The Scientific Point Of View. J B S Haldane Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

061. The Scientific Point Of View. J B S Haldane Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 14th Sep 2014. Short URL http://nut.bz/1ds8_4tt/ Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

Adopting a scientific point of view is useful in many ways, whether for solving the Negro problem or for solving the problem of diseases. J.B.S.Haldane was a famous British scientist and author who later took Indian citizenship. His writings on biological subjects made scientific ideas clear and popular among people. The author argues that adopting a scientific point of view is essential and beneficial for man, rather than adopting an emotional point of view.

Scientific point of view is God’s eye-view. A good scientist, like God, will view and examine things impartially and truthfully, and will not have emotional considerations and pass judgments.

Science influences the average man in two ways- its practical applications are useful to man and it affects his opinions also. One of science’s main contributions to common man was its presenting man with a scientific point of view. Science continuously tells us we should give up smoking and consumption of liquor, and adopt walking and swimming daily activities to remain healthy. Once we viewed these warnings skeptically, but we now have begun to understand that there is sense and logic in these warnings. That is science’s contribution, creating this awareness and consciousness of health. The average man is attracted by the emotional and ethical aspects of a problem, not by the facts, whereas a scientist considers only the facts. A scientific point of view places everything and everyone on the same emotional level which is impartial and truthful. Because of this equalization in emotional levels, scientific point of view can be called the God’s eye-view. A good scientist will, like God, view and examine things impartially and truthfully, and will not have emotional considerations and pass judgments. Even though the enemies of science wish science to do both, and abuse scientists for being deaf to moral considerations, a scientist will remain such impartial that Mr. John, Mr. Chang, Mr. Smith, the Tape Worm and the Solar System will be equal to him. A scientific point of view enables people also to adopt the same view of an impartial scientist, in analyzing things of importance to him.

When Negros enjoyed friendship of whites during the American Civil War, the new Democratic Negro became a heavy drinker and died in thousands, more in numbers than were killed in the actual war.

Haldane is of the opinion that the Negro problem, i.e., the problem of Negros becoming a problem for the whites, and the problem of diseases can be solved by adopting scientific point of view. He uses these two examples to illustrate that adopting scientific point of view in solving social, human problems is feasible and useful. Though there have of course been strong oppositions to his this point of view, let us examine his observations on the living conditions of Negros in America, most of which are things of past in America now. Negros was considered inferior to white men. In the Southern states of America where slavery existed, the Negros were pulled out of cars and driven to cotton plantations to work hard in harsh sun light. Openness to nature favoured them and there they prospered and multiplied, creating thus the so-called Negro problem for whites. But had they been extended consideration and fellowship, they would have become softened and died of American diseases. This is the question J B S Haldane rises- whether emotional or scientific attitude is to be adopted in solving social, human problems, which is beneficial and useful? During the American Civil War, the Negros enjoyed friendship of the whites, as a result of which the new democratic Negro became a heavy drinker and died in thousands. The number of Negros killed that way was far greater than the number of Negros killed in the actual war. Once we shed the emotional point of view, adopt scientific point of view, we allow Negros to return to nature and live in their natural habitats, and there is and will be no problem from the Negros.

Scientific point of view is the moral equivalent of war; they are equally fast in teaching peoples lessons.

Adopting the scientific point of view helps solve the problem of diseases also. For ages, and even now, common people think that diseases are caused by the Sin of man. But now, thanks to science, more people know that diseases are caused by the attack of foreign organisms known as microbes. By studying microbes with a scientific point of view, preventive medicines can be developed against diseases. The moral use of war is its teaching people lessons fast. Scientific point of view also teaches people lessons equally fast. That is why J.B.S.Haldane theorizes that scientific point of view is the moral equivalent of war. It teaches people lessons as fast as war. Knowledge of biological facts helps people prevent diseases. Diseases are manifestations of nature’s laws. By knowing about these laws, people can cure or prevent these diseases. The only problem remains is, people not being punctual and regular in administration of their prescribed medicines. Attitudes like this are such common that discovery of insulin has not helped reduce the death rate of diabetic patients in England and elsewhere, for medicines and their usage do not still have a scientific basis among people. It is a paradox that ‘the study of medicine, apart from its scientific basis, has created more neurotics than scientists,’ Haldane observes.

In spite of scientists and science reigning in this world for so many long years and teaching, many people still think that diseases are products of our sin.

Scientists and science have reigned in this world for so many long years but in spite of their teaching that diseases are manifestation of natural laws caused by microbial attacks, a considerable number of people still think that they are products of our sin. When Jesus Christ was asked why a man became blind, he answered: ‘Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents; but the works of God should be made manifest in him.” He considered it an opportunity to prove God’s manifestations and cured the blind by his simple touch. The scientists cure people with diseases, instead of accusing not only them but their ancestors through generations also of sinning. In this respect, a scientist’s view of diseases is not unlike the view held by Jesus Christ. Many of his followers but still hold to views which Jesus Christ opposed. They are not scientific but emotional in viewing many social and human issues such as remarriage and abortion. When diseases affect, some of them do not treat it scientifically but pray. Many more people hold to the view that diseases can be cured by returning to nature which is just another fallacy- we will die before we begin to get rectifying restoratives from nature. To live according to nature to escape from diseases also is quite meaningless because civilization, savagery, health and sickness are all part of nature.

[Prepared In 1990]

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If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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PSRemeshChandra
Author profileEditor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Unmarried and single. Also edits Bloom Books Channel.

 

Life Without Fear. Bertrand Russell Essay. Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

049.

Life Without Fear. Bertrand Russell. Essay. Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 8th Oct 2012.  Short URL http://nut.bz/s6rjyi46/
Posted in Wikinut>Essays

Fear is an ancient feeling of human beings, the right application of which saved mankind from taking too many risks and helped facilitate the continued existence of mankind. Actually fear is the essential pre-requisite to courage. But in the modern day world which is not as danger-prone as the ancient primitive world had been, man fears to even release his breath. World famous philosopher Bertrand Russell analyzes the operation of fear.

Fear can be avoided through the right kind of education.

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Principia Mathematica, History Of Western Philosophy, and Marriage And Morals are a few of his famous writings. ‘Life Without Fear’ is an extract from his book ‘New Hopes For A Changing World.’ He is discussing how human life is ruled by fear and how fear can be got rid of. He says, fear prevails over man’s dealings with nature, with other men and with himself. Russell is of the opinion that fear can be avoided in human life through the right kind of education.

Fear is entirely different from the rational apprehension of danger.

Fear of danger, fear of no food, fear of death, fear of destitution and fear of other human beings are natural to all men. Fear is a natural basic reaction which is common to all men and animals. But, Russell says, it has no ground. Fear is a kind of foolishness which makes man unwise in his dealings with nature, with other men and with his self. Fear has no rational basis. Fear and the feeling of danger are different. Feeling of danger is logical when a danger really exists. It enables man to think out what kind of action can be taken against the possible danger. Therefore, feeling of danger is desirable. But unreasonable fear prevents people from admitting danger and taking wise precaution against it. A pre-knowledge of danger enables man to adopt different kinds of treatment for different kinds of dangers.

The limitations imposed by nature on man causing fear also can be bypassed.

Nature imposes certain limitations on man which also cause fear. Short supply of food and raw materials and the unavoidable death are fearsome limitations imposed on man by nature. Even Arch Bishops someday thought that drought and excessive rain could be prayed against. People were urged to gather to pray against Plague which only helped to spread the disease. But the days of superstitions are gone. The limitations imposed by nature on man also can be bypassed which are what history is made with. Mankind did not end with recurring floods or the ice age. It continued its march onward, conquering natural obstacles on the way. Discovery of fire and fur and fat helped harness the ice ages. Inventing row-boats helped survive floods. Even natural limitations can be effectively dealt with by science. By more labour, more food can be produced. By better methods, the use of raw materials can be economized. By wise living, death can be postponed. The scientific attitude has the two-fold merit of helping not only understanding the evil but also providing the intelligence to eradicate it.

A man’s fear of other human beings is logical and reasonable.

Fear of other human beings is reasonable and somewhat logical. Aggressiveness has only increased in this world. We all fear, someone will do things harmful to us. We bark at our neighbour for fear that he will attack us, and he barks at us back for the same reason. In such situations, a display of friendliness will do wonders and oil the wheels of life to make them run smoothly.

