DEGRADING STANDARDS IN PUBLISHING

A literary fan and writer Serge Volle has conducted a damning experiment. He sent 50 pages of French author Claude Simon’s 1962 novel ‘The Palace’, set during the Spanish civil war, to 19 French publishers touting it as fresh material to be considered for publication. The submission was rejected by 12 publishers outrighly, while seven never replied despite the fact that Simon won the Nobel prize for literature in 1985.

One editor claimed in a rejection letter that the book’s “endlessly long sentences completely lose the reader”, and that it failed to have a “real plot with well-drawn characters”.

Simon is often identified with the ‘Nouveau Roman’ movement, which explicitly experimented with literary styles. Simon was particularly noted for his wandering prose, with sentences that went on for several pages, a noted feature of his most acclaimed work, 1981’s ‘The Georgics’.

The experiment exemplified degrading standards in publishing, “abandoning literary works that are not easy to read or that will not set sales records”. Paraphrasing Marcel Proust, he added that you must already be “famous to be published”.

 

Nobel Prizes: USA far ahead in tally


There is no doubt that USA laps up the talent from all over the world. US leads the tally of Nobel prize winners which were introduced in 1901 and Economics prize introduced in 1968. Since then 585 Nobel prizes have been awarded to 922 winners out of which only 49 are women.
Youngest and oldest

Youngest person to receive the Nobel is Malala Yousafzai who received it at the age of 17 years in 2014. Although she belongs to Pakistan, her country may hardly be happy over her winning it. Oldest Nobel laureate is Leonid Hurwicz of US who received the Nobel in 2004 for economics at the age of 90 years.
Countries at the top of list.
USA:

357 total

Chemistry: 73

Economics: 55

Literature: 12

Peace: 22

Physics: 94

Medicine: 101
U.K.

115 total

Chemistry: 29

Economics: 10

Literature: 9

Peace: 9

Physics: 26

Medicine: 32
Germany

82 total

Chemistry: 29

Economics: 8

Literature: 1

Peace: 4

Physics: 23

Medicine: 17
France

57 total

Chemistry: 8

Economics: 2

Literature: 15

Peace: 8

Physics: 13

Medicine: 11
Sweden

33 total

Chemistry: 5

Economics: 2

Literature: 9

Peace: 5

Physics: 4

Medicine: 8
Major areas of research leading to Nobel 

In physics is particle physics and in chemistry is biochemistry. Research in genetics most hot topic and in economics it is micro economics.
Nobel winners of Indian origin 
Ronald Ross: Medicine 1902

Rabindranath Tagore: Literature 1913

C.V.Raman: Physics in 1930

Hargobind Khurana: Medicine in 1968

Mother Teresa: Peace in 1979

Subramanyan Chandrasekhar: Physics in 1983

Amartya Sen: Economics in 1998

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan: Chemistry in 2009

Kailash Satyarthi: Peace in 2014

Hymn of Creation

Cosmos is a mystery and man have been curios to know how it came into being. What was there in the beginning? In India the intelligent mind began striving since the first millennium, for convincing explanations of cosmic mystery. In the latest phase of Rig Veda poets began wondering about creation. There is beautiful hymn called “Hymn of Creation” in the Rig Veda. It marks the beginning of abstract thinking and work of a very great poet who is asking questions which are fundamental in nature. It portrays whole vision of mysterious chaos before creation and the ineffable forces working in the depths of the primeval void. It goes like this:

“Then even nothingness was not, nor existence.

There was no air then, nor the heaven beyond it.

what covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?

“Then there was neither death nor immortality,

nor was there then the torch of night and day.

The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.

There was that One then, and there was no other.

“At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness

All this was only unillumined water.

That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,

arose at last, born of the power of heat.

“In the beginning desire descended on it-

that was the primal seed, born of the mind.

The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom

know that which is is kin to that which is not.

“And they have stretched their cord  across void.

and know what was above, and what below,

seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.

Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

“But, after all, who knows and who can say

whence it all come and how creation happened?

The gods themselves are later than creation,

so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

“Whence all creation had its origin,

he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not

he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,

he knows -or maybe even he does not know”

This was used in Hindi as the starting track of the Doordarshan serial “Bharat Ek Khoj” by Shyam Benegal.

Modern physics is also striving to know the answer in theory called “Big Bang”. Its basic surmise is the there was energy only everywhere and matter did not come to existence. After the big band some of  the energy condensed to become matter.

 

I am not a Scheherazade!

Yes, I am not a Scheherazade, the famous woman -never ending story teller of ‘Arabian Nights‘ who could keep you on the edge of seat and weave a magical tale from the previous tale. She kept her husband prince Shahryar spellbound with a new story every night but never completed it and kept the end for next day to avoid being killed by her husband. The king, in order to listen the climax did not kill her. She told the tales for thousand and one night. During this period, the prince fell slowly in love with her and revoked his vow to keep a bride for one conjugal night and then kill her the following morning.

Depiction of Queen Scheherazade telling her st...
Depiction of Queen Scheherazade telling her stories to King Shahryar in The Arabian Nights. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My store of imagination is very meagre, It is bits here and there. After writing a single paragraph, it is quits for me. My imagination runs dry. Thank God, I am not telling my ideas to a prince of Arabia, otherwise my head must have rolled off long time ago. For that matter, my readers-if there are any-are very tolerant and forgive my idiosyncrasies. I am not a pedagogue, I am not teaching any lessons to anyone. As my attention wanders from place to place, I try to capture the events in my mind and then transfer them to the paper and ink. That is all. Thanks

Boats: the metaphor of life

Boats evoke mysterious feelings in most of us. The scene of a far off  boat on the river water looking like a speck is etched permanently in the memory of those who had seen this. It is feeling of departure of some one close to us who is going away. When the fishermen leave for high seas for their occupation of  catch, their families wait anxiously with baited breaths for their safe return. Sea is full of hopes, despair and surprises. Same is the story of life which wobbles on the surface of  sea of life. Many a times the fishermen had a windfall, at others, even after spending so many days in the sea, nothing comes in the hand. Many a times, we have to battle with the difficulties of life like the old man who comes victorious from the jaws of death in the epic book “The old man and the sea” by Ernst Hemingway.

Those who live near the shores of rivers and sea are familiar with the boats sailing on the water. They inspire so many songs and pages of the literature. Boats enrich their literature and provide metaphors for many events in our lives. For example, many of our saints who lived in the towns situated on the banks of great rivers like Ganges, had compared the life to a boat floating in the turbulent seas of this samsara. They urged the God to steer the unstable boat whose sails have become tattered facing the strong winds to safety.

Thoughts

Writing does not come easily. Thoughts jostle with one another in the brain. Confusion abounds in the head. Everything is hazy. Threads of thoughts seemed to be entangled on one another. Incoherent stream of them is what comes out. Inside there is overcrowding of thoughts, because the thinking process is unending, but it seems that they don’t want t0 leave the brain. They seem to be pushing one another out. Occasionally, some thoughts come popping out and spill on to the paper. The ink hardly dries from pen because the words do not flow like torrents but just as a trickle. How I wish that floodgates of words open and words pour onto the paper. I pray to Goddess Saraswati to impart me this boon at least. Presently, both the Goddesses: Saraswati and Laxmi, have showered blessings which are just average. I don’t say that I have not been lucky.

I wanted to do doctorate in Chemistry but the time seems to have run out. My resolutions have been very weak. Had they been stronger, I would have satisfy my attitude for writing and knowing the mysteries of nature through science at least. Indians as such are steeped in the metaphysics with umpteen number of Gods and Goddesses in the mythology of Hinduism. It seems that there are enough numbers of Gods for supervision of the activities on this earth as well as the higher world and also nether world.