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(International Multi Journal)

CFTRA Global
Confidence Foundation
A peer Reviewed Referred Journal
Vol. I, No. 1, January April, 2011

Chief Editor : Dr. Neelam G. Tikkha

Chief Editor :- Dr. Neelam G. Tikkha

ISBN 81-86067-28-0
Volume I, No. 1, January April 2011

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1. Perceptions and Misconceptions of Literary Theories : 1 - 10

An Analysis of Pedagogy of Literary Studies

2. Thurbers Powder Puff Laughter 11 - 20

Dr. Neelam Tikkha

3. Human Rights Internet Censorship Cyber porn 21 - 29

Canada and India
Dr. Neelam Tikkha

4. Where the Pavement Ends 30 - 36

James A. Brigham


Ratan Das


Dr Sanjay Kumar Singh,
Dr Anurag Mishra


Varun Arya
ISBN 81-86067-28-0 International Multidisciplinary Journal
Vol. 1, No. 1, January April, 2011

Perceptions and Misconceptions of Literary Theories: An

Analysis of Pedagogy of Literary Studies
Head (UG) & Associate Professor
PG & Research Department of English
Dean, Curriculum Development & Research
The American College


English studies curriculum in Indian universities and colleges keeps expanding its
ever-flexible boundaries from time to time. American Literature, Indian Writing in English,
Commonwealth Literature, Comparative Literature, ELT & ESP courses, New Literatures in
English, and Canadian Literature were introduced in the curriculum with generous support
from the host countries or the UGC. When English Major was introduced at Oxford (1894)
and Cambridge (1911), and still later at Harvard, the University authorities and academics
alike resisted it on the ground that literature courses could not construct/impart/test the
knowledge as social sciences and natural sciences did/could. Ironically, Indian academics
and administrators with the colonized-and-yet-to be-decolonized-mind never perceive the
introduction and expansion of English literature education as a problematic. When Literary
Theory was introduced in the Anglo-American universities in 1990s, they could satisfactorily
answer the question what knowledge literature programme could produce though the
academics resisted Literary Theories in 1970s (Paul de Man). Thanks to the LPG
phenomenon, Indian academics lost no time in recognizing Literary Theory, if not Literary
Theories, as an integral part of teaching English literature at least at the postgraduate level.
Since Literary Theories is the latest addition and since most of the present day
educators did their literature education before its advent, there have been lots of gaps in their
epistemological understanding of the subject and in their pedagogical implementation of the
course. Confusion over its disciplinary boundaries, failure to understand its multi-
disciplinary-outside-of-literature knowledge, failure to make a distinction between Literary
theory and Literary Theory, Literary Theory or Literary Theories, Literary Theory and
Literary Criticism, Literary Theory and Critical Approaches to Literature, Literary Theory
and Critical Theory, and misconceptions about the contents, scope, and function of Literary
Theories are some of the issues that need urgently the attention of the scholars and
academics of English literature education in India. Paul de Man (2005: 333) rightly and
succinctly remarks, it is better to fail in teaching what should not be taught than to succeed
in teaching what is not true.
This paper proposes to examine the academics understanding concerning the origin
& definition and scope & function of Literary Theories, the distinction between the term
Literary Theory and the various other terms, the pedagogical feasibility and desirability of
integrating Literary Theories with the teaching of literatures in English.

ISBN 81-86067-28-0 International Multidisciplinary Journal
Vol. 1, No. 1, January April, 2011


Literary Theory is the latest addition to the English Studies curriculum of Indian
universities and colleges and it is being pedagogically and epistemologically equated often
with critical prose, sometimes with literary criticism, and at times with critical approaches.
English critical prose was prescribed under the rubric of English Criticism for undergraduate
English major students while Approaches to literature/criticism was meant for postgraduate
students three decades ago. A couple of social and literary history courses were also included
earlier in addition to a course on Literary Forms. All such non-literature components were
thought to be a necessity for English curriculum in its effort to compete with human sciences
and natural sciences as an intellectual pursuit. Literature courses could not be offered as an
academic discipline with aesthetic experience and classical humanist values as its avowed
objective. An objection to the institutionalization of literature courses was first registered at
the Western universities like Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge at the turn of the twentieth
century on the premise that literary studies could not be treated as a source of verifiable
knowledge to be imparted and tested. Against this background, new critical premises were
advanced so that literature could be turned into a viable academic discipline with rigorous
methodology of reading, analyzing, interpreting texts, and writing fulsome essays on such
interpretations. Literary Theory is the recent addition to such an academic endeavour to
make literary studies an intellectual pursuit.

Background to the present study

When English literature was introduced in India as a colonial project, it had an overtly
designed moral and covertly planned political agenda of producing a docile workforce with
Western aesthetic sensibility so that the colonizers could colonize the mind of the subjects
without revolt of any kind. It was introduced in Indian universities in 1850s while the two
famous British universities, Oxford and Cambridge resisted English literature as an academic
discipline till 1890s and 1910s respectively. It is being taught in India with the explicit
objective of classical humanists ideals though Western universities never adopted classical
humanism as its objective of English Studies. Rather, New Critical principles were cited as a
proof of methodological sophistication for teaching and testing it as an academic discipline.
It was also based on certain epistemological assumptions. Ironically, when it was introduced
in India, it could neither be read nor appreciated because it was a culturally alienating foreign
subject to most of the Indians who wanted to pursue it, for it acted as a passport for
government jobs (because it was only the knowledge of English language and literature that
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Vol. 1, No. 1, January April, 2011

was treated as a knowledge to be tested in all examinations for careers) and of course, it had
surrender value. As soon as it was prescribed as an academic discipline, the key industry
started thriving, but it was banned in the educational institutions. Anything banned attracts a
huge patronage and, no wonder; students of English literature are not able to resist the use of
these guides to date. Hence, the teaching of English language and literature has become an
industry with indigenously produced keys and imported secondary sources from the first
world countries!

Literary Theory is the latest buzzword heard everywhere within the academic, literary
scholarship circle while some autonomous institutions have discovered some prescriptive
value for their postgraduate course only. It has become a mind-boggling branch of literary-
critical epistemological exercise for students and most of the faculty members who show
some interest in it for the sake of novelty. Students struggle in those institutions where it is
prescribed because of its hard-to-read, non-literary, philosophical, linguistic, and
psychological nature, because of the absence of the key, and chiefly because of its non-
application nature. To add to their woe, some academics innocuously advise students to
apply theory to the interpretation of literary works!

Theory in literary theory vs. theory in scientific theory

Literary theory is not the same as the concept theory used in human and natural
sciences where it needs to evolve a hypothesis whose validity and universality will be
modified, or falsified, or justified. Moreover, it has application dimension for sister
disciplines as well. It is formulated with appropriate laws by the scientists themselves. It is
part and parcel of science. It is chiefly exploratory and sometimes confirmatory. On the
other hand, literary theory is more than simple speculation and hypothesis. It does not aspire
to the universality of scientific theory. It does not formulate any law for verification,
modification, or falsification, or justification. It is not at all the invention or discovery of
literary writers or critics. It is neither exploratory of, nor confirmatory to, some existing

Literary theory vs. theory of literature

Literary theory is often confused with the theory of literature. Rene Wellek and
Austin Warren published a seminal work of literary scholarship titled Theory of
Literature in 1949. What they mean by the title is not the same as term literary theory in
the modern sense of the term. When they affirm, [l]iterary theory, an organon of methods, is

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the great need of literary scholarship today, (19) they mean different approaches to
interpretation of a literary work. Their considered view is that literary criticism and literary
history attempt to essentialize the individuality of literary works, or of an author, of a
literature, or of a period, but literary approaches produce academic knowledge out of
literature which is not available to ordinary readers. This academic literary scholarship is
insights and judgements produced by academics with the help of extrinsic approaches to the
study of literature, such as biography, psychology (literature is the product of an individual
creator), sociology, history, economics, politics (literary creation in the institutional life of
man), and theology, philosophy (literature is the collective creation of the human mind).
While discussing the function of literature, they slightly move away from the classical
humanist objectives and state that though it has its expressive side, it wants to influence the
attitude of the reader. (23) Hence, the term theory of literature is used to identify a
prescriptive grammar of the literary work both in terms of materials and structure (poetics).

Literary (meta)criticism and literary theory

Literary criticism means the act or process of evaluating the merit of a literary text.
New Critics and Textual critics question the validity of impressionistic method that was being
practised/advocated until the end of the nineteenth century, and argue that literary evaluation
is possible only through a close reading, analysis, and explicating the meaning of a literary
work. Filbur Scott recommended five plus one approaches to the analysis and explication of
literary works. Literary criticism carries a sense of judging and evaluating. Literary theorists
are least interested in this judgemental activity and in fact, they are not at all concerned with
the interpretation of an individual work. Criticism acquired a greater and wider semantic
value with the Arnoldian notion of its function. Arnold in his Function of Criticism at the
Present Time, defines criticism as a distinguished endeavour to learn and propagate the best
that is known and thought, (3: 283) and thus extends to all thought that can be related to
our sense for conduct, to our sense for beauty (10: 62). According to Harris (2010: 51), I.
A. Richards, F.R. Leavis, Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren saw criticism
as a unified expression of an intellectual and emotional attitude toward the world. By now
criticism became an independent discipline in its own right. Wellek and Warrens distinction
between intrinsic and extrinsic approaches helped to separate criticism as the analysis of all
the formal or structural components of a work, such as imagery, figures, meter, style, and
narrative structure from scholarship as the interrogation of the relationship between literature
and biography, psychology, philosophy, and society.

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However, the main function of New Criticismmastering a text/its meaningwas

challenged in the last two decades of the twentieth century by Geoffrey Hartman (1980: 8)
whose Revisionist Reversal reinvests criticism with creative potential. The meaning of a
text is, for him, always indeterminate. The often complicated polemical modes of analysis of
the revisionist critics are associated with literary theory in the current sense. E.D. Hirschs
Validity in Interpretation (1967), one of the two seminal texts besides Derridas Structure,
Sign, and Play in the Discourse of Human Sciences that heralded the advent of literary
theory, makes a distinction between interpretation and criticism and brings criticism closer to
literary theory in one of the senses. He defines interpretation as the readers attempt to
understand the authors meaning of a text, and criticism as interrogating psychological causes
from within the author, social influences on the author, and the text in the light of situations
or ideas or concepts or philosophies not envisaged by the author. Nassar (1970) labels
Hirschs idea of criticism as metacriticism. He defines metacriticism as an assessment of
the view of life of a work or its author by a critic who uses as his basis of judgment his own
or other views of life. (133) For instance, Shakespeare can not be held accountable for the
kind of textual meaning that readers arrive at when they make a feminist or postcolonial, or
psychoanalytic reading of his plays.

Critical approaches vs. Critical theory

Guerin et al. published their A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature in

1966 when Derrida set in motion the concept of poststructuralist activity through his paper
presented at an International Conference on Structuralism at the John Hopkins University.
This book addresses the pedagogical problems and practices of teaching literary analysis in
Western academic institutions. The academics and students could not distinguish between
initial felt responses to a text and rich later responses to a text as a result of application of
critical approaches to literature. The authors use several expressions with more or less
similar meanings: perspectives, critical approaches to literature, critical techniques,
interpretive approaches, approaches to literary criticism, critical-interpretive perspectives,
critical tools, and (critical) approaches. It seems the purpose of the book is defeated with
such confusing terminologies. A discerning reader can easily understand the anxiety of
authors that innocent and agenda-less personal reading of and response to literature has no
pedagogical relevance within the academic circle though the initially felt-response to a
literary text constitutes aesthetic experience, but then T.S. Eliot, an academic, declared that
criticism was an inevitable as breathing, that along with literary and language history, and

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that it formed an important part of literary studies. The authors recommended seven
approaches plus additional approaches. They are traditional approaches (historical-
biographical & moral-philosophical), formalistic approach, psychological approach,
mythological approach, feminist approach, cultural studies, and additional approaches that
include a number of poststructuralist theories. What they mean by approaches is the
application of sister disciplines like psychology and sociology to the interpretation of a
literary work. They also liberally refer to literary theories that had their genesis in the late
1960s as critical theories. Confusion has come full circle!

On the other hand, Critical Theory refers to a cultural theory evolved by the Frankfurt
School in 1930s. The leading members of the school were Theodor W.Adorno, Walter
Benjamin, Rich Fromm, Max Horkheimer, Leo Lowenthal, Herbert Marcuse, and Jurgen
Habermas. Critical Theory examines why culture develops in the ways it does, how it can
negatively affect peoples critical ability to think about their actions and reactions, and it also
suggest ways of thinking about positive alternatives to the existing state of society. The
Frankfurt School has had considerable effects on literary study through works done by
Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida. Strictly speaking, Critical theorys
approaches to literature are located within the broader Marxist tradition.

Literary theory: definition and function

Literary theory is a new body of multi-/trans-disciplinary knowledge created by

professionals outside the discipline of literature like Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, and Althusser.
They dont deal with the interpretation of specific works, but with human discourse in
general. It is non-application-oriented to any specific text. They dont deal with nature,
effect, and function of literature (poetics and aesthetics), nor with methods of study. Their
analyses of language, mind, construction of history, sexual orientation, man, woman, race,
class, power, discourse, human subjectivity, responsibility, gender, etc help readers to
understand the world better and to think more logically. Waugh (2006: 6) asserts that
literary theory revisits everything that [is] at the heart of literature: reflections on God,
desire, death, Being, attachment, history, identity, sexuality, and Romantic yearning.
Literary theory is useful particularly to the readers of literature because it interrogates
assumptions based on which we interpret literature. It questions what we have taken for
granted for thousands of years and hence it is provocative and difficult to accept.
Questioning every other assumptions and beliefs about the world, it presumes that there is no
unmediated, personal, and natural response to literature. It questions the basis of
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understanding of these hypothetical assumptions. Its contents are different branches of both
human and natural sciences. It is a concept that is bound up with professional existence of
literary studies. It interrogates authorship, criteria of value, contexts of reading, and the
definition of literature. In some sense, it is a criticism of criticism (metacriticism).

Written from outside of the field of literature, literary theory seems to be more
important and challenging than literature. It has emerged to become an independent
discipline of intellectual episteme. It makes claims about the world in a way that literature
clearly doesnt. Its genesis can be traced back to the writings of Macaulay, Carlyle, and
Emerson. These three literary intellectuals mixed literary evaluation with intellectual history.
In a technological world driven by consumer economy when literature loses it legitimate
space, literary theory promotes the perception that literary studies matters, and that both
literature and criticism make a difference!

Classical humanists concentrated on the author for meaning in literature until the turn
of the twentieth century. The author was deified. For instance, scholars have still a habit of
referring to authorial intentions in the third person singular invoking the one of attributes of
God: all-time, all-knowing, ever-present. Literary study was text-centred up to 1950s with
contributions from Russian Formalism, New Criticism, and Structuralism. In 1960s it
became reader-centred with Roland Barthes Reader-Response theory which is partly
structural and partly post-structural. With the advent of poststructuralism in 1970s whose
different versions are literary theories, attention turned to the act of reading and interpreting
the text rather than the text itself. In an attempt to answer the question, What is the
relationship between the scholarship, the theory and the teaching of literature? de Man says
that literary scholarship, which is eminently teachable, involves at least two complementary
areas: historical and philological facts as the preparatory condition for understanding, and
methods of reading or interpretation. In other words, the teaching of literature is not the
discussion of themes and aesthetics, but about the methodologies of reading. Emphasizing
the act of reading, Paul de Man points out that the reading of literature implies two things:
Literature is not a transparent message in which it can be taken for granted that the
distinction between the message and the means of communication is clearly established. The
grammatical decoding of a text leaves a residue of indetermination that has to be, but cannot
be, resolved by grammatical means, however extensively conceived. (343) He also
succinctly complains that the resistance to theory is a resistance to reading, a resistance in
contemporary studies; in the methodologies that call themselves theories of reading.

