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Friday, May 28, 2010

Steve Jobs steers Apple to the top

Steve Jobs
By dethroning Microsoft as the world's top technology company, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has piloted a stunning phoenix-like rise from the ashes for the firm he founded nearly 35 years ago.

Apple, maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod, iPhone and iPad, surpassed US software giant Microsoft this week in terms of market value and now trails only Exxon Mobil and PetroChina in market capitalization.

Apple's market capitalization -- the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the stock price -- at the close of trading on Wall Street on Thursday was 230.53 billion dollars compared with 227.86 billion dollars for Microsoft.

Apple's annual net profit, however, continues to trail that of Microsoft -- 5.7 billion dollars compared with 14.6 billion dollars last fiscal year -- as Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer noted in New Delhi on Thursday.

"It is a long game," Ballmer told reporters. "Certainly there is no technology company on the planet that is as profitable as we are."

Microsoft may indeed be more profitable, but investors are increasingly betting on Apple and its string of must-have consumer gadgets.

"It's really hard not to be upbeat on Apple," said Standard and Poor's analyst Clyde Montevirgen, pointing out that the Cupertino, California company's sales and profits rose even during the economic crisis.

Apple's ascendance can be directly traced to Silicon Valley legend Jobs, who Fortune Magazine last year crowned the "CEO of the Decade."

Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976 and introduced the first Macintosh computer in 1984 along with innovations such as the computer mouse.

Jobs left Apple in 1985 after an internal power struggle and started NeXT Computer and Academy-Award-winning Pixar, maker of hit animated films such as "Toy Story."

Apple, meanwhile, stagnated until Jobs returned to the company in 1997.

Since then, Apple has gone from strength to strength, starting with the iMac in 1998, the iPod in 2001, iTunes in 2003, the iPhone in 2007, the App Store in 2008 and the iPad this year.

"I think it's the most extraordinary turnaround in corporate history," said Spencer Ante, corporate deputy bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal.

"Not only are they back in the game but they're leading the industry forward," Ante said on the Journal's Digits Live Show.

The iPad appears to be the latest success for the 55-year-old Jobs -- Apple sold one million iPads in the first 28 days, more than double the number of iPhones sold during the same period after the smartphone's 2007 release.

The biggest cloud hanging over Apple is Jobs's health. The Apple CEO was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant last year.

"If Jobs goes it will impact the stock but I don't think it will impact the company," said Montevirgen. "He's assembled a very strong engineering team. There are a lot of engineers who think like him.

"I think Apple will continue to thrive."
source: AFP

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The mortality of news

Arjun Bajpayee, a 16-year-old schoolboy from Noida exhibits the Indian flag at Mt Everest. Arjun become the youngest Indian to scale Mt. Everest
The mortality of news
By Pritish Nandy
Never has news been so short lived. The bigger it is, the quicker it dies. Something bigger or worse instantly replaces it. Saturday’s air crash is a perfect example. Screaming headlines on every news channel and round the clock coverage for an entire day ends up as an 8 column banner headline on the front page of newspapers and even before you know it, the event, the 158 deaths, the narrow escapes, everything becomes statistics. The terrible human tragedy is ready to be replaced by something else. The cycle of life, the cycle of news, the cycle of grief continues. Some call it fate. Others call it life. Perhaps it’s just business, the business of news.

This is not only true about tragedy. It’s also true about human endeavour. On the same Saturday as the air crash, a Delhi schoolboy, barely 16, scaled the world’s tallest peak, Mt Everest. It was an incredible event and made him the world’s youngest mountaineer to achieve this. When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, his intrepid sherpa, climbed the same peak they were in the news for months on end. In fact Sir Edmund spent his whole life basking in the glory of this climb. So did Tenzing who’s still regarded as a legend.

Arjun Bajpayee was not so lucky. In less than an hour of his conquest, a 13 year old Californian reached Everest from the more dangerous North Eastern route in Tibet. Also the news of the air crash grabbed all attention. As a result, his story was reported on page 13 with tiny pictures of both Arjun and Jordan Romero, the Californian. Most people don’t even know that Arjun beat the record of another teenager, 18 year old Krushnaa Patil who had climbed Everest last year. In fact, 4 hours after Arjun, Mamta Sodha reached the peak as well. Earlier this month, two other Indians had also accomplished this feat. So, everyone got what Warhol once described as their 15 minutes of fame and then vanished into oblivion.

This is news as we know it today: Instant and ephemeral. Before you know it, it’s gone. Whether it’s human tragedy, a terrible crime or a spectacular achievement, it’s fleeting. You have to grab the moment or you’ll miss it. Those who are currently travelling out of India and will be back, say, a week from now will possibly even miss the news of the crash. Even if they hear of it, they will miss its impact. If, like me, they read old newspapers on their return, they will cluck their tongues, move on. This is not to say people have stopped feeling grief. Ofcourse they do. They also understand human tragedy and feel for it. There are more NGOs working to change the world today than ever before. But the nature of news has changed. So has the way we respond to it.

I read on Twitter people constantly complaining about the way news is covered and how journalists, particularly TV journalists, have become so insensitive to it. This could be true because this is a common complaint but can you blame a doctor for being less moved by death because he sees it every day in his workplace? In fact, it’s this very insensitivity that allows doctors to perform their duties with greater diligence and dispassion. You would find it tough dealing with a doctor who feels so strongly about your state of health that he scares the living daylights out of you. You need solutions in his job, not just compassion. Mother Teresa was so remarkable because she did not just feel for the poor and dying, as indeed we all do, but she kept that feeling aside and worked for them. That’s what a good doctor does. That’s what a good journalist must do. Sleeves are not meant to hang your emotions from. They are meant to be folded up while addressing the task that’s yours to perform.

As the nature of news changes, so does our response. We grieve too easily. We get angry too easily. We demand punishment too easily. And we move on too easily. The politics of news is thus easy to manipulate and Governments do it all the time. A crime happens or a terrorist strike and everyone’s instantly baying for blood. So what’s the simplest thing to do? Pick on anyone and hang the crime on him. Serious investigation’s going for a toss. Everyone’s running behind instant fixes. No one notices how cases eventually get thrown out of courts, how people are acquitted for lack of real evidence, how lives and careers are destroyed. When India loses the T20 World Cup, the first thing we demand is Dhoni be sacked. All his past is forgotten. When Yuvraj underperforms, we forget his amazing track record and want him hung and quartered for partying late at night.

If we persist like this, I fear not only will the ends of justice not be met but also we will have no heroes left. Apart from those who know how to play the media.

source: Times of India

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Inquisitive (

Organisers of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic games unveiled mascots for the event this week. What or who is Wenlock (left) named after?
t's the UK town. The Wenlock Olympian Society Games, dating from the mid-19th Century, were an inspiration for the modern Olympic movement. Mandeville's name is derived from Stoke Mandeville, in Buckinghamshire, the renowned hospital with a spinal unit.

Approximately 2.5 million people are living with HIV in India. We are producing public service advertising to promote condom use in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

The highest downloaded ringtone of India worldwide is...

Condom, Condom'

India Launches 'Condom, Condom' Safe Sex Ring Tone in Effort to Prevent HIV Infections

"Every man is the architect of his own fortune".

SRIVENKATANARASIMHRAJUWARIPETA, is a small railway junction in Andhra Pradesh which has the longest name.
Kissan Kanhaiya was the first Indian color film that got released in 1937
The first inter-city railway was built between Bombay and Surat, and was completed in 1864.
The world's highest cricket ground is in Chail, this cricket pitch is 2444 meters above the sea level.
The smile is the most frequently used facial expression. A smile can use anywhere from a pair of 5 to 53 facial muscles.
Karsanbhai Patel, the man behind the successful 'Nirma brand, named the detergent powder after his daughter Nirupama
Playback singing was first introduced in the Indian Cinema in 1935 in the movie - Dhoop Chaon.
Air is passed through the nose at a speed of 100 miles per hour when a person
The Portuguese offered Mumbai as a part of the dowry to King Charles II of England, on his wedding to Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal in 1661.
Cricket - \The gentlemans game\ came to India in the 17th century
India first participated in the modern day Olympics in the year 1920 held at Antwerp
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), headquartered in Mumbai, is the richest Cricket body in the world.
In the tower of the famous Se Cathedral in Goa, there is a bell that can be heard 14 kilometres away in Panjim and yet when one stands next to the bell, its soft melodious tones fall lightly on the ear.

The first railway bridge was built over Thane Creek in 1854.

"The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it. Whether he's got an abscess on his knee or in his sour." - Rona Barrett

Bollywood quiz

1. Ramesh Sippy's classic film, Sholay, surprisingly won only one Filmfare award. Which category was it?
Ans: Best Editor
2. Which is the only film where Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand shared screen space?
Ans: Insaaniyat
3. In a one-of-its kind cinematic tribute, Dev Anand is shown selling tickets of which Hindi classic in black in Kala Bazaar?
Ans: Mother India
4. The title for which hit film was suggested by Kirron Kher?
Ans: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge
5. She was born Fatima Rashid and made her first filmi appearance in Talaash-e-Haq. Identify her.
Ans: Nargis Dutt

6. What is Mohammed Zahur Hashmi better known as?
Ans: Khayyam

7. Only three music directors have won the National Award for Best Music Direction. A R Rahman and Ilayaraaja are two. Who is the third?
Ans: Jaidev

8. Which film, directed by Ramesh Saigal, was based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment?
Ans: Phir Subah Hogi

9.What first, subsequently a regular feature in our films, can be attributed to Dhoop Chhaon (a remake of Nitin Bose's Bhagya Chakra)?
Ans: First Hindi film to have playback singing

10 Which was the first Indian film to be nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars?
Ans: Mother India

11 Amitabh Bachchan's real name, Amit Kumar Srivastava, has been his onscreen name in only one film. Name the film.
Ans: Benaam
12 Which Hindi classic was remade in Telugu as Malle Poovu?

13 Which film's title was inspired by an inscription on the rear of a truck?
Singh is Kinng

Next to bone marrow, hair is the fastest growing tissue in the human body.

It is believed that the city of Chennai gets its name from the old name Chennapatnam / Chennapuri which literally translates to Beautiful City.

Mansarovar , the holy lake of Hindus is situated at a height of 15,000 feet above sea level on Mount Kailash.

The eye of a human can distinguish 500 shades of the gray.
The name of the state of Bihar owes its origin to the Viharas built by Lord Buddha. Viharas in Sanskrit means abode.
As per 2004 estimate India has approximately 12,900 movie screens spread across
various cinema theaters.
Dholavira has the worlds oldest dam, dating back to the Indus Valley
The cornea is the only living tissue in the human body that does not contain any blood vessels.

The art of navigation was developed in the river Sindh 6,000 years ago. The very word navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word navgatih.

The oldest European church and synagogue in India are in the city of Cochin. They were built in 1503 and 1568 respectively

Silicon Valley alone contains over 1,00,000 Indian millionaires.

The Portuguese offered Mumbai as a part of the dowry to King Charles II of England, on his wedding to Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal in 1661.

The Navapur railway station is half in Maharashtra and half in Gujarat state.
The four religions born in India - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world's population.

It is believed that the city of Bombay gets its name from the Portuguese phrase 'bom bahia' meaning good bay.

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds, that makes the catfish rank #1 for animal having the most taste buds.

A hummingbird's heart beats 615 beats in a minute.

The Golden era of hockey in India was the period from 1928 - 1956 when India won 6 consecutive gold medals in the Olympics.

Kerala was declared independent state in 1956 before which it was a part of the then Madras state
Varanasi, also known as Benares, is called \The Ancient City\ where Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C., and is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world today.
The World's first University was established in Takshashila (part of pre-partition India) in 700BC.
Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Today, Ayurveda is fast
regaining its rightful place in our civilization.
A rat can last longer without water than a camel.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Subroto Bagchi on the essence of success

Subroto Bagchi
Subroto Bagchi is best known for co-founding MindTree in 1999 where he started as the chief operating officer. Bagchi, now the vice chairman and gardener of MindTree, has written extensively in leading newspapers and magazines, and spoken at industry platforms and educational institutions the world over.

His first book, The High Performance Entrepreneur, was released in 2006, and his second book, Go Kiss the World, was released in 2008. Mark Tully hailed it as 'a remarkable story of courage, integrity and enterprise'. His third book, The Professional, was released in September 2009.

Following is the speech he delivered to the Class of 2006 at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore on defining success. Bagchi said it was the first time he had shared the guiding principles of his life with young professionals. Read on . . .

I was the last child of a small-time government servant, in a family of five brothers. My earliest memory of my father is as that of a District Employment Officer in Koraput, Orissa.

It was, and remains, as back of beyond as you can imagine. There was no electricity; no primary school nearby and water did not flow out of a tap. As a result, I did not go to school until the age of eight; I was home-schooled.

My father used to get transferred every year. The family belongings fit into the back of a jeep -- so the family moved from place to place without any trouble, and my mother would set up an establishment and get us going. Raised by a widow who had come as a refugee from the then East Bengal (now Bangladesh), she was a matriculate when she married my father.

My parents set the foundation of my life and the value system, which makes me what I am today and largely, defines what success means to me today.

As District Employment Officer, my father was given a jeep by the government. There was no garage in the office, so the jeep was parked in our house. My father refused to use it to commute to the office. He told us that the jeep is an expensive resource given by the government -- he reiterated to us that it was not 'his jeep' but the government's.

