selected group of women and their social milieu.
The book contains the profile of 13 women who took to crime. The profile of each of them is of a varied length and variety. Some of the characters are clubbed in one chapter. In chapter six, seven and eight, he has packed a couple of profiles in each chapter. Being an established reporter and journalist, he might have collected material on the activities of different people. One can understand that he could not have used it in the regular newspapers and magazines due to the constraints of the rules of journalism and news reporting agencies. Some of them are incomplete and confined to the quantity of the information which the writer has collected till the time of writing the book. On the whole, there are eight chapters in which 13 characters are delineated and described.
The journalists and reporters talk about the things as they happen. However, while narrating the events, they interject their opinions in such a manner that it becomes a biased presentation. Here, the historians are needed to undertake the job of telling. There is the need to emphasis on the cause and effect relation by finding more antecedents. However, one can not overlook the work of reporters. They are also the eyewitness. They follow the lead, and they record extensive oral history from such people who happened to be participants but did not get mentioned in the overall documents. Zaidi has another urge in him. He always desires to write a novel. The films are produced on books written by S. H. Zaidi. Vishal Bhardwaj openly declares in the forward that he has an understanding with Zaidi that Zaidi would share his new book with him to check if he can use the storyline to produce a fresh film. Now Zaidi also writes his book as if he is going to present his work to a film producer before bringing it before his readers. That is why there are some objections by other reviewers that Zaidi is not writing non-fiction. He tries to construct the settings with his imagination while narrating the facts. It gives a jarring jolt to the reader while perceiving the contents.
The issue suggested above can be well demonstrated. In the introduction itself, Zaidi writes, " Crime was not only a way of transcending their poverty and limitations but also a life-saving concept." Now, this is a Zaidi aphorism. A question arises, then why do the rich people also commit a crime? They are not constraint by any paucity of money. They have recourse to legal protection. The main argument is that it is a type of journalistic elaboration and generalisations which make their writing 'juicier'. It cannot be rated as an intellectual activity. It may be a literary device to make the book exciting and develop an interest in the essays. However, it is not excellent service. Similarly, while writing about Gangubai, he has emphasised on her speech which she gave for the sex workers. Zaidi has done a great job in bringing attention to a pertinent issue. However, he has not activated his journalist skill to add in some supporting pieces of evidence and testimonies. He has instead gone to make it more sensationalised to report that Gangubai even met Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. Zaidi wrote a scandalous interview between the two and then covered it up by adding that there was no proof of the nature of the discussion which took place between the two people.
Similarly, while developing the profile of Ashraf Khan who became famous as Sapna Didi, Zaidi had written details in a manner as if he was writing a script for a movie. Zaidi presented it as a reminiscence of Hussain Ustra, a notorious person, who was killed long back. Zaidi has great admiration for Vikram Chandra, an established novelist, and Zaidi makes him a testimony in this case as it was Zaidi who had helped Vikram Chandra to meet Hussian Ustra. The whole profile of Ashraf Khan alias Sapna Didi is built with dialogue bazi and this feature is the one that the reviewers have objected to in the writing style of Zaidi in case of non-fiction. Gradually Zaidi has written many such comments in between that are the basis of another type of criticism on his style of writing. However, he has also made such observations which demands attention by the security agencies. It is not the issue of actual work of police, security forces, intelligence agencies and military intelligence. Zaidi has pointed out that how the mind of people who are marked as criminals works. While writing about Sapna Didi, he narrated that how she managed to cross India Nepal border easily. Zaidi has identified the areas and loopholes which were used and still being used.
Similarly, Zaidi brings out the shortcomings of the law enforcement agencies. Zaidi attributes a comment to Jyoti Adiramalingam of Reay Road Railway Station in Mumbai. Jyoti spoke, "Small fry like us always get convicted, but big sharks manage to dodge the law and remain elusive. They outsmart the whole judiciary machinery." Now, such type of statements is highly erudite statements which could come out from some expert on crime. However, such statements and similar more are attributed to people who are shown as illiterate and poor. It questions the actual definition of Crime.
