Vision India – 2025 (Expectations of an Ordinary Person)

Introduction

The way one lyrist has written, “Hum logo ko samajh sako to samjho dilbar jaani; jitna bhi tum samjhoge utni hogi hayerani”…in a nut-shell we Indian’s are most “unpredictable”. When the expectations are low…we have performed really well and contrary to that when expectations were very high…most of the time we have failed to live up to those expectations.

As we are going to complete 58 yrs of independence on 15th August 2005, it is a pleasure to share with you the facts about India, Vision India 2025 (From Ordinary person’s point of View), and India in 21st Century.

From Independence…till now

India was a British colony. It earned its independence from the British on 15th August 1947. Day before that Pakistan which was created as a result of partition of British India was established and flanked on two sides of India: West Pakistan which is called today Pakistan, and east Pakistan, now an independent state called Bangladesh. After its independence, the political leaders of India adopted the liberal democratic system for the country.

Since its independence, India has transformed a lot. When India attained independence in 1947, its population was around 400 million people. Now there are billion people in India. India is the largest democracy in the world. It has the biggest number of people with franchise rights and the largest number of Political Parties, which take part in election campaign.

Before its independence, India was never a single country but a bunch of different entities. Many predicted that India, because of diversities in its cultures, religion, languages, castes, manners, local histories, nationalities and identities, would not survive as a single democratic country, but would break up into smaller countries.

Since independence, India had many political problems. During independence the most burning issues were the riots between the Hindus and Muslims while the Sikhs were siding with Hindus. Another issue was convincing the Princely states not to declare independence or join Pakistan but to join the Indian Union. India also had a few wars with its neighbors on border issues.

India also has many internal problems. Different communities with different identities – regional, language, caste, religion – demanded different rights for their communities. Some communities demanded more autonomy for their cultures within the Indian states. Others demanded autonomous states within the Indian Union, while the others demanded to be independent from India.

With all its problems India survives as a single state with democratic character.

How much do you know about India? (India – Fact File)

Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan

Population: 1,080,264,388 (July 2005 est.)

Population Growth Rate: 1.essay writing service% (2005 est.)

Life expectancy: 64.35 years

Sex ratio: 1.06 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Composition of Religion: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.essay writing service%, Christian write my coursework.3%, Sikh 1.write my paper%, other 1.8%, unspecified best essays writers.1% (2001 census)

Languages: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language

Administrative Break-up: write my essay states and 7 union territories

Executive Heads: President A.P.J. Abdul KALAM (since 26 July 2002); Vice President Bhairon Singh SHEKHAWAT (since 19 August 2002)

Head of government: Prime Minister Manmohan SINGH (since May 2004)

Economic Overview: India’s diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services. Services are the major source of economic growth, though two-thirds of the workforce is in agriculture. The UPA government has committed to furthering economic reforms and developing basic infrastructure to improve the lives of the rural poor and boost economic performance. Government controls on foreign trade and investment have been reduced in some areas, but high tariffs (averaging 20% in 2004) and limits on foreign direct investment are still in place. The government has indicated it will do more to liberalize investment in civil aviation, telecom, and insurance sectors in the near term. Privatization of government-owned industries has proceeded slowly, and continues to generate political debate; continued social, political, and economic rigidities hold back needed initiatives. The economy has posted an excellent average growth rate of 6.8% since 1994, reducing poverty by about 10 percentage points. India is capitalizing on its large numbers of well-educated people skilled in the English language to become a major exporter of software services and software workers. Despite strong growth, the World Bank and others worry about the combined state and federal budget deficit, running at approximately write my paper% of GDP. The huge and growing population is the fundamental social, economic, and environmental problem. In late December 2004, a major tsunami took at least 60,000 lives in India, caused massive destruction of property, and severely affected the fishing fleet.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $3.319 trillion (2004 est.)

Important Years for India, since independence

1947: India gains independence at the stroke of midnight on Aug. 15. Hours before, Pakistan is born. As many as 6 million people cross the communal border in a two-way exodus. Rampages among Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs claim a million lives.

1948: Spiritual leader Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi is shot dead Jan. 30 by a Hindu extremist. An advocate of non-violent political action, Gandhi had campaigned against British rule and sectarian violence for two decades.

The fighting stops in Kashmir; the disputed territory belongs to India.

1951: India’s first Five-Year Plan is initiated.

1961: Indian troops move in to liberate Goa from the Portuguese.

1962: Indo-Chinese hostilities break out on the Tibetan border.

1965: Political tension rises with Pakistan over Kashmir. India proclaims Hindi the national language.

1967: Drought and major famine strike India, especially the Bihar region.

1971: India goes to war against Pakistan, recognizes the independent state of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan).

1974: Nuclear tests are performed in the Rajasthan desert.

1975: PM Gandhi is accused of electoral crimes. A state of emergency is declared across the country, restricting political and individual rights.

1977: State of emergency ends. Cyclones plague the Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu regions.

1984: Sikhs occupy the Golden Temple compound in Amritsar. On June 6, Indian troops storm the temple. On Dec. write my coursework, a leak at the Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal kills write my coursework,000 and leaves millions affected by chemical poisoning.

1987: Indian peacekeeping troops are sent to Sri Lanka to deal with Tamil insurrectionists.

1990: Singh announces plans to reserve places for the lower castes in the public service. Riots erupt across the country.

Hindu militants attempt construction of a temple on the site of the former Babri Masjid mosque in Uttar Pradesh. A procession to the site leads to thousands of arrests. Clashes between police and Hindu militants occur throughout Northern India.

1992: India’s worst financial scandal, involving state-owned commercial banks, leads to a major slump on the Bombay stock market.

Sectarian violence erupts after Hindu extremists level the 16th century Babri mosque at Ayodhya on Dec. 6. The violence is the worst seen since Partition. The government’s offer to build a mosque and a Hindu temple at the site fails to appease both sides.

1993: Hundreds are killed when bombs go off in Bombay public buildings. Four days later, a bomb ignites in Calcutta. Pakistan denies complicity.

1995: The World Bank allocates a $980 million loan, its largest ever, to aid Indian bank reforms.

2002: Communal riots in Gujarat, hundred’s of people were killed.

Vision India, 2025 (From an Ordinary Person’s Point of View)

1) Ensure dignity, Self-Respect and Pride for each individual, irrespective of age, gender, region or religion.

write my coursework) Drinking Water, Food, Cloth, Shelter and education for all.

3) World Class infrastructure: roads, airports and railways.

essay writing service) Every year there is a loss of billions of rupees due to flood; only solution is “Unification” of all rivers.

5) Only one caste (Brotherhood) and one religion (Humanity), across the length and breadth of the country.

6) No “reservation”, no subsidiary, no “special privilege” and no discount, on the basis of Region, Religion, Community, Profession and Community.

7) Minimum education (Graduate), Minimum Administrative Experience (7-10 yrs) and retirement age (67 yrs) for all politicians. Also, annual appraisal system for all ministers.

(These are the few points, I am able to pen down; however I have not mentioned anything about security and foreign policy…because as an ordinary person above mentioned things are of more importance than anything else)

India in 21st Century

Everyone recognizes that the twenty-first century is the Century of Knowledge. Nations, which have mastered the production of knowledge, its dissemination, its conversion into wealth and social good and its protection have assumed a leadership position in the world today. But it must be recognized that knowledge without innovation is of no value. It is through the process of innovation alone that new knowledge can be created. It is innovation, which converts knowledge into wealth and social good.