Insisting that he would use it only to tour the interiors, he would walk to his office on normal days. He also made sure that we never sat in the government jeep -- we could sit in it only when it was stationary.
For full article read

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Australian teen completes round-the-world sail

Jessica Watson
An Australian teenager became the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world after a seven-month journey that was completed Saturday.

Thousands cheered as 16-year-old Jessica Watson maneuvered her pink 34-foot yacht into Sydney Harbour, the finale to an adventure in which she overcame 40-foot waves, homesickness and critics who said she'd never make it home alive.

"She said she'd sail around the world and she has," a tearful Julie Watson said as she watched her grinning daughter cruise past the finish line from a nearby boat. "She's home."

Watson docked at the city's iconic Opera House, bursting into tears and gasping in relief as she stepped off her yacht and into the arms of her parents. She hung onto her father and brother as she walked slowly and tentatively along a pink carpet rolled out in her honor — her first steps on land in 210 days.

"People don't think you're capable of these things — they don't realize what young people, what 16-year-olds and girls are capable of," Watson told the raucous crowd, many wearing pink clothes and waving pink flags in honor of her yacht, Ella's Pink Lady. "It's amazing when you take away those expectations what you can do."

Her parents' decision to let their daughter attempt such a feat was highly criticized.

"I don't think any of us would ever doubt Jessica Watson again," said New South Wales state Premier Kristina Keneally, who was waiting at the Opera House to welcome the teen.

"I'm completely overwhelmed. I just don't know what to think and what to say at the moment," Watson said, her voice trembling, in an interview broadcast live on a screen outside the Opera House. "It's all a bit much but absolutely amazing."

Watson, from Buderim, north of Brisbane in Queensland state, sailed out of Sydney on Oct. 18. She traveled northeast through the South Pacific and across the equator, south to Cape Horn at the tip of South America, across the Atlantic Ocean to South Africa, through the Indian Ocean and around southern Australia.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd greeted Watson at the Opera House with a grin and a hug, dubbing her "Australia's newest hero" — a description Watson dismissed.

"I'm actually going to disagree with the Prime Minister," she said, as the crowd laughed. "I don't consider myself a hero. I'm an ordinary girl who believed in her dream."

Australian Jesse Martin holds the current record for the youngest person to sail around the world solo, nonstop and unassisted, after he completed the journey in 1999 at the age of 18. He boarded Watson's boat and took over as she cruised toward the Opera House, so she could relax and wave to the fans — many wearing pink clothes and waving pink flags in honor of her pink yacht.

Watson's feat, however, will not be considered an official world record, because the World Speed Sailing Record Council discontinued its "youngest" category.

Though she sailed nearly 23,000 nautical miles, some sailing enthusiasts have also argued that Watson didn't travel far enough north of the equator for her journey to count as a true round-the-world trek as defined by the record council's rules. Watson's managers have dismissed those claims and argued she doesn't need to adhere to the council's rules anyway, since they won't be recognizing her voyage.

The route took Watson through some of the world's most treacherous waters, and the teen made it through monstrous storms and suffered seven knockdowns.



source: AP

Face to Face with Palagummi Sainath

Face to Face with Palagummi Sainath

Platform for the poor
- By Ashok Mahadevan

For a newspaper reporter who normally keeps a low profile, Palagummi Sainath was unusually visible in the media just before he talked to Reader’s Digest. A fortnight earlier, he had received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for journalism, literature and the creative communication arts. Then he sparked off a row after criticizing Union Textiles Minister Shanker Sinh Vaghela and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh for disparaging Maharashtra’s cotton farmers-a charge both politicians predictably denied.

In fact, we were lucky to find Sainath in his Mumbai home because he travels upto 10 months a year, chronicling the travails of India’s poor. He’s been doing this for nearly a decade and a half, and his reports reveal a country far different from the “India Shining” of the mainstream media. The economic reforms that began in 1991, Sainath says, while bringing unprecedented prosperity to the middle and upper classes have only deepened the misery of the poor.

Sainath, 50, comes from a distinguished family-his grandfather, V. V. Giri, was the fourth President of India. After a master’s in history from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Sainath became a journalist in 1980. In 1993, thanks to a fellowship from The Times of India, he investigated living conditions in the country’s ten poorest districts. The articles he wrote during this period were collected in a best-selling book called Everybody Loves a Good Drought. Sainath, now rural affairs editor of The Hindu, continues to specialize in writing about the poor because, as he puts it, “I felt that if the Indian press was covering the top five percent, I should cover the bottom five percent.”

Apart from the Magsaysay, Sainath has won many other awards for his work. The economics Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has described him as “one of the world’s great experts on famine and hunger.”

Reader’s Digest: Given your background, you could have had a very conventional and comfortable career. What prompted you to become a student activist when you were young and then a journalist covering the poor?
PS: I come from a very political family. We didn’t grow up with this middle class notion of politics bad, politicians bad. Because of my grandfather, we met people across the political spectrum.

Many other members of my family were also involved in the freedom struggle. Our approach to society was interventionist-you did not wait for things to happen, you participated in them.

In India the press is the child of the freedom struggle. All the nationalist leaders also doubled up as journalists. Mahatma Gandhi founded journal after journal and wrote for them every day. Nehru founded newspapers. Bhagat Singh bombarded newspapers with letters to the editor. Ambedkar’s journalism has enduring appeal.

RD: So you see yourself in that tradition?
PS: I am very rooted in the Indian tradition of journalism. It’s a very humane tradition in which the illiterate masses create the space for journalistic freedom, not the elite. Whether in 1857 or now.

In 1857, the great merchants of Kolkata and Mumbai held public prayers for British troops to prevail over their countrymen. When Tilak was arrested for sedition in 1908 it was not the great household names of Mumbai who protested. The textile workers of Mumbai came out, and 22 of them were left dead in the streets when the police opened fire.

During the Emergency the people of this country brought back freedom. There has always been an organic link between Indian writers and the Indian masses. But it is a link that has been very severely eroded in the last 15 to 20 years.

RD: What are the main areas in which the Indian state has failed its people?
PS: Who are the Indian poor? About 40 percent of them are landless agricultural labourers. About 45 percent are small and marginal farmers, mostly people with less than one hectare, many with less than half a hectare at that.

The problem of 85 percent of the poor is connected to land. But barring Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, we never addressed the issue of land reform. Which government in the Centre for the last 20 years has had land on its agenda?

We have not addressed the issues of water and lack of forest rights. These will create hell in the coming years. We have not tackled basic structural inequalities in ownership of resources.

In addition, there are disparities of gender-women are poorer in every category-caste and region. The middle class has simply closed their minds on the issue of caste. It is not that there are no poor Brahmins or no poor upper-castes, but the poor are predominantly at the lower end of the caste spectrum.

There are twelve regions in the country where 80 percent of the poor are concentrated and the gap between those regions and the rest of the country keeps growing with the solitary exception of Kerala, which has bridged its development gaps. We also never set a fair national minimum wage which was a living family wage. That is one of the spurs to child labour. We severely disadvantaged agricultural labourers by classifying agriculture as unskilled labour. There is no more skilled and more important activity of the human race than the production of food. It’s more risky than manufacturing software.

RD: What are some of our successes?
PS: We are an extremely innovative, vigorous electoral democracy. A live democracy where people are searching for answers. It is not the chattering classes who vote in India. The poor value their vote as the one weapon they have to discipline their leaders and they use it. A vigilant public of that kind is a treasure

RD: What do we need to do to be not just a political democracy but an economic and social democracy too?
PS: Follow your constitution-you have been in serious violation of it for the last 15 years. Nobody ever talks about the Directive Principles in the Indian Constitution because they are not enforceable legally. The Directive Principles are the vision of your society.

RD: A vision no one seems to be interested in following?
PS: It is not in the interest of the ruling elite to follow it. But thousands of people daily address the issues in the directive principles-for example when they say, “Don’t throw me off my land.” Incidentally, I never claim to speak for the poor; I think the poor are fully capable of speaking for themselves. My role as a journalist is to report what they are saying. It is in the interest of us all to listen to them.

RD: What do you think of the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that the government started last year?
PS: There are only three things that this government has done that are of value. The first is that it significantly lowered the communal temperature prevailing in this country in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Another is the Right to Information Act. And the third thing is the Rural Employment Scheme itself.

RD: Do you think the RTI has been used sufficiently?
PS: No. But it has opened up spaces. It will work differently in Kerala than in Kalahandi [Orissa]-the societies are different, the circumstances are different, the quality of governance is different.

RD: What about the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme-the third thing of value?
PS: That was something the government fulfilled kicking and screaming and now they will kill it by underfunding. One way of killing the scheme is by not publicizing or popularizing it amongst the people. In Andhra in 2004, within the first seven days of the announcement of the scheme, 27 lakh people stood in queues and applied for it. The Maharashtra government did not popularize the scheme, yet lakhs of people applied, showing the desperation of the rural poor. I found people with six and seven acres of land standing in the queues because they wanted work. Unlike a chief minister who thinks his farmers are lazy, people are demanding work; they are not demanding pity, they are not demanding a dole.

RD: Are they getting work?
PS: First of all it is restricted to 100 days for one person per family. In the 2007 budget the number of districts covered went up 40 percent but the money allocated went up only six percent.*

It is a despicable lie to say that there is no money for it. It would cost about Rs25,000 crores* each year to run your minimum modest rural employment guarantee program. See the defaulters’ list of the central board of direct taxes (CBDT). With the dues of the giants on the defaulters list you could run the program for a very, very long time. Just two of the defaulters according to the CBDT owed them Rs31,000 crores. Shake their pockets loose!

RD: Are the people who enrolled in the scheme getting their salaries on time? Are they getting the Rs60 a day they are supposed to?
PS: No. They might be getting Rs45. But before that they were getting nothing, many of them. Please note that the purchase of grain went up massively when this program came into being because people have just that little bit more purchasing power. In 2000-01 the government was boasting of a 63 million tonnes surplus of food grains. But there was a surplus of hunger, not of food. Purchasing power had collapsed. The moment people got some purchasing power, the government had to import wheat.

The availability of food grains has plummeted in the last 15 years. In 1991, when the economic reforms began, per capita availability of food grains was 510 grams per Indian. By 2003 it was down to 437 grams.* This has incredible implications.

RD: Wouldn’t it imply that far more people are starving?
PS: It implies that the hunger of far more people has become far more intense. By 2001 the average poor family of four was eating one hundred kilos less of food grains than it used to ten years earlier.

RD: People are a lot hungrier than before?
PS: We will never understand the deprivation of Indians if we do not understand the prosperity of other Indians. If you belong to the top 15 to 20 percent of urban India or the top 10 to 12 percent of rural India, you are experiencing standards of living that you never dreamed of in your lifetime. If you belong to the bottom 40 percent you are experiencing levels of deprivation that you never dreamed of in your lifetime.

Thousands of people in urban centres are rushing to weight loss centres. Millions of other Indians are trying desperately not to lose any more weight.

RD: You are not a great proponent of non-government organizations. You think they give the government an excuse to duck its responsibilities to the poor. But in your book, you wrote favourably of one NGO, the Arivoli Iyakkam [Light of Knowledge] Movement in Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu. Can you talk a little about it?
PS: When the government launched the National Literacy Mission in 1988, there already was a vigorous activist movement in Pudukkottai. The government offered people who were working for the state or for public sector organizations to go on deputation to the movement without loss of seniority or salary. So a lot of very progressive people volunteered.

They used extremely creative methods. They found, for instance, women teachers were needed to approach conservative women. To go to the villages, the women teachers learnt cycling. And they found that the women in the villages were far more interested in cycling than in literacy. So cycling was incorporated as a component of the literacy movement, and a hundred thousand women in that district alone learnt cycling.

There were two implications to all that cycling. The human implication was one of liberation and freedom. The cycle has been a very revolutionary vehicle for human beings. It is a far better indicator of human well-being than an automobile. Poor women said cycling is like flying an aeroplane, it’s like being yourself. You are in control.

The economic gains were very real too. Most of the women in Pudukottai were small producers, dependent on their fathers, brothers, husbands, or sons to get their produce to the market. So their arc of coverage was very limited. But once they had cycles, they could put the vegetables at the back on the carrier, and put the baby in a basket on the front. They could leave any time and come back any time. The markets they could cover increased.

But the women assured me that their major consideration was a sense of freedom. In Pudukottai, I saw a lot of women from very conservative Muslim families cycling, fully clad in burkhas. It was quite something!

RD: Whenever you write about women, you portray them as strong and capable.
PS: Society functions because of them.

RD: You see women as the hope of this country?
PS: Most agricultural work in this country is done by women. Have you ever seen a guy doing paddy transplantation? It is a horrible job. You stand shin deep in muddy water that has disease and insects and God knows what other stuff. You strain your back-the highest number of birth miscarriages occurs in the paddy transplantation season.

But women are banned by custom from ploughing. That allows the male to keep control. We have to move beyond the old slogan of “Land to the tiller,” to “Land to those who work on it.”

RD: When well-meaning middle class people think about India’s poverty, they often feel despair. What do you feel?
PS: Anger. Despair produces nothing but despair. The character, quality, and resilience of the Indian people ought to be a source of optimism. They have done incredible things. They brought an empire to its knees. Bhagat Singh said they will make the deaf hear and the blind see. I am very optimistic.

RD: Will things get better?
PS: Yes, but they will get a lot worse first, because of the track we are on now.

*Since this interview was recorded, the scheme was extended to all
districts in India, but funding has not been proportionately increased.

