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An Australian language teacher believes that anyone can learn another language.
Andrew Weiler, a teacher of English as Second Language (ESL), Indonesian and Hungarian, is so confident that he has written a book – Language Learning Unlocked, to help people learn a foreign language.
“I have been intrigued over the course of my professional life (as to) why it is that once we go to school our language learning abilities plummet.”
Andrew argues that we developed the necessary capacities to learn languages when we acquired our first language. However they have been neutralised by ineffective practices taught to us in school, creating the problems we have now.
The reasons we have such poor success rates and why we have put up with it for so long is explored in this book.
As well as unmasking the causes of the poor success rates, the book also provides many practical ideas and exercises that language learners can use to help address the factors at work.
Andrew maintains that once people are given the understandings and the keys, anyone can learn languages to the level they desire as long as they do what it takes. This involves letting go of various practices and beliefs and learning to approach learning as a game, where we need to be at the helm.
Language learning is looked at in ways that many language learners may not be accustomed to but the ideas stem from the understanding that we already have learned a language so the exercises and approach have a common sense about them that learners will be able to readily grasp.
The book is suitable for language learners who are setting out or who are well on their way.
(Samantha Phillips is a keen book-reader and a regular visitor to local libraries.)
As the internet has changed the way religion is interpreted in recent times, another technology had a similar impact on religion in the 19th century – printing press. The press made religious literature easily accessible, and opened gateways to religious knowledge which untill then was the reserve of the learned.
These are some of the issues that the second New Zealand India Research Institute seminar by Dr Rick Weiss (pictured below) will try to explore. This seminar will be on the 19 April at 5pm in Room 101, 16 Kelburn Parade, Wellington, New Zealand.
Dr Rick Weiss is a senior lecturer at the School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.
Dr Weiss will review the impact of the publication of Tiruvarutpa, a book of verses by the Hindu mystic Ramalinga Adigal in 1867. The book consolidated his place among Hindu saints, and the work served as a centre for his growing community.
At the time of publication, Ramalinga’s poems and teachings were enjoying increasing fame in Chennai and throughout the eastern regions of the Kaveri Delta.
His students had worked for years to publish his poems on a grand scale, says Dr Weiss. “They framed the work as an authoritative Hindu Saiva text. Their success in doing so was confirmed by the vitriolic attack on the work by Arumuga Navalar, a staunch advocate of Saiva ritual.”
In this seminar, Dr Weiss argues that print provided a new avenue for religious leaders and their followers to make claims for textual authority.
“As a technology new to religious communications in South Asia, print provided novel possibilities for such claims, especially for people like Ramalinga, who was without the backing of established institutions.”
Dr Weiss discusses this impact with The Global Indian magazine.
What was the exact impact of the printing technology on the religious beliefs in Colonial India?
Dr Rick Weiss: The impact of print on Hinduism was significant. Print allowed for very cheap publications, of wide distribution, so it really increased the availability of religious works.
So, many people had greater access to religious writings. Of course, literacy was still low, but people would often share these published works through oral, public readings.
For example, Arumuga Navalar, when he published a version of Periya Puranam in simple, prose Tamil, wrote that literate people should read the work to those who couldn’t read. In Ramalinga’s case, publishing Tiruvarutpa allowed both for the wider circulation of his poems, but it was also printed in the very same way that the canonical works of the Tirumurai, such as Periya Puranam and Tevaram, were being published at the time.
In my seminar, I argue that Ramalinga and his followers, who were alienate from the major Shaiva institutional centres, were claiming an authority for his work that was equal to the Tevaram, all through the printing of Tiruvarutpa.
What was the counter-view (probably by Arumuga Navalar) that was challenged by the works of Ramalinga?
Dr Rick Weiss: Ramalinga’s work challenged the orthodox Tamil Shaiva views held by those in the mathas, such as Arumuga Navalar. These views were highly caste-based and conservative.
Ramalinga’s views were radical for his time, because he claimed a direct connection to Shiva, even though he was not the head of any major institution. He was also critical of caste, and he had more flexible views about Shaiva authority, texts, etc.
