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Malgudi, a small fictional town in South India has been part of the childhood of most Indians. It is an old, shabby, and peaceful town that is unruffled by politics. The stories set in this small town ring the sense of belongingness in the hearts of its readers. The familiar feeling that feels like home resonates with their soul. And teaches important life lessons to the readers through simple tales. Malgudi Days is one of the books that every Indian child should read. The book is a compilation of 32 short stories that paint a beautiful picture of small-town in India around the '60s and '70s
R. K. Narayan, one of the most well-known and popular writers within India and outside India is the creator of this town and the occurrences of this town. The stories follow the characters Swami and his friends through their everyday lives. Be it the story of fake astrologers who scam and loot the people by his cleverness, or the story of a blind beggar and his dog where the money blinded the man with greed; each story has a lesson to learn, morals and values hidden in it. As the stories are simple, easy to understand yet heart-touching it makes it easy for the kids to connect with each character and imagine the story as if the reader themselves were the protagonist of the story. In simple words, we can say that R.K. Narayan simply told stories of ordinary people trying to live their simple lives in a changing world.
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As written during the Indian Independence movements and finally published in 1943. The stories in the Malgudi days beautifully encapsulated the transitioning milieu of the British era to post-Independence India. Each of the stories portrays a facet of life in Malgudi and simultaneously a life in an Indian town. R.K. Narayan was one of the first writers who pioneered Indian writings in the English language and the book was later republished outside India in 1982 by Penguin Classics. Thus, the book enjoyed a worldwide audience. The New York Times even described the virtue of the book as "everyone in the book seems to have a capacity for responding to the quality of his particular hour. It's an art we need to study and revive."
The beautiful storytelling of the book was assisted by beautiful illustrations allowing the children to let their imagination teleport them to the world of Malgudi. All the illustrations in the book were illustrated by the world-renowned cartoonist, R.K. Laxman who is also R.K. Narayan's younger brother. The illustrations complimented the scenes from the stories and excited the children, keeping them engaged in reading the book for hours.
The illustrations complimented the scenes from the stories.Pixabay
The short stories from Malgudi Days were later adapted into a television adaptation in 1986. This show was directed by actor and director Shankar Nag. It was filmed both in Hindi and English, containing 54 episodes and the first 13 episodes respectively. Later the series was revived for additional 15 episodes. The show featured several popular celebrities from the Kannada film industry of those days – Girish Karnad, Vishnuvardhan, Ananth Nag, Arundhati Nag and Vaishali Kasaravalli, to name a few. The series was premiered on the Doordarshan channel and became the window into the town Malgudi for many. The show did not only excel in its storyline the TV adaptation elevated the storytelling as the show was technically very sound and stood out in its fantastic detailing in terms of locations and sets. With the cinematography being creative The Malgudi days- TV series once again warmed the hearts of both young ones and adults.
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Malgudi- our childhood home
Malgudi days hold a special place in the hearts of whoever has read the book as a child. With the detailed descriptions of the town and stories one almost gets a feeling that they've visited the place themselves. The characters, Swami and his friends feel like they were all readers' childhood friends. The surreal feeling of being home in the world of Malgudi. The world of Malgudi is intimate, warm, lifelike, and engaging. The setting is modern, and the life portrayed in these stories is contemporary. Still, there is an old-time air about It. R K Narayan once described Malgudi as "Malgudi is where we all belong, and where we wish we lived."
Keywords: Malgudi days, Malgudi, R K Narayan, R K Laxman, storytelling, our childhood home Malgudi
It is impossible to detail the history of bookbinding without understanding the need for it. A very useful, and yet simple invention, spiral coils that hold books together and allow mobile access to the user came about just before WWII, but much before that, paper underwent a massive change in production technique.
Beginning in China, paper was made of bamboo sticks slit open and flattened. In Egypt, papyrus was made from the reeds that grew in the Nile. In India, long, rectangular strips of palm leaves were stitched together to form legible documents. When monasteries were established, scrolls came into being. Parchment paper, or animal hide, also known as vellum, were used to copy out texts periodically to preserve them. Prior to all this, clay tablets were used to record important events, and in some cases, rock edicts were made.
But all this changed with the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg. Paper became the medium by which inscriptions, announcements, and almost everything was made. Once paper became so accessible, printing began in full scale. Newspapers and the Bible were printed every day.