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Literary Theory or Literary Theories

Literary Theory which is also known as Theory and High Theory, has courted a
controversy over the use of the term in the singular. Since theory means the method/way of
reading, there is no one method or methodology of reading. However, the concept of reading
does not refer to the physical act of picking up a novel and gleaning the story from it. In the
words of Wolfreys (2001: 4), reading suggests a manner of interpreting of our world and the
texts which comprise that world. No single manner of reading will do, so heterogeneous is
the world, so diverse are its peoples and cultures, so different are the texts Moreover,
theories are the product of specific histories and circumstances, and like written documents
they are open to interpretations, too. Clubbing all theories in the singular is like calling all
those who are from some place other than where one is from, foreigners. Moreover, within a
particular broad theoretical approach to literature, there are sub-sets. For instance, we have
French Feminist theories, American Feminist theories, British Feminist theories, and African-
American theories. Similarly, we have Marxist theories, Deconstruction theories,
Postcolonial theories, Queer theories, Gay theories, Gaze theories, Postmodernist theories and
so on. Wolfreys has consciously and deliberately used the term in the plural in both his

Assertions of Literary theory

1. It disputes common-sense views about meaning, writing, literature, and experience.
2. Reality is not what is present at any given moment.
3. The meaning of a text/discourse is not what the speaker had in mind.
4. Language is not representational.
5. Language shapes reality. In other words, language does not record reality but creates
6. Literature is the expression of the unconscious and therefore there is no such thing as
authors meaning.
7. Literary reading is not an innocent activity. Rather, it is always political because
human mind is, instead of being an empty slate, ideologically loaded.
8. Since truth is always relative, not absolute, definitive meaning is a myth. There is
only ambiguity, fluid meaning, and multiplicity of meaning (play) in a literary text.
Its interpretation will never lead to a final, definitive understanding.
9. There is no definite reading of a text and therefore no one meaning. A literary work is
an autonomous structure made of language.

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10. The notions of our own identity (gender, national) are not stable and fixed, but rather
fluid, changing, and unstable. They are socially constructed.
11. What people think or do is, to some extent, the product of their past experiences, past
beliefs, and ideologies, and therefore there is no such thing as objectivity.
12. Culture is seen as always manufactured, rather arbitrary and provisional, and as an
end product of an endless series of interactions and exchanges. No culture can claim
authenticity and no culture gives access to truths that lie beyond it.
13. Literary text is a time- and place-bound verbal construction that is always political
one way or the other.
14. Subjects (writers) cannot transcend their own time, but live and work within the
horizon of a culture constructed by ideology and discourses.
15. It is not a priori certain that literature is a reliable source of information about
anything but its own language.
16. There is no relationship between the sign and reality because there is no longer
anything real to reflect.
This list is only indicative and not exhaustive. This is the essence of the various
strands of literary theories.
Resistance to theory
Literary theory is resisted from two quarters: academics in non-literary disciplines and
literary scholars and critics. Academics in non-literary disciplines who are philosophers and
scientists of natural/human sciences call literary theorists as intellectual charlatans and they
are charged with a betrayal of Enlightenment reason, destruction of human values, and
promotion of confused thinking and obscurantism. Chomsky (1994: 163) condemns theory
as encouraging academic cults that are very divorced from any reality and that provide a
defense against dealing with the world as it actually is. On the other hand, literary
academics/scholars denounce it on the ground that it mounts an assault on human values and
that it is anti-aesthetic anti-mimetic. They also see theory causing a widening chasm between
the academic study of literature and the humanist world of letters outside the institution. Of
course, it is anti-humanist in the sense that it rejects the humanist claim of literature:
literature is of timeless significance; the literary text contains its own meaning within itself;
language is representational; and the purpose of literature is the enhancement of human life
and the propagation of humane values.

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In the parodied words of Hillis (1989: 111) [t]he future of literary theor[ies] is
immense. It has become a way of seeing the world. No turning back. They have become a
part of higher education in English Studies. They form the backbone of academic literary
activity. Though they are taught as part of higher level curriculum, there is a tendency on the
part of the academics who both oppose and support them or treat them as a specialized course
on an optional basis. One of the most contested areas of literary theories is the extent of the
responsibility of the writer for the way in which temporally and spatially distant audiences
may read and interpret the work. Academic integrity will be in jeopardy if academics treat it
as a specialized higher level course and continue to teach literature in the old classical
humanist tradition. Teaching literature (practising) with all old concepts that are being called
in to question in literary theories, and teaching literary theories (theorising) as a course
independent of mainstream teaching would be like putting the cart before the horse!
Pedagogical practices need to be evolved for the integration of literary theories into
the mainstream teaching of literary analysis. Literary theories are NOT critical prose texts
and approaches for application. Rather, they belong to both literary studies and literary
criticism. A coveted space, indeed!
Work cited
Arnold, Matthew. (1960-77). The Complete Prose Works of Matthew Arnold. Ed. R.H. Super. 11
vols. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Chomsky, Noam. (1994). Keeping the Rabble in Line: Interviews with David Bassianam. Monroe,
Me.: Common Courage Press.
de Man, Paul. (2005). The Resistance to Theory. Modern Criticism and Theory. Ed. David Lodge
and Nigel Wood. New Delhi: Pearson. 332-47.
Harris, Wendell V. (2010). Dictionary of Concepts in Literary Criticism & Theory. New Delhi:
Rawat Publications.
Hirsch, E.D. (1967). Validity in Interpretation. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press.
Miller, Hillis. (1989). The Function of Theory at the Present Time. The Future Literary Theory. Ed.
Ralph Cohen. London: Routledge.
Nassar, Eugene Paul. The Rape of Cinderella. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.
Scott, S. Wilbur, Orwell, George, and Eliot, T.S. (1966). Five Approaches to Literary Criticism.
London: Macmillan.
Waugh, Patricia. (2006). Literary Theory and Criticism: an Oxford Guide. New Delhi: OUP.
Wellek, Rene and Warren, Austin. (1949). Theory of Literature. London: Penguin.
Wolfreys, Julian and Kovarik, Lucio. (eds.). (1999). Literary Theories: A Reader and Guide. NY:
New York Univ. Press.
Wolfreys, Julian. (ed.). (2001). Introducing Literary Theories: A Guide and Glossary. Edinburgh:
Edinburgh Univ. Press.

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Vol. 1, No. 1, January April, 2011

Thurbers Powder Puff Laughter

Dr. Neelam Tikkha
Winner of British Councils award for anecdote writing.
Cell:+ 91- 9422145467

Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of emotions. It
follows that each period of culture produces an art of its own which can never be repeated.
Thurber creates a world full of bedlam and perplexity. The inevitable changes that are taking
place around in the society create a traumatic experience and make the older generation feel
that the paradise is slipping away through their fingers.
The paper highlights the reaction to changes and inability of older generation to
adapt to the changing situations. The world for them transforms into an arena where men
and women fight an endless war of nerves, where things get remarkably out of hand where
apparently insignificant, inconsequential misunderstandings grow into monumental
confusionsuntil the nature of reality itself is questioned. The pets are also not any
exceptions they howl both literally and figuratively, to the heavens. It is a world where the
language of perplexity is spoken where men, women and pet animals all add to confusion,
chaos and sad mystery which creates a dark humor reflective of the burden and sin of
humanity that one has to bear without any choice
Thurber represents a society reacting in a crazy way in funny world of machine and
gizmos in a state of shock and fear realizing soon the paradise will be lost and they will be
thrown out of Garden of Eden like Adam and Eve. The change is too heavy to put up with.
The speed and materialistic culture has transformed Thurbers people into hideous
characters. His women have become awful; his men, no better. Thurber, in his cartoon,
removes masks from the faces of the people and shows the savage-ness and lack of order of
human nature that exudes through the flimsy layers of dignity and calm. The fear looming
large on the mind of Thurber was that circle of annihilation will soon be complete. Man will
lose his identity and will be transformed into a zombie.

Introduction :
Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of emotions. It
follows that each period of culture produces an art of its own which can never be repeated.
Thurber creates a world full of bedlam and perplexity. The inevitable changes that are taking
place around in the society create a traumatic experience and make the older generation feel
that the paradise is slipping away through their fingers.

ISBN 81-86067-28-0 International Multidisciplinary Journal
Vol. 1, No. 1, January April, 2011

The paper highlights the reaction to changes and inability of older generation to adapt
to the changing situations. The world has been transformed into an arena where men and
women fight an endless war of nerves, where things get remarkably out of hand where
apparently insignificant, inconsequential misunderstandings grow into monumental
confusionsuntil the nature of reality itself is questioned. The pets are also not any
exceptions they howl both literally and figuratively, to the heavens. It is a world where the
language of perplexity is spoken where men, women and pet animals all add to confusion,
chaos and sad mystery which generates a dark humor reflective of the burden and sin of
humanity that one has to bear without any choice.

It is in fact, the whole decadent field of modern life, or the chaotic humanity, which
the humorist analyses and recreates, as his poignant wit, moves through the many layers of
humanity. Thurber points to the origins of our universal disease and dis-ease at once; by
focusing on the "little perils of routine living," his work thus reveals a memorable set of
images describing a malaise at once "cosmic and mundane." (Thurber) i

The changes taking place because of industrialization are creating a world that has
turned Thurbers character insane. Every system be it human group or society and system
functions or fails to function. Thurber reveals the human perplexity in the insurmountable
battle of the sexes, in the gloomy failures of science and technology, and in the imminent death
of civilization.

The journey from My Life and Hard Times (1933) to Lanterns & Lances (1961) is a
real delight observing the magnificent pictures of the chaos and insane carnival of human
life. The craziness of human life can be perceived from his titles: The Owl in the Attic and
Other Perplexities, , Alarms and Diversions, The Seal in the Bedroom, The Thurber
Carnival, "Aisle Seats in the Mind," "The Pleasure Cruise, and How to Survive it," "What
Do You Mean it 'Was' Brillig?," "The Bat Who Got the Hell Out," " War Between Men and
Women," and alas, even "The Collapse of Civilization" itself.

Thurbers perception of change is very weird. He visualizes change as madness and

anything can happen in this world a seal prying over a bizarrely nebulous couple in bed, gently
growling as it keeps them company. Thurber had the eyes to see a middle-aged man on the
flying trapeze, or could foresee human society in turmoil by the exclusion of a single letter
from the alphabet. Thurbers drawings also reflect the shock of the changes happening around
the world. He visualizes change as crushing the normal life so much that the women have

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their exposed nerve endings as though they suffer from a vitality that cannot be contained. It is
Thurber who could create a world that the benign dogs seem peculiarly able to understand and
surpass the troubled scene. Thurber's world is new and, quite literally, marvelous, but it is
also unusually, immediately ours. Dorothy Parker states that, our whole existence is
altered we describe something, perhaps our own sad predicament, as "looking like Thurber
cartoon." ii

The distinctive feature of this special world is an insidious use of the chaos motif. The
Years with Ross (1959). As Thurber remembers him, Ross always dreamed of the "perfect
system," of a "miracle man" to organize the disorder. Thurber found Ross himself,
paradoxically the typically confused man: ". . . [He was] a mixed-up modern man driven by
the well-known compulsion to build with one hand and tear down with the other."iii The
state is very typical of the modern man who has been digging his own grave in the
process of discovering comforts for life and increase in the speed in all his endeavors. In
a striking statement written for Believe in 1939, Thurber reflects mockingly on human
society, which he characterizes as "This sorrowful and sinister scene, these menacing and
meaningless animals. Every man is occasionally visited by the suspicion that the planet on
which he is riding is not really going anywhere; that the Force which controls its measured
eccentricities hasn't got anything special in mind."iv This confusion is partially the result,
Thurber explains, of the reliance upon flawed religious, political, philosophic, and scientific
systems to bring order out of chaos, and partially the result of humanity's own fallen nature.
These faults are worsened with the limitations of the environment, which Thurber describes
frighteningly and accurately as a "misfit globe," a place that is "just barely habitable.

My Life and Hard Times pinpoints Thurber's social criticism or world view because in the
splendid "Preface to a Life," Thurber uses weighty irony to establish a humorous tone and
proves that he is not only keenly aware of, but is profoundly keen on, the general mayhem in
the world outside himself. This passage also gracefully describes Thurber's technique in
dealing with his particular experience:

The author talks grandiloquently about small matters and pusiloquently about great
affairs. His ears are shut to the ominous rumblings of the dynasties of the world moving to a
cloudier chaos than ever before. . . . and the confused flow of his relations with six or eight
persons and two or three buildings is of greater importance than what goes on in the nation
or in the universe. He knows vaguely that the nation is not much good anymore; he has read
that the universe is growing steadily colder, but he does not believe that any of the three is in
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half as bad a shape as he is. v The fact that we were all as safe as kittens under a cook-
stove did not go on forever.

An equally gloomy vision of history is echoed in The Last Flower (1939), which
presents Thurber's view of human nature in all its vagueness. The Last Flower is a profound
allegory in words and pictures about the cyclic nature of history and the usual conflict of the
vicious and inventive forces in human life. The Last Flower begins in a wasteland, for World
War XII had finally "brought about the crumpling of civilization" and the annihilation of the
world. Thurber's drawings indicate buildings blown apart and wasted landscapes of dead
trees and grass. After the last war, the story tells us, human culture declined, as "books,
paintings, and music vanished from the earth" and people just sat around, doing nothing.21
Like the setting of Thurber's fairy tales, which were to follow in the forties and fifties, the
wasteland pictured in The Last Flower is a shortened, timeless version of dissolute human
society as it is portrayed in most of the modern fiction.

In this dismal universe there is no love until a girl finds the last flower, which
she gives it to a young man. They look after the flower together and it blossoms into a
meadow of flowers. As the landscape becomes vitalized again, creative sexuality and love are
rejuvenated and civilization is reconstructed. But, the scene does not remain for long and to
dismay, soldiers return to the world. Thurber dramatizes by including five pages of
drawings of armies, without words, which seem to sink every other reality. Thurber wrote
The Last Flower in 1939 and, timeless as the content of the fable may be, it was also a timely
response to the world outside. When soldiers reappear in the now-fertile landscape, the
cycle of destruction begins again. The ironic storyteller says that "Liberators, under the
guidance of God, set fire to the discontent." (The drawing depicts two demagogues
gesticulating before a mass of faceless, sheepish humanity.) Thus war comes back, too. "This
time the destruction was so complete. . . that nothing at all was in the world except one man
and one woman and one flower."

The steadfast balance of disillusionment and hope in this book is typical of Thurber's
double minded and tragicomic view of the human manifestation. We presume from the story
that yet another cycle of destruction will eventually grow out of the lonesome trio left at the
end, but they are also the only source of humanity's little happiness and hope. The deep
absurdity dramatized in The Last Flower is that creation leads to annihilation and
annihilation results into creation, and annihilation makes future creation possible. This is the
basic moral of life itself, as sure and undeniable as the seasons of the year or the movement
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from birth to death. The Last Flower presents a scary, poignant picture, but even laughter
"the only solvent of terror and tension"is the result of seeing life as it really is.

The White Deer opens in a sterile period, a wasteland. The story concerns a white
deer, turned into a lovely young girl by sorcery, who promises to marry the son of King
Clode (either Gallow, Thag, or Jorn), who can succeed in the dangerous task he was
appointed at. The white deer can be considered synonym for computers in the wasteland to
which many youths are married because of the competition, challenge and stress one has to
overcome in life.

Thurber essentially denies the possibility of ordering or explaining experience, and

he even assigns a great measure of the blame for our bewilderment to science and
technology. In short, unlike Gatsby, the titular hero of one of his favorite novels, Thurber
emphatically refuses to believe in the green light of progress, just as he fails to trust in
Franklinian venture and discovery.

Living ever on the edge of detonation or explosion these bundle of nerves, jump
from one calamity to another as swiftly as starting a car's engine or putting on an electric
light. In the brave new world of twentieth-century America, the old experience of natural
torture and bewilderment has no place and is made worse by multifarious experiences and
contrivances that are, sometimes quite literally, distressing. Human beings, in the
technological age, are not only at the pity of cruel destiny and time's whims, but are also the
helpless "victims and martyrs of the wild-eyed Edison's experiments."vi Like Harold Ross, who
imagined a "mystical technology," these kind people attribute godlike importance to the
confusing technological kingdom in which they strive to inhabit. They are continuously
stressed by something beyond their comprehension; there is nothing more incomprehensible
or threatening to Thurbers people than the machines itself.

The satire of the machine is, of course, a conventional device used by a number of
American writers who were Thurbers contemporary. Bergson also took an anti progress
position and based his theory of laughter upon the presentiment of the mechanical in human
activity. From Irving, Hawthorne, and Melville to Benchley, White, and Thurber, American
writers revealed the nuisance of the machine and were comical of the innovation. Thurber
also had shared the same vision as that of Katherine Walkers essay titled "The Total
Depravity of Inanimate Things,"vii alludes to the Puritan definition of man and compares
machines with the garbage that surrounds the man. A typical American concurrence which

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brings to light a "fallen world". Morsberger pointed that Thurber was similar to Benchley in
that "both authors are victimized by inanimate things,"57 but beyond Benchley's certain
influence there were other likely sources and analogues for Thurber's portrayal of menacing
machines: in Thoreau's rejection of the railroad of progress, in Rube Goldberg's cartoons, and in
Charlie Chaplin's gloomy vision of Modern Times. American art is as likely to deflate progress
and technology as American society is to foster belief in them.