What role did the British play, if at all?
Dr Rick Weiss: This is a very interesting question. Even though print technology spread in part through British/European influence, the British didn’t really play any role in these events.
Tamils bought printing presses and published their own works, independently of the British. The British at the time (1860s) were fairly open in their laws about Indian publishing, and they almost never cracked down on/censored Indian writings.
So, the British had perhaps a very indirect influence on these events, but for the most part, they played no role. This was purely the initiative and work of Ramalinga and his followers.
The merger of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA (owner of Random House) and Pearson PLC (owner of Penguin) to form Penguin Random House has been cleared by New Zealand’s Commerce Commission.
The jointly owned entity will take over the consumer book publishing businesses of the two companies. Consumer books exclude text books and technical books.
In assessing the clearance application, the Commission looked at the potential impact of the merger in the markets for book publishing rights, printed book distribution services provided to third party publishers and the wholesale of books.
Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry said, “In reaching our decision, the Commission considered that, in each of the relevant markets, the merged entity would be constrained from raising prices by a combination of existing competitors and the countervailing power of large customers.”
“As a result, the Commission is satisfied that the proposed acquisition would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any of the relevant markets.”
Bertelsmann and Pearson applied for clearance in December 2012 to form a new jointly-owned company to be called Penguin Random House. Penguin and Random House both publish, import and distribute books in New Zealand.
When considering a proposed merger, the Commission must decide whether the competition that is lost in a market when two businesses merge is substantial. “We will give clearance to a proposed merger only if we are satisfied that the merger is unlikely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market,” says the Commission.
The US Justice Department cleared the merger in February 2013, thus clearing the way to create the biggest book publisher in the world.
The US watchdog’s clearance still leaves other regulatory hurdles, including an approval by the European Commission.
The $3 billion new entity will reportedly cover 25% of the English-language consumer books market and pose competition to Amazon – an online distributor of books with as much as $100 billion in turnover.
“Still, Penguin Random will control such a huge chunk of the market!” says Dennis Johnson, the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. “How much harder is it going to be for a company like Melville House to get its novels into a store where one company controls half the fiction section? And what if a bookstore is a little short of cash one month? It’s gong to have to pay its biggest, most important account first. Penguin Random is going to control their floor space and their budget. It’s a safe bet it will get the lion’s share of media coverage, too.”
In his latest book – March of the Aryans – published by Penguin Books India, Bhagwan S. Gidwani takes us, again, back to the dawn of civilization (8000 BCE) to recreate the fascinating story of the Birth and Beginnings of Hinduism (Sanatan Dharma), with a thrilling account of how, in 5000 BCE, the Aryans originated from India, (and from nowhere else) – and why they moved out of their home-land; their courage, rashness, heroic thrusts, battles, bloodshed, failures and triumphs in the far distant regions of Asia and Europe and finally, their triumphant return to their homeland and heritage of India.
Bhagwan S. Gidwani, based now in Montreal, was India’s Additional General of Tourism and Director General of Civil Aviation till 1978. He served as India’s Counsel at the International Court of Justice at the Hague and as Representative of India at the Council of ICAO (United Nations) from 1978 to 1981.
Gidwani is the author of the novel The Sword of Tipu Sultan, which was translated in many languages and made into a major TV Serial for which Gidwani also wrote the script and screenplay. His previous novel Return of the Aryans was also highly successful. March of the Aryans is adapted from that novel.
Vast and absorbing, with a cast of thousands, March of the Aryans is gripping tale of kings and poets, seers and hermits, battles and romance and the rise and fall of civilizations. Here are characters like the gentle god Sindhu Putra, spreading his message of love, the hermit Bharat who inspired the dream of unity, equality, human rights and dignity for all; physician sage Dhanawantar and his wife Dhanawantari, peace-loving Kashi after whom the holy city of Varanasi was named; and Nila who gave his name to the river Nile in Egypt.