Metal coils were used before the world war Image credit: Photo by Dan Bucko on Unsplash
With wads of paper, something had to be done about keeping them together. Bookbinding began as a booming business. First, the pages were just sewn together. A special sewing machine was invented just for books. When this did not suit all book types, the process of punching and binding began. Holes were punched in books, and they were tied together.
Much later, an adhesive thermoplastic strip became available by which book pages were stuck together. They sold in this format for a long time. Ideas began to flow in for notebooks when people discovered that they could attach pieces of paper together. A machine was invented that drew lines. This made it easier for people who wrote a lot.
After a while, when people got used to having their books a certain way, The Spiral Binding Company opened in 1932, which changed the way bookbinding was done. Books could now be bound by coil and this was not only economical, but also convenient, because pages could easily be turned without breaking the bind. The original spiral bind coil was made of metal, but when supplies were rationed during WWII, they were made from plastic. This trend has remained to the present day, where spiral bound books are preferred to the other kinds of binding except in cases of publishing and official documentation.
Keywords: Spiral Binding, WWII, Paper, Books, Printing
The history of Daryaganj goes back to the era of Mughal dynasty, and so its history is as old as the old city of Shahjahanabad, now Chandni Chowk. Interestingly, this market was known as Faiz Bazaar in the Mughal era and was considered as an important commercial place.
In fact, at that time this area was very posh, and had beautiful houses on both sides of a stream from a hauz (meaning, water storage tank) flowing down the centre. Not only this, trees were lined up for shade and it looked like a marvellous garden had been turned into a market.
Also, there used to be Lohe ka Pull which used to connect shops lined on both sides of the market starting from Delhi Gate to the Iron Bridge, but now the pull no longer exists. Well, there's no doubt that the old city of Shahjahanabad was beautiful crafted!
One of the most beautiful things about Daryaganj is its famous book market, known as the Sunday Patri Kitaab Bazaar. Sunday is specifically added here because the book market takes place only on Sundays, that, too, from 9am till 6pm.
Booksellers set up their shops on Patri (footpath). Hence, the name is Sunday Patri Kitaab Bazaar. Photo by Flickr.
In this market, you can find all kinds and genres of books at cheapest rates. In fact, some booksellers sell books according to kilos, and this is really astounding to see. From stationery to art supplies, you can find everything here and that, too, in a lot of variety.
It is interesting to see that some of the shopkeepers of Daryaganj book market are selling books from the past 50-60 years. Not only this, Daryaganj book market is also famous for its branded electronic goods and science lab equipments.
Apart from this, you can also find some of the lost traces of British rule, which once existed in India, in this market in the form of coins, photographs, and even their personal belongings. There is absolutely no doubt that Daryaganj book market offers a lot more than books, as it offers glimpses of the past.
So, if you are someone who is not just into books but also colonisation of India, then you must visit Daryaganj book market and experience a mixture of past and present!
Keywords: Daryaganj Book Market, Books, Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk, India, Mughal Dynasty.
As we know that Indian history is broadly divided into three categories, namely, ancient, medieval, and modern. Therefore, in order to understand where India stands today, one must read some of the books on modern Indian history which will throw light on how India became what it became.
The Idea of India by Sunil Khilani
Though this book was published in 1977, still it is very much relevant and can be a good source to understand modern Indian history. This book serves as an introductory serve as an introductory guide in which important topics are covered such as how India became independent, its economic and political history since Partition, and how democracy shaped the country into a nation.
India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
This is one of the most significant books written on modern Indian history. This book primarily covers “India after Gandhi”, as the title itself tells. This means that this book talks about the post-independence era, i.e. from 1947 to 1990s. In fact, one can get to know about the political, economic, and social background which existed in India after the death of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture, and Identity by Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, a Nobel Laureate economist writes about India's history and identity in this book. At the same time, he primarily focused on the traditions of public debate and intellectual pluralism in this book. It must be noted that this book by Sen is a compilation of all the essays which he had written considering all the spheres of the country. Therefore, this is good read in order to know understand about modern India.
India– The Emerging Giant by Arvind Panagiriya
This book is best suited for those who want to know and understand the economy of India. This book focuses on the different economic paths, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh. Though this book is mostly comprehensive and analytical, but it is a good read in order to know the depths of modern Indian history in terms of economy.
Keywords: India, Modern Indian History, Independence, History, Economy, Politics, Books.