In the same manner, in case of Asha Gawli, it is projected not only in this work but also in other works of Zaidi, that those who started their life in Middle Classes turned to crime and then take protection by joining politics. I have, being a history student, learned that one of the vital force of happenings is the interface of Wealth, Knowledge and Power. On the other hand, the books by Zaidi on criminals and especially his work on women try to demonstrate that the Crime, Money and Power through Politics are more active in comparison to what the university scholars try to prove. The only difference is that Wealth, Knowledge and Power paradigm is discussed by academics and the model of the Crime, Money and Power through Politics is the theme of news reporters and political science. They steer towards debating the issue of ethics without bringing in a clear picture and thus further obfuscate the problem which in turns further strengthen the life force of such activities. It is similarly shown in case of the profile of Neeta Nair, the wife of Ashwin Nair; a qualified Engineer shifted to crime.
Further, in case of Sujata Nikhalje, the wife of Chotta Rajan, Zaidi again develops a profile that how a less qualified person raised the business as if she has done an MBA from IIM Calcutta and compared her success to Indra Niyogi. Such stories emphasise that these people who are considered criminals and then escaped or dodged the law enforcing agencies should be subject to study and research by academics so that some vital workable solutions may come up.
In this book also, there are numerous examples, which tell that Bollywood is financed by these people. They are not only funded, but they are content providers for the storylines. The three books by Zaidi which I have read by now, are all meant for the Bollywood ready-made storylines. In this book, there are explanations for the making of Company and Vaastav, both of them were highly successful films.
In the Book, Zaidi has taken Religion angle again and again. However, he has brought out a fascinating thing about the religion angle. The women criminal readily convert from one religion to other religion from Hindu, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity.
In case of Padma Poojary, Zaidi has made a fascinating observation. Zaidi writes that Padma believed that Bollywood and business class were the real mines of wealth. Her life was also a subject of the storyline of the Bollywood movie in the movie World Cupp 2011.
In case of Ms Paul, Zaidi has brought out another feature of the Underworld. The people ruling the underworld has been shown as excellent recruitment master. Their skills of poaching and recruiting people from both genders are better than any qualified Human Resource Manager or established Recruitment and Placement Company.
The Underworld has more progressive and brighter way of personnel management. They provide financial backup to the participants and their families when they deal with the legal system. Zaidi has covered this issue in all the three books which I have read.
Now I have one more book written by Zaidi. I have tried to buy one more title written by Zaidi but failed due to a technical glitch of e-payment. Now onwards, after reading the fourth book, I am going to leave the Crime work and revert to history and philosophy. I wish that Zaidi may be able to write a novel like Vikram Chandra.
I wish to make an observation after reading the books by Zaidi. I believe that there is a need to make the rise of crime in independent India as a subject of academics. The history departments of the university must take it as a subject of specialisation. In case of Punjab University, they have made a separatist movement as the subject of study. The term Khalistan appears prominently in the syllabus of Punjab History of the Punjab University Chandigarh. The historians are unbiased. They study the activity of man as it had occurred. Today, D Company challenges the State of India by its existence. The issue of terrorism is a subject which is debated among the university scholars. It should become more specific. It should not remain confined to study of Law. It should be taken up with the History departments also.
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Thursday, March 8, 2018
Felix Yusupov - The Man Who Murdered Rasputin by Christopher Dobson
Who was Rasputin?
Probably, many would like to answer it.
Who was Felix Yusupov?
There is every apprehension that many would not identify him. It depends to which continent one belongs and ones awareness, interests and culture that may bring up different answers. In case, if there is an answer, then, it would be that he was the Russian prince who killed Rasputin.
The book under consideration is “Prince Felix Yusupov Christopher Dobson The Man Who Murdered Rasputin”.
The title appears in that order on the book. Christopher Dobson killed Rasputin or Prince Felix Yusupov? The title is worded in that manner. It can not be helped. The arrangement of the terms in the title itself elicited this comment.
However, Prince Felix Yusupov, The Man Who Murdered Rasputin is written by Christopher Dobson. Christopher Dobson is a journalist and freelance writer. Some of his titles which are coauthored with other writers have attracted the attention of the reviewers of India Today because Christopher Dobson writes about terrorists.
The book was first published in 1989 by Harrap Books Ltd. The book presently reviewed is an epub which was published by Endeavour Press Ltd. Now here is an anecdote which is narrated as follows.
Why is this book picked?