(source: readers digest Dec 2007)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

God could not be everywhere, and so He made mothers

A yellow wagtail in the village of Jezerc, Kosovo, holds an insect in its beak...
God could not be everywhere, and so He made mothers – Jewish Proverb

...and feeds it to its young

Friday, May 7, 2010

Google CEO Eric Schmidt On Newspapers & Journalism

Google CEO Eric Schmidt On Newspapers & Journalism
Is Google a newspaper killer? Not by a long shot, says Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Nor does he want it to be. In a long interview about his company’s relationship with newspapers and the print journalism industry, Schmidt made it clear he wants established players to survive. In fact, he thinks Google has a “moral responsibility” to help. But help doesn’t mean a handout.

I spoke with Schmidt on the topic about two weeks ago in his office at Google. In summary, he felt that Google takes most of the blame for the internet as a whole, in how it has changed news reading habits that have impacted the newspaper industry. But despite that impact, he felt newspapers would survive in some form.

Schmidt would like Google to help by experimenting with new ways of reading news that might help print institutions make it through the transition they face. That’s especially so in that Google has no plans to produce news content itself. Google’s success, he says, is tied to pointing its visitors to sources of quality content.

Moreover, Schmidt said Google has a responsibility to help, given that part of his company’s vision is to make the world a better place. Without journalistic institutions to do professional investigative articles and other “deep” reporting, democracy would be harmed.

That argument is one many beleaguered newspaper executives themselves have made. If hearing that Schmidt agrees with them is a relief, there’s more goodness flowing their way. Schmidt largely believes that only existing mainstream news institutions have the resources and established trust to do deep journalism. He acknowledges that new online publications have emerged, and that there are journalists working independently of large companies. But his faith is still with the old school, so to speak.

As for the ongoing discussions with the Associated Press, he expects a new deal will be reached. More on that, and the other topics I’ve summarized, below.

Google’s Not A Newspaper Vampire

This year, Google has been blamed by some in the mainstream journalism industry for everything from being a vampire that’s sucked the life out of newspapers to undermining democracy by somehow short-changing publications of ad revenue. How does Schmidt view these accusations? He sees them as Google taking the brunt of disruption caused by the internet itself:

I think in this case Google is a proxy for the internet as a whole. So the people would make the same statements about the Internet as they do about Google. Substitute the internet for Google and you get that idea. And because we play such a central role in information, we’ve become somewhat used to being blamed for everything. In some cases people don’t understand that we’re a conduit to other people doing things. They think Google did it when in fact somebody else did it and made it available.

Rereading Schmidt’s answer when writing up this interview, I was struck how it brought to mind something he started talking about back in 2006, his “don’t bet against the internet” line. That’s the idea that the internet was transforming the world and that only foolish businesses would effectively think they could stick with “old” ways.

Newspapers Will Decline But Won’t Die

So it’s the internet that’s killing papers? Schmidt immediately stopped me from suggesting that he’s saying newspapers will die. He thinks they will survive in some form:

Killing newspapers, that’s your words, not mine…

The number of readers for newspapers is declining. The market is becoming more specialized. There will always be a market for people who read the newspaper on a train going into New York City. There will always be a market for people who sit in in the afternoon in a cafe in the city and read the newspaper in the sunshine. The term “killing” is a bit over[blown]. Newspapers face a long-term secular decline because of the shift in user habits due to the Internet.

So again, if you take the criticism as a statement about the Internet, how will Google fix that? I think that’s just politically a better answer from our perspective. Let me put it this way: Imagine if Google didn’t exist. Would the same criticism still exist? You betcha. See my point?

Online Solutions To Newspaper Woes & Google Wants To Help

As for newspapers specifically, Schmidt feels they have three major problems: physical production costs, loss of classified revenue and loss of print ad revenue. Google’s role is to help with online fixes for these, Schmidt said:

In the case of the newspapers, they have multiple problems which are hard to solve. If you think about it there are three fundamental problems. One is that the physical cost of things is going up, physical newsprint. Another one has been the loss of classifieds. And a third one has been essentially the difficulty in selling traditional print ads. So, all of them have online solutions. And we’ve come to the conclusion that the right thing to do is to help them with the online.

One Solution: New Ways To Read News Online

In terms of the physical production issue, Google’s contribution seems to be experimenting with new ways of reading journalism online. Said Schmidt:

We think that over a long enough period of time, most people will have personalized news-reading experiences on mobile-type devices that will largely replace their traditional reading of newspapers. Over a decade or something. And that that kind of news consumption will be very personal, very targeted. It will remember what you know. It will suggest things that you might want to know. It will have advertising. Right? And it will be as convenient and fun as reading a traditional newspaper or magazine.

So one way one to think about it is that the newspaper or magazine industry do a great job of the convenience of scanning and looking and understanding. And we have to get the web to that point, or whatever the web becomes. So we just announced, the official name is Google Fast Flip. And that’s an example of the kind of thing we’re doing. And we have a lot more coming.

Google Fast Flip is out there now for anyone to use. As for the intriguing idea of a personalized news reader, Google’s Marissa Mayer hinted at experiments with this in August (see Of Living URLs, Newspaper Rankings & California Fires). Schmidt also talked again about the concept yesterday. Stay tuned.

New Ads For News Will Come

What about those lost revenues? Schmidt didn’t address the classified revenue loss, perhaps because Craigslist is the poster child for blame there. As for print display ad decline, Schmidt suggested new ads will follow through into the new reading models:

On the business side, which is what people are really talking about, it seems to me that we should be able to get very powerful advertising in display formats that people will like in this new model, invented, built and sold. Now I don’t know how much revenue that is, but it’s a lot more than they’re getting now.

Speaking of revenue sharing, some noted that Google’s Fast Flip seemed to mark the first time Google has shared revenue with news sites. When I asked Schmidt about this, he disagreed, noting that Google has ad deals with a variety of newspapers where revenue is shared.

However, those deals are for ads delivered on the news sites themselves. Publications like USA Today or the Washington Post carry Google search boxes and share in revenues generated by search ads. Other sites also carry display ads through AdSense. How about sharing revenue with news sites for content hosted on Google itself, as Fast Flip does. Isn’t that new?

Google’s Not A Content Company

Yes, that’s “probably true,” Schmidt said, though he stressed the goal is not for Google to be a content company but rather to help those with content thrive:

We need these content partners to survive. We need their content. We are not in the content business. So, you could decide that we’re just evil businessmen trying to give money to the newspapers [through the Fast Flip revenue sharing], or you could decide that we’re altruistic and trying to save an important Fourth Estate of American political discourse. Whichever one leads to the same outcome. I hope you believe the second. But even if you believe the first, it’s still good business. We need their content.

It should be noted that Google has worked to help newspapers with offline newspaper ad sales, but after trying for two years, it shuttered its program this past January. Meanwhile, Google competitor Yahoo continues with its own two-year-old Yahoo Newspaper Consortium that allows nearly 1,000 papers to sell online ads at their own sites and through Yahoo. The consortium has gotten a lot of positive reviews through it is far from a short-term solution, as even Yahoo admits.

Google Has A “Moral Responsibility” To Help The Press

Moving on, I asked Schmidt if Google felt any obligation to help the newspaper industry. Definitely, he agreed, saying:

Google sees itself as trying to make the world a better place. And our values are that more information is positive – transparency. And the historic role of the press was to provide transparency, from Watergate on and so forth. So we really do have a moral responsibility to help solve this problem.

If You Teach A Newspaper To Fish, They Don’t Need A Short Term Bailout

Sort of like the adage about teaching someone to fish, rather than giving them a fish, Schmidt sees Google’s responsibility as helping the press get into a healthier position in the long-term, not by providing subsidies that don’t solve their current problems:

The next question that the journalists who inevitably ask these questions say is, OK then why don’t you just write us a large check? Let me just posit that that’s a question that people might ask, because I know I’ve had it before. And the problem is that just transferring money from an area where we’re making a lot of money to an area where we’re making little money does not solve the problem for the long term. You’re fundamentally better off building the new product that is profitable and growing – again with the news, with magazines and so forth. It’s better for everyone. Because ultimately a subsidy model is a temporary solution. It’s not a long-term solution.

Google Wants “Well Funded” & “Professional” Investigative Journalism

So far during the interview, I’d largely used newspapers as being synonymous with journalism. But they’re not the same. Journalists don’t all work for newspapers; some publish through blogs. So I wondered, when Schmidt talked about feeling an obligation to support the press, did he mean large press organizations?

I specifically am talking about investigative journalism when I talk about this. There’s no lack of bloggers and people who publish their opinions and faux editorial writers and people with an opinion. And I think that one of the great things about the internet is that we can hear them. We can also choose to ignore them. So it’s not correct to say that the internet is decreasing conversation. The internet is clearly increasing conversation at an incredibly rapid pace. The cacophony of voices is overwhelming as you know.

Well-funded, targeted professionally managed investigative journalism is a necessary precondition in my view to a functioning democracy. And so that’s what we worry about. And as you know, that was always subsidized in the newspaper model by the other things that they did. You know, the story about the scandal in Iraq or Afghanistan was difficult to advertise against. But there was enough revenue that it allowed the newspaper to fulfill its mission.

Few Bloggers Can Do What The New York Times Can Do

But what about people who go out and do professional journalism on their own, who don’t turn around and complain they’re unable to succeed because Google’s hurting them? Said Schmidt:

Let’s talk about Afghanistan. How many free bloggers are there that are in a safe-house in Afghanistan with the necessary support structure to do the kind of deep investigative reporting on what’s really going on in the war? I’m not talking about the ones that are embedded in the government. That’s an example. The kind of articles about the scandals in the various government bureaucracies. All of those kinds of things. There are very few bloggers, to use the term broadly, who have the time and the resources – I mean these are stories that take months to develop, they take confidential sources.

Another example that people in our world often miss: Let’s assume you’re a mid-level government executive, not necessarily in the United States, and it’s a crime to leak information for purposes of discussion. Are you willing to leak to a blogger who has no track record of protecting his or her own sources, versus the New York Times, which routinely sends its people to jail over this question of a shield law.

So again, it’s facile in my view to say that the two functions are similar. There’s no question that a large part of the function of newspapers and magazines is broad communication that’s not particularly controversial, and helpful and it’s great. But whatever percentage that is that requires the protection of sources, deep investigative journalism, is very important in a democracy. You would be crazy to not understand the history of that.

People don’t like it, by the way, because it’s very controversial. The Pentagon Papers is a classic example. It was incredibly controversial: Was Daniel Ellsberg a patriot or was he a criminal? He was actually adjudicated and was not a criminal because the government was doing something inappropriate. People disagree over these things. But the point is that that’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about.

Hearing Schmidt talk of this, I could only think that some newspaper executives who have attacked Google ought to be lining him up as a chief spokesperson for their industry.

It was also somewhat amazing to hear. Could I imagine someone leaking information to a blogger? Of course, I thought — to me! I was blogger (according to some) sitting right across from him, yet someone who has routinely honored embargoes and confidential information I’ve received from his own company.

To be fair, Schmidt did talk about bloggers with “no track record” (I think I’ve got one) versus the New York Times as an institution that has a well known track record.

But still, when I started as an independent journalist over a decade ago, I had nothing behind me (I’d have been called a blogger, but we didn’t have blogs back then). My site built its own audience because the traditional press was not covering search engines as well as or in as much depth as my publication was. It thrived because of the internet.

I countered. Aren’t there journalists out there who are independent of mainstream publications but who have good track records and relationships? Not for the deep journalism that Schmidt is worried about:

Not at the level I’m talking about. Name a blogger who today has the kind of deep embedded reporting that a traditional newspaper does for this kind of, for scandals. It just doesn’t exist yet. They may develop. It’s perfectly possible that they will develop. It’s a different kind of reporting. The online world is so immediate, it’s so competitive, you know people are like having heart attacks just keeping up with the publication demands in the online world. So there are some attempts at this. For example, ProPublica, which is funded by the folks [the Sandler Foundation] in Berkeley, San Francisco actually, is an attempt to replicate what I’m describing in a nonprofit way. So there is an example. It’s run by journalists, run by professionals.

Name a blogger doing deep investigative reporting? Schmidt’s got me there. I can’t name them off the top of my head. It’s not an area I focus on. I do suspect some are out there, though — if you know of some, drop them in the comments below.

Personally, I feel the big challenge to large, investigative reporting isn’t figuring out how to fund it or how to develope the trust factor needed. It’s dealing with the aftermath, when some large corporation or government body decides to sue you. That’s the chilling effect to me, for independents, especially when there’s still little clarity about how protected they are by various shield laws for journalists.

City Hall & Local Coverage At Risk

Assuming the mainstream journalism outlets did go away, would we lose investigation? Or would something spring up? Schmidt’s response that something might replace coverage on big issues but “city hall” or local deep reporting is at risk:

It’s a speculation. As I said, ProPublica is a good example. There’s a couple of groups that are funded out of political groups. There’s one that’s under Center for American Progress [Media Matters] …. Their basic job is to keep what they claim is the Republican spend machine honest. So that’s sort of an example of this. But it’s not quite. Again, think Iraq, Afghanistan, Defense Department errors, you know, corruption in governments, local governments. It’s fair to say that, though, I think the biggest worry is actually for local reporting.

Media Matters is an example. I think most people believe that in, hopefully, the unlikely scenario of the loss of all of these voices, most people believe that there’s enough emphasis and interest at the national level. But what happened to the guy who’s investigating the misdeeds of the CFO in the mayor’s office? And again, I’m talking about the stuff you can’t do in an hour. The gumshoe kind, walking around talking to people. There are very few of those people.