‘Saying thank you here and there
Saves a lot of strife,
Saying thank you as you go on
Oils the wheels of life.’

There, non-resistance diminishes the aggressive impulses in the other. But in some other circumstances it would be showing courage that would be wiser for the occasion. We cannot flee from facing real dangers. When they come one after another, we conquer them one after the other.

[First prepared in 2004]

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If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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Basic Reactions, Bertrand Russell, Bloom Books Trivandrum, British Philosophers, Curing Aggressiveness, Fear Of Man, Fear Of Nature, Feeling Of Danger, Life Without Fear, Limitations Of Man, Merits Of Scientific Attitude, Oiling The Wheels Of Life, P S Remesh Chandran, Reasonable Fears, Reintroduced Literature, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, The Forewarning Of Fear, The Rule Of Fear

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PSRemeshChandra

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. 

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rama devi nina
1st Jan 2013 (#)

Interesting exploration of fear …

PSRemeshChandra
8th Jan 2013 (#)

Fear not, dear Rama Devi Nina,
Fear isn’t going any where,
It is one ancient primitive bird
Flitting across man’s mortal sky.

Non-Violence. Aldous Huxley. Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

048.

Non-Violence. Aldous Huxley. Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 21st Aug 2012.  Short URL http://nut.bz/238onx5a/
Posted in Wikinut>Essays

When national policies conflict, there is war. It always has been so, in spite of the world’s nations’ attempts to settle things amicably. Violence is the sister of war and mighty nations are not shameful to unleash violence on their next door neighbours, next day brothers. Non-violence has been the cherished dream of mankind since the first sunrise after the dawn of civilization. Even then the realization of this dream is remaining far distant due to psychological settings of the world’s mind.

A row of successful non-violent struggles before us to imitate; still we are reluctant to adopt this proven principle.

Thomas Arnold Teacher, great grand uncle of Aldous

Here and there a few humanitarians and philosophers have occasionally looked into the prospect of moulding a new world order based on the lines of non-violence. Novelists like Tolstoy, essayists like George Orwell, H.G.Wells, Arnold Toynbee, Aldous Huxley and many others have inculcated the principles of non-violence which is fit to be adopted in international crises management. We have the fine political examples of many mighty empires having been brought down by non-violent revolutions carried out by peasants and agricultural labourers as those led by Gandhi and his contemporaries in India. Still we are reluctant to accept the principles of non-violence as our political problems solving policy. It is due to the devious and treacherous basic traits latent in man as an animal that nations still resort to violence when they have to address a problem, social, political, economical or ethnical.

Aldous Huxley was born into a family of generations of great intellectuals.

Thomas Huxley, senior brother of Aldous Huxley.

Aldous Huxley was a British essayist, novelist and critic. He belonged to a family of distinguished scientists and thinkers. The celebrated scientist Thomas Huxley was his great grand-father and the famous educationalist Thomas Arnold was his great grand-uncle. Poet Matthew Arnold was his grand uncle. His mother was a distinguished educationalist and his father Leonard Huxley was a writer. The famous biologist Sir. Julian Huxley was his elder brother. The Burning Wheel , Chrome Yellow, Brave New World , Proper Studies and Music At Night are a few of his major works. Aldous Huxley was one of the chief intellectual driving forces of his times. His essays are gentle and imaginative. The present essay discusses how non-violence is applicable to individuals, groups, nations and the people of the new industrial age.

Non-violence comes to prisons and asylums in the nineteenth century in England.

Bethlehem Mental Hospital in London in 1896.

Non-violence is the policy of passive resistance. Resistance indeed is there, only that it is not active. It has the power to overcome evil, anger and hatred. The principles of non-violence have been applied systematically in solving social and medical problems which were considered to be completely insoluble. In the past, violence prevailed over the handling of the insane, the criminal and the savage. It made the victim only incurable. Asylums and prisons were places where inmates were treated with cruelty and violence. Asylums were filthy places with dungeons, chains and torture chambers. The insane were subjected to violence as if they were criminals. In 1815 a committee of the British M.P.s investigated the state of Bethlehem Hospital in London and found it appalling. Sine then, non-violent treatment has been adopted, showing kindness and sympathy. Similarly, in prisons, torture made the innocents demoralized and the criminals more criminal. When John Howard began his investigations on prison life in the 18th century, the only decent prisons in Europe were those in Amsterdam, Holland being a country with lesser crimes. Since then, there have been many prison reforms. Thus Huxley adeptly proves that non-violence is applicable in relations of individuals with other individuals.

Missionary gossip and the role of anthropologists in the practice of non-violence.

Torture chamber in Spis Castle. By Dariusz Wozniak

Anthropologists study the origin, development and social behaviour of mankind. In the past they depended on baseless news given by travelling missionaries, i.e. ‘missionary gossip’ to form their theories. Missionaries returning from foreign lands after failed missions won’t attribute reasons for their failure to their wrong policies but would portray people of those lands as brutal intolerant savages holding pagan beliefs who brought down the missionaries’ works. As a result, colonial administrations remained violent and cruel to their subjects in the conquered lands. But later, the anthropologists practically began living with the objects of their study and learned the realities in those lands. They discovered that intelligent and sympathetic non-violence is the best and most practical policy to be adopted on subjects by an administration. Thus the colonial rule of the Belgian, Dutch, English and French became more humane, non-violent and efficient. Only the Italian Fascist Mussolini remained aggressive. His hideous methods of bombs and poison gas employed in the conquest of Abyssinia were brought to light and condemned by all.

Non-violent non-cooperation successfully prevented in England a war with Russia in 1920.

Torture rack in Spis Castle Slovakia. By Podzemnik

Non-violence is applicable in the relations of populations with governments. Gandhi’s non-violent mass movements in South Africa and India were brilliant successes. He effectively trained very large groups of people in non-violent non-cooperation and boycott, who courageously responded to brutal treatment. This impressed all and gained him favour of public opinion and support of the entire world. In England, in 1920, non-violent non-cooperation successfully prevented a war. Labour Movement declared War Boycott and refused to transport men and materials to war front. Faced with this ultimatum, the Lloyd George government abandoned its plans of war on Russia.

Man leads a dual life as a private individual and as representative of a social group.

Spanish boot in Spis castle Slovakia By Podzemnik.

In relations of governments with other governments, non-violence is often considered impractical. Examples of genuine non-violent behaviour between governments are rare. This is because of the dual nature and behaviour of man as a private individual and as member of a group. He has two systems of morality. In private life, man is honest, humane and considerate. But as citizens of a nation, he thinks his nation can go to any extreme. We all do. The nation is personified in our imagination as a being, superhuman in power and glory, but sub human in morality.

___________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
___________________________

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM.

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Active ResistanceAldous HuxleyBloom Books Trivandrum,British AuthorsBritish WritersDual Nature Of ManEnglish EssaysGandhis Mass MovementsHuxley FamilyIncurable VictimsInter Governmental RelationsJohn Howard Prison ReformsMissionary GossipNational CitizensNon Violence,Non Violence In Industrial AgeP S Remesh ChandranPassive ResistanceReintroduced LiteratureResisting Brutality,Sahyadri Books TrivandrumTorture ChambersWorld Citizens

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley.

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Sivaramakrishnan A
21st Aug 2012 (#)

Thought provoking post that is more relevant now. There are no victors in violence; even those who live to tell the tale of success carry heavy scars in their psyches – siva

PSRemeshChandra
21st Aug 2012 (#)

Standing on a land that is India where the first known poet and philosopher Valmiki wrote Ma Nishada, or You Never Kill, we can certainly speak to the world the gospel of non-violence and human love. The Father of the Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was, along with Rabindranath Tagore and Count Leo Tolstoy, and also George Bernard Shaw, was the greatest proclaimer of the gospel of human love to the world since the time of Jesus Christ. India through the ages disseminated the message of Gods’ affection and consideration for man. Even though somewhat diminished in the rush for prospects and physical pleasures, the tendency to sacrifice one’s life for the welfare of others is still prominent and dominant in Indian lives, especially in the lives of the poor people of India. Gandhi also sacrificed his life for his ideal of embracing the divided Indians and the Pakistanis at the same time. When India spends billions on account of preparing a war and defense machinery against the nation of Pakistan and Pakistan diverts precious national revenue for purchasing missiles and war machines against sister India, Pakistanis think how natural the Indian film stars act and the Indians think how majestic and enchanting the Pakistani Ghazal singers sing. Governments in the modern day world no more reflect the will of their people. Objectives of people which could easily and quickly have been realized through art, literature, music, cinema, cricket and football are objected to by governments, for they wish there shall be two governments to rule, two parliaments to spend time in and two judiciaries to pronounce the same universal human law in two conflicting ways. Unification of the divided German nations is their lesson for the future. Why waste precious people’s money for running two governments? The world is changing, and eliminating the evils of the ill famous Second World War one by one. Aldous Huxley’s thoughts are more important than ever in the present times, as you pointed out, dear Sivaramakrishnan A. Thank you for your valuable comment, which supplements Aldous Huxley’s observations well.