India was a leader in innovation several centuries ago. In fact, our innovations were diverse and pioneering. They included

1. Remarkable town planning,

write my coursework. The use of standardized burnt bricks for dwelling houses

3. Interlinked drainage systems

essay writing service. Wheel-turned ceramics and solid-wheeled carts.

5. The dockyard at Lothal in Gujarat is regarded as the largest maritime structure ever built by a bronze-age community.

6. The discovery of zero and the decimal place value system by Indians dates back to the Vedic period.

7. Our pioneering work in algebra, trigonometry and geometry was truly outstanding.

8. Indian innovations in medicine, especially in Ayurveda, not only aimed at the cure of diseases but, more importantly, on the preservation of health.

write my paper. The innovations in surgery included pioneering efforts in laprotomy, lithotomy and plastic surgery.

10. The iron pillar at Delhi, which testifies to the achievements in metallurgy some 1500 years ago, is truly inspirational even today.

Indian civilization was characterized by scientific thought, capabilities and techniques at levels far more advanced than others.

In spite of this great heritage and record of accomplishments, why did India fall behind in the ensuing centuries? When the scientific and industrial revolutions took place in the West a few hundred years ago, there was a period of stagnation in India. The lack of development over this period was a result of a hierarchical approach, irrational subjective thinking, and build up of superstitions and superficial ritualism. We have lost the leadership position. This cannot continue into the twenty-first century. We must regain this position with determined action.

Our confidence in building the new innovative India of our dreams stems from our major successes in the arena of many technological innovations that have made such a difference to the nation. Some prominent examples include

the blue (space), green (agriculture), white (milk) and gray (software) revolutions. Let us just take one example.

1. The Indian space program, for example, has designed and sent into space a series of satellites that, among other things, comprise the largest domestic communication system in the Asia-Pacific region.

write my coursework. It has also developed a range of launch vehicles, the most recent being a geo-synchronous launch vehicle with an 1800 kg payload. These developments have helped in the application of space technology for national needs in communication, meteorology, broadcasting, and remote sensing. All of this has been achieved in a relatively cost-effective manner. The Indian space programmer’s current annual budget is equivalent to US $450 million while NASA’s budget, in comparison, is over $15 billion.

3. Other innovations serving specific Indian needs include C-DOT digital switches, CorDECT cost-effective wireless-local-loop products, the Simputer, which is a low-cost computer and the Param supercomputer.

essay writing service. The last is an example of “denial-driven innovation,” illustrating that India has the potential to tackle highly advanced technological issues, given the proper motivation.

Conclusion

Yesterday was good since then we have traveled a lot; covered a lot of distance, but still there are miles to go. Building a nation is not easy. We have to “learn from our past and focus on future”. The way ahead is not easy…is not a bed of roses. Instead of pulling each other, lets grow together…lets be a “Team India”.

On this independence, this is all I have to share…to write.

Have a great day and take care of yourself.

Awaiting your feedback and comments,

Why Should I Become an Outstanding Student?

Just like everyone wants to be rich, nearly every student wants to become an outstanding student. In fact, being an outstanding student is a noble objective, and there is nothing wrong with this goal. But the problem does lie in the fact that not many students have taken enough quality time to ask themselves WHY they want to become outstanding students, which can be a reason that there are only a few outstanding students in each school. Almost no student has asked “WHY should I become an outstanding student?”

If you had already read many articles in this website, you would have picked up some facts about me that I had been just a normal student until I came to the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL), Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. By the time I had finished high school (and before I got into IFL), I had been a full-time gang who had done so many socially-hated things. I had gotten myself addicted to alcohol and trapped in many serious fights. (If you want to know about my background, click: About)

Before I came to IFL, I had never ever dreamt of becoming a person I am today. I had gone through many traps, obstacles, and hardships before I could achieve impressive academic successes (at IFL), which a lot of people thought to be impossible. Therefore, I knew exactly how it felt like to be on the top of the game, benefited big time, and had a lot of nice things to talk about being an outstanding student. If you want to become an outstanding student but are still not sure why you should be an outstanding student, I highly recommend you read the following reasons:

I. Emotional benefits

If I am not mistaken, no one in the world wants to feel sad or mad; everyone wants to feel good even though they choose different ways to make themselves feel good. As for students, I can say that there is no better feeling than that of their becoming outstanding students.

Even now that I have already graduated from IFL, I still clearly remember the goose-bumps I had when I was called to the stage to receive Awards of Excellence for each academic year or deliver Thank-You speeches. I wish I could precisely describe those feelings of pride and recognition in writing because I really want to share with you those feelings so that you are inspired to reach the top of your competition too. When they called my name and announced my academic achievements, I felt really good-much better than any feelings I had had in my life. I don’t know but for every event, I felt really like I was flying when I saw other students sitting in the audience, clapping their hands for me, and listening to my speech.

Actually, when I write about this, I don’t mean to boast about my achievements and ego at all. But, I want to show you that those feelings came from inner motivation, not outer motivation. You know, whenever I stood on those stages, I realized that my hard work had paid off. I knew the crops that I had grown, and that I had harvested for the whole academic year blossomed and given fruits. I felt more than happy when I internally acknowledged that I had walked on the right path and direction.

Moreover, I felt even better than that when I could see my parents’ smile and laughter. This was the least I could do for them, as a son especially the one who had caused countless problems, wasted a lot of their time, and spent thousands of their dollar. Making me proud was just one small thing, but making them proud of me was really inspirational for me.

II. Mental benefits

Whether you know this or not, you feel confident in yourself only when you know can do something well or when people start to recognize your ability. You know this can be a chicken-and-egg issue. Becoming an outstanding student surely raises your self-esteem, belief and confidence in your own ability and value; however, your having self-esteem can also lead you to become an outstanding student. As not to confuse you, I’d like to focus only on the previous premise that becoming an outstanding can help you build up your self-esteem or self-confidence.

As a reflection, when I was a freshman at IFL I was not a confident person (like I am today). I just did not believe in my ability and knowledge maybe because I had abandoned education and socialized with people in dark side of the society for quite some time. Though it was so, I tried my best and was able to claim the position of the 3rd most outstanding student in the afternoon shift of my promotion, academic year 2005-2006. That achievement was indeed surprising for me, and clearly marked the beginning of my academic successes at IFL.

In late 2006, I became a two-year student. In my class (A2.1), there was almost the same number of students, and classmates. But, the difference then lied in how they were treating me. Their behavior toward me in the new academic year was differently from theirs in the previous year. Most of them treated me strangely in a way that they regarded me as someone who knew more than they did. Whenever they had questions or doubts, some of them approached me. Also, I was highly encouraged to take seemingly difficult or big tasks; sometimes, I singlehandedly did group assignment and presentation. You know, since then, my classmates had treated me like that (until the time I graduated from IFL).

Speaking of self-esteem, I was really nervous and sometimes did not want to move ahead to do those things encouraged or left behind by my classmates at all. But, because there was no one else to do, I just persisted on without complaining and completed them with trial and error. Surprisingly and unexpectedly, the more I did those work, the better I became. Day by day, I became even more knowledgeable and skillful in what I did, and my friends would just watch how I did them and encouraged me more, which made me become a true believer in my abilities and knowledge, and feel even more confident in my answers. If it had not been because of that academic success in my freshman year, I would not have been so confident in life and be writing this article now.