I learned about Felix Yusupov when reading 'The End of Rasputin Reign' in book Grigori Rasputin – A Life from Beginning to End' published by Hourly History. I have read many titles from Hourly History. I do not write any review on each of them. The Hourly History idea of producing books spread over 40 to 50 pages does not attract much. The contents of such books are similar to that of essays available on Wikipedia. The name of the author is not given. The finner point of these books is that the publication intelligently develops chapters. They introduce the topic with an overall idea behind the subject of their writing.
In case of the title on Rasputin, they have written a very gripping story of the act of murder of Rasputin. It is not available in that form on Wikipedia. I did not know about Felix Yusupov. I have not read much about Russian history. My reading of Russian history is confined to textbooks. The episode of the murder is narrated in an attracting manner. Therefore, it prompted me to learn about Felix Yusupov.
I searched for details on Felix Yusupov. I came across the title written by Christopher Dobson. I located the book on Amazon. I went through the glimpse into the book. I found that Christopher Dobson had worked as a journalist during the Soviet Union period. In brief on the writer, it is written that he lives in Sussex and writes on terrorism. After that, the following lines appear and verified that they still appear there as on March 6, 2018.
“Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent digital publisher. For more information on our titles, please sign up for our newsletter at www.endeavourpress.com. Each week you will receive updates on free and discounted ebooks."
The above lines appear in the post as it is placed on the site of Amazon. The publisher had suggested that they also provide free ebooks.
“Free”. Now that is something which always attracts.
Further, the publisher has written following line about itself.
Endeavour Press believes that the future is now.
I was attracted by the brief description about the publisher. I tried to explore their site. It happened thus.
When I logged into the site of the publisher, a message was seen displayed that the company of the publisher had applied for liquidation. It intrigued me. I drew an inference that soon the book would be removed from the list of sellers. (My apprehension had materialized into a reality. The Amazon removed this book from its seller's list when checked in on March 12, 2018. However, a different selling source was selling it at a higher cost.)It may reappear with a different price tag. The details as provided about the book was quite impressive. Therefore, I decided to buy it under the apprehension that it would be removed from the selling list.
The whole thing is quite intriguing. The contents are equally intriguing. My overworked imagination developed an undesirable conspiracy theory behind it. The author lives in Sussex. The UK was the country which fought against Germany. Russia, after becoming the USSR worked against the monarchy. All the prominent monarchs lost their throne, but some of them have survived, and the royal house of the UK is one of them. I baked my conspiracy pudding. It goaded me to buy it.
Let us see something about the contents.
It is a book in which gossips, historical facts, journalist opinion, international relations of erstwhile royal political players and history are packed.
The book is divided into two sections.
The section one is called the Splendour and Murder. It is about the splendour of the aristocratic families and Royal Romanov Dynasty. It is about the autocracy and its control. However, the central theme of this section is the murder of Gregori Efimovitch Rasputin, a peasant from Serbia who became a holy man. However, in general perception of one section of humanity, he was a man of evil nature who aroused great hatred in Russia and became the cause of obliteration of the Romanov Royalty. It is up to the reader to approve any side of the picture which is available in the written records, opinionated works and general perception. However, the first two chapters which make the opening of the story in the book are about the sequence of the murder of Rasputin. One may develop an impression, the book is about the murder of Rasputin and not about Prince Felix Yusupov.
The life of Prince Felix Yusupov is narrated in the second section titled Poverty and Redemption. Rasputin was killed in December 1916. His body was recovered on January 1, 1917. The Bolshevik Revolution took place in November 1917. Tsar Nicholas II and his family were butchered in July 1918. The aristocratic families escaped from Russia with the help of Britain in the British ship HMS Marlborough. Only Dowager Empress Marie was allowed entry in England and rest of the royalty had to make their own arrangements in different parts of Europe. From thereon, the story of Prince Felix Yusupov is narrated. The Prince escaped with jewels and lived by selling them throughout his life for his survival and repeatedly recounting his achievement of the murder of Rasputin. The Prince sold the jewels in Europe and America. Felix, the prince, tried the hand at the business with moderate success. Felix Yusupov and his wife moved cases against libel and won claims. The royal lady suffered the gruelling hardship of court proceedings for saving their reputation. In the end, Felix died like a saint. It is as told by the writer. In this way, a picture about the skills for the survival of an erstwhile royal family is depicted. No doubt, all these episodes are based on historical facts and not based on any fictional constructs.