Thurber's magnification of the terror of machine is not only a literary or

conventional device that he had followed in his writings but the firm ground on which he
rests his work. Thurbers letter viiibear poignant testimony to the autobiographical element in
his work. Yet, as an artist, Thurber was able to convert his ever increasing personal shocking
encounter with machine age into a universal artistic situation and expressing common dread of
his inner being through the representative images. Indeed, his humor allows us both the delight
and the insight of the comic distance, from which we may study our fears and frustrations
displaced in others.

It was an age of general terror and anxiety yet the automobile provoked a queer fear,
perhaps because of its relative size, complexity, and supremacy. Not only had this it also
played an important role in modern life by reducing the time of movement from one place
to another. A car is the basis of one of the fundamental memories sensationalized in My
Life and Hard Times, a book that depicted the early days of the century when the automobile
was transforming the way Americans lived.

The narrator recalls vividly :

That was twenty-five years ago, but it is one of the few
things in my life I would like to live over again, if I
could.. . . Roy twitched the string in the middle of a lovely
afternoon on Bryden Road near Eighteenth Street. Father
had closed his eyes and, with his hat "The Car We Had to
Push" recalls with great relish the time the Thurber boys
duped their father into believing that the family car was
falling apart. Actually, the boys had attached a package of
kitchen utensils underneath the car, to be dropped at a
predominantly tranquil moment:
This was a little scheme of Roy's to frighten father, who
always expected the car might explode. It worked perfectly
off, was enjoying a cool breeze. The clatter on the asphalt
was tremendously effective: knives, forks, can-openers, pie
pans, pot lids. . . fell, beautifully together, in a lingering,
clamant crash. "Stop the car!" shouted father. "I can't,"
Roy said. "The engine fell out." "God Almighty" said
father, who knew what that meant, or knew what it
sounded as if it might mean.ix

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The car is a supernatural terrifying encounter to father, for he is unable to comprehend or

manipulate it. A human creation had become a perilous and almost diabolical force in the

The little Thurber man of the thirties is thus snowed under the mechanical: the
middle-aged man on the flying trapeze drives a car only under duress, and then only to the
distress of those around him.60 Thurber with his master stroke, explores the meaning of his
difficult dilemma, in the essay, "Sex ex Machina," in Let Your Mind Alone! The essay
projects Thurber's rejection of science with his loathing for the machine and distills the funny
systems of the modern world.

"Sex ex Machina" impersonates both the clinical psychologist and the social historian.
Thurbers voice seems to be detached more ripe and world-weary . The work expounds the fear
of the mechanical. Its Latin title and case history form is very suggestive of a scientific
approach as Thurber puts it as "the problem": "a world made up of gadgets that whir and
whine and whiz and shriek and sometimes explode." Trying to establish the etiology of the
general human disease, or the source of our ever-worsening confusion, the pathologist
concludes: "No man. . . who has wrestled with a self-adjusting card table can ever be quite
the man he once was.' If he. . . hesitates, wavers, and jumps at every mechanical device he
encounters, it is. . .only because he recognizes the menace of the machine as such."61

Thurber feels that Homo sapiens is not helped by the technological growth he has
invented, but is only further bewildered by them. His world is convoluted considerably by the
baffling gadgets and systems he has introduced to it. Not only this, the growth has cursed
everyone with the universal modern curse:
Everybody, from the day of the jumping card table to the
day of the screaming klaxon, has had similar shocks. You
can see the result [of such contrivances]. . . in the strained
faces and muttering lips of people who pass you on the
streets of great, highly mechanized cities. There goes a man
who picked up one of those trick matchboxes that whir in
your hands; there goes a woman who tried to change a fuse
without turning off the current; and yonder toddles an
ancient who cranked an old Reo with the spark advanced.
Every person carries in his consciousness the old scar, or
the fresh wound, of some harrowing misadventure with a
contraption of some sort. x
These are the wounds that curious, bumbling, and mixed-up human beings inflict
upon themselves while searching for organizational calm, and comfort. As unable to bear
the shock created by the machines, he suffers from a general change syndrome. Thurber

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defines the-difficulty, that "so-called civilized man finds himself today surrounded by the
myriad mechanical devices of a technological world," he is twice infuriated by the Freudians,
who try to disentangle man from this quandary through "scientific" analysis. To Thurber's
unhappiness the specialists have only compounded the issue by baffling, for example,
automobiles with sex.xi

As late as 1956, in a parable called "The Grizzly and the Gadgets," Thurber criticizes
the mechanization of the age for firming up the rule of disarray. This satiric parable tells the
story of a bear, once victimized by the gizmos of a middle-class American home, who finally
revolts and tears down the pile of junk in which he is incarcerated: "Enraged, infuriated, beside
himself, seeing red and thinking black, the grizzly bear began taking the living room apart,"
until he crushed all of the gimmicks and gadgetry of a typical twentieth-century American
household. The fabulist then appropriately chooses to rephrase that great hater of
technology, Thoreau, in his summation: "Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy
desperation."63 With what rubbish and cacophony do we mystify our little lives, attempting to
hide, even from ourselves, the nature of our problem? And with what fury do we thus add up
the frenzied revolutions in our lives.

Thurber thus, consistently and roundly scathes and mocks at psychology in Let
Your Mind Alone! to the attack on automation in "The Grizzly and the Gadgets," He feels,
science and technology has proved to be a failure in dealing with human life. This is why his
stories are filled with characters who flinch at the sight of an automobile, and why his essays
so often take apart the illogical systems of the scientific community. He comes to a conclusion
that Science is both a principal example and a prime instigator that adds to the dilemma
and major share of the problems.

The role of science and technology as explicit in his story "The Secret Life of Walter
Mitty," is Thurber's most fabulous story. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," projects the
confusion of people with modern life. Mitty dwells into his secret life, at least moderately
so that he may keep away from the exasperating and scary machination of the modern
world. Residing mostly in "the intimate airways of his mind," he does not have to do the
odd things like reversing the car or changing tire but instead he in his fantasy flies an
airplane -"anesthetizing machine." The situation is highly ironic since Mitty is flying from
a world full of machines, into dream world which is full of machines visualized by him
that offers no less confusion. All the gadgets in his fantasy make the same "ta-pocketa"
sound as they make variously hum away or fly apart.64 Mitty is, of course, very close to the
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confused stepson of the father in My Life and Hard Times, who could make out from the
sound of the car when it was falling apart. Like the world of Thurber's reminiscences,
Mitty's dilemma is not very petty or intimate. While he is faced with the minute and the
ordinary, the intimate and the trivial, Mitty is also confused by the grand annihilation as
represented in the photographs of the war that destroyed the cities in Europe. War
photographs show the power of the machines. Juxtaposed intricately within the social
scenario, Walter Mitty is stung with the malaise that informs the whole funny world, whether it
in the form of confusing automobiles or equally discordant relationship or voracious
militarism or chaotic personal relationships or predatory militarism; power of machine is
destructive in nature.

Mitty also represents a world of female dominance which due to his inherent
weaknesses makes him a loser in the universal battle of the sexes. If he escapes the
machine, then Thurber woman will catch him. This brings us to the final strokes of confusion
existing in the Thurber world. It is the spot where human predicament is at once more
apparent and more awful. It showcases the very essence of dilemma, or, as Amy Lighter puts
to Charles Grantham in "The Beast in the Dingle," it is actually "the predicament within the
predicamentthe predicament of you and me."

A move from the outside confusion to inside confusion represented by domestic

conflict in the quintessential Thurber story, is best represented in "The Secret Life of Walter

In fine, Thurber represents a society reacting in a crazy way in funny world of

machine and gizmos in a state of shock and fear realizing soon the paradise will be lost and
they will be thrown out of Garden of Eden like Adam and Eve. The change is too heavy to
put up with. The speed and materialistic culture has transformed Thurbers people into
hideous characters. His women have become awful; his men, no better. Thurber, in his
cartoon, removes masks from the faces of the people and shows the savage-ness and lack of
order of human nature that exudes through the flimsy layers of dignity and calm. The fear
looming large on the mind of Thurber was that circle of annihilation will soon be completed.
Man will lose his identity and will be transformed into a zombie.
He wishes like Eliot in the poem Wasteland:

I sat upon the shore

Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order? 425

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London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

Poi sascose nel foco che gli affina

Quando fiam ceu chelidonO swallow swallow
Le Prince dAquitaine la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins 430
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymos mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

Shantih shantih shantihxii

James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times ( New York: Bantam Books) 1971,10.
James Thurber, The Seal in the Bedroom ( New York: Harper and Row,1932 ), un paginated ; in the
introduction by Dorothy Parker .
James Thurber, The Years with Ross ( Boston: Little Brown, and company ,1959), 125.
Men, Women , and Dogs 79, 153,47; and Seal in the Bedroom unpaginated, for some of the quintessential
Thurbers depiction of chaos.
Thurber, My life, 12.
Morsberger, James Thurber,22.
Katherine Kent Child Walker, The Total Depravity of Inanimate Things, in Mark Twains Library of
Humour ( New York : Charles L . Webster company,1888),435-436.
Mrs. Thurber confirms the readers suspicions on this, saying that this aspect of Thurbers created world was
closely connected to his actual difficulty with anything mechanical. (Interview with author, 2 Dec.1973. and
selected letters of James Thurber, 31-33.
Thurber, My Life, 27-36.
Thurber, Let Your Mind Alone!,57-65.
Thomas Stearns Eliot, The Waste Land. New York: Horace Liveright, 1922;, 2011.[linenumber]. [Date of Printout].

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Human Rights Internet Censorship Cyber porn

Canada and India

Dr. Neelam Tikkha

The present paper assesses the extent the new communication technologies are
altering the parameters of what we define as offensive communications or Cyber porn. The
scope of this paper is limited since it would deal only with offensive communication- Cyber
porn with relation to children. The paper attempts to examine how well our existing legal and
societal responses to offensive content work in a digital environment. It is intended to take a
stock of what we know, identify areas for further research, and to provide a useful starting
point for debate on what government's policy should be with respect to offensive content on
the information highway so as to protect children as well as safeguard the interests of the
Key Words: Cyber porn, digital environment , government censorship policy

Introduction :

In the twentieth century, the debate over censorship legislation on the offensive
communication has been conducted with respect to paintings, books, sound recordings and
movies. The role played by computers, networks, and electronic media is great and is harmful
to maintain the integrity of society. Moreover, it is accessible by children as well and they
need to be protected. The purpose of this paper is to assess to what extent the new
communication technologies are altering the parameters of what we define as offensive
communications or Cyber porn. The scope of this paper is limited since it would deal only
with offensive communication- Cyber porn with relation to children. The paper attempts to
examine how well our existing legal and societal responses to offensive content work in a
digital environment. It is intended to take a stock of what we know, identify areas for further
research, and to provide a useful starting point for debate on what government's policy should
be with respect to offensive content on the information highway so as to protect children as
well as safeguard the interests of the adult.

It has been seen that technological and scientific advances go on ever increasing
irrespective of its negative side effects and regard for the laws that govern human behavior.
Manipulators and maniacs misuse science sometimes for their psycho - maniacal and
pecuniary interests. Science tries to expand its boundaries and laws strive to define and
redefine boundaries in order to keep up with it. There has been a quantum jump in last few
decades that have shaken the very foundation of social and legal perceptions. The gains are

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too many but losses are uncountable. Pornography, when coupled with Internet is even more
disastrous. The results are enough to make society; legislators and magistrates lament and

Furthermore, the problem has been enhanced by the fact that there is no single
monolithic authority that governs the cyberspace, and there has been paranoia about the all
pervasive nature of Internet pornography the Cyber -porn: It is not a new form of criminal
behavior. Children in Western countries had access to radios and in many cases were
unsupervised by parents and sometimes adults may tune to a station without any warning that
offensive language is being or will be broadcast. These factors have obvious relevance to the
Internet. Many children have access to computers at home and when unsupervised by parents
often are initiated to pornography But, one does not accidentally call up a Web site or log
onto an e-mail program the way one might accidentally hear something on the radio.
Furthermore, internet access is not scarce in the way radio airwaves are. In fact, Internet has
helped in its quick spread and distribution far and wide. Cyber porn is computer-assisted
crime. The medium is used to help in the activity already prohibited by law. Thus, there is
already a law but the problem is which law would apply and how can it be implemented.

The affectivity of the medium has been proved advantageous. The ease of use, its
connectivity with globe and relatively democratic nature work to the advantage for
commercial and non-commercial pornographers. In fact the American judiciary has
recognized the potential negative impact of such audio-visual Media and have upheld that
broadcast media have a "uniquely pervasive Influence (FCCvs Pacifica Foundation). It
requires a different standard of limitations on their Freedom of Speech Large amount of
pornographic material can be reproduced more quickly and cheaply on new media like hard
disks, floppy disks and CD- ROMs. Moreover, the new technology has an advantage over still
pictures and images, since it has full motion video clips with sound and complete movies. In
fact, the latest trend seems to be towards interactive 'live sex' where people perform on and
according to requests by subscribers to the services.

The end user can view all this on the Monitor, save and transmit it or print out hard
copies of images and text. Thus, prohibiting reproduction of this material is difficult for law
enforcement agencies. In the past forfeiture was fairly effective measure but its effect has
been dissolved in case of Cyber porn because of it's ease of copying and backup copies. In
America the parents had an option of buying televisions with V-chips this approach of

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Congress laid the onus on the parents to protect their children from exposure to pornography.
Similar, approach is made for Internet users in such case the question arises whether parents
cou1d be held responsible for limiting access to on-line computer services? The three largest
commercial on-line providers America Online , Prodigy Services, and Compu Serve, have
provided subscribers with software that parents can use to block material they consider
offensive. This parental control seems analogous to the V-Chip in televisions and considered
to provide a way, to keep obscene material from children, without a ban that censors material
adults should be allowed to see, consistently with the First Amendment.

India is also not left behind in so far as the number of Internet users have been
increasing. Even small children can log on to the Internet from their houses. The social,
traditional and legal hindrances involved in purchasing an adult magazine from a newspaper
agent are no longer there. It is no big task to obtain pornographic material through any search
engine. A lot of material is sent for free and for free trial. Moreover, the Internet has the
potential to be a tremendous force for development by providing quick and inexpensive
information, by encouraging discussion rather than violence, and by empowering Citizens.
But, this potential can be realized only if it becomes a truly global effort Policy makers must
make every effort to ensure that internationally guaranteed rights to free expression are
extended to on-line communication and call for the repeal of censorship legislation. There is
a danger without such commitments. An individual faces the danger of seeing their rights
eroded by the very technologies they are embracing it.

Furthermore, it is far easy for offenders of serious crimes like child pornography,
considered an offence universally to hide or remove material. It can be encrypted in code and
although it can be cracked it is a difficult and laborious procedure. It also causes nightmares-
a program can be manipulated to delete data with command of a click of a single key. The
article by Philip Elmer- De Witt," On a screen near you Cyberporn "based on a research paper
by Martin Rimm has raised cries of hues by public and ended up in criticism by online
community and academicians for quoting wrong statistics and questionable methodology.

There is a need to protect the needs of children and at the same time the interests of
the adults are also to be taken care of. The principal threat of Internet censorship today is the
Communications Decency Act, (hereafter referred as CDA) by the US Government. It is a
law passed by Congress and signed by the President in January, 1096 which would apply
quite radical regulations to speech

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on the Internet. "The CDA criminalizes "indecent" speech on the Internet. One section of the
CDA defines indecency as speech depicting or describing sexual or excretory acts or organs
in a patently offensive fashion under contemporary community standards. Each of these
clauses- indecent, depicting or describing, patently offensive, and contemporary community
standards-- hides a landmine threatening the future of freedom of speech in this country. "5

UK police had also attempted to censor Usenet discussion groups carrying child
pornography in 1996 but both these attempts were foiled and backfired.

CDA was criticized because of its broad and vague language and limitations

1. "Indecent': Radcliffe Hall's path breaking though a restrained lesbian novel, The Well
of Loneliness, was indecent just because of the phrase, "And that night, they were not
divided. Indecency laws in general, the CDA in particular, contain absolutely no
exception for speech with scientific, literary, artistic or political value. In such case
even information regarding birth control and AIDS would fall under this definition.

2. "Depicting or describing": The word 'describes" can make even pure texts fall in this
category. Famous literary works like Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer and James
Joyce's Ulysses, those were not considered obscene then, could also fall prey to CDA
now if posted online. Courts have also tacitly acknowledged that sexually explicit text
cannot be held illegal under obscenity laws.

