- A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
- A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is a distinguished scientist. He took charge as President of India in july 2002. His name is associated with the development of India's first satellite launch vehicle SLV-3 and the 'Agni' missile. He was bestowed upon with many great honoraries 'Padma Bhushan' (1981), 'Padma Vibhushan' (1990) and 'Bharata Ratna' (1987). The Present Extract from 'Ignited Minds', throws light how India can be made a Knowledge Society. So, it must rediscover itself in this aspect, and then it can achieve the quality of life, strength and sovereignty of a developed nation.
Abdul Kalam says that knowledge has many forms. it is available at many places. It is acquired through education, information, intelligence and experience. It is also available in academic institutions, in craftsmen, vaidyas, and in skilled people like artists as also in our housewives. Besides our heritage and history the rituals, epics and traditions are also vast resources of knowledge. There is an abundance of unorthodox and earthy wisdom in our villages. There are hidden treasures of knowledge in our environment, in the oceans, bio-reserves and deserts, in the plant and animal life. in our country every state has a unique core competence for a knowledge society.
According to Abdul Kalam, knowledge has always been the primary mover of prosperity and power. India used to share its knowledge through the traditions of guru-sishya. During the last century the world has changed from being an agricultural society to an industrial society. In the twenty first century a new society is emerging. In this society, knowledge is the primary production resource instead of capital and labour. A nation becomes a knowledge society when it deals with knowledge creation and knowledge deployment.The knowledge society has two very important components. They are driven by societal transformation and wealth generation. Information Technology plays a significant role in wealth generation. The Planning Commission of India has taken a lead role in this direction. To become a Knowledge Superpower by the year 2010, is a very important mission for the nation. By evolving a focused approach to intellectual property rights then India is sure to make her dreams fulfilled by 2010.
Thus, Abdul Kalam stresses the need for developing societies through the acquisition of knowledge and utilization of technology. Poverty can be removed only through a balancing of past heritage and present day knowledge.
Principles of Good Writing-Leslie Alexandr Hill
Leslie Alexandr Hill was an outstanding writer. His essay "Principles of Good Writing" offers valuable tips regarding the secrets of successful writing. He has pointed out the rules and regulations to be observed in sharpening one's writing skills.
To write well, a writer should be able to write clearly and logically. It is possible only if one thinks clearly and logically. A writer should practice clear step-by-step thought to achieve clarity of thought and expression.
A writer should increase his vocabulary and improve his powers of expression. For this he should read widely and carefully. He should use a good dictionary to help him with the exact meaning and use of words. Only practice makes writing possible. A writer learns to write by writing. One should not wait for inspiration. It is rare even with the most famous writers. Writing is 99% hard work and 1% inspiration. So it is better to get into the habit of disciplining oneself to write.
If a writer keeps his eyes and ears open, he finds plenty of things to write about around him. If a writer reads the newspaper carefully, it provides him many examples of human joy and tragedy. They can give him ideas for articles, essays or short stories.
A writer should keep a notebook to note down the new ideas otherwise he often forgets them. He should develop a warm human understanding of people to be a successful writer. He must write interestingly to appeal all kinds of people. However, he must write about present only. His readers should believe him in his sincerity.
Presentation is of very great importance in good writing. The main body of his piece of writing should present the ideas promised in the first paragraph. At the end he must write a neat, satisfying conclusion. A good writer should try to create impression with his own style. Avoiding Jargon and the similar super fluities, one should write clean and plain English which is the fashion today.
Leslie Alexander Hill’s clarity of thought and expression, the logical development of the illustrative examples and the appropriate use of vocabulary make it a model essay.
- Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell was a prolific writer.He is one of the greatest masters of English Prose. His brilliant intellect and profound knowledge are clearly revealed in his writings. His singularity of thought and clarity of expression are evident in the present selection. In this lesson, "Man's Peril", he warns nations and the general public to set aside their conflicting ideologies and save the beautiful earth from total destruction.
Bertrand Russell appeals to all concerned as a human being, a member of the species man, whose continued existence is in doubt. This is Man's Peril. A war with the hydrogen bombs put an end to the human race.
In his view, it seems that the 'general public' have not realised the real impact of a war with atomic bombs. A hydrogen bomb is 25,000 times as powerful as that which destroyed Hiroshima. So the stark, dreadful and inescapable problem before us is whether we shall put an end to the human race or if we shall give up wars. He explains in great detail the role of ordinary people in the peace process and requests the ‘general public’ to be more aware and assertive so that the fate of the nations need not be decided by despotic leaders alone.
On both sides of the Iron Curtain there are political obstacles to emphasize the bad effects of war. Each side of the Iron Curtain resembles duelists.Though they are afraid of their lives, it is cowardice on their part drawing out any compromise formulae. Here neutral play an important role to prevent the outbreak of a world war.
According to geological time, man has so far existed only for a very short period. But he has been doing well for the last 6,000 years. If we remember humanity and forget everything else, the way lies to us to a new paradise. Otherwise, we have to face universal death. Hence, Russell asserts that the role of the ordinary people in the peace process and the only 'wisdom of the ordinary citizen' can ensure progress and prosperity and pave the way for 'Universal Peace'. So we can save our planet from total destruction.
Shooting An Elephant
- George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pseudonym, George Orwell, is today best known for his essays. Among his most powerful essays is the 1931 autobiographical essay "Shooting an Elephant," which Orwell based on his experience as a police officer in colonial Burma.