Sivaramakrishnan A
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

Thank you indeed, RC! War is waged by selfish politicians and they use common citizens as their pawns. It is so easy to rouse emotions now, like it was from primeval times! We are easily used by all types of leaders for their ends! Modern technology has made us realise – we are one and the same, but we still go at each other’ s throats at the drop of a hat! siva

A K Rao 21st Aug 2012 (#)

Simply Superb Article Dear Ramesh Chandran Sir!

PSRemeshChandra
21st Aug 2012 (#)

When we read the articles written by many philosophers like Bertrand Russell, Arnold Toynbee, Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley and H.G.Wells, we think how fortunate the world is for having tones of beautiful pages written by learned and tasty geniuses for us all to read without stop. We also will feel lonely at the thought of living at a time, with the total absence of such eminent thinkers and writers continuously conversing to us all around us in our society. It is our solace and luck they wrote profusely before they passed away, so that the intellectually impoverished we can read something refreshing, till the end our days. Unfortunately I cannot convey your appreciation to Huxley. Thank you for your comment, dear A.K.Rao.

Madan
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

Excellent post. Deserved star page

PSRemeshChandra
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

Writers like Arnold Toynbee, Robert Lynd, Aldous Huxley and Bertrand Russell produced excellent literature which captivated generations including mine. But the world now does not read them as frequently and regularly as before. I pay them respect in my simple way of reintroducing them in layman’s terms, for the sole reason they inspired me, so that they will be continued to be read and read and read. No one shall have to leave them unread. The praise goes to those excellent authors who are now gone from among us. We can only keep the world’s interest in them live. Thank you dear Madan for the comment.

Buzz
23rd Aug 2012 (#)

Simply outstanding!

PSRemeshChandra
23rd Aug 2012 (#)

Praise goes to Aldous Huxley really.

Md Rezaul Karim
3rd Sep 2012 (#)

Interestingly when you are equal, the concept of non-violence works. But if the competency or strengths and weaknesses are significant then coercion takes place and the ethics and morality wither away!

PSRemeshChandra
3rd Sep 2012 (#)

The concept of non-violence works when the concerned opponent is somewhat equal or sophisticated. It did work with the British in India when the British became convinced that India would become the country where the greatest number of dead British are burried if violence in India reached its full manifestation. The Irish Republican Army tried non-violence in British prisons by turning to non-eating fasts but found that they were only weakening their body. After the death of seven of their comrades in a days-long relay fast in Maize prison, they returned to guerrilla warfare and violence. Thank you dear Md Rezaul Karim for reading and the comment.

Belief In God. Dr. A.J.Cronin Essay. Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran, Trivandrum.

046.

Belief In God. Dr. A.J.Cronin. Essay. Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 18th Feb 2012.  Short URL http://nut.bz/2nh_co2x/

Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

Whether God exists is a question people have been trying to answer through the ages. At least once in our life we are asked this question and have to answer. One interesting fellow once observed that if we are asked this question it is always safe to answer that He does exist, because if he does not exist we have nothing to fear but if He does exist, then we will have to fear his wrath and retaliation for denying him. It is interesting to note here what a famous doctor wrote in this regard.

Citadel, the first attack on the evils and corruption in the medical profession by a lone doctor.

Decades back a novel written by a doctor shook the conscience of the world and shattered the misconceptions about the infallibility and judgment of doctors. The novel was ‘The Citadel’ and its author was ‘Doctor A. J. Cronin’. He was literally attacking the fort of medical profession which was considered invincible and impregnable till that time. How a young doctor suffers to establish his practice, how and by whom the first patients are brought to his little consultancy, how misjudging and mean the health authorities are, how wicked a few among them are to sacrifice human lives for riches and personal gains, how prosperity, academic brilliance and recognition in the medical world affects a good doctor’s view points- everything that were considered as a taboo and something unspeakable in human speech and writing- was dissected and made open by this doctor in this famous novel. If someone wishes to read this novel to learn what is in it, it is also good to know in advance about the only drawback of this novel. It will have a very good and optimistic ending if we simply tear away the last chapter. This doctor later in his life had a turning point in his career, of undergoing treatment for a disease and recuperation during which period he wrote a novel to escape from the boredom of leading an uneventful life in a quiet village. The novel became a great success. Then the world saw him settling himself as a writer. All his literary creations are simple, lucid and thought-provoking. This essay is a chapter from his book ‘Adventures In Two Worlds’.

Western science and eastern philosophy meet in closed quarters, to discuss the existence of God.

 

From a time when doctors were gods. 1942.

In the past century, when the individual achievements of science found its peak in the personality of Albert Einstein, after establishing the theory of relativity and gravity, this great scientist startled the world by hinting about the probability of the existence of a God as a Force of Super Intelligence. He once met the famous Indian philosopher and poet Rabindranath Tagore with whom, it is believed, he made a long and deep discussion in this matter in closed quarters, the details of which both these dignitaries kept private till the end of their lives. The world would have very much thrilled to read what this world scientist Einstein discussed with the world philosopher Tagore in the matter of the existence and properties of God. The matter of this discussion is still unknown to the world.

Searching for a soul inside the human body in the coal districts of England.

 

Human body is a wonder but who created this wonder and what intelligence went into the making of it is still a thing of speculation. Like all medical students, Cronin was a non-believer in the Super Intelligence. The human body seemed to him only a complex machine. As he dissected the formalin-impregnated bodies in the anatomy room of his medical college, he searched for the existence of a soul inside the bodies but could not find any. Therefore he used to deny the existence of God. He says that this might have been due to the various distractions and diversions of his mind in the young age. After graduation, when he went out into the world to work in the Coal Districts of England, he saw very poor people suffering hard, but at the same time believing in God. New spiritual values were made apparent to him through slow but regular experiences in his life. He realized that the compass of existence held more than what his medical text- books revealed. The shortness and brevity of his younger outlook was lost with time. He lost his feeling of superiority and became a humble human being, which was his first step towards finding God.

Rich significance of the lowly life of a nurse and the emptiness in the life of a dignified physician.

 

Many things to learn from nurses. A 1942 picture.

Dr.Cronin’s working with the District Nurse Madame Olwen Davies brought him many theological experiences. She was dedicated to serve the poor but was a low-paid employee. Cronin once pointed out this to her and said she actually deserved an increased salary and that God knew she was worthy of it. Then with a smile she replied that if God knew she was worthy of it, then she was satisfied. This revelation made Cronin nearer to God. The rich but humble significance of the District Nurse’s life was revealed to him. And he sensed the emptiness in his life also.

One word of challenge from a simple-minded school boy, and the ignorance of a distinguished zoologist is shattered.

 

An invisible hand behind every creation of beauty.

One half of the world believes in God whereas the other half is peopled by non-believers. No one is certain whether God exists or not. Man denies God in the light of science, but the beauty of the starlit night skies underlines the existence of a primary creator who is very intelligent, imaginative and aesthetic. A Latin tag says ‘Ex nihilo nihil’ which means ‘nothing can come of nothing.’ Dr.Cronin illustrates this in a fine example from his experience. In London, he had once organized a Working Boys’ Club where a distinguished zoologist was invited to give a lecture. ‘The Beginning Of Our World’ was the subject of his speech. In brilliant oration he explained to the boys how the first protoplasmic cell took form from the pounding pre-historic seas Aeons and Aeons ago. The lecture ended in applause. Then one innocent boy asked him how the first sea came there. Nothing can come out of nothing. This suggests that there might have been a primary creator. The orator could find nothing in answer. The logic of this test-tube scientist was crumbled by one word of challenge from a simple-minded boy.