Apart from the two sections of the story, there are some peculiar features of this book. The writer has given the list of characters in the introductory chapter. The writer writes about the historical figures and real happenings but starts his book as if he is going to narrate a story of theatrical drama. However, a writer is allowed a literary license even for a historical narration. History is also an art and literature both combined.
In the preface, the writer has recollected all the efforts which he made to develop this book. The writer recalls the people from whom he collected his material. He has acknowledged the resources which he tapped for checking his facts. However, at the end of the book, he provides a bibliography. But the narration suffered from a journalist touch to the historical narrative.
The writer has made some observations which may not be appreciated by all.
In chapter 10, "Killed by Savages" when the royal perpetrators of crime mismanaged the act of killing Rasputin and fumbled at every step that writer made the following comment.
“The men though who knew how to run Russia could not even dispose of a body efficiently.” Then he comments, “Future Russian leaders (Communist) would do much better.” Such a judgement may not be appreciated by the academic circle.
Further, in chapter 12, Exile, the writer reveals the working of the mind of English royal house and government. He made the following comment while narrating the operation of Exile as organized by the British government. He writes, "Albion had been perfidious once more."
The book is written by a native English speaker. Hence, the narration is quite lucid and communicative. The language is simple. There is no attempt to impress the reader with bombastic terms and expression.
It is just a coincidence that I was intrigued by the contents of the book and felt as if I read a worldwide conspiracy about which rest of the world is not aware, and a report appeared in March 2018 that a living Russian spy living in exile in the UK was poisoned.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Byculla to Bangkok by S. Hussain Zaidi
The first remark
I am unable to connect the contents with the title of the work.
About the Content
However, this work is not merely a journalist work which is depicted more in the first instalment with the heading Dongri to Dubai. This work is made to look like a research work wherein the author works like an academician. In the source sections, Zaidi has given the primary sources. The primary sources are such which qualify the definition of the term in the academic circle. They are the court records, police records and the statements of the main characters which were recorded as per the legal rules. It includes the “Personal Interviews” with the major characters who formed the underworld thus qualify another definition of the research method. However, he has not provided the questionnaire. He had fused the contents of his interviews with the content of the whole work. He has used the services of many other participants in the research and gives them the full credit in the source section and the illustrations which he has used as the displays in the book. There are some exclusive photographs.
The writer has also used the reports and opinion of his fellow colleagues with different newsmedia. He has used their ideas to build the body of his book.
Zaidi has used the academic works and eyewitness account and oral history. In case of developing the setting of Girangaon, these features are quite apparent. The Chapter 3, Girangaon: The Village of Mills is virtually a lecture in the introduction of the economic history. He has tried to give the historical analysis since the Queen's Proclamation. It reads like a lecture by a professor on the mercantilist period of Colonial India and rise of the Indian Capitalists under the Colonial rule. The writer has used an oral history of an eyewitness who had himself seen the changing skyline of Girangaon. It could be authenticated from the municipal records if attempt is made and the documents survives in the offices.
It is challenging to sustain the attention in the book as with every new chapter a new episode opens. Many readers probably will not able to make out any sense in some chapters which are actually the repetition of the chapters which are already written in Dongri to Dubai. There are many characters starting from Gawli, to Amar and Ashwin Nair to Shiv Sena people to the leaders of Mill workers to Dr Datta Samant to the encounter specialists like Salaskar, Pardeep Sharma et al., to the killing of Khatau, to Bollywood related episodes that it is difficult to sustain the attention. There are episodes about Bangkok but the attack on Chotta Rajan is not written again as it has already been done in Dongri to Dubai. The book is more about happenings in Mumbai. If there is an episode in Thailand and then there is a full-fledged episode in Dubai. The writer should have called this work as "Anno Domini of Mumbai Manush" in place of calling it Byculla to Bangkok.
One of the surprising things is that the writer has claimed it as a sequel to the Dongri to Dubai. Dongri to Dubai was published by Roli Books and contains a forward by an established writer. This book does not include any forward. Secondly, this book was published by HarperCollins India in 2014. The publisher certifcate is at the end of the book. It is seen for the first time by the blogger. The earlier book by Roli books was published in 2012.