3. "Sexual or excretory acts or functions, Under the CDA; speech which is quite legal
in a book or magazine would be banned on the Internet. Most of the modern and
classic literature, nonfiction works on health, aids, rape, and sexual fulfillment, even
bible would be a come on the net. All human discourses that touch on earthy topics, as
history, metaphor or information would be banned

4. "Patently offensive" '- This word is very subjective and leaves things in the preview
of jury to decide what isoffelisive. (Time)Thit fact can very well be explicated by the
case Eckstein V. Melson, The owner of a bookstore, who was threatened with
prosecution if she continued carrying obscene, patently offensive materials: But when
she asked the prosecutor, the police and numerous other public officials to tell her
what she was carrying which was "patently offensive" (FBI agents raiding her shop
had seized novels by John Updike, among other materials) no-one would tell her .-A

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"patent offensiveness" Standard means that you engage in explicit speech at your Own

5. "Contmeinporary community standards.- These words would mean that material

placed on Internet and accessible in US would have to follow the norms of even most
conservative society. The CDs supporters advance two significant reasons for the
law: 1) It is necessary to protect children. 2) It is constitutional because the Internet is
no different than the telephone or broadcast media and may be regulated similarly.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged the validity because it only
allowed the material to adult that was fit for 'children and according to them it denied the
article 19 1(a) which guaranteed the freedom of speech and expression to all individuals.
People started revolting against the Governments around the world to reaffirm their
commitment to respect the rights of citizens to communicate freely and to express
unequivocal support for free expression guarantees on-line. It was found difficult to label a
material offensive since certain material not suitable for children may be suitable for adults
and the attitude towards sex changes from time to time.

The Canadian Government also had formed the Information Highway advisory
Council (IHAC) in 1994 to study and prepare an official statement as to what direction the
Internet should take in Canada. In September 1995,, the council released its first report. It
identified racist I hate material as twin targets for regulation.

In India "The Law of Obscenity in IPC section 292 and 294, is- formed on the basis
of Lord Cockbum's test Hicklin case. It was found very fluid in the case of Ranjit Udeshi. In
fact in UK also the Hicklin test was ruled out. Later, there were series of judgments but it
again led to criticism. There were two things a Mass literature may not be suitable for
adolescents but may be very useful and excellent for adults and the attitude towards sex
changes from time to time. Even in US the Hicklin test had been abandoned in 1933. The
three tests in section 292 of the Indian Penal Code on the other hand are laid down as follows.

1. A book, paper, writing, pamphlet etc. shall be deemed to be obscene if it is

lascivious, 2. Or appeals to the prurient interest ; 3. 1f its effect or where it is more than one
item, the effect of any one of the items, if taken as a whole, is such as to tend to deprave and
corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all ;the relevant circumstances to read, see or
hear it." (Rimm)However, the third test and still Hicklin's test (Wallace and Mangan) are

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taken as basis. It is also interesting to note the onus is on accused to prove lack of knowledge
about the obscene and the indecent content of the material in question. ( State of Karnataka
Vs Baseer )

Recently, there has been a great move to protect Cyber crimes. The CBI has a
comprehensive computerisation plan which has been developed with Department of
Electronics and National Informatics Centre. The project which was conceived of in 1993
took a start in 1996 and now its surging ahead-with-leaps and bound. Very soon various
metropolitan cities like Mumbai Kolkata and Chennai will join soon. There is much to do and
a need for comprehensive training for the success of these projects.

The Information technology Act 2000 enforced by Parliament aims to facilitate the
development of a Secuer regulatory environment for electronic commerce. It helps in
regulation of commercial activities, it has several provisions, which refer to penalties and
offences. The legislators consider this to be fundamental legislation to govern computer
related activities in India.

The clause S67- Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form- It states"
Whoever publishes or transmits to be published in the electronic form. Any material which is
lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or its effect is such as to tend to deprave and
corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or
hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine
which may extent to one lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction
with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also
with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees."

Thus mere possession is not an offence and the electronic pornography comes in the
preview of law. (htt3)This law prohibits people who would load or otherwise provide
material with pornographic content. . An intricate question that has been raised by this
provision is whether a private email between two individuals 'would violate the law if it was
"transmitted" electronically and had pornographic content. It raises an ambiguity to what
extent it breaches the right to privacy? Could the Government use this to screen e- mail in the
future? Suddenly these crossroads of Criminal and Constitutional jurisprudence find
themselves on the information superhighway!

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S75- deals with the penalty of crime for publication Of pornographic material electronically
published by foreigners who use Indian server. "Act to apply for offence or contravention
committed outside India & Abject to-the provisions of sub- section 2, the provisions of this
act shall apply also to any offence or contravention committed outside India by any person
irrespective of his nationality:

2) For the purposes of sub- section- 1, this Act shall apply also to any offence or
contravention committed outside India by any person if the act or conduct constituting the
offence or contravention involves a computer, computer system or computer network located
in India."

But, Section- 79, reasonably safeguard's the network service providers. "Section 79- Network
service providers not to be liable in certain cases -For the removal of doubts, it is hereby
declared that no person providing any service as network service provider (intermediary) shall
be liable under this Act, rules or regulations made there under fur any third party information
any information dealt With by-a network service provider in his capacity as an intermediary)
or data made available by him if he proves that the offence or contravention was committed
without his knowledge Or that he had -exercised all due-diligence to prevent the commission
of such offence or contravention. "This act was implemented on the basis of American
experience because it was thought unreasonable to hold them liable when they had extremely
no idea of or control over the users of their services and any automatic liability would cripple
the growth of industry it self.

Finally, the legislation has been given power of gathering evidence. There is a
detailed provision of confiscation, which will not interfere with any other punishments.

"S76- Confiscation : Any Computer, Computer system, floppies, compact disks, tape, drives
or any other accessories related there to, in respect of which any provision this Act, rules,
orders or regulations made there under has been or is being contravened, shall be liable to

Provided that : where it is established to the satisfaction of the court adjudicating the
confiscation that the 'person in whose possession , power or control of any such computer,
computer system, floppies, compact disks tapes is found. is not -responsible for the
contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules, orders or regulations tape drives or any
other accessories relating thereto, is found is not responsible for the contravention of the

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provisions of this Act , rules, orders or regulations made there under, the court may, instead of
making an order for confiscation of such computer system, floppies, compact disks, tape
drives or any other accessories related thereto, make such other order authorized by this act
against the person contravening of the provisions of this act , rules orders or regulations made
there under as it may think fit. "

S 80 deals with -Power of police officer and other officers to enter search- Notwithstanding
anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, any police officer, not below the
rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police, or any other officer of the Central Government or
a State Government authorised by the Central Government in this behalf may enter any public
place and search and arrest without warrant any person found therein who is reasonably
suspected of having committed or of committing or of being about to commit any offence
under this Act.


For the purposes of this sub-section, the expression "Public Place" includes any
public conveyance, any hotel, any shop or any other place intended for use by, or accessible
to the public.

Where any person is arrested under sub-section (1) by an officer other than a police
officer, such officer shall, without unnecessary delay, take or send the person arrested before
a magistrate having jurisdiction in the case or before the officer-in:-charge of a police station.

The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 shall, subject to the
provisions of this section, apply, so far as may be,' in relation to any entry, search or arrest,
made under this section.

Furthermore Act S- 81.removes all vagueness. S- 81- Act to have overriding effect:
The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith
contained in any other law for the time being in force.

1. It is useful to look into the concept of Governance Of the Internet 'rather than a
Government for the Internet .The law and its effective enforcement would act as a deterrent in
spreading pornography by Indian pornographers, who would supply these Software but it is
difficult to control the software that is uploaded abroad. The majority of pornographic stuff
comes from abroad. Therefore, some more alternative chick is needed.

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Users of the Internet -Gang be informed about the filters that are useful in filtering the
pornographic stuff and thus preventing the children from being exposed to pomography.9

2. Internet Service Providers must come together and form an association, to control the
spread of Pornography and-protect the children at the same time not limiting the right to
expression of Adults.

Moreover, with private ISP providers like Satyam Online and Mantra entering the
market, it is even more necessary to form an international code for preserving Human rights
and at the same time allowing censorship for the good of society. (htt4)

A few steps have already been taken in labeling the sites and their contents. A three
weeks workshop, to teach police officers the way to understand how these pornographers
work and to tackle the Cyberporn (First Amendment ) had been started on January 23' 2002
in Chennai First cyber police station has been set up in Karnataka. These great moves might
protect children's future.
References :
n.d. <>.
n.d. <http//>.
n.d. <,uk>.
State of Karnataka Vs Basheer . No. Cri LJ1183 (kar). Karnataka. 1979.
FCCvs Pacifica Foundation. n.d.
First Amendment . n.d. <http// 44>.
Rimm, Martin. "Marketing Pornography on the Information Superhighway ." 1983.
Time. 3 July 1995: 38.
Wallace, Jonathan and Mark Mangan. The Internet Censorship FAQ . n.d. <www.internetcensorship>.

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Where the Pavement Ends

James A. Brigham
Okanagan University College, Canada
Abstract by Dr. Neelam Tikkha
Canada is an extremely cold country where geography poses a big challenge. Writers
try to express the relationship between town and prairie. This relationship between town and
prairie is central to much of the twentieth century fiction set on the prairies of Western
Canada, a relationship which is being discussed with the precept of the title "Where the
Sidewalk Ends". It is seen that a number of other writers assert that the transient self is
highly important in the face of an overpowering, terrifying, seemingly eternal, completely
horizontal world which is the central image of western Canadian fiction.
The relationship of town and prairie in the discussed novels, is ultimately the interaction of
Art and Nature, a subtle interplay of personal, societal and religious values which
occurs at the very edge of the grid at the point "where the sidewalk ends."
He was at the ends of the street.
He walked on with the tall prairie grass hissing against his
legs, out into the prairie's stillness and loneliness that seemed
to flow around him, to meet itself behind him, ringing him and
separating him from the town.
-- Mitchell 245


This brief passage from W.O. Mitchell's Who has seen the Wind (11) typifies a
relationship between town and prairie which is central to much of twentieth century fiction
set on the prairies of Western Canada, a relationship which I intend the title "Where the
Sidewalk Ends" to express. Laurence Ricou argues in his Vertical Man/Horizontal World
(1973) that the assertion of its importance by the transient self in the face of an overpowering,
terrifying, seemingly eternal, "completely horizontal world" (2) has been the central image of
western Canadian fiction : "the fiction of the Canadian prairies, he says," is the record of
man conquering his geographical solitude, "symbolically at least, by standing upright (6)".
We can only agree with Professor Ricou, who in his turn agrees with the American writer
Wallace Stegner, that the prairies are "a country of geometry" (Stegner 7). Describing the
prairie, Ricou commonly employs terms which echo Stegner's "landscape of circles, (and)
radii," "segmented circle of earth" and "Euclidean perfection" (7).

However, when he wants to deal with the impact of the prairie on fictional characters-- say,
on the Bentleys in Sinclair Ross's As for Me and My House (1941), Ricou prefers another

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geometry, another topography, describing "the essential experience of Philip and Mrs.
Bentley" as "the fear of the void, the sense of being lost" (83). Certainly, Ross himself
associates that "essential experience" with a very different topography when Mrs. Bentley
refers to her fear of reaching the edge of town and "plunging into space" (73) or "[toppling]
off" the edge (131). But Ricou might have adopted Stegner's assertion that "nature abhors and
elevation ...; a hill is no sooner elevated than the forces of erosion begin tearing it down" (7)
as an equally appropriate metaphor for the destructive force which "vertical man" feels the
prairie landscape exerting on his or her spiritual, psychological and even social identity.
Resolving the problems of a 90 being in a 180 landscape requires the creation of a
rectilinear environment. In Canadian prairie fiction, that environment is the town grid, laid
down upon the prairie following a system of rectangular coordinates established elsewhere;
the town itself is the "world" off the edge of which Mrs. Bentley fears she may topple; and
the prairie is the "void" which town folk like the Bentleys fear. Because they fear it, town
dwellers tend to ignore the prairie, helped as in this quotation from As For Me and My
House- by a grid which requires the rectangular siting of buildings :
The false fronts haven't seen the prairie.
Instead, they stare at each other across the
street as into mirrors of themselves, absorbed
in their own reflections. (69)
For the town folk, the town grid defines the prairie, the geometry of vertical
humankind as against the horizontal prairie is restated by the rectangular geometry of the grid
as against the circular geometry of the horizon. The grid is personified by the town's mayor
and council, its law court,and its school board those "upright" community minded individuals
who see to it that the mores of the town are always observed. As Stephen Daniels asserts, "if
the English were, in the poet Spenser's words, an 'Inclosure of the best people,' their identity
was also fashioned by those beyond the pale: vagabonds, gypsies and... the Irish." (6) In the
century, the vast majority of settlers on the Canadian prairies were Britishers from Ontario, so
their mores were the dominant mores of the East, of Protestant Ontario, just as the grid was
an extension of the Ontario system, and the Canadian Pacific Railroad would become the
ultimate rectilinear expression of the national presence. W. O. Mitchell's Who Has Seen the
Wind makes this eminently clear with its reference to
the wrong side of town; ... That sprawl of tarpapered
shacks was German Town.[....] Fierce-mustached men lived there, men
with black-burning roll-your-own cigarettes permanently in the corner of

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the mouth, necessary men- the laborers on the C. P. R., on highway

maintenance, and on sewer work for the town : Polish, Austrian,
Ruthenian, Hungarian, Galician, not-yet-Canadian. (134; italics mine)

As For Me and My House also has its "necessary men," one of whose sons comes to
live with the Bentley and causes problems with his "blood....that's different from ours.
Hungarian, or Rumanian, or Russian -- we don't even know that. [.....] To say nothing of what
the town's attitude is going to be, and that fact that he's a Roman Catholic, and that Philip's a
Protestant minister in a bigoted Protestant town"(50). And Rudy Wiebe's Peace shall Destroy
Many is all about "necessary men," a community of Russian Mennonites brought to northern
Saskatchewan in the 1920s by the national government: the Mennonites chose to remain
separate from the rest of the country as a way of preserving their traditions-- a mirror image
of the citizens of Ross's town or Mitchell's who preserve their traditions by remaining aloof
from those immigrants it considers "not-yet-Canadian."Settlement of the Canadian prairies
perpetuated the forms practiced elsewhere in the British Empire, and those forms are
mirrored in the fiction: those who live beyond the grid are differentiated from those who
remain within it, not only spatially but morally. Thom Wiens, the main character in Rudy
Wiebe's Peace Shall Destroy Many, is "gripped by the consciousness that his family was
carrying on their ancestors' great tradition of building homes where only brute had couched"
(19; italic mine); for his father, David, "the Canadian bush disrupted the whole order of
things" (21).More than a century earlier (1856), R. M. Ballantyne, who had some experience
of the Canadian west, portrayed the Selkirk settlement of the Red River as "a sort of haven of
rest.... free from the cares of residence among wild beasts and wild men" (Owram 16);1
Alexander Ross, about the same time, described that settlement as "a 'link added to the
growing chain of civilization,' and a means of bringing to a land that had often been an object
of exploitation the more noble attributes of the civilized world" (Owram 21).2 The
ambivalence of Ross's response to the wilderness is only apparent, however; as Owram points
out, Ross concluded in the end that wilderness, "although it had much to offer [....] was also a
dangerous temptation" (20). Britons abroad in the mid-19th century continued to resolve the
opposition of Art and Nature much as they had three generations earlier, choosing the nascent
"tyger" over the untamed "lamb."

Those born outside that grid are no different from the land itself; they are
unquestionably immoral, uneducable pagans, "nature upon whom nurture will never stick"

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(Tempest 4:1,188-189). Peace Shall Destroy Many make this eminently clear: the
Mennonites "stared [at the Indians] as they would at any good land that needed clearing"
(30); "despite this summer's work with the breed children, [Thom Wiens] suddenly knew that
he had not yet seen them as quite human"(110). For those who choose to live in the
wilderness, however, there remains some fellow feeling. Although he renews his friendship
with Herman Petkau, who lives three miles from the communal centre of Wapiti, in spite of
the fact that Petkau has married a "breed," Thom Wiens has misgivings:
On that February afternoon, not having then thought about these
matters, Thom had only felt instantaneous revulsion at the man's action
[siring a child on Madeleine Moosomin, and marrying her in a civil
ceremony]. Looking at Madeleine, he could not recall having seen a
more noble woman, yet his conscience insisted. (108)

Ultimately, Herman and Madeleine Petkau will seem to be 'liberators' like that allied
troops whose entry into Paris is being described over the radio as Thom enters Herman's
home (104-105). But they will only be 'liberators' to those young Mennonites whose "void of
splintered dogmas" (235) has led them to question their elders' reasons for keeping the colony
separate from the outside world.