III. Intellectual benefits

They say people need some success to get more successes. With some successes (even small ones), you will be exposed to more learning opportunities and learn more than you have ever done in your life. Frankly, I did not know that at all until I became an outstanding student.

In high school, I had always asked myself and friends why my teachers paid more attention to students who were already good than those who did not do well. ‘Isn’t it more logical that teachers should teach the not-good?’ I asked. I had asked this question for years until I came to IFL and became a good student myself. Actually, the answers can be found in one of following three reasons. (1) You shall get if you give. So the students who concentrate on their teacher’s lessons will get attention from their teacher. (write my coursework) Teacher is also a human and wants to be recognized for their effort. Teachers who are able to produce outstanding students tend to be more respected and known than those who aren’t. (3) For one session, teacher has too little time to waste on those who do not show any enthusiasm to learn. To make best use of their time, teacher therefore chooses to invest on those curious learners, instead.

I brought in this point not to claim that I am an expert in education or something, but just for your awareness so that you can take advantage over it. It is so true that people who have talent or show signs of potentials are encouraged and supported to develop further than those you don’t have any. Therefore, if your goal is to excel exponentially in your life, you’ve got to have to be willing to become an outstanding. You have to start stepping first, and your step doesn’t have to be the best though it should be better than most people surrounding you. And once you are spotlighted as one of those who are willing to learn and have potentials to learn, you will be supported, motivated, encouraged, inspired, and pushed to learn even further than you have ever thought in your life. If you don’t believe this, please take me as an example. When I joint IFL, I was just a gangster. Yet when I graduated, I was an outstanding student.

IV. Academic benefits

Nowadays, it has become even clearer to students and to the world that education has no boundary. You know, there are more study programs than ever before in history. Also, thousands if not millions scholarships are offered every day to high-academic-ability students regardless of their gender, culture, race, religion, etc. (Still, different scholarships have different requirements).

Since I am a Cambodian, let me raise an example from Cambodia. On a yearly basis, dozens of IFL students and lecturers alone win sponsored exchange programs and scholarships to the US, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, etc maybe thanks to their high English language proficiency. Besides IFL students and lecturers, there are also hundreds students from other educational institutions and civil servants working for the government who are able to pass all requirements and get scholarships to further their undergraduate or graduate programs abroad. More than Cambodia students, students in other developing countries such as Bangladesh, Laos, Vietnam, etc. are also allowed to pursue their higher education in developed countries of their choice either on scholarship or full fee payment programs.

The door to the world’s greatest and freest education has been opened and awaits students who possess high potentials and guts to prove to the world that they have something to offer. Therefore, if you have always longed for free education or higher education, I strongly recommend you set a goal to become an outstanding student in the field you are studying and go for it now. This goal, if realized, is your single ticket that you can use to get what you want, and financially speaking, it is the cheapest educational ticket that you have ever bought in your life. So, go for it.

V. Relational benefits

For students who always want attention from other people, I suggest you become an outstanding student or the most outstanding student in your school, if possible. If your goal in school is be well-known, I think you cannot choose a better strategy than becoming the best student in your class or school. Believe me, once you have become one of the top students or the top student in your school, other students are just drawn to you; you automatically become a magnet. If you walk in the school campus, people just look at you, talk (or gossip) about you, and want to be your friends.

Personally, I had a lot of friends when I was at IFL. I knew all people in my class, many people in my promotion, and other schoolmates who were studying in different promotions, shifts (time) of study, and classes. Actually, there were many factors leading me to know those people. First, I joint almost all extracurricular activities IFL had to offer. Second, I frequented IFL Self-Access Center (SAC) on a daily basis during weekdays. Last but certainly not least, I was one the most outstanding students. Other students knew me because I was called to receive Awards of Excellence every orientation day of every academic year between 2005 and 2009.

Becoming an outstanding student is like becoming a movie star. People just want to know about you and be your friends if there is an opportunity. So, when you are able to become one of the best students, you do not have problems in finding friends anymore; your only problem is in choosing people with whom you want to be friend. Because this fame is good, the friends that you have respect you and your ability a lot. With them, you are treated with reverence, and you are just a kind of friend with whom they don’t want to mess up.

Plus, you will learn many worthwhile life skills when you become one the top. Besides specialized knowledge, you also learn to control your ego because you can’t just be too cocky or get too loose that you stop learning. Also, you learn to handle publicity. You will become a topic. Other students and people will talk about you, and of course some of their stories are not good or true, thus being emotionally disastrous if you pay too much attention to them. Be ready and I can ensure that it is exciting and fun if you handle it well.

VI. Financial benefits

After everything is said and done, it comes to money, one of most tangible results that becoming an outstanding student can give you and one of the most wanted things that students (and all) people want. Frankly, I was born to an average family who has had many chronic financial crisis. (I eye-witnessed my parents selling our house, borrowing money from others, and strongly arguing with one another about money). When I was a bit younger, I had always wanted nice things that other kids at my age had, but my parents did not have enough money, so I would feel disappointed at myself. Because of such personal disappointment, I knew the importance of money and that money is an essential part of human life whether I like it or not.

Some people think that money is evil, but how about having little or no money? You know, in today’s highly competitive world, it is nothing more miserable or evil than people’s having no money to feed themselves. Personally, even though I know that money cannot buy everything, I prefer to have a lot of money because I also know that without money I cannot buy anything.

Therefore, if you are a student and want to have a decent living of your choice after graduation, you should work your butt off to become the best student that you can be. If you are the best in your class or school, you will earn two or three times as much as ordinary students in your level will. If an average student gets a salary of USD500$ per month, you will make up to USD1000$ or even more. As for me, I’m making twice as much as my friends, who graduated at the same year I did and who are working in the similar work I am doing, are.

VII. Other benefits

1. You’ve a one-for-all key to unlock the world: Whether you acknowledge it or not, the world really values people who are on the top of their game or work. These people are sought after and given more opportunities beyond their specialized skills or expertise. Take me as an example. When I was in my senior (last) year at IFL, I applied to work as a sales executive in an international company called Sumitomo Corporation. Generally, I was not suitable for the position at all, but I was selected. At the time, I met only one of their requirements: high English language proficiency. I neither had experience in sales nor had learnt international business transaction in university. But, still I was selected because they viewed me as a dynamic person because I was an outstanding pupil. Probably, my boss had thought that outstanding people had special ability to learn more quickly and take more responsibility if compared to other normal performers.

write my coursework. You’re able to cover all the messes you have made in your life. They say life is a matter of choice. The more correct choices you make, the better your life is. In contrast, the more incorrect/wrong mistakes you make, the worse your life is. Logically speaking, there should not be something called ‘good points replace bad points’ since mistake is a mistake; once you make it, it stays there.

Yet, the good-points-replace-bad-points thing does exist in today’s society. Since I was a child, my dad has always taught me that people don’t care how you do to get rich at all, but they just want to know whether you are rich or not. If you are rich, society doesn’t care whether you used be a gambler or prostitute. But, if you are a nice but poor guy, society will be harsh on you. Even though what my father has taught me ethically speaking should not be taught in school as it encourages students to be too outrageously ambitious, it has a great implication in practical life.