I see my cherry trees in bud, and then in flower, and then in fruit, and then I believe in God.

 

Cherry trees in full blossom.

We often see many good people suffer in this world. This makes us doubt the existence of a God. There has to be an explanation for this injustice. Cronin says that evil and pain in life in this world is justifiable. It is part of the plan of the primary creator. He asks us to refer to the Book of Job in the Bible. Life is not a pleasure-hunt but a preparation for the other world, whether it would be life or anything else for us there in the next existence. Cronin’s meeting with an old man in an Italian church near Fiesole clarified this. Cronin asked the poor old peasant whether he believed in God. His answer was: “I see my cherry trees in bud, and then in flower, and then in fruit, and then I believe in God.”

Note:

‘When we talk with God, it is prayer. When God talks with us, it is schizophrenia.’

Mankind has the companionship of God alone in his long voyages through agonies, sufferings and miseries. He stands just behind those who pine in their hearts and those who sing in their mirth. The designer and creator of this universe certainly was a very imaginative person, a being whose mind was given to supreme conceptions of beauty and harmony.

[Prepared in September 1990]

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Ranges.

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Knowledge And Wisdom. Bertrand Russell Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran. Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum.

044.

Knowledge And Wisdom. Bertrand Russell Essay. Reintroduced By P. S. Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 10th Feb 2012.  Short URL http://nut.bz/1kqrxzyw/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

 

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Roads To Freedom, Principia Mathematica, Marriage And Morals, The Conquest Of Happiness, etc, are a few of his famous writings. Here he distinguishes between and defines knowledge and wisdom. Life experiences of a person process his knowledge into wisdom. Knowledge, comprehensive vision, pursuit of purpose, emancipation or freedom and impartiality in opinions and views are what constitute wisdom.

Wisdom evolves from comprehensive vision and sense of proportion. Knowledge may sometimes lead to unwisdom.

Knowledge and wisdom are different things. Wisdom does not come immediately with knowledge. As Tennyson observed, ‘Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers.’ Knowledge may sometimes even lead to unwisdom to illustrate which Russell cites two excellent examples. When man attained enough knowledge to lower the death rate among infants, population increased, food supplies became short and standard of living declined. Thus lowering the death rate of children, in his opinion, was a mistake on the part of medical specialists. Military specialists also have landed in many such follies. When man invented the technique of splitting atom, everyone began to think that mountains could now be moved and the course of rivers and that of history could be changed. But instead of using this new gained knowledge for useful and beneficial purposes, man began to manufacture nuclear weapons. Even after witnessing the horrible mass genocides caused by them, even the advanced as well as the barbarian countries of the world still go on manufacturing them. One day they will wipe out the human race from the face of the earth. Wisdom does not come with knowledge. These are the evil effects of specialization in singular subjects. It is from a comprehensive vision and sense of proportion that wisdom evolves.

It is a distorted history that tells nothing about Mao’s deflowering dozens of girls each week and termination of revolutionaries in Lenin’s time.

A proper knowledge of human history also is needed to gain wisdom. Some history writings we see are distorted ones, fabricated with a view to inculcate some particular feelings or passions among people. People who wrote about Lenin were totally blind to the cruel political assassinations of his times, which gave rise to the ‘theory of revolutions eating out its own children’ evidenced by the death of Trotsky. Worshippers of Mao Tse Tung remained silent about the innocent peasant girls the chairman deflowered each week, as was revealed by the repentant personal physician. Had these acts also were recorded accurately by his historians along with the bold and unending marches of this revolutionary through the incessant rains, we sometimes may have even respected the man, out of the knowledge that he was not a god but only a man. It should be noted here that the greatest sins committed by Gandhi came to the world’s attention not by his opponents mentioning them but from his own autobiography which was rightly titled My Experiments With Truth. Gandhi never hesitated to tell the story of his stealing the gold bangle of his house servant to purchase liquor in his boyhood years. We only respect this people’s leader for the frankness and truthfulness with which he recorded his own follies. That is his greatness and India’s example. That is how and why it came to be written in India’s official seal ‘Truth Alone Will Triumph’ when India became independent. Great men were always truthful in recording their follies. Along with English economics and French socialism, German philosophy served as one of the three origins of Marxism. Hegel was the most followed in the field of German philosophy. Hegel wrote history to prove that the Germans were a master race from the time memorable. Such distorted recordings of history lead to unwisdom and destruction.

To set apart two quarrelling friends would be an act of wisdom. Fill your private life with such small acts of wisdom.

Wisdom has a key role to play in the private life of a man. Man except on rare occasions fails to see his future in advance. He seldom knows what the future has in store for him. He has to live beneficial to the world. Since mankind is a collective reality, animosity among its members cannot help it achieve the benefits of living. By practicing universal brotherhood alone can man gain wisdom and live beneficial to the world and its inhabitants. So, to set apart two quarrelling friends would be an act of wisdom. ‘If you can do this, you will have instilled some fragment of wisdom’, writes Russell. Our private life should be filled with such little acts of wisdom. But millions of men, instead of going after this well defined objective in their lives, have searched for the philosophers’ stone and wasted their lives. No doubt, if they could have found them they would have conferred great benefits on mankind, but it was their lives that were wasted. Russell warns us that we should not waste our lives on such impossible philosophical feats; we should instead fill it with small acts of wisdom. As we grow older we will gain more impartiality. Our horizon will widen. Our thoughts and feelings will become less personal and more detached from our own physical state. It is that stage in human life, which Shakespeare in his poem The Seven Stages Of Man’s Life described as the stage in which man begins to think and act like a judge. Thus we gradually become freed of all selfish motives but begin to think more for the society than for ourselves. According to Russell, this emancipation or freedom from selfishness is the essence of wisdom.

Sunday schools cannot supply wisdom. They can only supplement wisdom if we already have some.

Wisdom can be taught like any other virtue. Even though we are born unwise which we cannot help, we can cultivate wisdom. Sunday schools are not supposed to supply wisdom; they can only supplement wisdom if we already have some. They can only make wise men wiser. Thus, moral instruction and the teaching of wisdom differ much. Wisdom should be planted and nursed in one’s own mind. We are living in a war-stricken world which needs wisdom as it never has needed before. Therefore wisdom should be taught by any means. We cannot al be good Samaritans to our neighbours, but we can certainly reduce our hatred to others. It should be noted here that even nations are now unable to reduce their hatred to other nations. The Russian communists find they are unable to remain good Samaritans to the American anti-communists. But in the midst of all this mayhem and national hatred, a single man can remain wise when the whole world goes unwise.

It is the music lovers and film goers that keep the nations going and standing, not short-living intolerant governments.

So, ‘Hate Hatred’ should be our slogan. It is indecent for a government to show hatred to other nations or to its people because this world and the humanity in it is built up based on the principles and forces of harmony. But the short-sighted puny little minds that are the governments in many countries cannot understand this as they are nowhere near the much dreamt about concept of Plato’s Philosopher Kings. In many sister nations, even if the people like each other in their hearts, their governments cultivate animosity and hatred. We can point out dozens of modern day examples. The governments of India and Pakistan shout at each other and conduct war rehearsals but the Indian music lovers worship Habib Wali Muhammed, Mirza Ghalib, Fareeda Khanum, Gul Bahar Bano, Iqbal Bano, Munni Begum, Roshan Ara Begum and Salman Alvi who are the luminaries among the Pakistani Ghazal singers, many of them the stars of the undivided India. And Indian film stars like Devanand, Sunil Dutt, Narghese, Raj Kapoor and Amitab Batchan are the favourites of Pakistani film goers. Both governments view these admirers and fans suspiciously, but in the long run, it is not these short-living governments but these admirers and fans of music, literature and films who keep these nations going and standing. That is the importance and relevance of a single man’s stand in the midst of national lunacy. It is when such singular wisdom happened to fuse uniquely with vigour of action that the world was saved several times from near peril.

Powerful personalities in history who combined vigour of action and wisdom and saved the world.

In history we see many examples of active vigour in fusion with wisdom, forming powerful personalities, saving the world. We see Moses in The Bible, professing the Ten Commandments before a people too seduced to be saved. Queen Elizabeth the First in England, King Henry the Fourth in France and Abraham Lincoln in America were very impressive personalities who fused vigour with wisdom and fought the evil. The world has had the luck to have many such personalities in among her people. Abraham Lincoln even conducted a civil war without ever departing from wisdom. It was his vigour of action and wisdom which helped him abolish slavery and prevent the Northern and the Southern states of America from separating in that civil war.