March of the Aryans shows that Aryans were born, grew up, and died as citizens of Bharat Varsha (India), anchored in the timeless foundation of Hindu faith. The author demolishes the theory of North/South Divide, and shows how the people of Ganga, Madhya, Sindhu, Bangla and other regions were together with the Dravidian regions, in a spirit of equality and mutual respect, as a part of Bharat Varsha (India).
In unfolding the dramatic story of Indian civilization, Gidwani presents glimpses of art, culture, music, abstract thought, philosophical leanings, and spiritual values of pre-history India. The work reveals dramatic stories behind the origins of Om, Namaste, Swastika, Gayatri Mantra, and Soma Wines. It tells how Tamil and Sanskrit developed, and how they influenced world-languages; also it has tales of discovery and disappearance of Saraswati River; the battles and blood-shed that led to fall and rise of many ancient cities.
Besides, Gidwani sheds light on pre-history establishment of Hindu Parliament; legal establishment of Hindu Parliament; legal & constitutional systems; development of ships & harbours; gold-mining; chariots; Yoga; mathematics; astronomy; medicine; surgery; music, dance, drama, art & architecture; and material advancement of the pre-ancient India.
The book speaks of ideals that took shape in those early times, to become the foundation of Sanatana Dharma – and among those ideals were: recognition of spiritual nature of man wherever he is from; acceptance of every culture as an expression of eternal values; and man’s obligation to respect and protect environment, and all creatures, tame and wild.
March of the Aryans
By: Bhagwan S. Gidwani
Publisher: Penguin Books, India; July 15, 2012
No of Pages: 680
Investing the energy that humans use for sex into different areas of life will make individuals lead a richer life, says Dovber Halevi, the author of a new book on the Middle East.
In “Sex, Religion, and the Middle East: Exploiting Our Obsession”, Dovber talks about sex and religion in a way that doesn’t condemn or judge readers. Rather, the author aims to help readers channel their sexual energy into a better place.
Dovber Halevi is a columnist for The Middle East magazine and writes for Bresley World. Halevi lives in Israel with his family.
Dovber led a typical bachelor’s life, until he met his wife and decided to use his sexual energy for a good purpose rather than stray from his marriage.
His findings convinced him to enlighten others on how to use the energy otherwise employed for achieving physical pleasure into something more vital, as documented in “Sex, Religion, and the Middle East.”
Throughout the book, the author sprinkles encouragement and information on how to channel rather than suppress sexual energy effectively.
The Middle East is a sensitive region where both religion and sex evoke strong emotions. The book seems to capitalise on those emotions while still claiming to provide a self-help guidance for achieving higher goals in life.
Dovber says “Sex, Religion, and the Middle East” takes a different approach to educating readers on the various issues surrounding the Middle East, primarily the taboo topics of sex and religion.
“It is inspirational and practical and makes the connection between developments in the Middle East, our own personal happiness and the changing attitudes towards sex over the past century,” says Dovber.
“The book approaches these issues in a way that ties everything together.”
Dovber believes readers will enjoy the information provided in his book and will walk away feeling stronger than ever, having consumed his words.
Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: Malik Daoud Publishing (June 7, 2012)
What’s common between Shah Rukh Khan and Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee? Dr Mukherjee acted in a school play where one of his co-actors was the King of Bollywood.
But Dr Mukherjee has better introduction.
He has joined the exclusive club to which only three other Indians belong since 1937. A club of Indian-origin authors to have won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.
There’s something more common in the club. The first winner, Gobind Behari Lal, was a science editor emeritus for the Hearst newspapers. Mukherjee is also a science writer. Lal died of cancer in 1992. Mukherjee’s award winning book is about cancer.The title of Mukherjee’s award-winning work, “The Emperor of All Maladies” is similar-sounding to another Pulitzer-winning work, “Interpreter of Maladies”, by yet another Indian-origin author, Jhumpa Lahiri.
But these are superficial similarities.