In "Shooting an Elephant," by George Orwell, the author recounts an event from his life when he was about twenty years old during which he had to choose the lesser of two evils. Many years later, the episode seems to still haunt him. The story takes place at some time during the five unhappy years Orwell spends as a British police officer in Burma. He detests his situation in life, and when he is faced with a moral dilemma, a valuable work of an animal has to die to save his pride.
Orwell is an unhappy young policeman who lives in mental isolation. He hates British imperialism, he hates Burmese natives, and he hates his job. He is completely alone with his thoughts since he cannot share his idea that "imperialism was an evil thing" with his countrymen. Orwell sees the British rule as "an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down upon the will of prostate peoples" because he observes firsthand the cruel imprisonments and whippings that the British use to enforce their control. Nor can he talk to the Burmese because of the "utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East." This "utter silence" results from the reasoning behind imperialism that says, "Our cultures are different. My culture has more power than your culture. Therefore, my culture is superior in every way, and it will rule yours." If one is a member of a superior culture, one must not make jokes, share confidences, or indicate in any way that a member of the inferior culture is one's equal. A wall, which is invisible but impenetrable, stands between the British and the Burmese. His hatred for the Burmese is caused by their bitter feelings against the oppressive Europeans. Orwell says, "I was an obvious target and was baited," and when he is tripped during a soccer game, "the crowd yelled with hideous laughter," which seriously assaults the ego of this young man. He says that "I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible." Helping to oppress the Burmese causes him to feel guilty and to hate his job "more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear." While standing in this quagmire of hatred, Orwell encounters one of the defining moments of his life.
An innocent chain of events forces Orwell into a position in which he must choose between two undesirable options. When he goes to check a report that a tame elephant under the influence of "must" has broken loose and is causing damage, Orwell takes a medium caliber rifle which is "much too small to kill an elephant, but I thought the noise might be useful in terrorem." Upon finding that a coolie has been killed by the elephant, Orwell trades his .44 rifle for a much larger gun simply for self-defense. This is a critical mistake; the Burmese who are following him assume that, since he now has an elephant gun, Orwell has decided to kill the elephant. The crowd quickly grows to over two thousand natives, which rattles Orwell. As he says, "It is always unnerving to have a crowd following you." This is especially true for a young representative of the Queen who knows the crowd will be critically watching his every move. When he sees the elephant, Orwell knew with perfect certainty that he should not to shoot him. The bout of "must" is leaving, and the elephant is peacefully eating grass. Orwell did not in the least want to shoot him and knew that to do so would be to destroy a valuable and useful creature. On the other hand, the huge crowd of Burmese silently demanded a show; they expected a "sahib" to act decisively without wavering. One option is to walk away, let the elephant live, and suffer the ridicule of the natives. The other option is to ignore his conscience and shoot the elephant. Orwell is backed into a corner and has to choose between the life of the beast and his own reputation.
The elephant must be slain so that Orwell's pride can live. Walking closer to the elephant can get Orwell killed, and worse, some of the Burmese might laugh if that happens. Considering the laughter, Orwell says, "That would never do." Leaving without shooting the elephant is also not an option: "A sahib has to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things," implying that the Burmese will see him as weak if he seems to change his mind about slaying the beast. The British have created a proud image that they demand the Burmese respect, but they are trapped by having to live within that image. Orwell ignores his conscience and shoots the elephant, and he compounds his sin by botching the execution. Bullets shot into the wrong spot cause the poor animal to die "very slowly and in great agony." In spite of Orwell putting "shot after shot into his heart and down his throat," the elephant lives thirty minutes after its "tortured gasps" force Orwell to leave. Many years later, Orwell still seems bothered by the fact that pride, not necessity, caused him to destroy the animal.
Each person must make difficult judgments in the course of everyday life. Decisions that seem trivial at the time may affect one's life for years. Sometimes the choice is whether to meet the expectations of others or to meet the expectations of the conscience. One's maturity is measured when one encounters the elephant and decides to shoot it to please the crowd, or to not shoot it and appear to be weak. Either choice may follow one to the grave.
Shooting An Elephant
George Orwell –pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair is a well known essayist. His prose style is very clear. In this essay, ‘Shooting An Elephant’ he describes the shooting of an elephant in Burma. He brings out futility of Imperialism and his dislike for tyranny. Orwell halted on the road. He saw the elephant. He thought that it was a serious matter to shoot a working elephant. It was eating peacefully. He appeared no more dangerous than a cow. The author did not like to shoot him. He decides to watch him for some time.
There were many people who followed the author. They blocked the road for a long distance. They were all happy. They were certain that the elephant was going to be shot. The author was in a fix. The big crowd was watching him as they would watch a magician who was about to perform a trick. He knew that the natives would not like him as he was a stranger to that place. Unwillingly he moved forward with his rifle. He thought that he was pushed forward by the people.
Orwell understood if the white man turned a tyrant, he would destroy his own freedom. So he should act according to the wishes of the natives. He wanted to watch the behavior of the elephant closely. He knew that a white man should not be frightened, before the natives. If he was frightened the big crowd would be angry with him. He loaded his rifle and shot the elephant. There was a big roar of joy from the crowd. The wounded elephant began to sink slowly. The author fired again into the same spot.
The elephant did not die. It slowly climbed to feet. It stood upright. The author fired a third time. The shot was very dangerous to the animal. It tried to rise but its legs could not help. It made a loud cry. Its belly was towards the author. It was suffering very much. When it fell down, the ground seemed to shake. Thus, George Orwell killed the elephant. He killed it only to please the crowd. The incident made him understand the futility of imperialism in the East.