Mr. Powelly, a Presbyterian minister in Who Has Seen the Wind, extend "the hand of
fellowship" (113) to the Old Ben and thus touches off a sequence of events in which Mitchell
humorously attacks the hypocrisy of those like Powelly and Mrs. Abercrombie, who believe
themselves to be the standard by which the rest of humanity should be judged. The Old Ben
is a "necessary man" of a different sort from the railway and highway workers: he is a
bootlegger, a man who distills alcohol and sells it to the people of the town, many of whom
are prominent members of the community (148-149). And his sole purpose in joining the
congregation of Knox Presbyterian Church is to become the church janitor so that he may
more safely hide his still.
"The Lost Sheep," that [first] Sunday's delicately balanced sermon
pointing out the church's newest member, had been followed the
next Sunday by a sermon built around "The Parable of the Lost
Penny," and the one after that by "The Prodigal's Return." The
next Sunday the Ben's still in the church basement blew up. (129)
The explosion ruptures his new relationship with the town, confirms in the minds of
the more upstanding citizens the correctness of their original appraisal of him, and uncovers
in Mr. Powelly "an undying, Old Testament thirst for revenge" (130). Extreme divergence
from the social norm commonly elicits an extreme response. For Mrs. Abercrombie, revenge
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on the Bens can never be too extreme; where Mr. Powelly fails to realize revenge of the
"undying, Old Testament" sort on the Old Ben, Mrs. Abercrombie merely succeeds in visiting
the sins of the Old Ben on his son. her demands that the Young Ben be taken from his parents
and placed in "an institution of correction" (284-285) are consonant with the wishes of Mr.
Powelly, and both are "blinded by [their] distaste for the Young Ben's father" (219). The
reform school, like the basement cell in which the Old Ben serves his sentence, is a rectilinear
expression of rectangular man's need to impose his will on whoever and whatever diverges
from his norm. Significantly, the school board meets to consider Mrs. Abercrombie's solution'
to the problem of the Young Ben in the same council chambers where the Old Ben was tried
(259), and "the jail window [is] half-imbedded in the ground at the side of the town hall"
(261). The inhabitants of the grid will "bury" those who flaunt its laws beneath the most
upright, and therefore the most visible, expression of the grid: in this case, a two-storey box-
like building which is a combination council chamber/law court/town hall/fire
department/garbage department (259).

To the townsfolk, the Young Ben is simply another outsider "on whose nature/nurture
will never stick." But Brain O' Connal intuitively knows the Young Ben for what he is, an
expression of the land able to cause "the feeling" Brian has when he is outside the grid on the
"platter-flat" prairie (126,128-129, 300).
Until....forced to do so by the school board's insistence- he [the Young
Ben] had never entered the town, though he had often accompanied his
father.... to the town's eastern edge, where the prairies swelled gently.
(31;italics mine)
Only the philosophical school principal, Mr. Digby, realizes that the Bens are not to
be judged by the grid's norms (84); only Digby understands the trap which the town grid
become for such people (cf. 262- the Old Ben as a "caged animal");only he knows the
impossibility of confirming the spirit of the prairie - and so he "releases" the Young Ben
from further schooling (276, 284; italics mine).

Now, where the Young Ben is an expression of the land (a"natural" as Shakespeare
would have understood the term), the wind in both Who Has Seen the Wind and As For Me
and My House is the symbol of the power of the prairie, and of presence of God (Mitchell iii).
The Rossetti poem from which Mitchell took the title of his novel presents both the subtler
and the more terrible faces of deity. In both novels, to be sure, the destructive power of the
wind is prominent, but in Ross's book, the wind is almost exclusively inimical, whereas in

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Mitchell's its nature is multi-faceted, here causing the leaves to tremble, there causing the
tress to "bow down their heads".

Where Ross consistently presents "a will stronger that [the townspeople's] own
deliberately pitted against [them]" (17), Mitchell gives us three spirits. One is "R. W. God, B.
V. D." (33), "a little man" (37) who wears rubber boots and gold cuff links, who smokes a
pipe and rides a vacuum cleaner (38) and whose home is Knox Presbyterian Church (8). A
second "little man," one more closely connected to the land, is the Irish leprechaun which the
imagination of Sean O' Connal has transposed from Country Down to the Saskatchewan
prairie (16-17) - an example of what Stephen Daniels calls the intent of "imperialist
nationalists... to annex the homelands of others in their identity myths. They have projected
on these lands.... pictorial codes expressing both an affinity with the colonizing country and
an estrangement from it" (5).

The third spirit is the one associated with the wind in Rossetti's poem, and in Ross's
and Mitchell's novels: a quintessentially Romantic being projected upon the prairie by its
inhabitants. That projection is a response to what Render calls "the surroundingness of space"
(10) and to the solitariness of humanity within it :
We shrink from our insignificance. The stillness and solitude- we
think a force or presence into it.... for we dare not admit an
indifferent wilderness, where we may have no meaning at all.
(Ross 100).

The townspeople of As For Me and My House project onto the prairie outside the grid
"a hostile presence, deliberate, aligned against [them]" (100): an antagonistic landscape
requiring an antagonistic force. Mitchell's novel, too, presents the prairie as malevolent:
Saint Sammy Belterlaben projects an essentially Old Testament God onto the prairie (e.g.
195, 269-273) because he requires a vengeful spirit to define his own relationship to the land.
But Mitchell also presents the prairie as benign: Brain O'Connal, who passes easily between
town and prairie from a very early age (11), intuitively responds to the prairie as benevolent.
The Ross novel is a town book; Mitchell's novel is a prairie book; the difference in response
lies in the difference in perspective.

Main characters in both novels perceive "a flow, a rhythm, a cycle" in the prairie
world (Ross 69) against which the spirit of the town stands stubbornly opposed. To Ross's
Mrs.Bentley, pondering the street scene depicted in one of her husband's drawings.

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The town has an upstart, mean complacency.

. . . .

The town shouldn't be there. It stands up so insolent and smug and self-
assertive that your
fingers itch to smudge it out and let the underlying rhythms complete

Brain O' Connal, looking back toward the town from the prairie, sees the moon "pale
in the afternoon sky, a gray ghost half-dissolved. And the town [is] dim-gray and low upon
the horizon, it [lies], not real, swathed in bodiless mist-quite sunless in the rest of the dazzling
prairie" (Mitchell 299).Although one of these responses to the prairie town is violent and the
other benevolent, the main characters of As For Me and My House and Who Has Seen the
Wind understand that the town grid is a fragile, artificial thing imposed on the living prairie,
something capable of being overshadowed if not destroyed by the power of the land. The
relationship of town and prairie in these novels is ultimately the interaction of Art and Nature,
a subtle interplay of personal, societal and religious values which occurs at the very
edge of the grid at the point "where the sidewalk ends."
Reference :
1. Daniels, Stephen Fields of Vision: Landscape Imagery and National Identity in England and the United
States. Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 1993.
2. McKee, Russell. The Last West: A History of the Great Plains of North America. N. Y.: Thomas Y.
Crowell Company, 1974.
3. Mitchell, W. O. Who Has Seen the Wind. Toronto, ON: Macmillan of Canada, 1971 [1947].
4. Munro, Alice. Lives of Girls and Women. Toronto, ON: Penguin, 1990 [1971].
5. Owram, Doug. Promise of Eden : The Canadian Expansionist Movement and the Idea of the West, 1856-
1900. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1980.
6. Render, Lorne E. The Mountains and the Sky. Calgary, ALTA: Glenbow-Alberta Institute / McClelland
and Stewart West, 1974.
7. Ricou, Laurence. Vertical Man/Horizontal World: Man and Landscape in Canadian Prairie
Fiction.Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press, 1973.
8. Ross, Sinclair. As For Me and My House. Toronto, ON:McClelland and Stewart, 1970 [1941].
9. Stegner, Wallace. Wolf Willow. N. Y.: Viking, 1966 [1955].
10. Wiebe, Rudy Henry. Peace Shall Destroy Many.Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart, 1972 [1962].

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Ratan Das,
Assistant Professor,
Department of Commerce,
Durgapur Government College,
Durgapur- 713214

Frauds in financial reporting are of major concern now a day. Fraud in accounting aspects is no
longer a new story; it is repeated by many of the renowned U.S companies like Global Crossing, World Com,
Tyco and Enron. Fraudulent financial reporting is a deliberate intention to produce deceptive financial
statements by management of the concern. The main objective of this article is to find out the ways to combat
financial reporting frauds and to highlight this we have to know why and how frauds in financial reporting takes
place by elucidating the colossal corporate scam of Satyam and to find out the relevant ways to escape from any
further fraudulent financial reporting of the future corporate world.
Keywords: deceptive, elucidating, capitalism, manipulation, fictitious, reluctant, misconduct, fraternities,
convergence, extravagance


Frauds in financial reporting can be defined as intentional misstatements or

disclosures in the financial reports to deceive the users of financial statements. It can also be
stated as an expensive occupational fraud which affects the stakeholders interest. Fraudulent
financial reporting undermines the trueness of financial statement. When the major fraud
occurs in financial reporting, the investors lose their confidence and as a result the investment
process gets hampered. If the extent of this fraud is too high, then it will lead to the
bankruptcy of the company.

Corporate World is shocked to find that one of its hitherto brilliant stars was a part of
corporate treachery, where everybody is screaming off with his head while raising the
discussion about the chief executive officer B. Ramalinga Raju and the auditors of Satyam
named Price Waterhouse Coopers International. Indias financial eco-system is questioned by
series of uncanny events that has happened in the Satyam Saga and the institutions
responsible for the integrity of this system, not only the auditors but the other reluctant parties
i.e., the regulators, stock exchanges and credit rating agencies must have to be analyzed
by rigorous introspection.

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Eventual Approach to Satyam Fraud:

A succession of events suddenly arouses the question of corporate fraud in Satyam.

On 16 December 2008, Satyam declared to buy 51 per cent stake in Maytas Infrastructure
and that of 100 per cent stake in Maytas Properties for an effective sum of $ 1.6 billion. This
particular scenario makes the deal null and void in just 12 hours later. On 17th December
Raju said about adverse reaction of investors. Then on 18th December 2008, Satyam
announced the board meeting to consider a share buy-back just to hold back the confidence of
investors. On 23rd December 2008, Satyam shares fell 14 per cent, which was the lowest in
more than four years. On 25th December 2008, Satyam inquired the World Bank to withdraw
the inappropriate statements that they have shown. On 26th December 2008, an independent
director named Mangalam Srinivasan resigned. On 28th December 2008, Satyam suspended
the board meeting until 10th January where eventually the time was given to consider the
options so as to boost up the investors morale. On 29th December 2008, 3 more directors
named Krishna Palepu, Vinod Dham and Mendu Rammohan Rao made a formal statement to
resign. On 2nd January 2009, Satyams founders stake fell nearly from 3 to 5.13% which
prepared an attractive ground of bidding. According to newspaper report it was found that on
6th January 2009, share arose more than 7 per cent as the Satyam had been invited by
comparatively smaller rival named Tech Mahindra for an all share merger. And on 7th
January 2009, Ramalinga Raju sent a confession letter to the board of directors thereby
admitting to commit a financial fraud and deceit for a long period of time and he resigned
from the post of CEO of Satyam. And after that incident Ram Mynampati was appointed as
interim CEO of Satyam.

Malfunction of auditors in SATYAM scenario:

It is now the time to look into the auditors who has audited the books of Satyam. Price
water house Coopers International popularly known as Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) in
India apparent peccadilloes in the fraud of Rs 7000 crore seriously devastated the brand value
of Satyam which has been creating a value for 100 years globally. However, it is seen that
the big Satyam Robbery that has been committed by Raju is inevitably dragging the future of
the Big Four, i.e. adversely effecting the PWC and the other three, related to the Rajus
family owned firm and they are Ernst and Young (EY), Deloitte and KPMG. ICAI has
prescribed SA 240 to determine list of responsibilities of auditors relating to accounting

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fraud. Satyam auditors disobeyed SA 240, the list of responsibilities that they have failed to
do are enlisted below:

A) Satyam auditors failed to assess and identify the risk that is shown by the material
misstatement in the financial statements due to fraud.

B) They seldom used the power of discretion while overriding the duty of confidentiality.

C) It seems that Satyams auditors have not the confirmations while contacting the major
customers or suppliers i.e. to confirm the margins that it was earnings.

D) Satyam auditors failed to get the third party evidence to confirm for its debt and cash

E) In case of management frauds in Satyam, risk of non-detection is higher because

management has an ability to manipulate the accounting data and records i.e.
preparing the fraudulent financial statements.

F) In Satyam case scope of fraud has been widened because intense pressure is very
much routed to achieve the expected unrealistic earnings.

The punch line of the Satyam instances of alleged misconduct adversely affected the
auditing ethics whereas the accounting fraternities are perceived to the treatment of
extravagance. From public point of view, nobody is able to know that how much money
exactly they are making. Here the accounting fraud and deceit is greeted with ridicule being
heaped on this fraternity. Some illustrations of the accounting fraud are given below:
1. Revenues and Debtors were inflated.
2. Rajus reports reveal a revenue of Rs 2700 crore and an operating margin of Rs 649
crore as against the actual revenue of Rs 2112 crore and margin of Rs 61 crore.
3. According to the results of initial investigation, it was seen that the in-house team of
Satyam developed a software to generate fake invoices, where the name of the client
and that of project manager is genuine while the amount was overstated.
4. The fictitious cash bank balance of Rs 5040 crore as against Rs 5360 crore shown in
books was created through fake deposit receipts of Rs 3300 crore and a current
account balance of Rs 1700 crore.
5. An under-stated liability of Rs 1230 crore was created by Raju , if it is shown in the
books it would certainly raise the eye-brow of the corporate world.

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Impasse from the view point of regulators:

The government, more specifically the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the
Securities and Exchange Board of India already have ordered the investigations into the
Satyam era. Although no stipulated time period is given but the eyebrows have risen on the
delay of action taken by SEBI. It was obvious that a serious malfunction has taken place in
corporate governance.

Even before markets opening in New York, the New York Stock Exchange(NYSE)
poised trading in Satyams American Depository Receipts (ADRs) while the issue is still
debatable from Indian context of view. But the major question arises that how carefully the
exchanges scrutinizes the return as a part and parcel of the requirements of disclosure. A
significant distortion has taken place in regular quarterly disclosure report of shareholding
pattern in Maytas Infrastructure which was promoted by Satyams promoter. There was one
astonishing moment that cannot be ignored that Raju held his stake as 2.5 per cent in the
promoters category while holding 8.7 per cent stake in public category. So acting as a
managing director of Satyam, if Raju has his name in the shareholders list of two separate
categories, then it is the clear violation of the listing norms prescribed by SEBI.

Causes and Consequences:

One of the major causes behind Satyam fraud is B. Ramalinga Raju who began
with the aborted attempt to merge Maytas Infrastructure and Maytas Properties into Satyam
that all attempts enclosed in the shield of fog. This was one of the route behind all such

From the information recently available, it appears that Raju became totally engrossed
with the idea of cashing in on Indias booming realty market.

The situation becomes topsy-turvy for Raju, when the realty and stock markets began
falling late last year concerned to the incident occurred. And as a result of this, Creditors
began to call in their loans and the Satyam stock was falling in the market.

As Raju, run over the thorough analysis of stock and assets, he came up with a plan as
a lender of last resort. It is found that there is a shortage of cash nearly Rs 6500 to Rs 7000
crore in Satyam, he tried to involve the company to purchase the Maytas Infrastructure and
Maytas Properties for that amount. But it is a fact, that Satyam would never really have to

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pay the amount for the purchase of Maytas Infrastructure and Maytas Properties as Raju and
his family would never take away the money. So by this plan, Raju wants to convey that the
Satyam would get Rs 6000 crore as Maytas assets taken to be free, and the financial books
will be perfectly balanced and stabled.

Henceforth Rajus resignation letter on January 7, 2008 identifies that he was

involved in the manipulation of the books not for the personal advantage but his main
purpose was to save the Satyam from the competitive force through the takeover or merger.
He wanted it too much to takeover the Maytas; As a result manipulation of the revenue
statements had taken place.

But the incident proves that in spite of Rajus statement, one of the main purposes
behind the Satyam fraud is Rajus initiative for his own personal firm, he involved in it too
much, not thinking for the Satyam. He completely ignored about its impact on the socio-
economic scenario of the national and international business ethics.