Mukherjee’s work is not just a contribution to literature, but has a promise to improve the awareness of a serious disease that still remains daunting. The oncologist has spent a decade writing this book. The 41-year old author grew up in New Delhi’s Safdarjung Enclave and went to St Columbus School. His craving for academic achievements took him to Stanford where he majored in biology. However, his academic aspirations got a jump-start when he won Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford where he received a PhD in immunology. He went on to attend Harvard Medical School, and completed oncology fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
During his two years of fellowship, he came across many cancer patients. “In the parking lot of the hospital… I spent the end of every evening after rounds in stunned incoherence, …as I compulsively tried to reconstruct the events of the day. The stories of my patients consumed me, and the decisions that I made haunted me,” writes Dr Mukherjee.
He felt a strong urge to understand the history of the disease: “How old is cancer? What are the roots of our battle against cancer? Where are we in our ‘war’ on cancer?”
“This book grew out of the attempt to answer those questions,” the neurosurgeon writes.
The book is a science non-fiction. It explains the most dreaded disease in non-medical terms. It is written with medical as well as non-medical readers in mind.
It explains cancer in plain terms. “Cancer is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of a single cell. This growth is unleashed by mutations – changes in DNA. The secret to battling cancer is to finds means to prevent these mutations.”
However, “cancer is built into our genomes; the genes that unmoor normal cell division are not foreign to our bodies, but rather mutated, distorted versions of the very genes that perform vital cellular functions.”
This is where the paradox of medical advances lie. “As we extend our life span as a species, we inevitably unleash malignant growth. If we seek immortality, then, so too, in a rather perverse sense, does the cancer cell.”
Rohinton Mistry is no stranger to success. He is the only author whose all books have been nominated for this year’s Man Booker International Prize worth close to $100,000.
The 59-year old Canadian Indian author was raised in India’s Mumbai where he graduated from one of India’s oldest universities, the Mumbai University, before moving to Canada in 1975.
Interestingly, his debut novel Such A Long Journey, was banned by his alma mater – Mumbai University, in 2010.
The prestigious university dropped the fiction, which on on the 1991 Booker shortlist, from its English literature syllabus after a student branch of Shiv Sena (a local Hindu fundamentalist political group) burned the copies of the novel for “obscene and vulgar language” and for allegedly derogatory remarks about the group’s leader Bal Thackeray. The novel had earlier won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Governor General’s Award.
His second novel, A Fine Balance, published in 1996, also won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Giller Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. It was also nominated for Oprah’s Book Club Best Novel in 2001.
A year later, his third fiction, Family Matters (2002) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It won the Canadian Authors’ Association Award for Fiction and the Timothy Findley Award (Writers’ Trust of Canada).
The other 12 authors from eight countries are: Juan Goytisolo (Spain), James Kelman (UK), Amin Maalouf (Lebanon), David Malouf (Australia), Dacia Maraini (Italy), Philip Pullman (UK), Marilynne Robinson (US), Philip Roth (US) and Anne Tyler(US).
Set up in 2005, the Man Booker International prize is awarded every two years to a living author, is worth £60,000, the winner is chosen based on a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel.
This makes the task of choosing a winner more difficult. “The task allocated to us has been to size up the giants and arrange them in order of merit,” the chair of the judging panel in the first year, John Carey, observed.
“It was hard to know where to start,” writes Rick Gekoski, one of the 2011 judges, in The Guardian. “Not entirely undaunted, we have read and read and read some more, animated by the awful thought that we could be missing someone of the highest stature.”
Gekoski describes Mistry’s ‘A Fine Balance’ a masterpiece and says: “Mistry has a great eye and a huge heart, and if the world he describes is often cruel and capricious, his characters have a remarkable capacity to survive.”
Mistry draws on his bi-cultural experience which is well-represented in his writings. “I had been fully formed by my own culture and my own family,” Mistry is quoted in Gekoski’s article in The Guardian. “At one time I thought this was the culture of the West but I now know it was something different. It was the Indian version of the West and it was mine.”
Writes Gekoski: “Perhaps this may partially account for his accessibility and appeal to a western audience, for his voice has the ring of the familiar about it.”
A Fine Balance is based on the backdrop of slums of Mumbai, which reminds one of the success of Slumdog Millionaire in the western world.