The loss of local coverage certainly resonated with me, since my roots in journalism started there. Last year, I did a piece talking about how over the years, the Los Angeles Times greatly reduced its local reporting from the heyday of when I worked there. So there are very few of these people? My response was that I know lots of them — they’ve all been laid off. That prompted Schmidt to say:

But they’re not doing it anymore. Or if they do it, they’re doing it on their own time.

It turns out there’s not enough money there — even with the improvement in overhead costs, because you don’t have a lot less overhead. There’s not enough money yet. Although for the most popular blogs you know, it’s the 1% phenomenon, the head of the tail, they do make money. But the vast majority of blogs end up being, it’s a little bit like wine-making. It’s a lifestyle as opposed to a real profitable business.

Last week, New York University professor Clay Shirky also had much to say about the issues of funding journalism, and the impact it might have on regional reporting. His comments are well worth reading for more on this topic. Shirky also has an interesting dissection of a local paper, looking at how few on a large payroll are actually involved in the reporting.

Schmidt: Institutional Brands Over Individual Journalists

Next the interview moved on to Schmidt’s statements about the internet being a “sewer” that brands such as major newspapers can help sort out. Is it just newspapers that have the important brands that people recognize as trusted sources, when it comes to journalism?

There are two different views. There are two different views even within Google. So one view goes like this: The institution becomes less important but the writer remains as important. So that’s sort of the new view.

I don’t happen to agree with this, but I want to make sure I report it accurately. And the rough argument goes like this: Newspapers existed because you needed an aggregation point of great talent. But you really go to a newspaper to read the writers. And because they have so many other outlets, they will become more like freelancers in this model. They will be paid by institutions and they’ll make enough money to get through the day and people will follow them. And some writers will become so famous that they’ll be like basketball stars – they’ll have large salaries and speaking [and] book deals and things like that, although the majority won’t get there.

I disagree with that view, because I believe that there is a value to the brand of the aggregator as well as this trust issue that I was discussing earlier that ultimately a freelance reporter, that ultimately it would be difficult for freelance reporters, as much as we favor them, to operate without at least some institutions of trust. And trust in two ways: trust to the reader, and trust to the sources.

I found his response fascinating, especially the discussion of a split within Google itself. All too often, there’s an assumption that Google has a monolithic view of everything. When it comes to newspapers, I think many newspaper business executives assume Google’s goal is to destroy their brands, to favor the blogs and aggregators, to be a newspaper-killing aggregator itself.

Instead, Schmidt’s not endorsing some massive revolution that will sweep mainstream publications away, with an air of good riddance. He seems to view the institutions that we now have as essential.

A Rise Of New Brands? Some…

Does this mean the institutional journalism brands we have now are locked in stone? Are there new brands that have arisen, new online ones?

Well, the most obvious one is Politico. So there is an example. I think it’s reasonable to say that there will be, in every category of information, there will be a couple of new brands that are Internet-only. An example in our world is TechCrunch….

All Things Digital is another one. So those are some of the brands that didn’t exist 10 years ago. And if you think about it, they’re defined by the personalities of their founders.

I asked if we should mourn some of the mainstream brands that will inevitably disappear.

Well I’ll tell you a story. I’ve been in this industry for 30 years, and during this time there has always been headline conferences that were very exclusive. And when I was a young executive I assumed that they would live forever. So the Agenda Conference was an example. For me, that was the most important professional event of the whole year. I would make sure that if I was invited I would go. I really enjoyed it. It was very, very important. When was the last Agenda conference? A long time ago.

So, do I mourn that? Yeah, I had a really good time. But society moves forward. New brands emerge. How old is the Starbucks brand? What would we do without Starbucks today? So the point about brands is that while it’s true that brands do end, new brands emerge. So it’s possible that the sum of the brands we were just talking about could ultimately… I’m not suggesting it can’t happen, I’m suggesting it’s very hard.

So, San Jose news. What is the brand that I will go to for news about San Jose? Well, I’ve got the San Jose Mercury News. Let’s assume for the purposes of argument that that’s in decline, which I think is without question. What’s the new brand that I’ll go to? I actually don’t know.

Google & The AP

Next I asked about Google’s current negotiations with the Associated Press. The AP ratcheted up suggestions earlier this year that it wasn’t getting a fair deal from Google from its current agreement, which was cut in 2006. The AP has also suggested that Google should be rewarding “recognizable news brands” more in its regular web search results. What’s the beef? Did the AP not get a good enough deal in the first place?

I would rather not discuss a business negotiation. But you’re smart enough to understand that this is a business negotiation. I am sure we will come to a good deal for all parties. How’s that? I was rather humored by the public criticisms because – there was all this criticism – we have a deal with the Associated Press that’s in place today. So, and surely they’re aware of this.

Indeed, I expect a deal will be struck. But my worry is that “must-carry” publications like the AP will get attended to at the expense of online publications that, as even Schmidt says, struggle to build their own revenues. And given how we’ve had suggestions that the health of democracy is at stake, if mainstream publications can’t get deals with Google, shouldn’t the AP terms be public. So that everyone knows what’s being given?

The fact of the matter is, the problems that are occurring in the industry are intrinsic. They need to be addressed. We’re doing what we can think of and we’ve been upfront about working on those. This is ultimately about money and the difficulty people are having of bringing in revenue. Again, I understand that.

So, in the private discussions with the AP, if the AP wants to do everything public then I’m sure we would consider that. But usually business negotiations are done in private for precisely the reason that people think it’s competitive.

OK, AP, so how about it? I sent the AP what Schmidt said and asked if it would be willing to publish the terms of any deal with Google. No luck. I was told:

As a longstanding corporate policy, The Associated Press has refrained from discussing the terms of its business dealings.

I was also given a quote from Sue Cross, the AP’s Senior Vice President, Global New Media & US/Americas Media Markets:

Commercial agreements are crucial to helping the AP offset the costs of its global newsgathering operation and keep member assessments lower. They allow AP to continue providing vital breaking news, including coverage of this week’s deadly earthquakes and tsunami, and to continue reporting from critical war zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Back to my interview with Schmidt, I asked him how Google may deal with a situation where if the AP gets a new deal, others may feel left out. He said:

Well, the Associated Press is different from other publications, remember, because the Associated Press is really, they really are an aggregator at some basic level. Again, I don’t want to parse the specifics. But the fact that there’s a deal with AP does not mean that you have the same deal with the New York Times. And in fact we do not.

Finally, I was curious if Schmidt actually read a newspaper regularly. Yes, he does. Two, in fact. But the exact two are the only part of the interview he asked remain off the record. And I have a pretty good track record of dealing with that type of material :)

source: searchengineland (dt 11/1/09)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Top 20 Sites in news Category


Top 20 Sites in news Category
1. Yahoo News
Daily news and full coverage of current issues.

2. BBC Newsline Ticker
Headline ticker will automatically update throughout the day with the latest news, sport, travel, finance and weather from the BBC. Available for multiple OS platforms.
o Keywords: bbc, bbc news, iplayer, weather, radio 1
o From the site: I'm Tristan Ferne and I work in the Future Media & Technology team at BBC Audio & Music Interactive, the people that bring you and , the Radio Player , podcasts , digital radio , our interactive TV services , our mobile sites and more. I do R&D within our team, working on innovative ideas and building prototypes and I thought you might like to know about some of the cool things we do. I also blog at cookin'/relaxin' . ... More...
3. CNN - Cable News Network
Includes US and international stories and analysis, weather, video clips, and program schedule.
o Keywords: cnn, news,, cnn news, billy mays
o From the site: is among the world's leaders in online news and information delivery. Staffed 24 hours, seven days a week by a dedicated staff in CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and in bureaus worldwide, relies heavily on CNN's global team of almost 4,000 news professionals. features the latest multimedia technologies, from live video streaming to audio packages to searchable archives of news features and background information. ... More...
4. BBC News
United Kingdom and international news headlines. Contains video and audio webcasts, forums, and in-depth articles.

5. My Yahoo
My Yahoo is a customizable web page with news, stock quotes, weather, and many other features.

6. Google News
Aggregated headlines and a search engine of many of the world's news sources.

7. The New York Times
Online edition of the newspaper's news and commentary. [Registration required]
o Keywords: new york times, nytimes, ny times, nyt, facebook
o From the site: To send a listing from to yourself or someone else for offline viewing, just click on the mobile icon in the "listing tools" area of a property. ... To search for properties directly from your mobile device, go to and enter your property criteria (such as location and price) or find a specific property by listing ID. ... From the Real Estate Web site you can send the property information to your or a friend's mobile phone. ... More...
Offers forecasts for cities worldwide as well as radar and satellite maps. Also includes news stories and allergy information.
o Keywords: weather,, weather channel,, twc
o From the site: The Weather Channel is the nation's premier provider of weather information. ... Copyright © 1995-2008, The Weather Channel Interactive, Inc.® Licensed by TRUSTe | More...
9. MSNBC News
Breaking news online including US and world news.

10. Fox News Channel
Offers worldwide news coverage, analysis, show profiles, broadcast schedules, team biographies, and email news alerts.
o Keywords: fox news, foxnews, billy mays, erin andrews, news
o From the site: E-mail the show: ... For FOX News Channel comments write to This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. © 2008 FOX News Network, LLC. More...
11. The Guardian
Home of the Guardian, Observer and Guardian Weekly newspapers plus special-interest web sites. Each includes news, comment and features plus breaking news, multimedia, ongoing special reports and free archives.
o Keywords: google, guardian, the guardian, michael jackson, torchwood
o From the site: The Guardian newspaper, of which is its online presence, was founded in 1821 and has a long history of editorial and political independence. ... Here she answers some of's most common queries. ... The Guardian, the Observer, and strive to maintain the highest editorial standards at all times. ... Buy Guardian and Observer photos Internships offers a small number of one or two-week internships. ... More...
12. Reuters
Breaking news, business, financial and investing articles from around the globe. Also provides technology solutions.
o Keywords: reuters, google, harry potter, yahoo, bing
13. The Huffington Post
Offers syndicated columnists, blogs and news stories with moderated comments.
o Keywords: huffington post, huffington, maria belen chapur, bruno, walter cronkite
o From the site: Barack Obama continued his media blitz tonight with an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. ... ... Five Reasons Why the Obama Infomercial was Worth the Cost ... The most cringe-worthy political moment of the day, so far, came when Sen. ... Often while searching through the AP photo archive for serious news items,... More...
14. Wall Street Journal
International and national news with a business and financial perspective.
o From the site: To remove our cookies, you may access the following URL designed for this purpose: The Wall Street Journal's high standards extend to the Online Journal. You may view the full text of any of the Online Journal's legal documentation, including our Privacy and Cookie Policies, in the ... Your Online Journal subscription includes the Media & Marketing Edition, which can be accessed directly via the following URL: ... More...
15. The Times of India
Indian national daily, political and entertainment news, some sections only available with registration.

16. Yahoo Weather
Yahoo weather including forecasts, resources and categories.

17. Washington Post
Daily. Offers news, opinion, sports, arts and living and entertainment. Includes archives since 1977 and subscription information.
o Keywords: yahoo, washington post, google, msn, yahoo mail
18. Los Angeles Times
Online version of local daily paper. Contains links to world, nation, and local news as well as weather, entertainment, business, and other links.
o Keywords: la times, erin andrews, michael jackson, latimes, cash for clunkers
o From the site: Some of the bodies appeared to be freshly buried, Hassan said.
19. CNN Money
Combines practical personal finance advice, calculators and investing tips with business news, stock quotes, and financial market coverage from the editors of CNN and Money Magazine.

20. MSN Video
Main Video Portal powered by Microsoft Network featuring news, sports, and entertainment.

source: alexa

Pinging is a very important action that every blogger should do everyday

Pinging is a very important action that every blogger should do everyday.

Refreshing the concept of ping of the latest post, ping is a computer network tool used to test whether a particular host is reachable across an IP network; it is also used to self test the network interface card of the computer. When you ping a service it means that you are sending it a signal and it will answer with a “pong”, taking a look on your blog for new content and update it on the service website.

As you can see, pinging is very important for us, the bloggers. With this tool you can refresh your content or feed across the web: search engines, technorati, social media networks and may be another service like web profiles, and you can use it to let other people know you’ve updated your blog. This gives you a big SEO advantage, as it ensures your content is seen immediately by search engines and indexed quickly. This can help your posts rank right away for less-competitive keywords.

How To Ping ?

Pinging your blog is a really easy task and you can do it in different ways. When I started blogging the past year, I used the service provided by Ping-o-Matic!. It let you ping your blog on many services like Technorati, Weblogs, FeedBurner, Blogrolling etc etc… You only need to put your blog URL and feed URL (optional), check the services which you want to ping and press the ping button. Then Ping-o-Matic will send pings to those services and your blog/feed content will be updated instantaneously on this sites!

That is a good way, but is boring because is it manual. For our luck, there is a way to do it automatically with wordpress ( I’m don’t know about blogger or other platforms but probably is something similar ). WordPress automatically notifies popular Update Services that you’ve updated your blog by sending a XML-RPC ping each time you create or update a post. In turn, Update Services process the ping and updates their proprietary indices with your update. Now people browsing sites like Technorati or Sphere can find your most recent posts!

WordPress makes easy the manual task of checking all your services in ping-o-matic by listing Ping-O-Matic’s server ( by default. All you need to do is sit back and let it work for you!

Where to add or remove pings on wordpress?