[Originally Prepared in 1995]

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM.

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Bertrand Russell, Boyhood Days Of Gandhi, British Philosophers, British Writers, Distorted History, English Essays, Falsified History, Frankness Of Leaders, Knowledge, Knowledge And Wisdom, P S Remesh Chandran, People Of India And Pakistan, Philosophical Writings, Political Killings In Lenins Time, Reintroduced Literature, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, The Death Of Trotsky, Threat Of Nuclear Weapons, Truth Alone Will Triumph, Truthfulness Of World Leaders, Virtues And Vices Of Mao, Wisdom

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Ranges.

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Chocolate Bus. Robert Lynd Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran. Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

041.

Chocolate Bus. Robert Lynd Essay. Reintroduced By P. S. Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 5th Dec 2011  Short URL http://nut.bz/dbid7g_4/
Posted in Wikinut>Essays

 

Omnibus was the old name for a bus. When city buses were newly introduced in theLondonstreets, they were uniformly coloured chocolate. Robert Lynd disliked them for their colour which was dull and non-interesting to the eyes and also because they deprived him of the delights of walking. Like A.G.Gardiner’s Bus Conductor, Lynd’s Chocolate Bus reminds us of the many virtues which are leaving us one by one. And buses too may say farewell to us just as row boats did when bridges came into being.

The delight of walking is meeting persons on the way, spending a few minutes with them in small talk and having enough psychological delights for the day.

 Old Timer On London Road. Martin Addison. 

Suppose we are used to walk long distances and we are used also to like walking those distances. We shall meet so many persons of our acquaintance and not, shall spend a few minutes with them indulging in small talk and serious talk, and before we reach our destination, have enough psychological delights for the day. But when buses begin to ply the route we begin to become lonely on the road. Moreover it would be embarrassing for us to see a person whom we passed on the way walking in front of us at another place after alighting from a bus. In no time we will begin to hate buses. That was exactly what happened to Robert Lynd. He began to hate buses. Lynd’s essays are deep in thought but lucid in style. His essays enriched English language and literature much like his counter part Gardiner. Chocolate Bus is included in his collection of essays ‘Solomon In All His Glory.’

Birds of the least brilliant colour may sing the most brilliant songs.

 Bus in old clean London street. Dr.Neil Clifton. 

Do not anyone think that Lynd is blind in his observations, due to his prejudice against the dull coloured Chocolate Buses. He makes several strange observations in spite of these buses denying him vibrant colour patterns pleasing to his eyes and deprives him of the delights of walking. Chocolate which is dull and boring to the eyes of course is charming to the palate. Their delicious taste is savoured by all. Birds of the least brilliant colour would most probably sing the most brilliant songs. Sweets of the poorest favour may sometimes have the richest flavour. In this way perhaps the dull coloured Chocolate Buses also could be of the most beneficial use to mankind.

To see sights for ten miles from a running bus, the focusing muscles of the eyes do the equal labour the biceps muscles of the legs do to run the same distance.

One of the early sensations. Simon Osborne. 

When we travel in a bus most often we will prepare ourselves to see all the sights along the way. So we sit ourselves on a convenient side seat and begin seeing things. If we do it, before we are not over many miles, we will see that our eyes are closed and we are asleep. When we see sights from a running bus, the actual labour the focusing muscles in our eyes do to focus images before our retina to provide a stable picture is equal to what the biceps muscles of our legs do to run the same distance. No wonder the focusing muscles become soon tired and we fall asleep before long.

Thoughts originating while travelling in a bus will have high voltage and decisions taken then would be coming from a very kinetic mind.

First London Routemaster Bus. Luiz Marini.Berlin. 

But travelling in a running vehicle stimulates our thoughts too. The speed of the vehicle adds speed to our thoughts also. We know that weight into velocity is momentum. Momentum of the bus can be spent on the road but we, sitting with our fixed weight without the liberty of movement in the confines of a bus, will feel the momentum enter our mind and take off with it. Thoughts originating from us while travelling in a bus will be high voltage thoughts. Decisions taken then would be coming from a very kinetic mind.

Dante ought to have included bus travels as one of the Torments of the Inferno.

Glasgow Tram Cars Priestley Wrote. Dr Neil Clifton 

Bus travellers will often have bitter experiences. The buses would be overcrowded and there would not be empty seats. Sometimes there would not even be a foot of floor space empty to stand on. The passengers would feel they are imprisoned in a black hole that is a bus that is rocking also on the pot holes. Mechanical vibration of the bus would enter our heel, head and bones. One will wonder whether this is the fulfillment of the travel dreams of the Greeks, Romans and the other civilized races. Lynd says that the South Sea Islander lolling lazily in his lagoon is unfortunate to miss this unique experience of bus travel since there are no buses in that remote part of the globe.

If buses were made prisons the prisoners would object and crimes would cease to happen.

A London Tram Car. Photo John Bennet. 

A bus is a mechanical rhinoceros to travel inside which one has to pay also. Bus travellers get no wind except one composed of half dust and another half other people’s breathe. If buses were made prisons the prisoners would object and crimes would cease to happen. Criminals in the ancient world were put in barrels with spikes and rolled down the hills as punishment which was far lighter than to have been condemned to have a bus travel as the punishment. Lynd wonders why Dante did not include bus travel as one of the punishments among the multitude of torments in hell he described in his classic, The Divine Comedy.

The sheep in the field, the fly on the window, the sparrow on the road, all constantly keep moving. Movement is the manifestation of life.

Two Old Trams In Transport Museum. Dr.Neil Clifton 

When compared to a travel in the bus, walking has a number of advantages. Walking is a rhythmic and pleasant form of movement. There is a natural rhythm in walking. We are free to walk as lazily as an old dog or as fast as a cock picking food. Walking gives us enough time for sight seeing and thinking. One can stop at shop windows and look into things displayed there, or can peer inside. A walking man gets news also. The greatest pleasure of all in walking is the realization that there is no hurry. It is the law of nature that living things must keep moving. Movement is the manifestation of life. The sheep in the field, the fly on the window, the sparrow on the road, all constantly keep moving. This movement of limbs and wings is the very basis of life. It is pleasanter to move constantly like the planets than to sit still like a heap of stones. ‘Man is the only animal that escaped from perpetual motion and stiffened into stillness while he is yet neither a cripple nor dead.’ Sitting inert has now become a habit to man.

The desire of man to travel with the least body movement caused the invention of vehicles. His inertness is now complete.

A 1984 Electric Train. Photo. David Ingham. 

It is the desire of man to travel with the least body movement that caused the invention of vehicles. A survey of the vehicles he developed in their chronological order would reveal his inclinations. First he rode horses which provided an overall rhythmic movement to his muscles. Then came the row boat in which the hands alone had to move and the legs rested. With the invention of the wheel and the sail he became able to move without moving him at all. Cycles and automobiles followed and then came motor cycle, car, bus, ship and aero plane. And now there is the rocket too. His inertness is now complete.

The flowing streams, the playing children and the singing birds no more touch the bus traveller.

Channel Tunnel Train Emerging. Xtrememachineuk. 

It was this inertness and laziness of man that gave a chance to men with mechanical minds to make inventions. Thanks to these vehicles man is now able to transport people in bulk numbers from place to place. In all these vehicles man needn’t move his body. He only has to buy a ticket. But he no more enjoys the various amusements on the way. The flowing streams, the playing children and the singing birds no more touch him. He is now shut inside a box on wheels and carried away at top speed. One has no more life than a posted letter so far as he is sitting in a travelling vehicle. It was great movements of mind and body matter that created renaissance inItalyfour hundred years earlier. Henceforth there would be no renaissance. Riding in buses has killed the kinetic minds in our society. Thus this essay is really Robert Lynd’s ‘Ode to Walking.’

Many fear the channel tunnel will gradually destroy the euphoric and pleasant isolation England enjoyed for many ages.

 

Channel Tunnel Car Shuttle Interior. Tony Hisgett.

However, he is not a cynical critic. He concludes his essay wishing every success to the chocolate brown buses newly introduced in London streets. After these omnibuses the tram cars and the road trains came. Then there was the tube and now there is the channel tunnel which all fear would gradually destroy the euphoric and pleasant isolation the great island nation of England enjoyed for so many ages.