Take me as an example again. I used to screw my life up when I was a teenager. I got involved in many bad things such as gang fights, abusive alcohol drinks, etc. At that time, almost no good people wanted to socialize with me. Those people just ignored me completely. I was abandoned, at least by some of my friends and relatives, and had never hoped of retaining my life again. Yet, today now that I have achieved many thought-to-be impossible things, no one has ever talked about my past experience and life again. Those things are just covered up and buried into the deepest ground possible. With my outstanding-student reputation, all mistakes that I used to make have been automatically corrected, and all holes have been filled up nicely and firmly.

In conclusion, as a friend and someone who was an outstanding student, I really want you to improve and develop to become an outstanding student. I really do want you to climb the ladder to the top of your academics so that you can breathe in the rare breeze and see the world from the top. And then, you will understand that your life is worth trying to achieve the best and living in happiness.

Rabindranath Tagore – My Favourite Author

The first time I had sung the National Anthem composed by Rabindranath Tagore, the rhythm and the tune touched my heart and magnified the love for Bangladesh. I started reading his short stories and poems, which he created for children gave me real pleasure. His power of simplification and showing the beauty of truth within little things for extensive exemplification for which my inquisitiveness feelings make him my favorite author. The Tagore’s were of a cultured and wealthy family. Rabindranath Tagore was born in 7th May 1861 and died in 7th August 1941. His father, Devendranath, was one of the leaders of the Brahma Samaj. The poet’s early life was spent in an atmosphere of religion and arts, literature, music and paintings. As an author, the trend of his life was early contemplated. He was brought up and taught on three languages- Sanskrit, Bengali and English.

Tagore’s literary life outspread over sixty years, and he reminds one of Victor Hugo in the copiousness and variety of his work: over one thousand poems; nearly two dozen plays and play-lets; eight novels; eight or more volumes of short stories; more than two thousands songs, of which he wrote both the words and the music; and a mass of prose on literary, social, religious, political, and other topics. In addition to his English translations of some of his literary works; his paintings; his travels and lecture-tours in Asia, America, and Europe; and his activities as an educationist, as a social and religious reformer, and as a politician- and there we have, judged by quantity alone, the life work of a Nipple. Suffice it to say that his genius was no more than the capacity for taking infinite pains; but to note the element of steel and concrete that went to his making, and thus to dispose of the legend, that has grown in some quarters in recent years, of Tagore the pale-lily poet of ladies’ table.

In 1901 he founded his school, the Santiniketan, at Bolpur as a protest against the existing evil system of education. The school was a great success and transfigured Viswabharati. On revisiting England in 1911 he brought with him the English Gitanjali, and it’s publication in 1912 and the award of the Nobel Prize for literature the following year made him world-famous. This was the first award of that prize to an Asiatic. The rest of Tagore’s life was spent at Santiniketan, except for several travels and lecture-tours in which he carried his message of human unity to all the important countries of Asia, America and Europe.

Tagore was a proud and ardent patriot. His most intense period of political activity was in the years following 1905, when the agitation against the partition of Bengal was at its highest speed. He renounced his knighthood in 1919 as protest against the Amritsar affair in a letter to the Viceroy, which is among the great documents of freedom. His patriotic poems and songs, particularly the latter, have passed into the common heritage of his country; the song “Bharata-bhagya-vidata” is now sung all over India and “Amar sonar Bangla” in Bangladesh as the national anthem. In this respect I would like to discuss a few of his books which have stirred my heart towards having an unbounded pleasure of spiritual as well as real cultural life.

HOIMONTI

It is a remarkable short story where Tagore has tried to reflect a contrast between the two families comprising of conservatism and modernism. Hoimonti was educated in modern system of education where her father had influenced her by proper knowledge, culture, heritage and means to retaliate the real life situation. But as ill luck would have it, she was married with Opu, a son of conservative family. This family believed in superstitions and social customs. Opu’s father and mother had prejudice, which would influence Hoimonti tremendously. In the last Hoimonti was faded and her father-in-law was looking for another bride for his son.

BOLAI

This story is about a boy who doesn’t have a mother and was brought up by his aunt. He developed the character, which is different from his age group. He has an uncommon fondness towards the plants and trees. Bolai would not tolerate if anybody would weed out any plants and trees. He thought that every plant has a unique life, which is unknown to everybody. He showed all his love and sympathy even for the tree which grew in an unsuitable place. In the last his most favourite tree was cut down when his father took to Shimla for higher studies. Bolai’s aunt was shocked at the demolition of the tree, which she thought was the personification of Bolai.

SHESHER KABITA

It is a famous novel created by Tagore. The actress of the story is Labonno and the actor is Amit. The contrast and love affairs of them have been reflected in a significant manner. The book has the greatest literary value in the world. The real love an affair with high world literature has been vividly reflected here where the two craving personalities are eagerest to know each other. They were devoid of greed, jealousy, allusion and bad temperament and they know how to tackle the social confliction and criticism of social critics.

KABULIWALA

The main characters of this story are a girl named Mini and Rahmat the Kabuliwala. Kabuliwala is from Afghanistan; he sells things from door to door. Once she was introduced to Mini, the talkative girl who was five years old. The man has left his daughter who is of Mini’s age back home. Mini and Kabuliwala developed a very good friendship. Kabuliwala used to bring dry fruits for Mini as present and showed the patience of listening to Mini. They used to tease each other about “going to in-laws house”. For some reason the man has to go to prison for eight years. After coming from jail he wanted to meet Mini. But, at that time Mini’s marriage ceremony was going on. In the past eight years she has forgotten her friend Kabuliwala. She was not friendly like her childhood and was feeling shy seeing him. Kabuliwala could feel the distance the time has passed between them and his daughter.

POSTMASTER

It is a short story by Rabindranath regarding a postmaster. The postmaster was transferred to a village post office of India. Here he met a girl named Ratan with whom he would always continue conversation hours after hours. One day the postmaster fell ill, Ratan has looked after him and in this way a close relationship was developed between them. When the postmaster was transferred to the town again the girl became shocked and she asked him to take her with him but the postmaster was not in a position to take her. Rattan lived with the sheer pain of the lovely memory; she had spent with the postmaster.

I like Rabindranath’s book because I come to learn many things about the land, people and nature. We learn the problems, religion, culture and heritage of Bengali life. His books sometimes really create thrill, intuition and excitement for the readers by reflecting the social conflicts and contrast between conservative and modern educated people. Furthermore, his poetry ingrained in common life has been vividly contemplated in a significant manner, which stir my heart to a great extent.

Why Are Textbooks So Expensive? Part 1

Many sites are here to save you money on textbooks but what is the real reasons why textbooks cost so much? We will look at this issue from three different points of view: a college professor and textbook author, the textbook publishers and the college bookstores. We hope this information will help you understand the reasons textbooks are so expensive.

From an Author’s Standpoint

Henry L. Roediger III, a professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis and a textbook author, wrote an article on high textbook prices for the Academic Observer. According to Roediger, textbooks are more expensive because of the recent popularity of the used textbook market. He cited the used textbook market as a problem not due to students selling to each other, but to the massive buying of textbooks by used book wholesalers who then ship the book to another campus where it will be used next year. The textbook wholesalers, some of which own the bookstore, buy textbooks from students at a small fraction of the price that the students pay and then sell the books back to the next batch of students at an inflated “used book” price. This cycle results in publishers and authors not getting fair payments for their work in producing the textbooks. Roediger compared the practice to vendors who sell pirated music and do not pay royalties to record labels or artists. The only difference, he pointed out, is that the used textbook industry is legal and music pirating is not.