By following this steps you will be able to add or remove pings to your wordpress blog:

1. Log in to your WordPress weblog.
2. Select “Options” from the top menu.
3. WordPress options menu
4. Select “Writing” from the sub-menu.WordPress writing option
5. The last option on the page is “Update Services.” You will see a text box with probably the ping-o-matic ping by default "", but you can add more pings if you want. WordPress Technorati ping

Is recommendable to ping each service separately instead using Ping-o-Matic ( ping. For example, I recommend pinging Technorati directly with every new post and update instead waiting for ping-o-matic to ping our blog. The following is a list of english blog pinging services:

If you use one of thus services, place the related link into your Update Services text box to ping automatically your blog on it :cool: . If you are not using wordpress as blog platform, search in your panel of a pinging tool, I pretty sure it must be there, the only thing that you need to do is to add the url of your service and start to ping your blog across the web!.


  • NR Narayana Murthy

  • GR Gopinath

  • Sunil Bharti Mittal

  • Vijay Mallya

  • Sania Mirza

  • Indra Nooyi

  • Azim Premzi

  • Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Tuesday, May 4, 2010



Technical writing, a form of technical communication, is a style of formal writing and is used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics and biotechnology. Technological Writers explain complex ideas to the technical and non­technical audiences.

Technical Writers often write for readers who know less than they do about their subject, and they try to inform the readers about it rather than show how much they know.

In some organizations Technical Writers may be called Information Developers, Documentation Specialists, Documentation Engineers or Technical Content Developers.

Technical Writers are more successful when they try to impress their readers with how clearly and simply they can present information the readers need. A good Technical Writer needs strong language skills and must understand the highly evolved conventions of modern technical communications.

Quality of a good Technical Writer:

Good Technical Writers in high-tech firms ask two questions about their readers:

i. How much do they know about my subject?

ii. How interested will they be in reading what I have written?

Readers will know a little about the subject, a lot, or something in between. Readers may be uninterested, very interested or somewhere in between, but to keep the readers interest, the technical writer must feel the readers’ response ‘and control the tone and content of the subject.

Prospects of Technical Writers:

Thousands of business and trade magazines and papers are published by industries and publishing firms to keep readers informed about special fields. Industrial publications are often written and edited by Technical Writers. Newspapers, news magazines and wire services employ Technical Writers. Professional journals covering automobile industries, engineer-ing, computers, medicine, law, chemistry, biotechnology, etc. use Technical Writers to report professional trends and to work as editors.

Many Technical Writers work as freelance writers. They are paid by the job or by the hour. Sometimes they are hired to do specific jobs such as writing about a new high-tech product or advancement. Some Technical Writers start out as Research Assistants or as trainees in a Technical Information Department and then are promoted as Technical Writers.

A Technical Writer has no true career levels, but can move up into management of other writers. He could grow into a Senior Technical Writer position, handling complex projects or a small team of writers and editors. His next rise could be a Documentation Manager handling multiple projects and teams.

Technical Writers in high-tech firms are encouraged to state their subject, audience and purpose at the beginning of a document unless the purpose is to persuade the readers to understand the product.

Technical Writers in high-tech firms must be able to write as quickly as possible, and must be able to switch from one writing task to another. Requirements for documents sometimes arise suddenly, and often there is little time between the first notice of a requirement and the deadline for the document.

Technical Writers may also have additional planning duties, including contributing to the documents’ design, writing or reviewing the document outline for content coverage, logical organization, and providing guidelines for the writers and editors. Writing and editing guidelines help ensure consistency in formats, acronyms and abbreviations, and technical details, to cut editing time.

In high-tech firms Technical Writers have two type of audiences i.e. a Primary and a Secondary.

A document written for readers outside the firm will be reviewed by the writer’s supervisor and other company staff before it is revised, put into production, and released to the outside audience. These reviewers are a Secondary audience. The outside readers (the related customers) are the Primary audience.

When Technical Writers have two audiences, they must satisfy their Secondary audience with the document while they try to make it communicate effectively with the Primary audience. Usually, the Secondary audience is familiar with the Primary and can provide effective review.

Technical Writers often recommend usage guidelines or strict observance of the company style manual to his Senior who decides which standard to follow in the document. The longer a document the more important it is for the Technical Writer to coordinate activities with publication staff, letting them know how much work is coming, when it will be submitted, and when it is needed. Accordingly he has to plan and schedule his work.

Technical Writers are expected to be strong in all steps of the writing process. They are expected to emphasis the product and not the processes. The final document (write-up) is much more important in high-tech firms then other professional settings.

Personal Skills of a Technical Writer:

A Technical Writer must possess very good skills in writing good English. He must have good research and communication skill to gather information about the product using many media like- Internet, books, and sometimes to interview the experts in the field, design skills and multimedia presentation.

A Technical Writer should be familiar with the specified subject area apart from technically skilled or trained.

Challenges before the Technical Writers:

In companies that do not produce written or on-line documents for sale, Technical Writers often have to justify their positions by demonstrating that their work has increased the marketability of the firm’s goods or services. Technical Writers are the image builders of the company and are an essential aid to augment its profits. They must keep themselves up-dated with new technical developments in their fields. He must up-date his skills daily by collaborating with educated, intelligent people who value their services. As technology develops, the material technical writers work with changes constantly. The variety makes their work more interesting and challenging and the new materials educate them.

Eligibility for Technical Writers:

There is no requirement of a formal education in the field of Technical Writers. Any Degree with a Post Graduation degree or diploma preferably in Journalism and Mass Communication, knowledge of good English language and IT skills are desirable for a Technical Writer. Computer literacy and knowledge of software application, Microsoft word, page maker, frame maker, rob help and front page, etc. are some of the important skills a Technical Writer must possess.

Jobs Description of a Technical Writer are:

l To Prepare catalogues, user manuals and guides, technical help books, engineering reports and online help documents.

l To Communicate with actual developers of products.

l To Work closely with engineers, scientists, pharmaceutical firms and accountants.

Jobs available for a Technical Writer:

At various firms such as advertising agencies, software developing companies, and in newspapers and magazines, Technical Writers are in demand. The highest demand for Technical Writers is generated by the IT industries. Freelancers can also take up work on contract basis from the companies.

Companies like Infosys Technologies Ltd, Sun Microsystems, Infotech, often appoint Technical Writers for their companies.

Institutes/Universities offering Courses for Technical

Though the Technical Writing field in India is growing faster than ever before, no institute/University in the country impart any kind of Technical Writing course or training purely. Some university courses include a paper in Technical Writing in their curriculum along with Journalism and Mass Communication courses etc.

Some of the Institutes/Universities offering courses in Technical Writing :

i. University of Calicut, Kozhikode.

ii. Documentation Research and Training Centre ( D.R.T.C.) Bangalore.

iii. Xaviers Institute of Communi-cation, Mumbai.

iv. Post Graduate Diploma in Technical Communication (PGDTC), University of Pune.

v. And many private institutes also offer courses related to the field.

(Pradip Kumar Nath is Assistant Professor, National Institue of Rural Development & Hemprabha Chauhan is former Asst. Professor, Institute of Media & Technology, Gurgaon and Journalist Rajendranagar, Hyderabad-500030)
— by Pradip Kumar Nath & Hemprabha Chauhan
source: employment news

Monday, May 3, 2010

World Press Freedom Day - 3 May

In 1991, the General Conference of UNESCO recommended that the United Nations General Assembly proclaim 3 May as World Press Freedom Day, a day to mark the fundamental principles of press freedom.

Throughout the world this day, which coincides with the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, adopted on 3 May 1991, serves as an occasion to inform the public of violations of the right to freedom of expression and as a reminder that many journalists brave death or jail to bring people their daily news.

World Press Freedom Day 2009 to focus on media and dialogue
UNESCO is organizing World Press Freedom Day celebration, from 2 to 3 May 2009 in Doha, the capital of Qatar. This year�s Day, placed under the auspices of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al-Missned, is organized jointly by UNESCO and the Doha Centre for Media Freedom.

The World Association of Newspapers annually organises a World Press Freedom Day initiative to draw attention to the role of independent news and information in society, and how it is under attack.

The assassinated Sri Lankan journalist, Lasantha Wickrematunge, will posthumously receive the 2009 UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize on Sunday. Wickrematunge, Editor of the Sunday Leader, was shot by two gunmen on motorbikes while driving to work in Colombo on 8 January this year.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

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Source: PC WORLD

MA English entrance test 2009, OU

Osmania University MA English Entrance Test paper questions held on 14.6.2008 (based on memory)



Spelling mistakes:

The snake slowly, silently, slithered towards its prey

The device of using character or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to te literary meaning.

A statement that appears to be self contradictory or opposed to common sense but upon closer inspection contains some degree of truth or validity is called.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, the furrow followed free..

The error of evaluating a poem by its emotional effects is known as

childrens doctor - pediatrician
collectors of stamps - a philatelist
The Prelude writer
The guide heroine
Coffee-House culture which century
The Lyrical Ballads written by
Elia - Lamb
Ben Johnson comedies...
To Autumn is a....
Andrea del Sarto...
Poetry - criticism of life who said.
The periodical essay by
Shakespeare plays
The Pilgrim's progress
Dryden is the master of..
To strive.... Tennyson... Ulysses
They also serve who only stand and wait...

The English Teacher written by
Vanity Fair written by
Othello tragic flaw - jealousy
Shakespeare wife's name
Dr Faustus...
Fools rush...
Samuel Johnson's biographer
French revolution backdrop - A Tale of Two cities
Gulliver's Travels human race..
George Bernard Shaw learnt from his mother...
Nobel Prize winner from Africa
Ibsen originally wrote in which language
Harry Potter books writer
A room of one's own - Virginia Woolf
Vikram Seth book
A book by Jawaharlal Nehru in the form of letters
Biographia literaria by Coleridge defines which theory
John Donne - meta physical
Art for art's sake who said.
Swinburne, Rossetti and Morris
Look back in anger book by
absurd plays
didactic meaning
First english dictionary compiled by
Willing suspension of disbelief
John Gay
First para of sonnet
The Second coming book author
Into the heaven of freedom / O Father
Ben Johnson - humour definition.
Walt Whitman which country
Sherlock Homes
The Mill... book written by
VS Naipaul born in which country
War and Peace written by

William Wordsworth
TS Eliot
Rudyard Kipling
Jane Austen
George Orwell
Francis Bacon
Edward Morgan Forster
Charles John Huffam Dickens
Bertrand Russell
George Bernard Shaw
V. S. Naipaul
Doris Lessing
Salman Rushdie
John Donne
John Dryden
Alfred Lord Tennyson
George Gordon Noel Byron
Geoffrey Chaucer
Charles Dickens
PB Shelly
Charles Darwin
J.M. Coetzee
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
George Eliot
Oscar Wilde
James Joyce
English literature

The term English literature refers to literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; Joseph Conrad was Polish, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, Salman Rushdie is Indian, V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad, Vladimir Nabokov was Russian. In other words, English literature is as diverse as the varieties and dialects of English spoken around the world. In academia, the term often labels departments and programmes practising English studies in secondary and tertiary educational systems.

This article primarily deals with literature from Britain written in English. For literature from specific English-speaking regions, see the see also section at the bottom of the page.