[First written in November 1994]

_______________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
_______________________________

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking BLOOM BOOKS TRANSLATIONS here.

To read about the life and people and their follies of the author’s native land Kerala, read Kerala Commentary

To read more our articles already published in Wikinut visit Sahyadri Books or Bloom Books Trivandrum

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Appreciations, Articles, British Authors, British Essayists, British Writers, Channel Tunnel, Chocolate Bus, English Essayists, English Literature, Essays, Old London Transport, Omni Buses, P S Remesh Chandran, Reintroduced Literature, Reintroductions, Reviews, Robert Lynd, Sahyadri Books Bloom Books Trivandrum, Solomon In All His Glory, Trams

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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Student Mobs. J.B.Priestley Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

040.

Student Mobs. J.B.Priestley Essay Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 1st Dec 2011  Short URL http://nut.bz/3dpl.fk1/

Posted in Wikinut Essays

Disciplined students under strict masters have created empires and dynasties in this world. The lone Chandragupta captivated by the severe Chaanakya Gupta founded the famous Maurya Empire inNorth Indiaand the twaine created classical political theories the world still reveres. Alexander found his master in Aristotle and the pair was responsible for the greatest changes in the political and cultural structure of the world. This article is homage to those good old days of studentship.

Simplicity, humbleness and discipline were the characteristic distinguishing marks of a student in the ancient times.

T.V, show me something creative. Emmy The Great.

We have the ancient belief that ‘a school is an assembly of teachers and a class is an assembly of students.’ In many countries this conviction is changing fast. Before Plato came, instituted his Academy and founded the academic system of education where teachers and students would come to and be assembled at the same place and lessons were taught according to a pre-determined syllabus, students had to search far and wide for a teacher’s house, perhaps miles and miles away or sometimes in other states where he had to go and reside, do all kinds of manual labour in the master’s house, please him somewhat and secure a bit of knowledge if the master so consented to. But this system no doubt produced great teachers, scholars, poets and playwrights. Simplicity, humbleness and discipline were characteristics and distinguishing marks of a student in those times. Not one unruly student could complete his education with a master.

When Britain speaks, all England listens.

 An orderly students meeting. Michael Linder.

One of the books written by the famous writer John Boynton Priestley was aptly titled ‘Britain Speaks’ and another ‘All England Listens’. It was true; when this great British orator spoke the whole world listened. Here he is analyzing the reasons for the unrest and violence among students. His finding is that students delight in destruction for destruction’s sake. He expects students to behave as true guardians of society and provide support to the families they come from. Any dutiful student will have to agree with his arguments against unruly behaviour.

They should be learning books, not burning them.

Preparation against student march. Bobby D’Marca.

Priestley joined college after a few years of soldiery in the First World War. Therefore it was no wonder he was irritated by the irresponsibility he found common among the student community in general. Irresponsible students, in their craze for establishing an identity, form mobs, take to destruction and behave like vandalists. ‘They should be learning books, not burning them.’ Peasants in the villages are losing much, particularly their favourite meals and good clothes, to send their sons to colleges. So these sons should have a manly responsibility towards them and shall not join howling destructive mobs. Priestley is of the opinion that stupid, ignorant and irresponsible students should summarily be sent out and shall not be given higher education at the expense of the community. They are wasting everyone’s time, money and energy. This right attitude towards students, which could be adopted by all members of the community, shall not be interpreted as prejudice against students.

When we see a student mob demonstration we will wonder whether those brute faces are our own sons’.

 Ideal place to watch student strike. Zaniol Simone

Most often, angry student mobs demonstrate through streets with banners, slogans and mindless grinning faces, breaking windows and smashing cars, burning books and furniture, terrifying children and women on their way, reducing laws and customs to chaos. Such demonstrations shall not be shown on the T.V. If it continues to be shown, the whole fabric of civilization, which is the work of centuries, shall be torn apart by students.

They will pass with honours B.A. in Window Smashing, Furniture Firing and Car Overturning.

 Disciplined strike, books, cut hair. Partridge Ron

Sometimes these demonstrations would be against governments but at times the governments themselves would be organizing them secretly on a rent-a-mob basis. Many governments play a leading role in the antics of student mobs. When two official policies clash, embassies are instantly surrounded by students and attacked as if in a political circus. Priestley here gives society a severe warning: ‘The time may come when ambassadors will have to move around in tanks. In the universities, students on admission will be given machine guns and flame throwers. They will pass with honours the B.A. in Window Smashing, Furniture Firing and Car Overturning. They may be weak in the sciences and the arts, the medicine and the law but they would have first-rate skills in Hooliganism.’ He wonders what type of doctors, lawyers, engineers, chemists and teachers of language they will make.

Kids are now not kids but creatures come from other planets, putting things on the railway lines for derailing expresses.

Playing Post Office. We make them mobs. S.Francis.

That students delight in destruction is a universal truth. ‘Soon there may appear in college campuses those huge iron balls of the demolition squads with whichNew Yorksky scrapers are crumbled down.’ Such massive, mobile and deep-seated would become the desire for destruction in students. ‘Whether they grow under capitalism or socialism, our children will certainly care about vandalism.’ They will take special trains to foot ball matches and burn them on their way back. Full-fed and well-paid youths are the most destructive. An old school teacher once remarked that ‘kids are now not kids but creatures come from other planets, putting things on the railway lines for derailing expresses.’

Some among us don’t seem to belong to human race.

Will our colleges rest. Trinity. Kenneth Yarham.

Priestley feels the contrast between the rough life led by him as a boy in his native village and the excessive student violence in the present times. In Priestley’s boyhood also there were fights in schools. Players and spectators of football both behaved roughly. But there were no heartlessness or hatred of life. There indeed were fights between equals but helpless people were never harmed. Now the young arrives eager to destroy, not to create. Some among us don’t seem to belong to human race. They set fire on society and purposefully discredit the techniques and apparatus of a world civilization. ‘Threats of violence rise like puffs of steam in New York city streets at night’ (in his times), he observes.

Newsreel films please show me students making something, not breaking something.

Going for making something. Mike Fernwood.

There are many reasons for this turbulence among students in their tender ages-hydrogen bomb, bad homes, no religion, irresponsible parents, boring environment and the like, all contribute. Also there are those other modern day factors as the thirst of political parties and misled organizations for young martyrs and maimed victims to pivot them to political and administrative power. And there is some unknown factor, a vast ‘X’ in the dark. Priestley prays, news reels in films in theatres show him students making something, instead of breaking something; like some scene of students marching to build a house, not to knock one down.

Dedicated to those girl scholars who rise up early, go to fields and forests to cut grass for cattle, and walk kilometers away to colleges.

Education, their gateway to future. Irving Rusinow

Many girl students in some districts in Kerala, especially in the Quilon district, studying for post graduate courses, will rise up early in the morning and go to fields and forests to cut grass for their cattle. Carrying this heavy load of fodder on their heads they rush back to their houses, wash and breakfast and walk kilometers away to their colleges. In the evenings they walk back, go to the forests with their books, collect firewood for their kitchen and a few green twigs for their goats and carrying this burden return home in the dusk and complete the household chores. They pass their examinations with first class and gold medals and become college lecturers and school teachers. That is what education and studentship is. Dutiful work cleanses the soul and prepares one as a diligent learner. My nation’s future is safe in their hands. This article is dedicated to those hard working diligent girl scholars, a few of whom I was fortunate enough to teach.

(Originally written in April 1995)

_______________________________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.
There are many pictures of students rioting and breaking things
in almost all nations. But we respect the vision and wishes of Priestley and so chose pictures accordingly.
_______________________________________________________

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here. BLOOM BOOKS TRANSLATIONS.

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Appreciations, Articles, British Authors, British Writers, English Literature, Essays, J B Priestley, John Boynton Priestley, P S Remesh Chandran, Reintroductions, Reviews, Sahyadri Books Bloom Books Trivandrum, Student Agitations, Student Mobs, Student Strikes, Student Unrest, Student Violence

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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In Praise Of Mistakes. Robert Lynd. Essay Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

39.