Here is a concrete example that he provided:

His book, Experimental Psychology: Understanding Psychological Research, was published by Wadsworth Publishing Company. The bookstore pays the company $73.50 for the new book. The authors receive 15 percent royalties on the book, so the three authors split the $11 royalty, and the publisher gets the rest. However, at the Washington University bookstore, the list price of the book is $99.75, a markup of $26.25 (or 35.7 percent). The authors get $11.02 for their work whereas the bookstore makes $26.25 gross profit per book.

When a student sells his or her textbook at buyback, the bookstore buys it back at a greatly marked down price, somewhere between 25 and 50 percent. Let’s assume that Experimental Psychology is bought back for 40 percent of the new book price (which is a generous assumption). That buyback price would be $39.90. After buying it, the bookstore will mark it up dramatically and resell the book. Suppose the used book is sold by the store for $75, which sounds like a bargain relative to the new book price of $99.75. The profit markup for the bookstore on this used book would be $35.10, which is even higher than the (still very large) profit made on the new book ($26.25). So on the second (and third and fourth, etc.) sales of the same book, the bookstore and used book company make large cumulative profits while the publishers and authors get no additional revenue.

According to Roediger, textbook publishers have little options when dealing with the loss in profits. They are forced to raise the prices of textbooks in an attempt to recuperate their initial investment. Publishers revise books often because they want to make sure book profits will accrue to the publisher and author, not the bookstores.

Exploring the Breath, Range, Character, Scope and Reception of Cyprian Ekwensi’s Writings

Ekwensi one of Africa’s most prolific writers who died late last year and was buried early this year, maintained a vibrant writing activity throughout his life, publishing a collection of short stories, Cash On Delivery, his last work of fiction and completing work on his memoirs, titled, In My Time for several years on to his death. With over twenty novels, collections of stories and short novels to his name, Ekwensi’s thematic preoccupation equally covered the Nigerian Civil War from the perspective of a journalist and life in a pastoral Fulani setting in Northern Nigeria.

Ekwensi’s first published work was the novella, When Love Whispers, published in 1948, ten years before the great African novel, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, appeared in London. He was inspired by sorrow over his unsuccessful attempt to court a young woman whose father insisted that she makes a marriage of convenience to write it. This short, light romance formed part of what became known as the Onitsha Market school of pulp fiction, and its success inspired Ekwensi to continue in that same mode.

Ekwensi had already distinguished himself by the several short stories he had written for broadcast on radio. These he later put together, within ten days, while on his way to Chelsea School of Pharmacy, London, to realize his first novel, People of the City, which Nigeria’s premier newspaper, The Daily Times, published in installments before it appeared in book form in 1954. but which was not published in the United States until 15 years later. People of the City (1954) was the first West African novel in modern style English to be published in England. It’s publication thus marked an important development in African literature with Ekwensi becoming one of the first African novelists to receive much exposure in the West and eventually the most prolific African novelist.

The fact that Cyprian Ekwensi started his writing career as a pamphleteer is reflected in the episodic nature of People of the City (1954) a collection of stories strung together but reading like a novel, in which he gives a vibrant portrait of the fast-paced life in a West African city, Lagos. People of the City which recounts the coming to political awareness of a young reporter and band leader in an emerging African country is filled with his running commentary on the problems of bribery and corruption and despotism bedeviling such states. In it and several others, Ekwensi explores the lure, thrills and challenges of urban life, and the extreme permissiveness and impersonal relationships permeating the lives of migrants to the city, where close-ties normally fostered by the extended family system of their traditional societies constitute a serious check on the deviant lifestyles that find full expression in the city.

According to, Bernth Lindfors, none of Ekwensi’s numerous works is entirely free from amateurish blots and blunders. Lindfors therefore concludes that he could not call any “the handiwork of a careful, skilled craftsman.” On his portrayal of the moral irresponsibility in city life, Bernth Lindfors, argued that “because his sinful heroines usually come to bad ends, Ekwensi can be viewed as a serious moralist whose novels offer instruction in virtue by displaying the tragic consequences of vice. But it always seems as if he is more interested in the vice than in the virtue and that he aims to titillate as well as teach.” While this view may be contested, it is undeniable that he always strove hard to reach his audience in the most immediate and intimate style. Indeed, it was to maintain this that he clung to those themes that afforded him the mass readership he so much craved

In a 1972 interview by Lewis Nkosi, Ekwensi defined his role as writer thus: “I think I am a writer who regards himself as a writer for the masses. I don’t think of myself as a literary stylist: if my style comes, that is just incidental, but I am more interested in getting at the heart of the truth which the man in the street can recognize than in just spinning words.”

Ernest Emenyonu, a Nigerian critic noted for his sympathy towards Ekwensi, charges that Ekwensi “has never been correctly assessed as a writer.”

Another sympathetic critic,the long-standing American convert to the study of African Literature, Charles Larson, describes him as one of the most prolific African writers of the twentieth century. According to Larson, Ekwensi “is probably the most widely-read novelist in Nigeria–perhaps even in West Africa–by readers whose literary tastes have not been exposed to the more complex writings of Chinua Achebe and other more skilled African novelists.”

Kole Omotoso past President of Nigerian Association of Authors and Drama professor at University of Ibadan confessed a lifelong fascination with him after reading his novelette The Yaba Round about Murder as a child, for, as he confesses, it taught him the importance of space in writing fiction. Omotoso goes on to state that Ekwensi’s major importance in Nigerian writing is because he believed in himself and ‘made us believe in ourselves.’ The pan-Africanist slant of his writings and his publications being mostly in Nigeria were found commendable. When many other African writers were in self-exile, he chose to remain in his native country, rather than live abroad where publishing opportunities are more abundant.

While some scholars discounted Ekwensi’s novels, others valued their social realism. Charles R. Larson put his work in historical perspective: “Local color is their forte, whether it be Ekwensi’s city of chaos, Lagos, or Onitsha … ; the Nigerian reader is placed for the first time in a perspective which has been previously unexplored in African fiction.”

Placing Ekwensi’s work firmly in the popular idiom, Douglas Killam explained their importance: “Popular fiction is always significant as indicating current popular interests and morality. Ekwensi’s work is redeemed (although not saved as art) by his serious concern with the moral issues which inform contemporary Nigerian life. As such they will always be relevant to Nigerian literary history and to Nigerian tradition.”

Ekwensi told stories that, like well-cooked onugbu (bitter leaf) soup, left a pleasant after-meal tang on the palate. Through his works Ekwensi told us that a work of fiction does not deserve that honourable name if it does not at first sight-…-arrest the reader like a cop’s handcuffs….. I read many of Ekwensi’s books, and save for ‘The Drummer Boy’, which was a recommended text when I was in junior secondary school in Plateau State, the others were read because they are what a book-hungry soul needs for sustenance. Who can, having been initiated into the cult of Ekwensi, forget the revenge-driven Mallam Iliya, the sokugo-stricken Mai Sunsaye, the skirt-besotted Amusa Sango, the raunchy belle, Jagua Nana (they don’t create women like that any more, whether in fiction, on the telly, and probably in real life); and the heart-rending Ngozi and heroic Pedro? They are my friends for life.