It seems that Rajus con game has its source in April 2002 when the IT companies
were under the strict vigilance of the foreign investors through American Depository Receipts
which were newly-listed. It was the game plan of Raju to maintain two sub-accounts under a
single bank account of the company. The main account was controlled by Raju and his
associates while the subsidiary account was maintained by the finance and account
reconciliation team. So at any time, the accounts team would have an access to the two bank
statements for the same account. Out of these one is genuine statements from the bank and
the other manipulated statements provided by the Raju and his cronies and the finance team
had to accept this manipulated statements provided by the promoter where the figures did not
always reconcile with the actual statements. So this assured the auditors about the trust-
worthiness of the Rajus document instead of going the third party for assurance. It was found
out by investigating some minutes of the board meeting that audit fees paid the
Pricewaterhouse Coopers almost amounted to Rs 7 crore, just double the amount shown in
balance sheet. This clearly states the modus-operandi of Raju as a principal of the
falsification of account.


a) Auditors are bound to follow the basic tools of auditing i.e. vouching and

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b) Auditor certification is required for the whole management reporting, not only for the
financial statements. As we already know that in Satyams case, the Price
Waterhouse Coopers stated that they are only liable to show any report based on
financial statements, but they remain silent about management reporting. It is a
debatable issue. However, there should be a clear cut standing instruction in respect
of complete disclosure and reporting.
c) Ethics should be an issue less talked but it should be more practised;
d) Crime and Punishment should be the only way to deal with the scam;
e) There is a need for the convergence with IFRS in India to mitigate the differences
between Indian GAAP and IFRS;
f) To have a legal banishing transparency, some arrangement is indispensable to
manipulate the off-balance sheet transaction and suggest the way to restrict, if not
annihilate those practices that will threaten the transparency of financial
g) More standards should be avoided to increase the complexity of reporting;
h) Investors activism and awareness must be there to tackle this problem;
i) Effective reporting and efficient corporate governance must be enforced to avoid
such type of scam;
j) Market value accounting system should be followed, although it also has some
limitations, i.e. accounting practice must not be based on historic value;
k) Mathematical model must be incorporated by which risk can be properly priced;
l) Value devices and internal control system must be there to deal with such type of
m) Commitment of stakeholders must be there to uphold the spirit of transparency;
n) Academicians opinion must be emphasized rather than of core professionals to find
out the remedial measures to eradicate corporate scam.
o) There must be a close association between effective corporate governance and
credibility of financial reporting.
p) Forensic Accounting practices must be encouraged to deal with the investigation and
documentation of financial fraud.


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Fraud in financial reporting is a major threat to the corporate world that not only
hampers the investors confidence in capital markets but it also creates many adverse
scenarios. Satyams tragedy validates the complex business scenario where effective
communication with the stakeholders is must for ensuring good corporate governance and it
is the preliminary condition to have a transparent view of entitys performance.

The findings of this study suggest that the regulator should strengthen enforcement
mechanism in order to achieve the fullest disclosure in corporate annual reports.

It is also a rising need to disclose the HR information in annual reports based on its
face value. Enforcement of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) is needed for
having the compliance with the corporate reporting practices which would be adopted in
India on or after 1st April 2010 which would try to eradicate the further corporate scam
like Satyam.

Greater emphasis on Corporate Governance model and implementation of SOX is the

key resources needed to solve the corporate reporting problem of Satyam. It has been found
that the financial statements of Satyam suffers from inconsistency and non-uniformity, and
unable to provide trustworthy and comparable information. To exterminate such type of
problem, a multi-dimensional approach of global convergence of accounting and financial
reporting standards is desirable to harmonize the other connected areas that would assist in
increasing the corporate evenhandedness, transparency, accountability, and high degree of
ethical value and general credibility levels of financial information.

The permanent solution to the problem of fraudulent financial reporting should be the
practice of ethical financial reporting. In other words the financial reporting must be guided
by ethical financial consideration which should be based on ethical business culture, where
the generation of ethical value is the key measure against fraudulent financial reporting.
1. Beasley, M.S.,Carcello,J.V. Hermanson, D.R.(1999), Fraudulent Financial Reporting: 1987- 1997
2. Business World, January 19th 2009 issue, page 28-32
3. Business Today, Feb 22nd 2009 issue, page 55-60
4. Business Today, April 19th 2009 issue, page 30-31
5. Cohen J, Krishnamoorthy G, & Wrigh R. (2004) The Corporate Governance Mosaic and Financial
Reporting Quality.
6. IFRS ERA- an article by Nishith Dutta, Chartered Accountant
7. Jones M(2010), Creative Accounting, Fraud & International Accounting Scandals. John Wiley & Sons
Inc publication.
8. Seminar on Corporate Reporting practices organized by the University of Burdwan on 23rd March,

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Dr Sanjay Kumar Singh, Dr Anurag Mishra
1-Associate Professor & Head, Dept. Of Humanities,
OPJIT, Raigarh (CG)
2-Asst. Prof.- Govt. Venkat Sanskrit College,
Rewa (MP)

I am a women of oneself
I am me
I am a women that can make a difference
And so I am a women that can change.
- Luisa Sanchez

The Indian society has seen massive changes in the 20th century. With the advent of
English medium education, followed by the entry of television and later modern
communication devices into the Indian homes, the pace of change increased dramatically. It
led to the birth of the great Indian middle class, smaller family units, nuclear families and the
aware, confident and less submissive Indian woman.
Humans by nature are a social creature and to reach their fullest potential they need
family. Meanwhile joint families had slowly given way to nuclear family, a family that
consists of a mother, father, and their children. The pace of changes has been so fast that the
fabric of the family system and society seems unable to keep pace with it and leading to
dichotomies and problems- higher divorce rates, less respect for others needs and
requirements, less concern for others feelings and less sensitivity to people and
surroundings. The absence of joint family system has increased the stress in bringing up
children, with working mothers only relying on childcare centres. Moreover, families
especially those staying outside the country miss out on celebrations and festivities that bind
them to their culture and give them a sense of being at home. These families face difficulty in
passing on the cultural values something, which is learnt and taught by observation and
The nuclear family has to cope with all stresses - big and small on their own in the
absence of the luxury of sharing and downloading worries on someone (other than spouse)
whom we feel close and connected to. This has increase several problems in the society
like depression, suicides and heart disorders due to highly stressed lives. This article is an
endeavour to bring forth the challenges before Nuclear families and role of women in making
family healthy and happy.

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The Indian society has seen massive changes in the 20th century. With the advent of
English medium education, followed by the entry of television and later modern
communication devices into the Indian homes, the pace of change increased dramatically. It
led to the birth of the great Indian middle class, smaller family units, nuclear families and the
aware, confident and less submissive Indian woman.

In India, the joint family system has been in existence since ancient times. The father
is considered as the head of the family. His wife, sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren
together constitutes a joint family. The head of the family feels proud of the great number of
members. However, with the passage of time, the joint family system has disintegrated,
giving rise to the nuclear family system. The nuclear family consists of a man, his wife and
their children. Job opportunities available in the cities become the main cause of the
disintegration of the joint family system. People migrated to the cities in search of jobs. For a
number of reasons, a joint family system could not exist in the cities. Due to lack of living
space and high cost of living in the cities, it is difficult to accommodate all the members of a
joint family.


With the increase in the urbanization and industrialization, the concept of family in
India, which once was to create and maintain a common culture among the members of the
family, is undergoing changes. However according to Beteille (1964), inspite of socio-
economic and political changes, family life and family structure have remained as an integral
part of Indian society with the 'spirit of family solidarity' as the sustaining power. Ross
(1961) found that many Indians went through changes in the type of family in which they
lived in various sequences: large joint family, small joint family, nuclear family, and nuclear
family with dependants.

As still in India most of the marriages are arranged by the parents, marital life begins
in the parents family and later depending on the situation, a dwelling unit is arranged by the
parents or other older members of the family (Richard, 1985). Hence, it is possible that the
decisions taken by the members of the nuclear family are guided by their parents and

To know the distribution of family structure in India, following classifications are considered:
Type of family : Definition

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Single Member : The respondent who is alone

Nuclear : This type of family includes Nuclear pair i.e., Head and spouse
with or without unmarried children
Broken : Nuclear Head without spouse but with unmarried children

Supplemented Nuclear: It includes three types of families

a) Supplemented Nuclear: Head and spouse with or without
unmarried children but with other relations who are not
currently having spouses.
b) Broken Extended Nuclear: Head without spouse but with
other relations of whom only one is having spouse
c) Supplemented Broken Nuclear: Head without spouse with
or without unmarried children but with other unmarried
/separated / divorced/widowed relation

Joint Family : It includes both lineally extended and collaterally extended

a) Lineally extended family: Head and spouse with married
son(s)/daughter(s) and their spouses and parents with or
without other not currently married relation(s) (OR) Head
without spouse but with at least two married son(s) and
daughter(s) and their spouses and/or parents with or without
other not currently married relations
b) Collaterally extended family : Head and spouse with married
brother(s)/sister(s) and their spouses with or without other
relation(s) [including married relation(s)] (OR) Head without
spouse but with at least two married brothers/sisters and their
spouses with or without other relations4


Pioneer anthropologist Bronislaw alinowski (1913) stated that the nuclear family had
to be universal because it filled a basic biological needcaring for and protecting infants and
young children. No culture could survive, he asserted, unless the birth of children was linked
to both mother and father in legally based parenthood. Anthropologist George P. Murdock
(1949) elaborated on the idea that the nuclear family is both universal and essential: "Whether
as the sole prevailing form of the family . . . or as the basic unit from which more complex
families form, [the nuclear family] exists as a distinct and strongly functional group in every
known society".

The discussion on the nuclear family and industrialism cantered around the writings
of one of the leading sociologists of the post-World War II era, Talcott Parsons (1955). The

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nuclear unit, he argued, fits the needs of industrial society. Independent of the kin network,
the "isolated" nuclear family is free to move as the economy demands. Further, the intimate
nuclear family can specialize in serving the emotional needs of adults and children in a
competitive and impersonal world.

Meanwhile joint families had slowly given way to nuclear family. It was smaller,
allowed for more space for the individual and daughter-in-laws were sitting and having
dinner and watching soap operas with their father in laws something that was unthinkable a
decade earlier. With the rise of double income families, grandparents looked after
grandchildren. The arrangement grandparents having company in their old age and the
women being able to work without worrying about their kids seemed mutually beneficial.

In Indian cities, families aspire to an improved lifestyle, which they recognize is

possible with fewer children. They would like to provide the best in basics such as food and
education, and at the same time, are looking to upgrade their vehicles, home entertainment
gadgets, cell phones, etc. This segment, therefore, forms a market for all aspirational
products, especially those for children. These are the families that would be seen in cinema
halls and malls on Sundays and eating out as well.


A nuclear family has many advantages. In a nuclear family, children get individual
attention, the mother is able to look after the needs of her children well. She can take care of
their personal needs in a much better way than she could in a joint family remaining busy in
the household work. The family earns, spends and saves money for itself. Parents can invest
money for the education of their children. They can put them in good schools and for provide
them with better career opportunities. The womenfolk do not face many restrictions and
disharmony occurs because of the size of the family. They can understand one another well.


A nuclear family has its disadvantages too. Due to high cost of living in the cities,
both the parents pursue a career of their own. This may leave the children unguided. They
find no one for advice or discussion. They spend their childhood without the much needed
love and company of their parents. Infants spend their time in crches. Overcrowded, poorly
ventilated buildings and apathetic staff of the crches have a negative influence on the well-
being of the children.

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Disadvantages of having nuclear family are as follows :

(1) Working couples have to leave their child/ children in baby-sitting, where they don't
know how the baby-sitter takes care of child.
(2) Wife has to do household work and to prepare food etc.
(3) There is only mom and dad and brothers and sisters to help out, while in joint family
there are many people to help out and give love and attention and contribute to the
household sharing duties.
(4) People become more & more detached. Children come to know only their immediate
family, & dont even recognize their cousins.
(5) The nuclear family has an inherent lack of extended support system, instability and a
vulnerability to economic stress. Nuclear family misses the dependency and trust that
builds automatically in a joint family system.
(6) The children are more happy in a joint family, because, for they have plenty of friends
and elders to make them busy, tell them many fantasy stories.


As privatization, layoffs, and the shredding of the social safety net have become facts
of life, the pressure on individual families, and particularly women within them, has become
immense. Far from womens oppression being a thing of the past, it has deepened as the
overall ruling-class offensive has gained momentum, lowering wages and living standards on
a mass scale.

The lack of proper government-guaranteed protections for women with children

ensures that women pay a heavy price for raising children. For example, the United States is
one of only two Western industrialized nations with no system of paid parental leave or
subsidized child care. In twenty-nine of the most advanced industrialized countries, paid
parental leave averaged one-and-a-half years with the average leave lasting thirty-six weeks.

Four in ten working women work evenings, nights, and weekends on a regular basis.
Women today are told that if they cannot provide for their families, it is their own fault.
When family values rhetoric or the ideas of post-feminism are set against the material reality
of womens lives today, they seem not only painfully inadequate but also dangerous. They
are dangerous because they shift the debate away from any acknowledgement of womens
oppression. In fact, the post-feminists argue that womens oppression is a thing of the past

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and now the battle is one of individual choice and fulfilment. In this scenario, the greatest
problems faced by women are pay inequity, lack of child care, institutionalized sexism, or
poverty, etc.

Some of the myths around day-care or divorce have had an impact on popular
attitudes. The media and politicians have made women feel more guilty and anxious. The
unapologetic demands of the womens liberation movement have been overtaken by a culture
of moralism that places womens needs last.

Women are not leaving the workforce in droves, but many do express anxiety about
long working hours and inadequate child care arrangements.

Women do not only gain a wider personal scope by leaving the home; they also
become a part of a working class with potential collective power. India has a rich tradition of
working womens struggles. Those who want to turn back the clock also want to reverse all
of the gains that women have made in the past thirty-five years. They want to restore the
nuclear family at the cost of womens lives. While some women do accept some of the family
values ideology, few would be willing to give up what would be necessary to truly restore the
nuclear family.


The nuclear family, same as elsewhere, is now the characteristic feature of the Indian
society. According to the census of India data, of all the households nuclear family
constituted 70 percent and single member or more than one member households without
spouse (or eroded families) comprised about 11 percent. The extended and joint family or
households together claim merely 20 percent of all households. This is the overall picture
about the entire country, whereas in the case of urban areas the proportion of nuclear family
is somewhat higher still. The available data from the National Family and Health Survey-1 of
1992-93 (henceforth NFHS) suggest that joint family does not make up more than five
percent of all families in urban areas (Singh, 2004:137). An extended family, which includes
a couple with married sons or daughters and their spouses as well as household head without
spouse but with at least two married sons, daughters and their spouses, constitute a little less
than one fifth of the total households.

Over the course of one hundred years it is unsurprising and somewhat expected that
any society will experience change. The twentieth century is one perhaps more defined by

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change than any other. Change has infiltrated every area of society, from religion to travel,
technology and communications, education and politics.

Domestic tension and violence

Violence within family settings is primarily a male activity. The prime targets are
women and children. The women have been victims of humiliation and torture for as long as
we have written records of the Indian society. Despite several legislative measures adopted in
favour of women during the last 150 years, continuing spread of modern education and
womens gradual economic independence, countless women have continued to be victims of
discrimination and violence in the country (Singh 2002: 168). Increasing family violence in
modern times has compelled many social scientists to be apologists for the traditional joint
family- as happy and harmonious, a high-voltage emotional setting, imbued with love,
affection and tenderness. Indias past has been so romanticized by certain scholars that they
have regarded the joint family as the best form of family.

Traditional Nuclear Family to Family of Choice :

Family has long been seen as a social institution that unites individuals to work
cooperatively in the bearing and raising children. (Macionis and Plummer, 2008, p. 580) The
family is built upon a mutual feeling of kinship, based on blood, adoption or marriage
relations, and traditionally established around marriage. This definition has been challenged
by critics arguing that families should not have to conform to the single standard of family,
leading to the emergence of families of choice. These units are not based on blood or legal
relationships, but around individuals who nonetheless choose to identify themselves as

It is these families of choice, which have formed the new types of partnership which
challenge the traditional nuclear family. The nuclear family has traditionally been defined as
a married man and woman with typically two children. The nuclear family became
popularised in the 20th Century, with the baby boom of the 1950s and the Golden Age of
marriage in the 1960s. With the rise of divorce in the 1970s, new partnerships began to take
shape and challenged the nuclear model.

The Challenge Presented by the Decline of Marriage and Rise of Divorce

The most striking feature of modern society is the sharp decline of first time
marriages and the rapid rise of divorce. Divorce is found most commonly in young spouses,

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couples from lower social classes, professionally or economically successful women and
finally, remarried people. Sociologists have proposed a number of key explanations for this
surge in divorce. Divorce, they argue, is now in a legal sense, easier to accomplish and is also
socially acceptable. Similarly, individualism is increasing, with many people more interested
in personal satisfaction than putting family first. In a parallel fashion, women are today less
dependent on men and have expectations of careers, whereas in previous generations, their
aspirations and expectations may have differed. All these elements have combined and
contributed to the increased popularity of divorce.