In Praise Of Mistakes. Robert Lynd. Essay Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 25th Nov 2011 Short URL http://nut.bz/25tqv807/
Posted in Wikinut Essays

 

Robert Lynd is famous for his essays of wit, wisdom and humour. Here he is writing ‘in praise of mistakes’, how they are useful and how they are enjoyable to the world. It is his opinion that it is difficult to write something without slipping somewhere. Mistakes do not interfere with our enjoyment of a writer and the only unpardonable sin in an author is writing uninterestingly. This Irish genius who made us laugh shared the world with us during 1879-1949.

What I wonder is why I did not snatch away as much wealth as I could from the Indian Coffers.

People often write to newspapers about the frequent mistakes writers make in their articles and books. Geographical, historical or religious errors may occur in their works but those mistakes seldom make their works unreadable or unenjoyable. Instead, most often, they make the world merry for they give enough material for the world to laugh. One will wonder why writers do not make as many mistakes as they can so that the world can at least laugh heartily. In this aspect, the case framed by fault-finders against writers is a weak one. If it is presented in any court the writer, Lord Clive, may tell the jury that he wondered why he did not make as many mistakes as he could. Lord Clive was tried in the British Parliament for corruption during his India Service when he told senators, what he wondered was why he did not dare to snatch away more wealth from the vast treasure houses of the Indian Kings!

It is difficult to write about something without slipping somewhere.

Personally Lynd is a lover of accuracy but he finds it difficult to write about something without slipping somewhere. He consults an encyclopedia to avoid errors in writing. He has on many occasions risen and sweated in the very early mornings in fear of mistakes he may have made in articles which have already gone to press. A modern day writer who is born in the time of spell checker, auto correct and Internet would be totally unfamiliar with such dreadful experiences.

Mistakes do not interfere with our enjoyment of an author’s work.

Mistakes do not interfere with our enjoying an author’s work. It is not the word and its meaning that count; it is the sound of the word that is important and is appealing to human senses. It is the sound of the words that makes a poem pleasing to our senses and ears and imparts beauty to the poem. Poets, Lynd permits them, may use the names of any precious stones or anything else for that matter in their poems even without knowing their meaning, if those sounds are pleasing to ears. A jeweller’s assistant needn’t immediately go to him and correct him. According to Lynd the unpardonable sin in a writer is to write uninterestingly. If a work is interesting, it would be read and enjoyed by all. Mistakes do not matter there. Shakespeare made his multitude of mistakes in chronology and Walter Scott made the Sun rise on the wrong side of the world in the wrong time. Even then Shakespeare’s dramas and Walter Scott’s novels and poems are read by millions of people with interest.

A writer’s mistakes deserve praise, and fantastic errors are great stimulants.

Mistakes made in literature are useful to man in many ways. For example, they make the reader temporarily feel that he is an inch taller than the writer. Mistakes made by the writer are a source of delight to many readers. There is more joy over a single error discovered in a good writer than over a hundred pages of perfect writing. Error-hunters search for errors as meticulously and systematically as gold-hunters search for gold. His Eurekas are uttered not over immortal phrases but over some tiny mistake in geography, history or grammar. The famous English weekly ‘Punch’ once used to print the names of authors along with the mistakes they made. The writers protested. Lynd is of the opinion that writers needn’t protest over such dissections by print media and they needn’t consider it as an attempt to rob them of the credit for making the world happy and laughing. Since they are such useful to mankind, the writers’ mistakes deserve praise; even their fantastic mistakes, which are in many, are also thus pardonable. Lynd’s closing observation is that ‘we shall never have a novelist or writer of the magnitude of Shakespeare till one can make as many mistakes as Shakespeare made’.

Dear Reader,
You are invited to kindly visit the author’s website Time Upon My Window Sill.

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking BLOOM BOOKS TRANSLATIONS here.

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Visit our sister site Bloom Books Trivandrum.

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Appreciations, English Essayists, English Essays, English Language And Literature, English Writers, Essays, In Praise Of Mistakes, Irish Writers, P S Remesh Chandran, Philosophy, Re Introductions, Remembrances, Reviews, Robert Lynd, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies, Usefulness Of Mistakes

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PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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Rathnashikamani
30th Nov 2011 (#)

“A writer’s mistakes deserve praise, and fantastic errors are great stimulants”
I appreciate that.
You’ve given a differently positive perspective to the art of reading a writers mind.

PSRemeshChandra
30th Nov 2011 (#)

Writers’ mistakes have always given the world interesting material to laugh about. They do not disparage the writer but do prove to the world that they indeed are human beings, after us going through the unearthly materials they have written. Writers’ mistakes are indeed a solace to readers who are taken off with the momentum of the flow of ideas and emotions in the writing and cannot land. Seeing the mistake and reading the mistake lands them safely on the terra firma.

The Angel In The House. Virginia Woolf. Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

38.

The Angel In The House. Virginia Woolf. Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 18th Nov 2011  Short URL http://nut.bz/1ns3iwjj/
Posted in Wikinut Essays

 

Virginia Woolf was a British essayist, novelist and critic. The Voyage Out, Night And Day and Jacob’s Room are her famous books. Professions For Women was a lecture she gave before a women’s meeting. A woman can be a doctor, a lawyer, a civil servant or a journalist. But in all these professions, the woman has to beat two opponents- the hold of her own womanishness over her and the fear of her opinion of what men would say.

Pianos and visits to Paris, Berlin and Vienna are not at all needed to become a writer.

Virginia Woolf, the writer and feminist.

Virginia Woolf says, becoming a writer was very easy for her. Her road to literature had been laid out clear before her by many woman writers prior to her times such as Jane Austen and George Elliot. Writing had already been made a reputed and harmless occupation for women. Writing no more affected a woman’s family life. Pianos and models, or visits to Paris, Vienna and Berlin were not at all needed to provide varying experiences for writers. Paper alone was needed which was available cheap then. She says availability of cheap writing paper was reason for the success of woman writers in those times. She simply wrote a review for a book, mailed it and received the next month a cheque for more than One Pound from the editor.

She wanted a Persian cat so she wrote a review. Then she wanted a Motor Car and so wrote a novel.

                                  Virginia Woolf with father, Sir. Leslie Stephen.

With this money gained from writing a review she bought a beautiful Persian cat for a pet. She got encouraged and grew ambitious. She got thrilled at the prospect of writing things and gaining things she wished for easily. A Persian cat is all very well but a Persian cat is not enough. She decided to have a motor car. So she wrote a novel and became a novelist. It was that simple. Nothing in this world is as delightful as telling stories. In her very early days of career she learned that writing is a very lucrative career. We readers will wonder how it can be so, with the experiences of such famous writers as Dostoevsky and many others before us. But her’s was a time when woman writers were very scarce and including a woman’s writing in a publication was a desirable change and an attraction. In modern times many a talented writer has complained that he could not get published because he could not go to an editor in skirts and rubber projections.

Removing all womanishness from her work is the real challenge for a woman writer.

                                Little Virginia with mother Julia Stephen.

For decades it was thought that writing detective novels and stories are set apart for men because no woman detective story writer could excel and surpass in devising stories as those written by G.K.Chesterton and Arthur Conan Doyle. Many critics including this writer still believe that there is something significant missing in the writings of women authors. The only exception to this was that respected lady Ethel Lilian Voynich whose immortal novel ‘The Gad Fly’ terrorized the literary world as well as the revolutionary world and still serves as the classic motivation for world revolutionaries and guerilla warfare. Even in this novel the delicate feminine caricature of Arthur, the boyhood image of Rivarus, the relentless revolutionary of later years cries aloud that the novel was written by a lady. Conceiving intricate, finished plots somehow eludes the intellectual and imaginative genius of a woman’s mind. Not that there is universal consensus that Agatha Christies’ novels satisfy us as Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels do, but through her a woman for the first time successfully established herself as a detective novel writer, at least. A professional woman has to remove all womanishness from her work. A good work of literature shall not proclaim that it was written by a woman. All women writers are hindered by the goodness of the womanishness in them. Virginia Woolf calls this phantom idea ‘The Angel in the House’, borrowing from the title of a poem by Coventry Patmore. In those last days of QueenVictoria’s Era, every house inEnglandhad its angel in it so far as the prosperity brought to that island nation from her far out colonies remained undisturbed. In the midst of this immense confiscated prosperity the women did not have to work and could afford servants. Their hands remained uncalloused. This expression, The Angel In The House, denotes the sympathetic, charming, unselfish goodness of womanhood present in all women of those times and in all times. But for a woman writer, it is an obstacle to as freely and openly dealing with a subject as men do in their writings. She cannot write something original if this phantom presence of ‘the Angel in the House’ is not killed. Though it is only an imagination of the mind, it was a great problem to the Victorian era women writers.