Ekwensi did much more than create ‘airport thrillers’. He told great stories that live on in the hearts of all who encountered them. ( Henry Chukwuemeka Onyeama a Lagos-based writer and teacher)

An Ibo, like Chinua Achebe, Ekwensi was born in 1921 in Minna, Niger State, in Northern Nigeria, but attended secondary school in a predominantly Yoruba area, Ibadan. He is very familiar with the many major ethnic groups in his country, and thus possesses a knowledge often well exploited in his novels. He went on subsequently to Yaba Higher College in Ibadan and then moved over to Achimota College in Ghana where he studied forestry. For two years he worked as a forestry officer and then taught science for a brief period. He then entered the Lagos School of Pharmacy. He later continued at the University of London (Chelsea School of Pharmacy) during which period he wrote his earliest fiction, his first book-length publication Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tale (1947) , published in London. His writings earned him a place in the National Media where he rose to Head of features in the Nigerian Broadcasting Services and ultimately becoming its Director.

Several events in Ekwensi’s childhood contributed later to his writings. Although ethnically an Igbo, he was raised among Hausa playmates and schoolmates and so spoke both tribal languages. He also learned of his heritage through the many Igbo stories and legends that his father told him, which he would later publish in the collection Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales. In 1936 Ekwensi enrolled in the southern Nigerian secondary school known as Government College, Ibadan, where he learned about Yoruba culture as well as excelling in English, math, science, and sports. He read everything he could lay his hands on in the school library, concentrating on H. Rider Haggard, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, and Alexandre Dumas. He also wrote articles and stories for numerous school publications, particularly The Viking magazine.

During the later part of his stint as a forest officer Ekwensi started yearning for the city. So beginning in 1947 he taught English, biology, and chemistry at Igbobi College near Lagos. To his classes he read aloud manuscripts of books for children, Drummer Boy, Passport of Mallam Ilia, and Trouble in From Six, and short stories. Finally, after decades of supplementing his writing career by working in broadcasting and doing other public relations work, Ekwensi gave up his day jobs in 1984 to pursue writing full time. He returned to writing adult novels, picking and choosing from his personal “archive” of earlier written manuscripts much of which he revised into the novels Jagua Nana’s Daughter, Motherless Baby, For a Roll of Parchment, and Divided We Stand, which were published in the 1980s. For example, in For a Roll of Parchment he recounted his trip from Nigeria to England, as he had in People of the City. He did, however, update his material to portray post-World War II Nigeria, with its faster paced life.

Sex, violence, intrigue, and mystery in a recognizable contemporary setting most often in the fast-paced melting pot of the city were common diet in Ekwensi’s works especially in Jagua Nana, in which a very worldly and highly attractive forty-five year old Nigerian woman with multiple suitors falls in love with a young teacher, Freddie. She agrees to send him to study law in England on the understanding of their getting married on his return. Around this beautiful and impressive prostitute, Ekwensi sets in motion a whole panoply of vibrant, amoral characters who have drifted from their rural origins to grab the dazzling pleasures of the city.

And the novel itself shows us the seedy underbelly of the big city, Lagos, where Jagua’s favourite haunt, the Tropicana bar, sets the scene for much of the story.

Sometime, back in the 1950s the Onitsha Market ‘literary’ mafia, strarted producing and marketing openly, a semi-nude picture of a buxom Igbo teenage beauty, with the sassy caption, “Beateam mee lee” – I dare you to beat me!

Those were the prudish days of high moral values in Igboland and indeed Nigeria , of Elizabethan fashion with cane-wielding primary school teachers and headmasters. The offending picture sent shockwaves right down the spines of the public who, nonetheless, rushed to buy copies. Men who turned up their noses at the pictures in public, secretly bought, viewed and relished copies. And..school boys did odd jobs for parents, and the money they earned were saved up to the one shilling cost of the picture, which they used to purchase it and then usually tucked it away, in-between books, away from the prying eyes of parents or the class teacher, from where curious peeks of the treasure could be sneeked occasionally, at its owner’s risk, even in the middle of a lesson. Noted for churning out almanacs, with pictures of the famous, unfolding events, folk art, as well as such literature as those of Ogali A. Ogali, author of the legendary “Veronica My Daughter”, the mafia knew where to draw the line. Sex, however, sold any day and age and the mafia knew this. But nobody wanted to be identified with anything even remotely pornographic. “Beateam mee lee” was therefore, at the time, the mother of all daring.

It was against this backdrop that Ekwensi took the Nigerian literary scene by storm with the publication of the raunchy Jagua Nana. Ekwensi’s most widely read novel, Jagua Nana, published in 1961 returned us to the locale of People of the City but with a much more cohesive plot centered on Jagua, a courtesan who had a love for the expensive as reflected in her name itself, which was a corruption of the expensive English automobile, Jaguar. Her life personalizes the conflict between the old traditional and modern urban Africa. Although Ekwensi had earlier shown the direction of his works with the publication, in 1954, of People of the City, it was Jagua (the lead character in this novel) that built the Ekwensi legend and assumed a life all its own, becoming a folk hero of sorts. Jagua dared the reading public. Ekwensi the artist, also had the magic of picking out names of his characters that were instant hits. They stuck like glue in the reader’s memory and helped animate the fictional personality. Bold, defiant, imaginative and rendered with uncommon technical finesse, Jaguar Nana totally established Ekwensi as the ultimate chronicler of Nigerian city life.

Published in 1961, the novel Jagua Nana, tells the story of an aging prostitute named Jagua who tries to provide for herself security in her later life through her relationship with a younger man. Yet while this young man is studying law in England, Jagua involves herself in various activities, some dubious, some not. Jagua Nana, witnessed some improvement in plot quality and control, unlike what obtained in People Of The City, chronicling the adventures of an ageing prostitute in Lagos, in love with her work and the expensive lifestyles, but who ends up in grief and disappointment.

Ekwensi’s attempt to dust her up later and usher her into some form of happiness and fulfillment introduces the quest motif in his work, which manifests itself fully in the sequel, Jagua Nana’s Daughter (1987), where Jagua, after a long search, was able to reconnect with her educated, socially elevated daughter, who had also had her own fair share of loose life. Both daughter and mother were at the same time engrossed in a quest for mutual fulfillment and healing until they met fortuitously. In the end, after she suffers sufficiently, Ekwensi allows her to have happiness.

As was to be in several of his other novels, Ekwensi’s moralizing is evident and reform is possible for some characters. For example, in the later novel Iska Ekwensi portrayed a young Ibo widow, Filia, who moves to Lagos after her husband’s death. There she tries to lead a respectable life. While she tries to get an education and responsible employment, she encounters numerous obstacles, which allow Ekwensi to show readers a wide range of urbanites. Yet this novel, published by a European press, could not compete for popularity with its predecessor, Jagua Nana, which caused controversy for its frank portrayal of sexuality. When an Italian movie company wanted to film Jagua Nana, the Nigerian government prevented this effort fearing negative media portrayals of the country.

Talking about what inspired him to write the work in an interview, Ekwensi said: I was a pharmacy student at the Yaba Higher College those days and I lived in the same compound with a young man who was very romantic. He would never miss his night club for anything. We had a night club then, called Rex Club, run by the late Rewane – the two Rewanes are dead now, by the way and one of them was at Government College, Ibadan while the other one was a politician.

Now, many years later, I was called upon to do a programme for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about night life and I found out that I had so much material about this subject that I could really build it into a whole book. That was the inspiration.

Yet another of his novels is Burning Grass (1961) a collection of vignettes giving insight into the life of a pastoral Fulani cattlemen family of Northern Nigeria..The novel and the characters are based actually on a real family with whom Ekwensi himself had previously lived. For after studying forestry at the Yaba Higher College in Lagos during World War II, Ekwensi began a two-year stint as a forestry officer which familiarized him with the forest reserves,from which he was enabled to write such adventure stories in rural settings as Burning Grass..