Divorce has affected the nuclear family model dramatically and has lead to increase in
single parent families, which has a serious psychological effect on children, with some
sociologists claiming that divorce is linked to adolescent promiscuity.

The decline of first-time marriages has led to the average marriage age increasing,
causing women to have children later in life. It is clear that the rise of divorce and the decline
of first-time marriages are key components in the development of new forms of partnership.
These in turn can be seen as challenging the traditional nuclear family, and creating what
Stacey (1996) has referred to as the postmodern family.

Challenges due to Education, Work and Changing Priorities:

Considerable changes have taken place in the traditional role of women. Once the
priority for the young women was the husband, but now it has shifted to their career and in
addition deep resentments tend to surface when the husbands are reluctant to take part in the
household chores. The urban women are seen in many different roles. With 54 percent of the
level of female literacy rate in India at the 2001 census, though much lower by the standard
of developed countries, it is not unusual to see women working as clerks, typists,
receptionists, nurses, doctors, school and college teachers, lawyers, police, social workers and
social activists. Women can assume still greater public roles in society than what we see
today. They tend to show lower workforce participation rate because not many suitable jobs
are available for them outside their home (Singh, 1996: 56-70). But on the contrary countless
people often believe that women inherently tend to have stronger attachments with family
and household responsibilities. On the whole, with the rise in education, urbanization and
opportunity to proper employment, women are much freer now to come out of their homes
with a view to meeting their family expenses. With the rise in education and economic

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development, the women would steadily move towards greater economic independence in
course of time (Singh, 2002).

The urban woman is in a position to exercise much greater authority than before.
Despite her increased duties, the urban woman seems to have emerged as the stronger
partner. It is she who monitors childrens homework, tutors them in areas of weakness or
laziness. Mothers dropping and picking up children from school or coaching classes in
computer and cricket or tennis by bus, moped, scooter or car, is a common sight today in
Indian cities. Mother has become the primary agent of socialization. But all mothers are not
equally free to mind their children.

With the rise in modern education, gainful engagement, quality of health condition
and a fewer number of children, family life may not be always well. The State of Kerala can
be cited as one of the examples. Those who are unhappy with current state of family life are
on the gradual increase in the state. It is all the more acute in urban areas where the hold of
traditional norms and values has largely dissipated. The consumer culture sweeping the urban
society and the breakdown of the extended or joint family system have contributed to this.
Reports show that the number of cases pending in the family courts is on the increase. The
number of children running away from homes has also gone up. Consumption of alcohol has
touched an all time high (George, 2000: 42). Modernization has created dilemmas for family
life. Under the new socio-economic urban milieu there has been a tremendous increase in the
family violence. With a view to tackling increasing violence in the family, the Government of
India introduced a very useful Domestic Violence Act in 2005. This would certainly go a
long way in restraining the incidence of domestic violence in the country.


In Indian family, men have traditionally enjoyed close bonds with each other.
Relationships between men have prospered within this male solidarity, albeit secretly. As
long as men married and produced a son and fulfilled other social duties, society looked the
other way, but in nuclear family system.

Womens lives have changed in permanent and profound ways over the last four
decades. We live in a society with the capability to provide for the needs of all. Today we
have the technological ability for women to be able to make their own reproductive choices
about when and if to have children. As a society, we have the wealth to provide adequately

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for those children and to provide the opportunities for all women that only a minority of
women can now enjoy. But we also live in a society that cannot deliver on that promise and
deprives the vast majority of people, men and women, control over the most basic aspects of
their lives. That is why if we want to be able to achieve real equality and freedom, we need to
fight for a different kind of societya socialist societyand working-class women can and
will be at the forefront of that struggle. Women in Indian Society are having vital role to play
and they do it very nicely. In almost in every field they are shining, Police, Environment,
Social welfare, Administration etc. As a nucleus of nuclear family, role of women is
increasing day by day. They have to shoulder their husband and look after the children to
make it a HOME.

They can complete their responsibilities with the help of family members if they
discuss the things openly in transparent environment. With their patience, they can handle all
the situations and balance the home and work.


The new Indian is more individualistic; less adjusting, focused more on his or her own
satisfaction and pleasure and is less concerned with societal stigma. This has led to higher
divorce rates, less respect for others needs and requirements, less concern for others feelings
and less sensitivity to people and surroundings.

The rise in the number of single member household, break-down of traditional joint
family system, increase in cases of divorce, individual male migration to cities for work,
erosion of authority of patriarch, the attrition of traditional family values, increase in the
number of working mothers in cities and single parents, rise in domestic violence and
practices of dowry, neglect of children and elderly, and poor regard for family laws are
enough indications of the danger that the family and ultimately society are progressively
facing in India. To combat the continuing erosion of values and the institution of family,
there is a need of a set of strong, consistent policies to strengthen the Indian family system.

Otherwise, India would be left with no choice, but to face the same problems which
are generally faced by many families of developed countries now. To be more specific, the
family needs an increased support in the areas of child care, social services, income
assistance and health services than ever before.

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Works Cited:
Macionis, J. and K. Plummer. Sociology: A Global Introduction. Essex: Pearson, 2008..
Sobotka, T. and L. Toulemon. 2008. Changing family and partnership behaviour:Common trends and
persistent diversity across Europe, Demographic Research, 19:6, pp. 85-138.
Stacey, J. In the Name of the Family: Rethinking Family Values in the PostmodernAge. Boston: Beacon
Press, 1996.
Sturgeon, S. W. Family Facts Special Report: The Relationship Between Family Structure and
Adolescent Sexual Activity,2008, http://www.familyfacts.

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Varun Arya
Alumnus of IIT Delhi (1976-81 Batch) & IIM Ahmedabad (1981-83 Batch)
Member, IIM Ahmedabad Society &
Formerly President, IIT Delhi Alumni Association
E-mail :,
Director, Aravali Gurukul Ashram, Jodhpur

Prof. Arya is a first class graduate from IIT Delhi (1976-81 batch) and post-graduate
from IIM Ahmedabad (1981-83 batch). Thereafter, he worked for 16 years in senior positions
with the leading companies like Indian Rayon, Reliance and American multinational DuPont.
After having established and successfully run Aravali Institute of Management for 13 years,
he is now associated with his dream project of establishing and shaping up a top quality
educational complex Aravali Gurukul Ashram including a university, envisioned to be a
model of no compromise blending the best of traditions with the latest in modernity, at
Jodhpur in his home state of Rajasthan.

Amongst the various positions held by Prof. Arya, he has been the President of
prestigious IIT Delhi Alumni Association - the apex body of over 30000 member alumni
based worldwide, alumni representative on the Senate of IIT Delhi, member of the
Technology Business Incubation Units Board of IIT Delhi and Secretary of IIM Ahmedabad
Alumni Association. He is presently on the Boards and Advisory Councils of various
companies, educational institutions and other organisations. Presently he is also a member of
IIM Ahmedabad Governing Society.

Because of his firm belief that education, by definition, is based on ethics, his journey as
an educational entrepreneur has been filled with unending hardships, risks, sacrifices and
struggles much beyond his expectations and imagination. Some of his major satyagrahs
(struggles to ensure that the truth alone triumphs, despite all the odds) during the last over a
decade have been :

In the year 2003, he got drug mafia to vacate a public park at Jodhpur through
mobilization of the colony residents, administrative action and filing of Public Interest
Litigation in Rajasthan High Court which he won.

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In 2004, he galvanized and organized thousands of IIMs alumni from all over India and
abroad to fight the onslaught of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government
of India, on IIMs.

By actively involving the support of villagers and panchayat in 2007, he fought

successfully against the onslaught by the local MLA and MP on the Institute campus

In the year 2009, he got the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to confer
approval to Aravali strictly on merit alone, after fighting for nine long years.

With facts and figures, extensive usage of RTI Act and writs in Rajasthan High Court,
during the last three years he has been fighting successfully against Commissioner of
Income Tax and Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Jodhpur who have been all out to
harass him and Aravali in view of his persistent refusal to compromise.

After fighting for six years including 145 hours fast at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi and
extensive usage of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, he succeeded on
2011, with the Government of Rajasthan granting conversion approval to 94.4 acres of
land for Institute campus, without any compromise.

To build the campus, around eight years back he had purchased 236 bighas (around
94.4 acres) of private extremely high salinity wasteland at Village Kaparda, Tehsil Bilara,
District Jodhpur in Rajasthan on which nothing could grow, nothing could be constructed and
there was no water in/around the land. During the last seven years, this land has been
painstakingly transformed under his leadership and it now has 15 lakes having around 6 crore
litres of water with migratory birds visiting, various water harvesting structures including two
bridges, over 6000 trees grown upto 15 feet, 60 solar lights, three huge lawns of around
2.5 acres each, six smaller lawns, a natural meditation centre with capacity for 2000 persons
on a mound surrounded by 1500 plants, and vegetables grown organically.

His endeavours have been extensively appreciated and recognized locally, at the state
level, national level and globally with a large number of honours and awards.

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Life is the greatest teacher. As the saying goes, while in the conventional exams you
first get the learning and then appear for the exams but in the life, you appear for the exams
first and then get the learning.

Over the last 54 years of my life, I have come to firmly believe and realize that life is
all about what you do with it, discover with it, make out with it, get out of it and lastly, give
back to it. If you wish, you can complain all the time about it and if you wish, you can
compliment all the time about it. The choice is entirely yours! To be complimenting all the
time about the life, you have to necessarily stand out of the crowd. You have to look at the
life differently, passionately and uniquely!

Opportunities Vs Threats

Life provides both the opportunities and threats. People, in general, look only for the
opportunities and hate the threats. The fact is that opportunities provide only the ordinary
opportunities to which everybody jumps, leading to dilution of the strength in the
opportunities. Whereas the threats provide extraordinary opportunities in disguise to which
hardly anybody jumps and hence the opportunities get exemplified.

Governance Deficit

People are generally found to complain about the government practically all the time,
especially in India. Yes, both the print and electronic media in India everyday publishes news
about the authorities in the government being mired in corruption, criminalization,
favouritism, injustice, nepotism and red-tapism. Yes, these all certainly demonstrate the
serious governance deficit in India. However, the fact is that since the government does not
do much, it provides us all the unique opportunity to do so much.

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

In his now famous Stanford University commencement speech delivered just a few
months before his untimely demise, legendry Apple founder Steve Jobs spoke about Stay
Hungry Stay Foolish.

Learning is a life-long continuous process. Learning leads to development,

development leads to competency, competency leads to results, results lead to success,
success leads to satisfaction and satisfaction gives meaning and purpose to life. Therefore, to

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be satisfied with life all the time, we should yearn to learn all the time. We need to stay
hungry for learning life-long.

When you take the first step towards doing what is perceived to be impossible, people
would call you foolish. However, when you struggle, strive and succeed by ultimately
managing to turn the impossible into possible then the same people who had earlier called
you foolish, would now call you extraordinary. Of course, it is doable only through focused
and sustained strength of character, strength of commitment, strength of confidence, strength
of conviction, strength of cooperation and strength of courage. Therefore, it pays to stay
foolish life-long.

Turning Points of Life

Everybodys life has milestones the increasing years of life as the counting goes on
from the first step on the Earth to the last step on the Earth. Generally people begin with a
given status at birth and die with the same or similar status, involving the usual ups and
downs. They are generally not remembered beyond family and friends. However, few people
manage to also have the turning points involving unusual ups and downs in life as they go
ahead crossing milestones. These few people at times are mystery and at times make history.
They are generally the change agents, institution-builders, leaders and path-breakers. They
are remembered by a larger population, besides the family and friends

For every human being, I believe the first turning point can come around the age of
20, when you decide what type of career to get into architect, bureaucrat, doctor, engineer,
manager, scientist, etc. You accordingly decide the course of higher studies. After this, if you
wish you can have the second turning point around the age of 40 when you can decide what
kind of second career to get into. Then if you are hale and hearty then you can have the third
turning point possibly around the age of 60 when you can decide to have the third career.
Thereafter, if you are still alive and kicking then you can have the fourth turning point around
the age of 80 when you can decide to have the fourth career. Of course, one can have less or
more turning points and at other ages as well.

Core Human Values

The Almighty or the Creator or the Nature made all of us as human beings, with one
community : Humanity, and one common code of conduct : Human Values. The fundamental
human values are Peaceful Co-existence, Societal Welfare (Shubh-Labh), Equality, Merit,

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Quality, Ethics & Integrity. However, the man made divisions within the community of
humanity by creating the differentiations using castes, creed, colour, class and religions. With
these began the man-made distortions in human values. Unfortunately the people at large
have come to accept these distortions and live the life with these distortions. However, few
persons come out of the crowd and create their own core values, generally derived from the
fundamental human values mentioned above and chart out their own path forward.

It is necessary to have your own core values and path forward which create your
unique personified equity and demonstrate your distinct identity.

Pygmalion Effect

Those who are born poor, need not die poor. The poverty is not only in terms of
finances but can also be in terms of status, intellect, image, respect, remembrances and assets
creation. All one needs is to look for, capture, capitalize, catalyze and realize the
opportunities to learn, develop, do and demonstrate. By this you can turn weaknesses into
strengths, threats into opportunities and impossible into possible.

If you look back into the history and look around yourself, you will find many shining
examples of Pygmalion Effect Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, Nobel Laureate Dr. Subramanym
Chandrashekhar and Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.


Today I am reminiscing sitting on the banks of one of the lakes and looking at our around
100 acres campus demarcated by three kilometers long boundary wall which contains

A total of 15 lakes, made through rain water harvesting, having around 6 crore litres of
water capacity with fishes, frogs and even tortoises into these.

Three large size lawns of 2.5 acres each, with solar lights on the periphery of each and 60
benches made of fibre glass.

Two guest rooms with attached bath rooms, one conference room, one office, one
electricity room, one guard room and two stores.

A truly natural meditation centre with capacity of 2500, surrounded by 1500 plants.

Over 6000 plants and trees which have grown upto 12 feet.

Main campus building (first phase).

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Added to the above are hosts of migratory birds visiting the lakes and really
memorable sunrise and sunset with reflections in the lakes. It is a place I feel like just not
leaving at all and sitting there for eternity.

However, the land was not like this when we purchased it eight years back. It was
extremely saline wasteland (people say, it was the worst land in Rajasthan) with water level
around 400 feet below ground, which too highly saline. It was the land on which nothing
could grow and nothing could be constructed. Comments from some of the experts :

1. ISRO : Campus land is extreme wasteland and development of the same for academic
purpose is going to cost enormous effort and the money.

2. CAZRI, Ministry of Agriculture : Plot lies in a wasteland with high inherent salinity that
is difficult to develop. The salinity also makes building construction risky because
corrosion problem is very high.

3. AFRI, Ministry of Environment & Forest : Soil depth 25 to 40 cm (rock beneath), PH2
7.8 to 8.8, EC2 7.8 to 26.7 dsm-1 and Texture Loamy Sand.

When I left a high paying senior position with American multinational DuPont 14
years back, people called me a fool. When I chose Jodhpur in Rajasthan as a location for
establishing the top-quality educational complex, people called me a big fool. And when I
purchased the above wasteland, people called me a bloody fool!

Eight years back when we were looking for purchasing land for our campus, we had
placed an advertisement in the newspapers. One of the important conditions mentioned in the
advertisement was that the entire payment would be made by account payee cheque. Around
two dozen proposals came. However, all except one backed out when they were told that we
really meant hundred percent payment by crossed cheque only. They said that they would
accept the cheques but suggested some payment under some other heads like development of
land. When they were told that there was only one head purchase of land then they all
backed out except just one the above land owners. They agreed since they were trying to
sell the land for several decades but there were no takers, in view of the land perceived to be
totally useless.

We also had really no choice except to purchase this land since no one else was
willing to give us the land with entire payment by cheque. When we got into this educational

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entrepreneurial venture 14 years back, we had told ourselves that education, by definition,
was based on ethics. No compromise under any circumstances irrespective of the difficulties,
hardships, sacrifices and struggles.

Eight years back this was the land on which you could not stand even for five minutes
since it was so hostile. Today we feel like staying there forever. This painstaking
transformation from wasteland to wonderland carried out during the last eight years has
meant a lot of learning from the first principles, many intuitive experiments which fortunately
succeeded, enormous efforts with patience and perseverance and investing reasonably large
finances. Some salient details are as under :

English Babool Problem

When we purchased the land, it was full of English Babool. We got our friend Magsaysay
awardee waterman Mr. Rajendra Singh to visit the site. He advised us to immediately first
remove English Babool from its roots. He told us that English Babool did not allow
anything else to grow and also made the land infertile. We got a JCB machine which
worked for several days and removed around 1500 English Babool from the site.