Another feature is the peculiar use of terms, verbs, adjectives and phrases. The writer has tried to use the expression of native English speaker.
The book is full of information which is probably not available in academic texts. It demonstrates that the academicians, especially from the field of history, should include the crime in society as part social features of their scholarly works.
While rating this book, I will like to give 3 out of 5 stars. On the scale of 10, I will give 5. But, I will strongly recommend it for reading especially for the people from academics. One can appreciate its contents more if Dongri to Dubai by the same author, is read before it.
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Sunday, February 25, 2018
A Review on H. H. Holmes – The Life of the American Ripper by Hourly History.
Check the following list of the titles published by Hourly History a publication which probably originates from Ireland.
Jack – The Ripper - The Story of the Whitechapel Murderer
Ted Bundy - A Life Beginning to End
Edmund Kemper – The Life of the Co-Ed Killer
H. H. Holmes – The Life of The American Ripper
Charles Manson – A Life From Beginning to End
I do not have any information and understanding of the policy of the Hourly History publication, but I believe that soon the Hourly History would publish the following title.
Aileen Wuornos – A Life From Begining to End.
However, that is an inference which is a result of different inputs on my side which has prompted me to comment like that.
On the sideline, I add that they have taken up some titles which fulfils the definition of History. In support of my observation, I refer to "The Roaring Twenties". However, I will talk about that title in a separate post.
I have found another feature while reading three books by Hourly History. These are titles on H. H. Homes, Charles Manson and Edmund Kemper. All the three people were again in the news in the year 2017. In case of H. H. Holmes, I believe that cause was that his body was exhumed again in 2017 nearly after more than 100 years. I identified it when I was at the end of the reading the book which I have read in less than an hour. The search on the Internet yielded following observations, and I present it in the following manner.
Is Holmes the serial killer dead?
While reading the book, I was fascinated by a line that the body of the serial killer was exhumed in 2017. A desire arose to learn the necessity of such an act. I made some searches on the Internet. I suggest to the read the reports at the following link.
Why did I read it and then writing on it?
I was attracted to it because I learned that H. H. Holmes was living when Swami Vivekananda was in Chicago. Swami Vivekananda lived in Illinois and surrounding states when H. H. Holmes had been in the news. The USA was about to learn about their first serial killer when Swami Vivekananda was around. H. H. Holmes had visited the fair wherein the World Conference on Religion was held.
A Life from Beginning to End is dropped.
In case of titles published by Hourly History, I always had an objection that first, they used the term History which they should not have done and the second the feature which was the cause of the dissatisfaction was the phrase "From Beginning to End". They finish their book in less than 50 pages. They take up topics which are relevant, but they can not claim that it is a complete thing from beginning to end. The objection was that they could not say it in that manner. The Phrase picked by them conveys the idea that it is a complete work and that is not the case. However, in case of this book, they have used to term The Life of the American Ripper. They have not claimed it as from Beginning to end. They have done the right thing. They must review their policy of giving the title to their future publication.
The feature of the Book:
I must say that these people at Hourly History are doing a great job. The only objection to their work is that they are using the term History. It is another thing that the analysis which I have presented above is also a part of the features of the utility of history. History begins when a person finds a need to answer a question in his the present. The best data available to him is the data of past. In case of three titles, that is, Charles Mason, H. H. Holmes and still alive Edmund Kemper, all these people were in the news in 2017. They were in the news due to different reasons which had their origin in the past. Their personas had raised questions which troubled some societies in 2017. Therefore, it grabbed the attention of the publication.
As far the book is concerned, it contains eight chapters. I admire the abilities of the writers of the Hourly History to frame the chapters. When I read their book, I also check the contents of Wikipedia related to the title of the book. I have found that there is no much difference between the information from the two sources. However, both the sources maintain their nature and tones. I have intentionally not used the term 'quality' to qualify my statement. In case of Hourly History, they are more successful in interestingly presenting the topic. The continuity in the content is consistent. The information and facts are joined together judiciously to create a story which ends in one hour and sustain your attention. They had done it more impressively in case of their other title on Rasputin that I will take up in one of the forthcoming posts.
Just a Question: Will the Artificial Intelligence cause to produce people like Herman Webster Mudgett or Charles Mason?
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