“In the days in the forest, I was able to reminisce and write. That was when I really began to write for publishing,” he told Nkosi. The several months spent with the nomadic Fulani people, later became the subjects of Burning Grass.where he follows the adventures of Mai Sunsaye, who has Sokugo, a wanderlust, and of his family, who try to rescue him. While seeing his protagonists through varied adventures, Ekwensi portrays the lives of the Fulani cattlemen. This early work, considered one of his more “serious” novels, was published by Heinemann educational publishers and reissued in 1998

Two novellas for children followed in 1960; both The Drummer Boy and The Passport of Mallam Ilia which were exercises in blending traditional themes with undisguised romanticism.

Between 1961 and 1966 Ekwensi published at least one major work every year. The most important of these were the novels, Beautiful Feathers (1963) and Iska (1966), and two collections of short stories, Rainmaker (1965) and Lokotown (1966).

Beautiful Feathers (1963) reflects the nationalist and pan-Africanist consciousness of the pre-independence days of the 1950s and how the young hero’s youthful commitment to his ideal leads to the disintegration of his family, thus underscoring the proverb alluded to in the title: “however famous a man is outside, if he is not respected inside his own home he is like a bird with beautiful feathers, wonderful on the outside but ordinary within.”

From 1967 to 1969, during the Nigerian civil war, when the eastern part of Nigeria attempted to secede, Ekwensi served as a government information officer the experiences from which he used to write the 1976 picaresque novel Survive the Peace. which realistically portrayed the activities of a radio journalist in the wake of the civil war in Biafra.who in his effort to reunite his family, encounters the violence, destruction, refugees, and relief operations that such chaos engenders. Through flashbacks, Ekwensi also depicts the war itself giving a post-mortem on the just-concluded , interrogates the problems of surviving in the so-called peace. It looks for instance at the pathetic fate of James Odugo, the radio journalist who survives the war only to be cut down on the road by marauding former soldiers.

In such early works as the collections Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales, and An African Night’s Entertainment, the novel Burning Grass, and the juvenile works The Leopard’s Claw and Juju Rock, Ekwensi told stories in a rural setting.

Ekwensi continued to publish beyond the 1960s, and among his later works are the novel Divided We Stand (1980) in which he lampooned the Nigerian civil war, the novella Motherless Baby (1980), and The Restless City and Christmas Gold (1975), Behind the Convent Wall (1987), and Gone to Mecca (1991).

Ekwensi also published a number of works for children.such as Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales (1947) and The Leopard’s Claw (1950). In the 1960s, he wrote An African Night’s Entertainment (1962), The Great Elephant-Bird (1965), and Trouble in Form Six (1966). Over time, Ekwensi produced other books, mostly for children, which though they may not have been internationally acclaimed, were nonetheless well known and read all over Nigeria and Africa. They included Rainmaker (1965), Iska (1966), Coal Camp Boy (1971) Samankwe in the strange Forest (1973), Motherless Baby (1980), The Restless City and Christmas Gold (1975), Samankwe and the Highway Robbers (1975), Behind the Convent Wall (1987), Gone to Mecca (1991), Masquerade Time! (1992), and King Forever! (1992). In 2006, he completed work on two other books; “Tortoise and the Brown Monkey”, a short story and “Another Freedom”.

Gratifyingly Ekwensi is still writing, He has published several titles as When Love Whispers, Divided We Stand, Jagua Nana’s Daughter and King for Ever! all related to earlier works.

When Love Whispers like Jagua Nana revolves around a very attractive woman with multiple suitors. But whilst she thinks she has won the love of her life her father expects her to get married to an older man in an arranged marriage.

Divided We Stand (1980) was written in the heat of the Biafra war itself, though published later. It reverses the received wisdom that unity is strength, showing how ethnicity, division, and hatred bring about distrust, displacement, and war itself.

Jagua Nana’s Daughter (1986) revolves around Jagua’s daughter’s traumatic search for her mother leading her to find not only her mother but a partner as well. She is able to get married to a highly placed professional as she, unlike her mother, is a professional as well. She thus gains the security and protection she desires.

King for Ever! (1992) satirises the desire of African leaders to perpetuate themselves in power. Sinanda’s rising to power from humble background does not prevent his vaulting ambition from soaring to the height where he was now aspiring to godhead

In the decades since Ekwensi began writing, the Nigerian readership has changed. Unlike the days of the Onitsha Market fiction, when books were printed inexpensively and sold cheaply to suit popular tastes at the turn of the millennium few publishing companies controlled the choice of books published; book prices made books often go beyond the reach of the masses, restricted mostly to schools and libraries, which cater to nonfiction and instructional materials. With various forms of media increasing in popularity, the incentive to read has fallen. With fewer people reading for pleasure, novels are in little demand. Because of these circumstances, creative writers suffer. Of this downside, Ekwensi told Larson, “Journalists thrive here, but creative writers get diverted and the creativity gets washed out of them if they must take the bread and butter home.”

At a public lecture in 2000, quoted by Kole Ade-Odutola in Africa News, the elderly but still vivacious Ekwensi expressed his desire to “build and nurture young minds in the customs and traditions of their communities” through his writings. He explained, “African writers of the twentieth century inherited the oral literature of our ancestors, and building on that, placed at the centre-stage of their fiction, the values by which we as Africans had lived for centuries. It is those values that make us the Africans that we are–distinguishing between good and evil, justice and injustice, oppression and freedom.” In tune with the times, he had started self-publishing his writings on the Internet. Despite the vagaries of the African publishing world, at age 80 Ekwensi was still pursuing his goal because as he wrote in his essay for The Essential Ekwensi 15 years earlier, “The satisfaction I have gained from writing can never be quantified.”

References

Beier, Ulli ed., Introduction to African Literature (1967);

Breitinger, Eckhard, “Literature for Younger Readers and Education in Multicultural Contexts,” in Language and Literature in Multicultural Contexts, edited by Satendra Nandan, Uinveristy of South Pacific, 1983.

· , Volume 117: Caribbean and Black African Writers, Gale, 1992. Dictionary of Literary Biography

Dathorne, O. R. The Black Mind A History of African Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974.

Emenyonu, Ernest, Cyprian Ekwensi. Evans Brothers, 1974.

Emenyonu, Ernest, editor. The Essential Ekwensi. Heinemann Educational Books, 1987.

Larson, Charles R., The Emergence of African Fiction. Indiana University Press, 1971

Larson, Charles R. The Ordeal of the African Writer. London: Zed Books, 2001.

Lindfors, Bernth, ‘Nigerian Satirist’ in ALT5

Laurence, . Margaret Long Drums and Cannons: Nigerian Dramatists and Novelists, 1952-1966 (1968).

Mphahlele, Ezekiel

Palmer Eustace. The Growth of the African Novel. Studies in African literature. London: Heinemann, 1979.

What Are Homophones and Why Are They Important?

Do you remember your English teacher in grade school or high school painstakingly teaching you about homophones? Do you remember what homophones are and when to use them? When it comes to written communications that contain important and meticulous instructions, misusing a word can not only cause confusion, but could produce some incorrect or unsafe consequences.