Indian writers have an opportunity to get published in the world famous Chicken Soup For the Soul series.
This is possible with a collaboration of the Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul series with Indian blogging website, BlogAdda.com.
The popular series, conceived and edited by Jack Canfield, has been publishing real stories for 15 years, and has sold millions of copies.
The series has published many inspiring themes and the latest one in the works is Chicken Soup for the Indian soul – Indian Doctors edited by Raksha Bharadia. At BlogAdda, bloggers have a chance to get their story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul which will benefit them by attracting a major audience to their writing.
This opportunity for Indian bloggers will help them establish themselves in terms of a writer, says Nirav Sanghavi, the founder of BlogAdda.
“This will be a stepping stone for the aspiring authors. Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul carries 101 non-fiction stories which means members of BlogAdda will be able to share the platform with some amazing writers.
“Our previous collaboration with Chicken Soup also received some great response from the bloggers. I think Chicken Soup, with Raksha Bharadia, is providing a great platform for the budding writers to get published.”
Writers can choose from a range of themes including: saving lives, remembering the hypocratic oath, bringing new lives into the world, bonding with the patients, great expectations, learning experiences, miracles do happen, and funny tales.
The chosen stories will be published with writers’ profile, and will earn writers Rs. 1000 and two copies of the book.
With India’s growing Internet penetration, the number of Indian bloggers is on the rise, with majority of Indian bloggers choosing to blog in English.
While most technical interviews are largely focused on assessing your knowledge and skills on a specific technology or subject matter, the preparation for such interviews can be time consuming. Indians keen to work abroad have to often face such technical interviews.
Getting yourself in the right frame for a technical job interview could be an uphill task, where you would need to scan voluminous books and material from numerous sources spread across different media.
Wouldn’t your efforts be reduced greatly if you get a book specifically devoted towards the technical interviews on the respective technology/subject matter?
A new book by Dreamtech Press, SAP PP Interview Questions (Dreamtech Press, ISBN: 978-81-7722-796-3) brings offers an economical and time-saving ensemble of probable questions being asked in the technical interviews, and their adequate answers and explanations.
Dreamtech Press is a technical-books publisher in India. The book is put together by a team at Kogent Learning Solutions Inc. and Dreamtech Press, with experience in bringing content in software development to the fore.
This book gives not only the overall picture of SAP but also a good in-depth knowledge on the SAP-Production Planning Module.
It also contains a detailed view of the potential questions as well as answers that you can expect in an interview related with SAP-PP.
It attempts to cover all the concepts related to Master data, MRP, demand management, SOP, and other important aspects of SAP PP.
This book is equipped with easy to understand language, practical examples, explanation of common issues and also with the answers to typical practical questions. It is a good resource for learners and technical functional as well as techno-functional professionals.
The book can be a good resource for Indians working abroad.
If you are looking for a colourful recipe book for cooking that hot Indian dinner for your friends, grab a copy of American Masala.
Suvir Saran has done wonders with his second book – American Masala. His first book, Indian Home Cooking, offered an easy Do-It-Yourself approach to one of the world’s tastiest cuisines – Indian food.
American Masala introduces readers to 125 Indian recipes with different flavours of Indian cooking, with unique combinations like Crab and Salmon Cakes with Spicy Cilantro Aïoli, Indian-Spiced Meatballs with Tomato-Chile Sauce, and Tamarind Roost Turkey with Corn Bread-Jalapeño Stuffing.
If you are looking for traditional Indian dishes, you will not be disappointed. There’s Sweet Potato Chaat and Lamb Seekh Kebabs, as well as sweets like Pistachio-and-Cardamom Pound-Cake with Lemon Icing and Pavlova with Spiced Berries and Cointreau Cream.
Saran, who owns Devi in New York, uses his unique style to effortlessly blend Macaroni and Cheese with Mushroom and Rice Biryani Casserole.
However, what makes this book different from many recipe books are the stories of people and experiences that have inspired Saran’s cooking.
Saran effortlessly switches between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes which reflects Saran’s experience in India and America.
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter (October 2, 2007)