Old English
Main article: Anglo-Saxon literature
The first works in English, written in Old English, appeared in the early Middle Ages (the oldest surviving text is Cædmon's Hymn). The oral tradition was very strong in early British culture and most literary works were written to be performed. Epic poems were thus very popular and many, including Beowulf, have survived to the present day in the rich corpus of Anglo-Saxon literature that closely resemble today's Norwegian or, better yet, Icelandic. Much Anglo-Saxon verse in the extant manuscripts is probably a "milder" adaptation of the earlier Viking and German war poems from the continent. When such poetry was brought to England it was still being handed down orally from one generation to another, and the constant presence of alliterative verse, or consonant rhyme (today's newspaper headlines and marketing abundantly use this technique such as in Big is Better) helped the Anglo-Saxon peoples remember it. Such rhyme is a feature of Germanic languages and is opposed to vocalic or end-rhyme of Romance languages. But the first written literature dates to the early Christian monasteries founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury and his disciples and it is reasonable to believe that it was somehow adapted to suit to needs of Christian readers. Even without their crudest lines, Viking war poems still smell of blood feuds and their consonant rhymes sound like the smashing of swords under the gloomy northern sky: there is always a sense of imminent danger in the narratives. Sooner or later, all things must come to an end, as Beowulf eventually dies at the hands of the monsters he spends the tale fighting. The feelings of Beowulf that nothing lasts, that youth and joy will turn to death and sorrow entered Christianity and were to dominate the future landscape of English fiction.
[] Middle English
Further information: Medieval literature, Anglo-Norman literature, and Middle English
England's first great author, Geoffrey Chaucer (1340 -1400), wrote in Middle English. His most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories in a variety of genres, ostensibly told by a group of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. Remarkably, they are from all walks of life, which is reflected as much in the language they use as in the content of their stories. But, though Chaucer is most certainly an English author, he was inspired by literary developments taking place elsewhere in Europe, especially in Italy. The Canterbury Tales are quite indebted to Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron. The Renaissance was making its way to Britain.
[] Renaissance literature
Main article: English Renaissance
Following the introduction of a printing press into England by William Caxton in 1476, vernacular literature flourished. The Reformation inspired the production of vernacular liturgy which led to the Book of Common Prayer, a lasting influence on literary English language. The poetry, drama, and prose produced under both Queen Elizabeth I and King James I constitute what is today labelled as Early modern (or Renaissance).
[] Early Modern period
Further information: Early Modern English and Early Modern Britain
[] Elizabethan era
Main article: Elizabethan literature
The Elizabethan era saw a great flourishing of literature, especially in the field of drama. The Italian Renaissance had rediscovered the ancient Greek and Roman theatre, and this was instrumental in the development of the new drama, which was then beginning to evolve apart from the old mystery and miracle plays of the Middle Ages. The Italians were particularly inspired by Seneca (a major tragic playwright and philosopher, the tutor of Nero) and Plautus (its comic clichés, especially that of the boasting soldier had a powerful influence on the Renaissance and after). However, the Italian tragedies embraced a principle contrary to Seneca's ethics: showing blood and violence on the stage. In Seneca's plays such scenes were only acted by the characters. But the English playwrights were intrigued by Italian model: a conspicuous community of Italian actors had settled in London and Giovanni Florio had brought much of the Italian language and culture to England. It is also true that the Elizabethan Era was a very violent age and that the high incidence of political assassinations in Renaissance Italy (embodied by Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince) did little to calm fears of popish plots. As a result, representing that kind of violence on the stage was probably more cathartic for the Elizabethan spectator. Following earlier Elizabethan plays such as Gorboduc by Sackville & Norton and The Spanish Tragedy by Kyd that was to provide much material for Hamlet, William Shakespeare stands out in this period as a poet and playwright as yet unsurpassed. Shakespeare was not a man of letters by profession, and probably had only some grammar school education. He was neither a lawyer, nor an aristocrat as the "university wits" that had monopolised the English stage when he started writing. But he was very gifted and incredibly versatile, and he surpassed "professionals" as Robert Greene who mocked this "shake-scene" of low origins. Though most dramas met with great success, it is in his later years (marked by the early reign of James I) that he wrote what have been considered his greatest plays: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest, a tragicomedy that inscribes within the main drama a brilliant pageant to the new king. This 'play within a play' takes the form of a masque, an interlude with music and dance coloured by the novel special effects of the new indoor theatres. Critics have shown that this masterpiece, which can be considered a dramatic work in its own right, was written for James's court, if not for the monarch himself. The magic arts of Prospero, on which depend the outcome of the plot, hint at the fine relationship between art and nature in poetry. Significantly for those times (the arrival of the first colonists in America), The Tempest is (though not apparently) set on a Bermudan island, as research on the Bermuda Pamphlets (1609) has shown, linking Shakespeare to the Virginia Company itself. The "News from the New World", as Frank Kermode points out, were already out and Shakespeare's interest in this respect is remarkable. Shakespeare also popularized the English sonnet which made significant changes to Petrarch's model.
The sonnet was introduced into English by Thomas Wyatt in the early 16th century. Poems intended to be set to music as songs, such as by Thomas Campion, became popular as printed literature was disseminated more widely in households. See English Madrigal School. Other important figures in Elizabethan theatre include Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont. Had Marlowe (1564-1593) not been stabbed at twenty-nine in a tavern brawl, says Anthony Burgess, he might have rivalled, if not equalled Shakespeare himself for his poetic gifts. Remarkably, he was born only a few weeks before Shakespeare and must have known him well. Marlowe's subject matter, though, is different: it focuses more on the moral drama of the renaissance man than any other thing. Marlowe was fascinated and terrified by the new frontiers opened by modern science. Drawing on German lore, he introduced Dr. Faustus to England, a scientist and magician who is obsessed by the thirst of knowledge and the desire to push man's technological power to its limits. He acquires supernatural gifts that even allow him to go back in time and wed Helen of Troy, but at the end of his twenty-four years' covenant with the devil he has to surrender his soul to him. His dark heroes may have something of Marlowe himself, whose untimely death remains a mystery. He was known for being an atheist, leading a lawless life, keeping many mistresses, consorting with ruffians: living the 'high life' of London's underworld. But many suspect that this might have been a cover-up for his activities as a secret agent for Elizabeth I, hinting that the 'accidental stabbing' might have been a premated assassination by the enemies of The Crown. Beaumont and Fletcher are less-known, but it is almost sure that they helped Shakespeare write some of his best dramas, and were quite popular at the time. It is also at this time that the city comedy genre develops. In the later 16th century English poetry was characterised by elaboration of language and extensive allusion to classical myths. The most important poets of this era include Edmund Spenser and Sir Philip Sidney. Elizabeth herself, a product of Renaissance humanism, produced occasional poems such as On Monsieur’s Departure.
Canons of Renaissance poetry
[] Jacobean literature
After Shakespeare's death, the poet and dramatist Ben Jonson was the leading literary figure of the Jacobean era (The reign of James I). However, Jonson's aesthetics hark back to the Middle Ages rather than to the Tudor Era: his characters embody the theory of humours. According to this contemporary medical theory, behavioral differences result from a prevalence of one of the body's four "humours" (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) over the other three; these humours correspond with the four elements of the universe: air, water, fire, and earth. This leads Jonson to exemplify such differences to the point of creating types, or clichés.
Jonson is a master of style, and a brilliant satirist. His Volpone shows how a group of scammers are fooled by a top con-artist, vice being punished by vice, virtue meting out its reward.
Others who followed Jonson's style include Beaumont and Fletcher, who wrote the brilliant comedy, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, a mockery of the rising middle class and especially of those nouveaux riches who pretend to dictate literary taste without knowing much literature at all. In the story, a couple of grocers wrangle with professional actors to have their illiterate son play a leading role in a drama. He becomes a knight-errant wearing, appropriately, a burning pestle on his shield. Seeking to win a princess' heart, the young man is ridiculed much in the way Don Quixote was. One of Beaumont and Fletcher's chief merits was that of realising how feudalism and chivalry had turned into snobbery and make-believe and that new social classes were on the rise.
Another popular style of theatre during Jacobean times was the revenge play, popularized by John Webster and Thomas Kyd. George Chapman wrote a couple of subtle revenge tragedies, but must be remembered chiefly on account of his famous translation of Homer, one that had a profound influence on all future English literature, even inspiring John Keats to write one of his best sonnets.
The King James Bible, one of the most massive translation projects in the history of English up to this time, was started in 1604 and completed in 1611. It represents the culmination of a tradition of Bible translation into English that began with the work of William Tyndale. It became the standard Bible of the Church of England, and some consider it one of the greatest literary works of all time. This project was headed by James I himself, who supervised the work of forty-seven scholars. Although many other translations into English have been made, some of which are widely considered more accurate, many aesthetically prefer the King James Bible, whose meter is made to mimic the original Hebrew verse.
Besides Shakespeare, whose figure towers over the early 1600s, the major poets of the early 17th century included John Donne and the other Metaphysical poets. Influenced by continental Baroque, and taking as his subject matter both Christian mysticism and eroticism, metaphysical poetry uses unconventional or "unpoetic" figures, such as a compass or a mosquito, to reach surprise effects. For example, in "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning", one of Donne's Songs and Sonnets, the points of a compass represent two lovers, the woman who is home, waiting, being the centre, the farther point being her lover sailing away from her. But the larger the distance, the more the hands of the compass lean to each other: separation makes love grow fonder. The paradox or the oxymoron is a constant in this poetry whose fears and anxieties also speak of a world of spiritual certainties shaken by the modern discoveries of geography and science, one that is no longer the centre of the universe. Apart from the metaphysical poetry of Donne, the 17th century is also celebrated for its Baroque poetry. Baroque poetry served the same ends as the art of the period; the Baroque style is lofty, sweeping, epic, and religious. Many of these poets have an overtly Catholic sensibility (namely Richard Crashaw) and wrote poetry for the Catholic counter-Reformation in order to establish a feeling of supremacy and mysticism that would ideally persuade newly emerging Protestant groups back toward Catholicism.
[] Caroline and Cromwellian literature
The turbulent years of the mid-17th century, during the reign of Charles I and the subsequent Commonwealth and Protectorate, saw a flourishing of political literature in English. Pamphlets written by sympathisers of every faction in the English civil war ran from vicious personal attacks and polemics, through many forms of propaganda, to high-minded schemes to reform the nation. Of the latter type, Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes would prove to be one of the most important works of British political philosophy. Hobbes's writings are some of the few political works from the era which are still regularly published while John Bramhall, who was Hobbes's chief critic, is largely forgotten. The period also saw a flourishing of news books, the precursors to the British newspaper, with journalists such as Henry Muddiman, Marchamont Needham, and John Birkenhead representing the views and activities of the contending parties. The frequent arrests of authors and the suppression of their works, with the consequence of foreign or underground printing, led to the proposal of a licensing system. The Areopagitica, a political pamphlet by John Milton, was written in opposition to licensing and is regarded as one of the most eloquent defenses of press freedom ever written.
Specifically in the reign of Charles I (1625 – 42), English Renaissance theatre experienced its concluding efflorescence. The last works of Ben Jonson appeared on stage and in print, along with the final generation of major voices in the drama of the age: John Ford, Philip Massinger, James Shirley, and Richard Brome. With the closure of the theatres at the start of the English Civil War in 1642, drama was suppressed for a generation, to resume only in the altered society of the English Restoration in 1660.
Other forms of literature written during this period are usually ascribed political subtexts, or their authors are grouped along political lines. The cavalier poets, active mainly before the civil war, owed much to the earlier school of metaphysical poets. The forced retirement of royalist officials after the execution of Charles I was a good thing in the case of Izaak Walton, as it gave him time to work on his book The Compleat Angler. Published in 1653, the book, ostensibly a guide to fishing, is much more: a mation on life, leisure, and contentment. The two most important poets of Oliver Cromwell's England were Andrew Marvell and John Milton, with both producing works praising the new government; such as Marvell's An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland. Despite their republican beliefs they escaped punishment upon the Restoration of Charles II, after which Milton wrote some of his greatest poetical works (with any possible political message hidden under allegory). Thomas Browne was another writer of the period; a learned man with an extensive library, he wrote prolifically on science, religion, medicine and the esoteric.

[] Restoration literature

Milton's Paradise Lost tells a story of pride and rebellion.
Main article: Restoration Literature
Restoration literature includes both Paradise Lost and the Earl of Rochester's Sodom, the high spirited sexual comedy of The Country Wife and the moral wisdom of Pilgrim's Progress. It saw Locke's Treatises on Government, the founding of the Royal Society, the experiments of Robert Boyle and the holy mations of Boyle, the hysterical attacks on theatres from Jeremy Collier, the pioneering of literary criticism from Dryden, and the first newspapers. The official break in literary culture caused by censorship and radically moralist standards under Cromwell's Puritan regime created a gap in literary tradition, allowing a seemingly fresh start for all forms of literature after the Restoration. During the Interregnum, the royalist forces attached to the court of Charles I went into exile with the twenty-year old Charles II. The nobility who travelled with Charles II were therefore lodged for over a decade in the midst of the continent's literary scene. Charles spent his time attending plays in France, and he developed a taste for Spanish plays. Those nobles living in Holland began to learn about mercantile exchange as well as the tolerant, rationalist prose debates that circulated in that officially tolerant nation.
The largest and most important poetic form of the era was satire. In general, publication of satire was done anonymously. There were great dangers in being associated with a satire. On the one hand, defamation law was a wide net, and it was difficult for a satirist to avoid prosecution if he were proven to have written a piece that seemed to criticize a noble. On the other hand, wealthy individuals would respond to satire as often as not by having the suspected poet physically attacked by ruffians. John Dryden was set upon for being merely suspected of having written the Satire on Mankind. A consequence of this anonymity is that a great many poems, some of them of merit, are unpublished and largely unknown.
Prose in the Restoration period is dominated by Christian religious writing, but the Restoration also saw the beginnings of two genres that would dominate later periods: fiction and journalism. Religious writing often strayed into political and economic writing, just as political and economic writing implied or directly addressed religion. The Restoration was also the time when John Locke wrote many of his philosophical works. Locke's empiricism was an attempt at understanding the basis of human understanding itself and thereby devising a proper manner for making sound decisions. These same scientific methods led Locke to his three Treatises on Government, which later inspired the thinkers in the American Revolution. As with his work on understanding, Locke moves from the most basic units of society toward the more elaborate, and, like Thomas Hobbes, he emphasizes the plastic nature of the social contract. For an age that had seen absolute monarchy overthrown, democracy attempted, democracy corrupted, and limited monarchy restored, only a flexible basis for government could be satisfying. The Restoration moderated most of the more strident sectarian writing, but radicalism persisted after the Restoration. Puritan authors such as John Milton were forced to retire from public life or adapt, and those Digger, Fifth Monarchist, Leveller, Quaker, and Anabaptist authors who had preached against monarchy and who had participated directly in the regicide of Charles I were partially suppressed. Consequently, violent writings were forced underground, and many of those who had served in the Interregnum attenuated their positions in the Restoration. John Bunyan stands out beyond other religious authors of the period. Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of personal salvation and a guide to the Christian life. Instead of any focus on eschatology or divine retribution, Bunyan instead writes about how the individual saint can prevail against the temptations of mind and body that threaten damnation. The book is written in a straightforward narrative and shows influence from both drama and biography, and yet it also shows an awareness of the grand allegorical tradition found in Edmund Spenser. During the Restoration period, the most common manner of getting news would have been a broadsheet publication. A single, large sheet of paper might have a written, usually partisan, account of an event. However, the period saw the beginnings of the first professional and periodical (meaning that the publication was regular) journalism in England. Journalism develops late, generally around the time of William of Orange's claiming the throne in 1689. Coincidentally or by design, England began to have newspapers just when William came to court from Amsterdam, where there were already newspapers being published.