It is harder to kill a phantom presence in one’s mind than killing a reality.

                      Virginia Woolf’s father Sir Leslie Stephen in 1860

Killing the ‘Angel in the House’ was part of the occupation of a woman writer in the old English times. It still is. It is far harder to kill a phantom image that is existing in one’s own mind than killing something which is real and substantial. It has to be done mentally. Virginia Woolf strove hard and got rid of this imaginary presence on her mind finally. Woolf says: ‘It was she who bothered me and wasted my time and who so tormented me that at last I was forced to kill her. Had I not killed her, she would have killed me and destroyed my career as a writer.’ Without getting rid of this imaginary presence, she would never have become a good writer.

Most women writers fear that men would be shocked to see what they have written.

                         With Noel Oliver, Maitland Radford, Rupert Brooke.

Men and women have similar structure in their minds. A novelist has a peculiar state of mind. He wants to be as unconscious as possible in his inner self and in his inter relations. He is always in a trance. Any change in his immediate environment is unbearable to him. Things should be quiet and regular for him. He is really always in an illusion. Most woman writers find it hard to write freely of their feelings. They fear men would be shocked at what they have written. However, women have entered almost all professions human skill can enter. Woolf tells women: ‘You have won rooms of your own in the house hitherto exclusively owned by men. Now they have to be furnished, decorated and shared.” It is said that men in the house will have their favourite seats, and the women in the house have their favourite rooms. It is interesting to note that Woolf’s advice to women also illustrates how womanish an advice can be.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
________________________________

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking BLOOM BOOKS TRANSLATIONS.

To read about the life and people of Kerala, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

Visit our sister site  Bloom Books, Trivandrum here.

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Angel In The House, Appreciations, Articles, British Authors, British Writers, English Literature, Essays, P S Remesh Chandran, Professions For Women, Reintroductions, Reviews, Sahyadri Books Bloom Books Trivandrum, Virginia Woolf

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Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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Thoughts At The Ferry. E V Lucas Essay. Reintroduced by P S Remesh Chandran.

36. Thoughts At The Ferry. E V Lucas Essay. Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 23rd Sep 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/3orvhmnz/
Posted in Wikinut  Essays

 

Ferrymen and their boats are a departing lot. The world depended on them much for thousands and thousands of years to reach destinations and return to home. But when bridges came to be built across rivers, they became of no use. But in remote hamlets and in unreachable parts of the world they still can be seen, transporting people across rivers, ensuring the onward progress and flow of human life. E.V.Lucas makes a quick glance into the mind of a ferryman.

Thoughts passing through the mind of a traveller as he is waiting for the ferryboat.

E.V.Lucas, along with A.G.Gardiner, led the renaissance in English essays. This gifted Londoner had a gifted tongue which he used for creating good English prose. A rich variety of subjects were brought to human attention by these writers in their plain, lucid language. Here we see Lucas waiting for the next ferry boat. Several thoughts pass through his mind which he pens down to make us aware of the ferry man’s strange situation. The ferryman and his boat are at the beck and call of all and he makes no complaints even when called at night.

Picture of the ferryman fading away from towns and villages as bridges are built across rivers.

Canoes, departing from the world. 1886

Ferrymen were an inevitable part and constituent of life in the old world. Villages and towns depended upon them to begin and to end days. Now bridges have come across almost all rivers and the ferrymen and the ferry are a departing picture. Today it is just a nostalgic remembrance for a few and majority of the population nowadays has not even seen a ferryman. What once was a common picture of human life lives now only in articles and essays of this kind.

The world literature is full of ferrymen and their boats.

Always at the beck and call of all. Scotland 1858

But the world literature and history is full of stories of their invaluable services. Had there been no ferryman as Guhan who was willing to transport Rama and Sita in his boat, the epic of Ramayana would have progressed in another way. Human souls would not have reached their assigned place had there been no reckless ferryman there to ferry them across Hades in the Stygian Land.

It is a universal legend that ferrymen sing. Who can sing in the presence of such silence and gloom?

Campsite of a ferryman. Always lives nearby.

Ferrymen everywhere are mostly gloomy. There is a wealth of reasons for their lack of mirth. One is the course of the boat. Had it travelled along the river it would have been a pleasure but it travels across the river always. It constantly crosses the river from side to side, and that too from the same spots on either side, which makes the journey monotonous and gloomy. Then, it is a legend that ferrymen sing. Lucas had as a boy a pretty song in his memory about the Twickenham Ferry. But in actuality the ferrymen never sing. Who could carol in the presence of such silence and gloom?

All the world may go wayfaring during Ramazan, Christmas and Passover but not he!

There are ferrywomen too in Kerala backwaters.

The ferryman shall not leave his post. It is expected that he would be present on his post day and night. This is another reason fro their gloominess. All the world may go wayfaring but not he! Many live in hovels close by. When Christmas, Ramazan and Passover comes, he should be there to transport those who go to partake in these festivities but he and his family cannot partake in them. He is always in the open with blowing breeze and racing clouds around him. Exciting sound of running water constantly falls in his ear. Such a thrilling and intoxicating atmosphere would have made anyone an explorer but the ferry man cannot leave his place. ‘Travel appears for us the exploration into the unknown but for him it is the narrow confines of the known.’

The ferryman is always there at the beck and call of all.

Monotonous journey, mute companions.

There is yet another reason for his hatred of mankind. Whenever we call he should be there. He may be annoyed, and it may add fuel to his misanthropic fire, but whenever we call he does come with the boat. Though he thus strives prompt and hard to serve the world, the world seems not to consider him enough. ‘Even great charitable persons like Carnegie have not left some legacy to any ferryman.’

Why do they write songs like ‘The Ferryman And The Goose?’ Why cannot they write ‘The Ferryman And The Swan?’

Hailing the ferryman. Daniel Knight 1910.

Companionship of the ferryman’s passengers is brief which also adds to his gloom. People of various cultures daily enter his boat providing him with good scope for conversation. But no sooner they reach the other bank of the river than they step out and are gone. Therefore ferrymen often keep dumb animals as their companions. Some carry dogs, some carry parrots and some others geese. These companions will have great fidelity to them. However, poetry titles like ‘The Ferryman and the Goose’ stain and degrade them. Why can’t they write something like ‘The Ferryman and the Swan?’ The ferrymen deserve the companionship of the better and the most beautiful. Thus, if we examine the more and the more closely, the ferrymen appear the more and the more dismal.

A fine song reflecting the righteousness and reserve of the old England times.

Prompt to come at any time. Edmund Blair Leighton.

Do not think there have not been good ferryman songs. Christina Rossetti’s ‘The Ferryman’ is a fine ferryman song in English literature. We can see in it the righteousness and English reserve of a ferryman of that time. The damsel in the song tempts the ferryman by mentioning that she has blue eyes which may mean she is blue-blooded, available or both but he does not fall into the seduction. This song, with a 21-year old ferryman and 18-year-old English girl is a fine piece for orchestration and filming. And the music Christina incorporated into this song is immortal. In fact, there have been multiple tunes to this song, one as slow rhythmic as a gently flowing stream and another as quick as a rapid. But no orchestration or filming has ever been made of this song. It is lying open, waiting for its time.

The Ferryman: Christina Rossetti’s famous song portraying the charm of bygone rural life.

A passenger is waiting on the other bank. Leighton

THE FERRYMAN

Christina Rossetti

Ferry me across the water
Do, do boatman do;
If you have a penny in your
Purse, I will do.

I have a penny in my purse
And my eyes are blue,
So ferry me across the water
Do, boatman do.

Step into my ferry boat
Be they black or blue,
And for the penny in your purse
I will ferry you.

 

 

_________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.
_________________________________

 

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

 

 

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Appreciations, Articles, British Authors, British Writers, Christina Rossetti, E V Lucas, English Literature, Essays, Ferryman Essays, Ferryman Literature, Ferryman Songs, Ferrymen And Their Lives, P S Remesh Chandran, Reintroductions, Renaissance In English Prose, Reviews, Sahyadri Books Bloom Books Trivandrum, The Ferryman, Thoughts At The Ferry

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books,Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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