Category Archives: Language and Literature

Is Reading Habit Really Declining?

27818904945_3d58104f28_nA well known publisher once expressed his concern about the declining reading habit these days. He seemed to be extremely worried and started a discussion on Facebook asking how to encourage reading habit. Some people gave very good input. The discussion was over in a few days — the usual lifetime of any Facebook post. However, couple of months later, the publisher posted the same query once again! This time nobody replied to him. Continue reading

Do Surnames Carry Signatures Of Migration?


Surname is a very involved subject, which encompasses caste, profession, language and native place. For example, you need not be told where your colleague Bandyopadhyay hails from or why your neighbour Agarkar is not a Bihari. As long as surnames are unique — Rao, Gowda, Chaturvedi, Mukherjee or Kulkarni — everything is fine. However, whenever there is an overlap — obvious or apparent — new questions arise. An example could be Trivedi. Today we would discuss few such cases. Note that here our aim is not about the classification and nomenclature per se, nor do we attempt at understanding the logic behind surname and its distinction from Jati, Varna, or Gotra. Here we are only concerned with the migration or movement of people as reflected in their surnames. Continue reading

एक सरकारी कर्मचारी की मौत : आन्तोन चेखोव (अनुवाद)


आन्तोन पावलोविच चेखोव (1860-1904), स्रोत – विकिमीडिया

एक सुन्दर शाम को, लगभग उतना ही सुदर्शन एक्जिक्यूटर, इवान द्मित्रिच चेर्व्याकोव, कुर्सियों की दूसरी पंक्ति में बैठा था और दूरबीन से “कॉर्नविल की घंटियाँ” (ओपेरा) देख रहा था । वह देख रहा था और स्वयं को आनन्द की पराकाष्ठा पर बैठा अनुभव कर रहा था । लेकिन अचानक . . . कहानियों में अक्सर यह “लेकिन अचानक” मिलता है । लेखकों का कहना सच है: जीवन अप्रत्याशित घटनाओं से कितना भरपूर है ! लेकिन अचानक उसका चेहरा बिगडा, आँखें घूम गईं, साँसें रुक गईं . . . उसने आँखों से दूरबीन हटाई, झुका और . . . आपछू !!!  छींका, जैसा कि आप देख ही रहे हैं । छींकना किसी को भी कहीं भी मना नहीं है । लोग छींकते हैं, पुलिस अधिकारी छींकते हैं,  और कभी कभी तो गोपनीय सलाहकार भी । सभी छींकते हैं । चेर्व्याकोव जरा भी शर्मिंदा नहीं हुआ, रुमाल से पोंछा और एक सज्जन व्यक्ति की तरह अपने चारों तरफ देखा: कहीं उसने अपनी छींक से किसी को परेशान तो नहीं किया ? Continue reading

21 फरवरी – अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय मातृभाषा दिवस


शहीद मिनार, ढाका विश्वविद्यालय, बांगलादेश ।

1952 में आज ही के दिन ढाका विश्वविद्यालय, जगन्नाथ कॉलेज, तथा ढाका मेडिकल कॉलेज के छात्रों ने बंगाली को पूर्व पाकिस्तान की दो राष्ट्रीय भाषाओं में से एक बनाने की माँग करते हुए प्रदर्शन किया । ढाका उच्च न्यायालय के सामने उस प्रदर्शन पर पुलिस ने (जो उस समय पाकिस्तान के अधीन थी) गोली चलाकर कई छात्रों की निर्मम हत्या कर दी । उस घटना को स्मरण करते हुए वर्ष 2000 से यह दिन संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघ द्वारा अंतर्राष्ट्रीय मातृभाषा दिवस के रूप में मनाया जाता है  (स्रोत – विकिपीडिया) । Continue reading

Book Review : The White Marble Burzi and Other Stories


In the fast paced life of these days, it is getting more and more difficult to devote time for literature. Under such circumstances, short stories come to our rescue, and by their peculiar format, provide us means to stay in touch with literature, and satiate our aesthetic and intellectual needs. The advantages brought by short stories are two fold. First, there is a sense of achievement as we can complete reading each piece in whatever time is available to us. Secondly, just in case the work is not up to our expectations, the time and effort lost would be less as compared to that in the case of novels. These are some of the reasons why I am attracted towards short stories in different languages, and from different cultures. Continue reading

A ‘Small’ Word Leads To A Long History

11I have always wondered whether the English word ‘nano’ has its origin in the Gujarati word nanu (નાનું = small) — the similarity is indeed remarkable. To explore the idea further, I opened the Merriam Webster dictionary and found that it is not so. The English word ‘nano’ has its origin in the Greek word nanos, meaning ‘small’ or ‘dwarf’. Continue reading

What Culture Fanatics Should Learn From Computer Scientists

Computer and Human LanguagesI learnt C programming from the book by Yashwant Kanetkar. Hence, I have a sort of emotional attachment with that writer. While explaining how a particular computer language works, he often compares it with human languages, utilizes the concepts of thoughts, words, sentences, and draws parallels with syntax, compilers and so on. Continue reading