First ion of Oroonoko, 1688.
It is impossible to satisfactorily date the beginning of the novel in English. However, long fiction and fictional biographies began to distinguish themselves from other forms in England during the Restoration period. An existing tradition of Romance fiction in France and Spain was popular in England. The "Romance" was considered a feminine form, and women were taxed with reading "novels" as a vice. One of the most significant figures in the rise of the novel in the Restoration period is Aphra Behn. She was not only the first professional female novelist, but she may be among the first professional novelists of either sex in England. Behn's most famous novel was Oroonoko in 1688. This was a biography of an entirely fictional African king who had been enslaved in Suriname. Behn's novels show the influence of tragedy and her experiences as a dramatist.
As soon as the previous Puritan regime's ban on public stage representations was lifted, the drama recreated itself quickly and abundantly. The most famous plays of the early Restoration period are the unsentimental or "hard" comedies of John Dryden, William Wycherley, and George Etherege, which reflect the atmosphere at Court, and celebrate an aristocratic macho lifestyle of unremitting sexual intrigue and conquest. After a sharp drop in both quality and quantity in the 1680s, the mid-90s saw a brief second flowering of the drama, especially comedy. Comedies like William Congreve's Love For Love (1695) and The Way of the World (1700), and John Vanbrugh's The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697) were "softer" and more middle-class in ethos, very different from the aristocratic extravaganza twenty years earlier, and aimed at a wider audience. The playwrights of the 1690s set out to appeal to more socially mixed audiences with a strong middle-class element, and to female spectators, for instance by moving the war between the sexes from the arena of intrigue into that of marriage. The focus in comedy is less on young lovers outwitting the older generation, more on marital relations after the wedding bells.
Diarists John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys depicted everyday London life and the cultural scene of the times.
[] Augustan literature
Main article: Augustan literature
The term Augustan literature derives from authors of the 1720s and 1730's themselves, who responded to a term that George I of England preferred for himself. While George I meant the title to reflect his might, they instead saw in it a reflection of Ancient Rome's transition from rough and ready literature to highly political and highly polished literature. Because of the aptness of the metaphor, the period from 1689 - 1750 was called "the Augustan Age" by critics throughout the 18th century (including Voltaire and Oliver Goldsmith). The literature of the period is overtly political and thoroughly aware of critical dictates for literature. It is an age of exuberance and scandal, of enormous energy and inventiveness and outrage, that reflected an era when English, Scottish, and Irish people found themselves in the midst of an expanding economy, lowering barriers to education, and the stirrings of the Industrial Revolution.
The most outstanding poet of the age is Alexander Pope, but Pope's excellence is partially in his constant battle with other poets, and his serene, seemingly neo-Classical approach to poetry is in competition with highly idiosyncratic verse and strong competition from such poets as Ambrose Philips. It was during this time that James Thomson produced his melancholy The Seasons and Edward Young wrote Night Thoughts. It is also the era that saw a serious competition over the proper model for the pastoral. In criticism, poets struggled with a doctrine of decorum, of matching proper words with proper sense and of achieving a diction that matched the gravity of a subject. At the same time, the mock-heroic was at its zenith. Pope's Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad are still the greatest mock-heroic poems ever written.
In prose, the earlier part of the period was overshadowed by the development of the English essay. Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's The Spectator established the form of the British periodical essay, inventing the pose of the detached observer of human life who can mate upon the world without advocating any specific changes in it. However, this was also the time when the English novel, first emerging in the Restoration, developed into a major artform. Daniel Defoe turned from journalism and writing criminal lives for the press to writing fictional criminal lives with Roxana and Moll Flanders. He also wrote a fictional treatment of the travels of Alexander Selkirk called Robinson Crusoe (1719). The novel would benefit indirectly from a tragedy of the stage, and in mid-century many more authors would begin to write novels.
If Addison and Steele overawed one type of prose, then Jonathan Swift did another. Swift's prose style is unmannered and direct, with a clarity that few contemporaries matched. He was a profound skeptic about the modern world, but he was similarly profoundly distrustful of nostalgia. He saw in history a record of lies and vanity, and he saw in the present a madness of vanity and lies. Core Christian values were essential, but these values had to be muscular and assertive and developed by constant rejection of the games of confidence men and their gullies. Swift's A Tale of a Tub announced his skeptical analysis of the claims of the modern world, and his later prose works, such as his war with Patridge the astrologer, and most of all his derision of pride in Gulliver's Travels left only the individual in constant fear and humility safe. After his "exile" to Ireland, Swift reluctantly began defending the Irish people from the predations of colonialism. His A Modest Proposal and the Drapier Letters provoked riots and arrests, but Swift, who had no love of Irish Roman Catholics, was outraged by the abuses and barbarity he saw around him.
Drama in the early part of the period featured the last plays of John Vanbrugh and William Congreve, both of whom carried on the Restoration comedy with some alterations. However, the majority of stagings were of lower farces and much more serious and domestic tragedies. George Lillo and Richard Steele both produced highly moral forms of tragedy, where the characters and the concerns of the characters were wholly middle class or working class. This reflected a marked change in the audience for plays, as royal patronage was no longer the important part of theatrical success. Additionally, Colley Cibber and John Rich began to battle each other for greater and greater spectacles to present on stage. The figure of Harlequin was introduced, and pantomime theatre began to be staged. This "low" comedy was quite popular, and the plays became tertiary to the staging. Opera also began to be popular in London, and there was significant literary resistance to this Italian incursion. This trend was broken only by a few attempts at a new type of comedy. Pope and John Arbuthnot and John Gay attempted a play entitled Three Hours After Marriage that failed. In 1728, however, John Gay returned to the playhouse with The Beggar's Opera. Gay's opera was in English and retold the story of Jack Sheppard and Jonathan Wild. However, it seemed to be an allegory for Robert Walpole and the directors of the South Sea Company, and so Gay's follow up opera was banned without performance. The licensing act of 1737 brought an abrupt halt to much of the period's drama, as the theatres were once again brought under state control.
An effect of the Licensing Act was to cause more than one aspiring playwright to switch over to writing novels. Henry Fielding began to write prose satire and novels after his plays could not pass the censors. Henry Brooke also turned to novels. In the interim, Samuel Richardson had produced a novel intended to counter the deleterious effects of novels in Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1749). Henry Fielding attacked the absurdity of this novel with two of his own works, Joseph Andrews and Shamela, and then countered Richardson's Clarissa with Tom Jones. Brooke wrote The Man of Feeling and indirectly began the sentimental novel. Laurence Sterne attempted a Swiftian novel with a unique perspective on the impossibility of biography (the model for most novels up to that point) and understanding with Tristram Shandy, even as his detractor Tobias Smollett elevated the picaresque novel with his works. Each of these novels represents a formal and thematic divergence from the others. Each novelist was in dialogue and competition with the others, and, in a sense, the novel established itself as a diverse and open-formed genre in this explosion of creativity. The most lasting effects of the experimentation would be the psychological realism of Richardson, the bemused narrative voice of Fielding, and the sentimentality of Brooke.
[] 18th century
Further information: 18th century literature
During the Age of Sensibility, literature reflected the worldview of the Age of Enlightenment (or Age of Reason) – a rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues that promoted a secular view of the world and a general sense of progress and perfectibility. Led by the philosophers who were inspired by the discoveries of the previous century (Newton) and the writings of Descartes, Locke and Bacon. They sought to discover and to act upon universally valid principles governing humanity, nature, and society. They variously attacked spiritual and scientific authority, dogmatism, intolerance, censorship, and economic and social restraints. They considered the state the proper and rational instrument of progress. The extreme rationalism and skepticism of the age led naturally to deism; the same qualities played a part in bringing the later reaction of romanticism.
The Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot epitomized the spirit of the age.
Increased emphasis on instinct and feeling, rather than judgment and restraint. A growing sympathy for the Middle Ages during the Age of Sensibility sparked an interest in medieval ballads and folk literature.
[] Romanticism

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice continues to inspire writers, film-makers, audiences and readers
The changing landscape of Britain brought about by the steam engine has two major outcomes: the boom of industrialism with the expansion of the city, and the consequent depopulation of the countryside as a result of the enclosures, or privatisation of pastures. Most peasants poured into the city to work in the new factories.
This abrupt change is revealed by the change of meaning in five key words: industry (once meaning "creativity"), democracy (once disparagingly used as "mob rule"), class (from now also used with a social connotation), art (once just meaning "craft"), culture (once only belonging to farming).
But the poor condition of workers, the new class-conflicts and the pollution of the environment causes a reaction to urbanism and industrialisation prompting poets to rediscover the beauty and value of nature. Mother earth is seen as the only source of wisdom, the only solution to the ugliness caused by machines.
The superiority of nature and instinct over civilisation had been preached by Jean Jacques Rousseau and his message was picked by almost all European poets. The first in England were the Lake Poets, a small group of friends including William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. These early Romantic Poets brought a new emotionalism and introspection, and their emergence is marked by the first romantic Manifesto in English literature, the "Preface to the Lyrical Ballads". This collection was mostly contributed by Wordsworth, although Coleridge must be cred for his long and impressive Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a tragic ballad about the survival of one sailor through a series of supernatural events on his voyage through the south seas which involves the slaying of an albatross, the death of the rest of the crew, a visit from Death and his mate, Life-in-Death, and the eventual redemption of the Mariner.
Coleridge and Wordsworth, however, understood romanticism in two entirely different ways: while Coleridge sought to make the supernatural "real" (much like sci-fi movies use special effects to make unlikely plots believable), Wordsworth sought to stir the imagination of readers through his down-to-earth characters taken from real life (for eg. in "The Idiot Boy"), or the beauty of the Lake District that largely inspired his production (as in "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey").
The "Second generation" of Romantic poets includes Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and John Keats. Byron, however, was still influenced by 18th-century satirists and was, perhaps the least 'romantic' of the three. His amours with a number of prominent but married ladies was also a way to voice his dissent on the hypocrisy of a high society that was only apparently religious but in fact largely libertine, the same that had derided him for being physically impaired. His first trip to Europe resulted in the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, a mock-heroic epic of a young man's adventures in Europe but also a sharp satire against London society. Despite Childe Harold's success on his return to England, accompanied by the publication of The Giaour and The Corsair his alleged incestuous affair with his half-sister Augusta Leigh in 1816 actually forced him to leave England for good and seek asylum on the continent. Here he joined Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary, with his secretary Dr. John Polidori on the shores of Lake Geneva during the 'year without a summer' of 1816.
Although his is just a short story, Polidori must be cred for introducing The Vampyre, conceived from the same competition which spawned Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, to English literature. Percy, like Mary, had much in common with Byron: he was an aristocrat from a famous and ancient family, had embraced atheism and free-thinking and, like him, was fleeing from scandal in England.
Shelley had been expelled from college for openly declaring his atheism. He had married a 16-year-old girl, Harriet Westbrook whom he had abandoned soon after for Mary (Harriet took her own life after that). Harriet did not embrace his ideals of free love and anarchism, and was not as educated as to contribute to literary debate. Mary was different: the daughter of philosopher and revolutionary William Godwin, she was intellectually more of an equal, shared some of his ideals and was a feminist like her late mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, author of Vindication of the Rights of Women.
One of Shelley's best works is the Ode to the West Wind. Despite his apparent refusal to believe in God, this poem is considered a homage to pantheism, the recognition of a spiritual presence in nature.
Mary Shelley did not go down in history for her poetry, but for giving birth to science fiction: the plot for the novel is said to have come from a nightmare during stormy nights on Lake Geneva in the company of Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori. Her idea of making a body with human parts stolen from different corpses and then animating it with electricity was perhaps influenced by Alessandro Volta's invention and Luigi Galvani's experiments with dead frogs. Frankenstein's chilling tale also suggests modern organ transplants, tissue regeneration, reminding us of the moral issues raised by today's medicine. But the creature of Frankenstein is incredibly romantic as well. Although "the monster" is intelligent, good and loving, he is shunned by everyone because of his ugliness and deformity, and the desperation and envy that result from social exclusion turn him against the very man who created him.
John Keats did not share Byron's and Shelley's extremely revolutionary ideals, but his cult of pantheism is as important as Shelley's. Keats was in love with the ancient stones of the Parthenon that Lord Elgin had brought to England from Greece, also known as the Elgin Marbles). He celebrates ancient Greece: the beauty of free, youthful love couples here with that of classical art. Keats's great attention to art, especially in his Ode on a Grecian Urn is quite new in romanticism, and it will inspire Walter Pater's and then Oscar Wilde's belief in the absolute value of art as independent from aesthetics.
The most popular novelist of the era was Sir Walter Scott, whose grand historical romances inspired a generation of painters, composers, and writers throughout Europe. By contrast, Jane Austen wrote novels about the life of the landed gentry, seen from a woman's point of view, and wryly focused on practical social issues, especially marriage and money.
Poet, painter and printmaker William Blake is usually included among the English Romanticists, though his visionary work is much different from that of the others discussed in this section.
[] Victorian literature
Main article: Victorian literature
It was in the Victorian era (1837-1901) that the novel became the leading form of literature in English. Most writers were now more concerned to meet the tastes of a large middle class reading public than to please aristocratic patrons. The best known works of the era include the emotionally powerful works of the Brontë sisters; the satire Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray; the realist novels of George Eliot; and Anthony Trollope's insightful portrayals of the lives of the landowning and professional classes.
Charles Dickens emerged on the literary scene in the 1830s, confirming the trend for serial publication. Dickens wrote vividly about London life and the struggles of the poor, but in a good-humoured fashion which was acceptable to readers of all classes. His early works such as the Pickwick Papers are masterpieces of comedy. Later his works became darker, without losing his genius for caricature.
An interest in rural matters and the changing social and economic situation of the countryside may be seen in the novels of Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, and others.
Leading poetic figures included Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Matthew Arnold, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Christina Rossetti.
Literature for children developed as a separate genre. Some works become globally well-known, such as those of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, both of whom used nonsense verse. Adventure novels, such as those of Anthony Hope and Robert Louis Stevenson, were written for adults but are now generally classified as for children.
[] Modernism
Main article: Modernist literature