So just what is a homophone? According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, a homophone is one of two or more words such as “night” and “knight,” that are pronounced the same, but differ in meaning, origin and sometimes spelling. Should we make a big deal about how these words are used or spelled? Absolutely!

It became evident to me that the misuse of homophones is a growing issue, even in the realm of technical writing among college graduate courses. After the first few errors that I found where homophones were misused in some lecture presentations for a few of my graduate classes, I began to realize that it just wasn’t a typographical error, but a literary faux pas. In high school, I remember my English teachers instructing us on how to use homophones in relation to a word’s specific definition, in order to avoid misinterpretations and confusion in communications. In writing, you will clearly have some type of error from time to time, but this is when proofreading a document, manuscript or policy manual is of utmost importance, especially when time-sensitive material has to be interpreted with accuracy.

Here are a few commonly misused homophones that are still surprisingly found in some professional and informal written communications:

1. Wear, ware, where

2. Whether, weather

3. Soar, sore

4. There, their

5. Pour, poor, pore

6. To, too, two

7. Sweet, suite

8. Plough, plow

9. Pair, pear

10. Write, right

11. Scent, sent, cent

12. Time, Thyme

Test yourself to see if you understand how to use the above words in its proper context and intended sentence structure. How can you improve your ability to properly use homophones?

1. Utilize your dictionary and/or thesaurus frequently.

2. When typing on the Word processor of your computer, use your “spell check” feature to check the spelling and grammar of many words and phrases that are color detected by a red, blue or green underline. Sometimes the spell check feature may not catch every misspelled word the way you may use it, because it could be the correct spelling of a word you are not familiar with. Also, the spell check feature may try to correct some of your formal or informal names and words that you do not want corrected. Be mindful of the capabilities when using this feature to check for spelling and grammatical errors.

3. Do not hesitate to seek guidance on correct word usage from an English teacher or professor of literature. There may be some professional writers who could also help you with homophone variations.

In our society where clear and detailed-oriented communications is imperative to the various facets of our lives, improper use of homophones could be a liability in your decision making process.

My Little Red Diary Part 4: Today I Got My Report Card

A multitude of emotions and thoughts go into making up excuses to explain your report card before you get home. Your heart literally sinks to the pit of your stomach, as your eyes zoom in on that bright red, fire-breathing failing grade. You felt like you just received a death sentence, because you knew your parents were going to kill you once they saw it. On the flipside, you breathed a sigh of relief when you barely passed a class with a “C” instead of that bright red D, E or F.

As a writer what on earth could you find interesting enough to capture your reader’s attention when writing about your report card? Let’s examine some of the emotions you probably felt and incorporate them into assorted storyboards:

1. What were my grades?

2. What type of anxiety did I feel before I looked at my report card?

3. What kind of comments did my teachers write on my report card?

4. How will my parents or guardians react?

5. Who is my favorite teacher and why?

6. Did my least favorite teacher give me an unfavorable grade?

7. Will I be grounded or still be able to hang out with my friends?

8. Will I need a tutor?

9. How will these grades affect my decision to get into college?

10. Does a bad grade impact someone’s decision to drop out of school?

Whatever the results are on your report card, how does that affect your study habits? Are you willing to seek help before your grade point average drops horribly? Are you dealing with an adult situation that’s interfering with your dedication to study? Do your parents need to be more proactive with your school work and teachers?

Teachers were students once upon a time and many of them will understand if you are honestly trying hard to pass your classes, despite daily distractions. Sometimes unexpected and strange occurrences are embedded in your memory bank, while you’re in class. Incredibly, social and personal issues can affect a student’s ability to concentrate.

So who would possibly be interested in a story about high school report cards? Think about creating submissions, based on the above questions that would fit some of these markets:

o Teen Magazines

o Parent Magazines

o Educational Magazines or Newsletters

o Blogs

o Family digests and magazines

o Online ezines

o Health Magazines

o Poetry markets

o Short story markets

In the midst of many safety concerns at schools today, what type of impact would this have on a student’s grade or their ability to remain focused? After school, are there too many virtual babysitters teaching our children a pattern of behavior, not conducive to succeeding in school or beyond? How will bad grades, if left unattended, affect our schools, jobs, churches, commerce, economy, daily security and future? Simple exploratory questions will spark your mind into composing unlimited storylines. Can you believe how that simple entry in my diary, on the day I received my report card, could create some amazing possibilities? Now, you try it and see what you can write about on this subject.

How to Begin Writing an Essay – The Power of 3 For an Easy Takeoff

So, you’ve finally sat down to write your essay that is probably due very soon. You’re staring at the blank screen thinking to yourself: “Why do I have to do this?!” You’re probably having a bunch of other thoughts that you’re welcome to share with me and my readers. Let’s face it: you have the Acquired White Page Fear Syndrome.

I hear you because I’ve been there. I’ve found out for myself that the hardest part of writing an essay is writing that first sentence. So, what is the cure?

The Power of Three:

Write your essay in 3 steps

  1. Write your Thesis Statement
  2. Write your Body
  3. Do the Power Proofread

To Write your Thesis Statement:

  1. Choose your Subject
  2. Choose the Verb
  3. Come up with Three Supporting Points (Yes, the Power of Three again)

1. Your subject is essentially what your essay is about.

Here’s an example of a Thesis Statement:

Video gaming benefits the players’ health.

What is the Subject of this sentence? In other words, what is this sentence about? It’s about Video Gaming. Note that it’s not just about video games or the players. It’s about the act of playing video games specifically.

2. The Verb simply describes What the Subject Is or Does.

In this example, the Subject is Video Gaming. So, what does it do, according to the thesis statement? It benefits the players’ health. So, the verb is ‘benefits.’

Now that you have the Subject and the Verb (and, in this case, the Object as well, which is ‘the players’ health), your Thesis is done. But a Thesis is only the main part of the Thesis Statement. In order to complete the Thesis Statement, you need to do Step 3:

3. Come up with Three Supporting Points (Yes, the Power of Three again).

So, instead of being stuck thinking of what to write next, here is a great way to make your essay creativity explode:

Come up with 3 Supporting Points to support your Thesis. What can they be? The easiest thing to do is to just think of your thesis as an answer to a question. So, if the aforementioned thesis is the answer, then what would be the question?

How does video gaming benefit the players’ health?

Or,

In which ways does video gaming benefit the players’ health?

And since you are using the Power of Three, here’s your answer:

Video gaming benefits the players’ health in three ways.

Okay. Do you see where this is going? Now you have a nice little structure forming. And all you have to do is to come up with three ways that video gaming can benefit the players’ health. Here are just some of the ideas:

Video Gaming can benefit health in the following ways:

  • It improves hand-eye coordination
  • It provides a relief from stress
  • It burns calories

Wow! I can’t believe I just came up with three health benefits of video gaming! And I did it without doing any research. And it took me about a minute. Now, if you’re writing a research paper, then you better go on the Internet and do a simple search to validate these claims. However, if you’re just writing for a writing class, such as English 101, then chances are that your professor or instructor doesn’t care if you’ve done your research and only cares about the quality of your essay.

And now – your complete thesis statement:

Video gaming benefits the players’ health in three ways. First, it improves hand-eye coordination. Second, it provides a relief from stress. And finally, it burns calories.

And that’s your first paragraph. Now, depending on how many pages your essay needs to be, just focus on a section at a time and provide some evidence. I’ll show you how to do just that in another article.

So, do you see how the Power of Three can help you write your first few sentences? Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or comments.

Philip Saparov