First ion of Ulysses, James Joyce's masterpiece, and landmark of high modernism (1922).
The movement known as English literary modernism grew out of a general sense of disillusionment with Victorian era attitudes of certainty, conservatism, and objective truth. The movement was greatly influenced by the ideas of Romanticism, Karl Marx's political writings, and the psychoanalytic theories of subconscious - Sigmund Freud. The continental art movements of Impressionism, and later Cubism, were also important inspirations for modernist writers.
Although literary modernism reached its peak between the First and Second World Wars, the earliest examples of the movement's attitudes appeared in the mid to late nineteenth century. Gerard Manley Hopkins, A. E. Housman, and the poet and novelist Thomas Hardy represented a few of the major early modernists writing in England during the Victorian period.
The first decades of the twentieth century saw several major works of modernism published, including the seminal short story collection Dubliners by James Joyce, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and the poetry and drama of William Butler Yeats.
Important novelists between the World Wars included Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh, P.G. Wodehouse and D. H. Lawrence. T. S. Eliot was the preeminent English poet of the period. Across the Atlantic writers like William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and the poets Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost developed a more American take on the modernist aesthetic in their work.
Perhaps the most contentiously important figure in the development of the modernist movement was the American poet Ezra Pound. Cred with "discovering" both T. S. Eliot and James Joyce, whose stream of consciousness novel Ulysses is considered to be one of the century's greatest literary achievements, Pound also advanced the cause of imagism and free verse, forms which would dominate English poetry into the twenty-first century.
Gertrude Stein, an American expat, was also an enormous literary force during this time period, famous for her line "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose."
Other notable writers of this period included H.D., Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, W. H. Auden, Vladimir Nabokov, William Carlos Williams, Ralph Ellison, Dylan Thomas, R.S. Thomas and Graham Greene. However, some of these writers are more closely associated with what has become known as post-modernism, a term often used to encompass the diverse range of writers who succeeded the modernists.
[] Post-modern literature
Main article: Postmodern literature

The term Postmodern literature is used to describe certain tendencies in post-World War II literature. It is both a continuation of the experimentation championed by writers of the modernist period (relying heavily, for example, on fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators, etc.) and a reaction against Enlightenment ideas implicit in Modernist literature. Postmodern literature, like postmodernism as a whole, is difficult to define and there is little agreement on the exact characteristics, scope, and importance of postmodern literature. Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote, Thomas Pynchon
[] Views of English literature
"I had always thought of English literature as the richest in the world; the discovery now of a secret chamber (sc. Old English literature) at the very threshold of that literature came to me as an additional gift." - Jorge Luis Borges, 'An Autobiographical Essay', The Aleph & Other Stories
[] See also

Indian English literature

Indian English Literature (IEL) refers to the body of work by writers in India who write in the English language and whose native or co-native language could be one of the numerous languages of India. It is also associated with the works of members of the Indian diaspora, especially people like Salman Rushdie who was born in India. It is frequently referred to as Indo-Anglian literature. (Indo-Anglian is a specific term in the sole context of writing that should not be confused with the term Anglo-Indian). As a category, this production comes under the broader realm of postcolonial literature- the production from previously colonised countries such as India.
IEL has a relatively recent history, it is only one and a half centuries old. The first book written by an Indian in English was by Sake Dean Mahomet, titled Travels of Dean Mahomet; Mahomet's travel narrative was published in 1793 in England. In its early stages it was influenced by the Western art form of the novel. Early Indian writers used English unadulterated by Indian words to convey an experience which was essentially Indian. Raja Rao's Kanthapura is Indian in terms of its storytelling qualities. Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. Dhan Gopal Mukerji was the first Indian author to win a literary award in the United States. Nirad C. Chaudhuri, a writer of non-fiction, is best known for his The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian where he relates his life experiences and influences. P. Lal, a poet, translator, publisher and essayist, founded a press in the 1950s for Indian English writing, Writers Workshop.
R.K. Narayan is a writer who contributed over many decades and who continued to write till his death recently. He was discovered by Graham Greene in the sense that the latter helped him find a publisher in England. Graham Greene and Narayan remained close friends till the end. Similar to Thomas Hardy's Wessex, Narayan created the fictitious town of Malgudi where he set his novels. Some criticise Narayan for the parochial, detached and closed world that he created in the face of the changing conditions in India at the times in which the stories are set. Others, such as Graham Greene, however, feel that through Malgudi they could vividly understand the Indian experience. Narayan's evocation of small town life and its experiences through the eyes of the endearing child protagonist Swaminathan in Swami and Friends is a good sample of his writing style. Simultaneous with Narayan's pastoral idylls, a very different writer, Mulk Raj Anand, was similarly gaining recognition for his writing set in rural India; but his stories were harsher, and engaged, sometimes brutally, with divisions of caste, class and religion.

Later history
Among the later writers, the most notable is Salman Rushdie, born in India, now living in the United Kingdom. Rushdie with his famous work Midnight's Children (Booker Prize 1981, Booker of Bookers 1992) ushered in a new trend of writing. He used a hybrid language – English generously peppered with Indian terms – to convey a theme that could be seen as representing the vast canvas of India. He is usually categorised under the magic realism mode of writing most famously associated with Gabriel García Márquez.
Bharati Mukherjee, author of Jasmine (1989), has spent much of her career exploring issues involving immigration and identity with a particular focus upon the United States and Canada.
Vikram Seth, author of A Suitable Boy (1994) is a writer who uses a purer English and more realistic themes. Being a self-confessed fan of Jane Austen, his attention is on the story, its details and its twists and turns.
Shashi Tharoor, in his The Great Indian Novel (1989), follows a story-telling (though in a satirical) mode as in the Mahabharata drawing his ideas by going back and forth in time. His work as UN official living outside India has given him a vantage point that helps construct an objective Indianness.
Other authors include Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, Arundhati Roy, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Raj Kamal Jha, Jhumpa Lahiri, Bharti Kirchner, Khushwant Singh, Amit Chaudhuri, Amitav Ghosh, Vikas Swarup, Rohinton Mistry, Kiran Nagarkar and C R Krishnan.
[] Debates
It would be useful at this point to bring in the recent debates on Indian Writing in English ("IWE").
One of the key issues raised in this context is the superiority/inferiority of IWE as opposed to the literary production in the various languages of India. Key polar concepts bandied in this context are superficial/authentic, imitative/creative, shallow/deep, critical/uncritical, elitist/parochial and so on.
The views of Rushdie and Amit Chaudhuri expressed through their books The Vintage Book of Indian Writing and The Picador Book of Modern Indian Literature respectively essentialise this battle.
Rushdie's statement in his book – "the ironic proposition that India's best writing since independence may have been done in the language of the departed imperialists is simply too much for some folks to bear" – created a lot of resentment among many writers, including writers in English. In his book, Amit Chaudhuri questions – "Can it be true that Indian writing, that endlessly rich, complex and problematic entity, is to be represented by a handful of writers who write in English, who live in England or America and whom one might have met at a party?"
Chaudhuri feels that after Rushdie, IWE started employing magical realism, bagginess, non-linear narrative and hybrid language to sustain themes seen as microcosms of India and supposedly reflecting Indian conditions. He contrasts this with the works of earlier writers such as Narayan where the use of English is pure, but the deciphering of meaning needs cultural familiarity. He also feels that Indianness is a theme constructed only in IWE and does not articulate itself in the vernacular literatures. (It is probable that the level of Indianness constructed is directly proportional to the distance between the writer and India.) He further adds "the post-colonial novel, becomes a trope for an ideal hybridity by which the West celebrates not so much Indianness, whatever that infinitely complex thing is, but its own historical quest, its reinterpretation of itself".
Some of these arguments form an integral part of what is called postcolonial theory. The very categorisation of IWE – as IWE or under post-colonial literature – is seen by some as limiting. Amitav Ghosh made his views on this very clear by refusing to accept the Eurasian Commonwealth Writers Prize for his book The Glass Palace in 2001 and withdrawing it from the subsequent stage.
The renowned writer V. S. Naipaul, a third generation Indian from Trinidad and Tobago and a Nobel prize laureate, is a person who belongs to the world and usually not classified under IWE. Naipaul evokes ideas of homeland, rootlessness and his own personal feelings towards India in many of his books.
Jhumpa Lahiri, a Pulitzer prize winner from the U.S., is a writer uncomfortable under the label of IWE.
Recent writers in India such as Arundhati Roy and David Davidar show a direction towards contextuality and rootedness in their works. Arundhati Roy, a trained architect and the 1997 Booker prize winner for her The God of Small Things, calls herself a "home grown" writer. Her award winning book is set in the immensely physical landscape of Kerala. Davidar sets his The House of Blue Mangoes in Southern Tamil Nadu. In both the books, geography and politics are integral to the narrative. In his novel Lament of Mohini [1] (2000), Shreekumar Varma [2] touches upon the unique matriarchal system and the sammandham system of marriage as he writes about the Namboodiris and the aristocrats of Kerala.
As the number of Indian writers in English keeps increasing, with everyone with a story to tell trying to tell a story, and as publishing houses in India vie among themselves to discover the next new whiz-kid who will land up with world fame, it could become increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Research, debates and seminars on IWE continue with increasing frequency. However,it might be too early a stage in the history of Indian writing in English to pass any final judgement.
[] Poetry
a humorous critique of early Indian English poetry.
A much over-looked category of Indian writing in English is poetry. As stated above, Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. Other early notable poets in English include Derozio, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Joseph Furtado, Armando Menezes, Toru Dutt, Romesh Chandra Dutt, Sarojini Naidu and her brother Harendranath Chattopadhyaya.
In modern times, Indian poetry in English was typified by two very different poets. Dom Moraes, winner of the Hawthornden Prize at the precocious age of 19 for his first book of poems "A Beginning" went on to occupy a pre-eminent position among Indian poets writing in English. Nissim Ezekiel, who came from India's tiny Bene Israel Jewish community, created a voice and place for Indian poets writing in English and championed their work.
Their contemporaries in English poetry in India were Arvind Mehrotra, Jayanta Mahapatra, Gieve Patel, A. K. Ramanujan, Rajagopal Parthasarathy, Keki Daruwala, Adil Jussawala, Arun Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre, Eunice De Souza, Kersi Katrak, P. Lal and Kamala Das among several others.
A generation of exiles also sprang from the Indian diaspora. Among these are names like Agha Shahid Ali, Sujata Bhatt, Melanie Silgardo and Vikram Seth.
[] Indo-Nostalgic writing
Indo-Nostalgic writing is a somewhat loosely defined term encompassing writings, in the English language, wherein nostalgia regarding the Indian subcontinent, typically regarding India, represent a dominant theme or strong undercurrent. The writings may be memoirs, or quasi-fictionalized memoirs, travelogues, or inspired in part by real-life experiences and in part by the writer's imagination. This would include both mass-distributed "Indo-Anglian" literature put out by major publishing houses and also much shorter articles (e.g. feature pieces in mainstream or literary magazines) or poetry, including material published initially or solely in webzines.
Certainly, Indo-Nostalgic writings have much overlap with post-colonial literature but are generally not about 'heavy' topics such as cultural identity, conflicted identities, multilingualism or rootlessness. The writings are often less self-conscious and more light-hearted, perhaps dealing with impressionistic memories of places, people, cuisines, Only-in-India situations, or simply vignettes of "the way things were". Of late, a few Indo-nostalgic writers are beginning to show signs of "long-distance nationalism", concomitant with the rise of nationalism within India against the backdrop of a booming economy.
In addition to focusing on nationalism or any universal themes, many writers emerged out with innovative ideas and techniques in writing poetry. It is a pity that there are many writers whose writings still remain unnoticed either due to lack of source to get their works recoganised or less opportunities does not knock the doors of the right person. Writers like Krishna Srinivas, M.K.Gopinathan, etc have contributed enormous poetry collection to the growth of Indian English Literature. Krishna Srinivas concentrated on all sorts of social aspects in his poetry, and M.K.Gopinathan poetic mission is to spread peace in the minds of the readers. M.K.Gopinathan's anthologies includes, "I go on for ever", "A Fresh Rose" and "It is not my fault" which contained interesting subjects of day to day life.
Typically, the authors are either Western-based writers of Indian origin (e.g. Salman Rushdie, Rohinton Mistry), or Western writers who have spent long periods of time in the subcontinent, possibly having been born or raised in India, perhaps as the children of British Raj-era European expatriates or missionaries (e.g. Jim Corbett, Stephen Alter). Or, they may even be Anglo-Indians who have emigrated from the subcontinent to the West. Third Culture Kids (TCKs) often grow up to produce Indo-Nostalgic writings that exhibit palpably deep (and perhaps somewhat romanticized) feelings for their childhoods in the subcontinent. Accordingly, another common theme in Indo-Nostalgic writing is "rediscovery" or its cousin, "reconnection".
Of course, for mass-distributed authors, Indo-Nostalgic writings may not necessarily represent all of their literary output, but certainly would represent a high percentage; it is their sweet spot, after all. Finally, it is worth noting that the markets for such writers are almost entirely in the West; despite the rapid growth in the incomes of urban Indians, the sales of English-language literature within India (other than books required for educational degrees or professional purposes) are minuscule compared to sales in the West, even if one includes pirated copies.

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