Land Earmarking

We were advised by our well-wishers to dig up the boundary of the land to ensure that
there were no problems. We placed a large board with proper cemented foundation
declaring the land as ours and started digging the boundary. Soon a host of people came
protesting and next morning our board was also found removed. We got the local police
to come to help us, which it did. However, we could not have got the police everyday. We
asked some people in the nearby village as how to tackle the problem. They said that we
would need to make sizeable cash payments. We replied that we would not be able to
make any cash payments.

Then one very elderly villager told us that if we could get Darbar to come to the site and
address the villagers then the problem would be permanently solved. Darbar meant
Maharaja Gaj Singh of Marwar-Jodhpur, who happens to be Chairman of our Board of
Governors. I met Maharaja and he promptly agreed. Maharaja came to the site, spoke to
all the villagers and had tea with them. Next day onwards, the people came and offered all

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their help, saying that so were the orders of Darbar. Since then we have been getting
enormous cooperation and help from the villagers in all matters.

Water Harvesting

For cultivating and nurturing the flora and fauna at the site needed water. Our friend
Magsaysay awardee waterman Mr. Rajendra Singh advised and guided us with how to go
about rain water harvesting. Accordingly we dug up the land upto 10 feet in the
demarcated areas to make six lakes. We had to extensively use blasting since at most
places there were rocks beneath. People laughed at seeing the dug up areas, questioning
as to from where so much of water would come in the scantly rained Rajasthan.

As soon as the first rains came in July 2006, I rushed to the site. With my own eyes, I
could not believe all six lakes with capacity of around 2.5 crore litres of water getting
filled one after another in a matter of just one hour. After this, the water was overflowing
the lakes for around a month. So our conviction had proved right! No matter what the
intensity of drought would be, it would certainly rain at least for one hour sufficient to
fill in our six lakes.

People then said that the water would become saline in no time and suggested us to do the
lining. When we consulted our friend Mr. Rajendra Singh, he advised us strongly against
it. Firstly, it would cost a lot of money, which we did not have. Secondly, in case there is
even one puncture in the lining (which was quite likely) then the entire lining would be of
little use. Thirdly, the lining would hamper the process of reducing the salinity by natural
process. Fourthly, the lining would come in the way of vertical as well as horizontal
seepage of water which would in turn adversely affect the charging of underground water
table. Therefore, we decided against doing the lining at all.

In three months time, the water in the lakes indeed became saline. People told us how
foolish we were that we ignored their advices for lining. The saline water was, of course,
no use for plants as well as construction. Our friend Mr. Rajendra Singh advised us to
have patience. In the second year, the water in the lakes became saline in five months. In
the third year, it became saline in seven months. In the fourth year, it became saline in

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nine months. In the fifth year, the water became saline in eleven months. And in the six
year, it was sweet throughout the year!

Encouraged by the above, we dug up the land at other suggested places also and made
four more lakes four years back. Two years back, when we had a meeting of our well-
wishers at our campus site presided over Maharaja Gaj Singh of Marwar-Jodhpur to
discuss the future plans, Maharaja advised us to make five more lakes in the suggested
areas. We did so recently.

With the above, we now have 15 lakes with total water carrying capacity of 6 crore
litres. These cover and take care of the eco-system of the entire land. Also the
underground water level which was around 400 feet eight years back, when we had
purchased the land, has now become just 4 feet because of water transmission from the
lakes horizontally as well vertically.


During the first rains on our campus site in the year 2005 after we purchased the land, we
found that there was a water passage through which significant amount of water was
getting into our land and flowing out. When we were crossing this water passage during
the heaviest rains, we found it literally touching almost our shoulder level. This was
actually the passage we decided to use for rain water harvesting for creating the first six

It occurred to us that during the rainy reason, this water passage would cut our campus
site into two with people unable to cross from one side to another. To take care of this
critical aspect and also to provide proper water inlet and water outlet for the first set of six
lakes, we decided to construct bridges on both sides of the boundary in the line of this
water passage.

The two bridges have come out to be really good and while providing a place to view the
campus from the birds view, these further add to make the campus look beautiful,
interesting and unique.


In view of it being extremely high degraded saline wasteland, the plantation was a big
challenge. The villagers in the vicinity had told us that we would not be able to grow

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anything. However, our close friend Dr. R. L. Srivastava, Indian Forest Service officer of
1978 Batch who was Director of Arid Forest Research Institute (AFRI) at Jodhpur,
disagreed and came forward to help us out with the plantation. Also Mr. Narayan Dass
Prajapati, Managing Trustee of Asian Medical Plants & Healthcare Trust at Jodhpur
volunteered to advise us in the matter. Mr. Jagdish Kishwan, IFS, Director General,
Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education of Ministry of Environment & Forests
in the Government of India also visited our campus site and advised AFRI to make it as
their experimentation site.

With their advice and suggestions, we planted around 25 different varieties of plants
some salt resistant and some normal ones. The major plants were Khara Jal, Karanj,
Kasod, Neem, Peepal and Kumat. For all the plants, we first dug up a one metre x one
metre x one metre pit in the rocky land using JCB. Then we got sweet soil from quite a
distance and filled each pit with it after mixing it with traditional fertilizer made of cow
dung and goat bits. Then the plant was placed surrounded by the tree guard. The tree
guard helped us to place jute cloth around the plant in extreme summer to protect it. We
also planted low roots high foliage plants like castor and sunflower around each plant to
protect these from the extreme heat in the summer.

At those locations in our land where the salinity was the highest, we went a step further in
our experimentation. In the pit dug up, we first placed a large multilayer jumbo bag and
then put the sweet soil inside the said jumbo bag. This multilayer jumbo bag helped
greatly in preventing the seepage of salinity into the plant and thus safeguarding its

All the above experiments and innovative plantation practices facilitated us greatly to
ensure that our plants survived and grew. Today we have over 6000 plants at our site
surviving and growing upto 12 feet.


People said that we would not able to have any lawns on the site since these would not
come up properly. To take up this challenge we decided to first have a small lawn of
around 25 feet x 25 feet. This was made at a location on our site where the salinity was
relatively less. It came up very well and survived throughout the year. It also changed the
topography and scenic beauty of the land.

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Encouraged by the success of the above experiment, we made five more such lawns of
around 25 feet x 25 feet size but at locations which were in the increasing extent of
salinity. Where the salinity was more, we first put pebbles in the demarcated proposed
area of the lawn thereby effectively raising the level of the lawn and then placed sweet
soil. These five lawns also came up very well and survived throughout the year.

After the above, we were truly buoyant to extrapolate the above experiments to
significantly larger levels. Three years back we decided to make two large lawns of 100
metres x 100 metres, that is 2.5 acres each. Similar system was followed first we placed
stones pieces in the proposed area and then put sweet soil over the stones. In the process,
the lawns level was raised around three feet. For watering such large lawns we installed
sprinkler system. To beautify these large lawns, we placed Neem trees around on the
periphery of the lawns and also did tapering down dressing of soil touching the periphery
of the lawns. We also placed solar lights on the periphery of these lawns.

These two large lawns came up very well and added greatly to the goodness of the entire
campus site. Encouraged by this, two years back we made one more lawn of 2.5 acres

These lawns are proving to be of great use for holding the students and other activities
including sports with no-holds-barred. Students have been enjoying their activities like
never before.

Salinity Problem

We are given to understand that there is no real man-made way available in the world
whereby you can actually reduce or remove the salinity. The only way the salinity can be
reduced certainly but slowly and progressively is by natural means. Eight years back
when we had purchased this land, there was thick layer of salt covering practically the
entire land. Today you see only patches and traces of salinity at various locations on the
site. This has been achieved naturally through the following means :

i) Water harvesting

Making 15 lakes without lining helped us greatly to reduce the salinity. By capillary
effect, when the water goes down in the land, the salinity comes up. With the passage

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of time, therefore, water in the lakes becomes saline. When the rains come, this saline
water is flushed out and the fresh sweet water fills the lakes. When this process is
repeated year after year, the salinity gets progressively reduced.

ii) Plantation

We have planted many plants which are salt resistant or salt absorbent. Such trees,
over a period of time, help reduce the salinity.

iii) Dhencha

Dhencha is a highly nitrogenous plant. It greatly helps to reduce the salinity. Its seeds
are planted just when the rains are about to come, in early July. By the end of rains in
September, it grows reasonably well. In October/November, it is cut and mixed in the

In the first year, we got 5 quintals of Dhencha seeds and planted these over around 20
acres of land in the area of our site having maximum salinity. We could clearly see
the positive impact of this over the year. Next year we planted 10 quintals of Dhencha
seeds over around 40 acres of land. The effect was again there to be clearly seen. In
the third year we got 15 quintals of these seeds and used over 60 acres with the
positive results clearly visible. In the fourth year, we got 20 quintals of seeds and used
these over 80 acres with better results. In the fifth year we got 25 quintals of seeds and
used these over the entire land. Since then it has been repeated every year.


For hundreds of years, conventional lime has been used in the construction. It was around
160 years back that the cement was invented and in India, it has been used for the last
around 120 years in construction. The strength of construction with lime is the least
initially but it increases over the passage of time. No wonder, over 550 years old
Meherangarh Fort in Jodhpur made with conventional lime is so strong today. On the
other hand, the strength of construction made with cement is highest initially but it
reduces over the period of time. Not surprisingly, therefore, the buildings made with
cement start giving serious problems after 50 years and many are advised to be
demolished when around 100 years.

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Lime and salt are understood to be close friends, while cement and salt are believed to be
arch enemies. Salt blends very well with lime construction, while the salt eats into the
cement construction. Therefore, it is necessary to use sweet water in cement construction,
otherwise the construction is prone to get damaged in due course. As the saline water or
salinity seeps into the cement construction, making it hollow and this hollowness
increases with time making such construction weak and fragile.

After purchasing the land, we decided to first construct the boundary wall 3 kms in
length. This was for four basic purposes firstly for earmarking permanently the
boundary of the wall, secondly to ensure that there are no encroachments, thirdly for the
safety & security of work and the assets inside, and fourthly for ensuring that the animals
do not come inside. In view of our having made the lakes and there being no water
availability in the nearby areas, we found animals coming. Specially dangerous were wild
cows who came silently, could jump upto five feet, did not fear anything and even if
you touched them you could get into serious problem since certain communities would
protest. Therefore, this 3 kms long boundary wall had to be necessarily minimum six feet
high. In addition, there was three feet of foundation beneath the ground level.

When we tried to find out the availability of conventional lime (called mudia lime) we
found that it was scarcely available since not much used. For the quantities needed by us,
we explored around and finally could get a supplier near Nagaur who was in a position to
provide large quantities. We did the costing and discovered that the construction with
mudia lime was five times costlier than cement. Therefore, we decided to use mudia lime
for construction only up to plinth level, since the salinity came in contact with the
construction only till the plinth level. Above plinth level, we decided to use cement for

Historically in Rajasthan, the mudia lime was processed using camels. Since we did not
have camels, we again did the exploration. We found a person in Didwana in Nagaur
District who used to make the machines for processing the mudia lime. We got two such
machines custom-made from him. These were made operational using the tractor motor
and it really worked.

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The success of above experiment got manifested three years later when there were heavy
rains and the Pichyak dam nearby was damaged. The water from the dam created havoc
in the villages in the area damaging the buildings and reached upto our campus site.
However, our 3 km long boundary wall survived without any damage.


Our next major experimental endeavour was to grow vegetables. For this, we used the
area in our land with less salinity. We got sweet soil from outside and used it after mixing
with conventional fertilizer of cow dung and goat bits. A number of vegetables like
cucumber, spinach, ladies finger, tomatoes, brinjals, moolis, carrots, etc. grew very well.
Their quality was much better than the available in the market. When Dr. Montek Singh
Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission of India visited our site with his
wife Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia, he was pleasantly surprised to see the quality of these

We also planted aloe vera and because of salinity, the aloe vera variety which got
developed was different since it was easily eatable and tasty. The colour of aloe vera
which grew was also reddish as compared to greenish which was planted.

Land Conversion

When we decided to venture into this educational entrepreneurship venture over 14 years
back, we had told our selves that education, by definition, was based on ethics. No
compromise under any circumstances, irrespective of the difficulties, hardships,
problems, sacrifices, struggles and sufferings.

During these 14 years we faced a large number of occasions when we got stuck in view of
our refusal to compromise on ethics. It is shockingly ironic that the very people in the
government who are expected to facilitate and support the activities for the development
of our nation and benefit of its people are at times actually the biggest hindrance in the
same, in view of their vested interests. Moreover, the biggest source of corruption in our
country is undoubtedly the land matters. No wonder the issue relating to our having land
to construct the campus turned out to be the most difficult and the longest one involving
the authorities up to the highest levels in the government.

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We wanted land for education, not free but at the reserved price meant for educational
purpose. People at the highest level in the state government gave a written commitment to
provide us the land. I came to Rajasthan in April 2000, various options of land were
immediately shown to me and one piece of land was finalised. I was asked to meet a
henchman of a top politician to "negotiate". I refused because of my firm belief that
education, by definition, was based on ethics. We did not get the land.

Then the government changed and we hoped that it would be different. However, one of
its senior functionaries made a strange statement "Giving land without bribe will set a
wrong precedent". The fact is that we did not get the land again. Mind you - in both the
cases, some of the most distinguished persons of our country had also written to the
respective governments in support of our project and requested for helping this noble

I met the highest authorities in the government but none of this helped in any way.
Instead, with full force of state, the government unleashed against us several enquiries
and false cases including concocted cases even for disturbing peace in the city of Jodhpur,
death and molestation. There were even attacks on the lives of me and my family
members to make me surrender to the whims and fancies of netas and babus. However, I
refused to buckle and continued to strive for results while persistently refusing to make
any compromise.

Having seen both shades of government and failed to get the land without compromise,
finally we purchased private extreme salinity wasteland at market price. Even here,
instead of facilitating and supporting our having taken up this challenge, the netas and
babus continued to create problems. On 28 March 2007 night some people came to the
campus site with a truck to steal the tree guards and damage the plants. They were the
henchmen of a leading local politician. When our security guards caught one of the
persons, got him arrested and we filed an FIR, this politician rang up the police to release
this thief and asked the police to instead file a fake counter FIR against us since how we
had dared to catch his henchman and file FIR. It was only after the villagers there
threatened to block the National Highway that the police did not do as asked by this

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A minister of Rajasthan repeatedly asked me to meet him to "negotiate". When I

conveyed to him that I had nothing to "negotiate", I was threatened that then we should be
prepared to face the consequences. Soon the consequences were there - Tehsildar of the
area levied penalty of Rs. 76 lakhs in a sadistically fraudulent manner and to recover it,
issued orders for the auction of our land, without even giving us the legally mandatory
notice and without the information of his superiors - SDM and Collector. The minister
had told Tehsildar directly to issue the auction order. When the minister was contacted, he
said "no compromise on bribes and these have to be paid". Fortunately the District
Collector of Jodhpur intervened to stop the auction, after he was convinced that it was
being done fraudulently.

To have our own campus was certainly a question of the life and death for our Institute
and to do the construction, it was essential to get the land converted from the government.
For this we completed all the requirements as per the rules for the conversion, including
payment of full conversion charges, way back in October 2009. When the things did not
move for a full year then during November 2010 to January 2011, we got some of the
distinguished persons of our country to talk to the highest levels in the state government
as well as central government, including the political leadership. When none of this
worked, we filed a writ petition in Rajasthan High Court in February 2011 but it was not
being responded by the state government and we were only getting the dates after dates.
On 24 March 2011, a petition to Rajasthan Chief Minister was placed online by IIT
Madras senior alumnus Ram Krishnaswamy based in Australia, which was signed and
supported by over 2600 persons from worldwide. During 01-04 April 2011, my wife and I
were at Jaipur to meet the top government officials to convince them the necessity and
urgency of action but it did not work. Finally on 11 April 2011, one elderly person very
close to the Chief Minister since childhood travelled to Jaipur to make the things work.
When none of it produced the result, in view of our persistent refusal to compromise, we
were left with no choice but to go on indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi to
expose the injustice and get the justice.

Around 60 of our students, staff and faculty members including my wife and I left
Jodhpur for Delhi at 05.30 P.M. on 12 April 2011 in one bus and two cars. Around 08.00
P.M. we reached a small place called Bar, where our Prof. Sanjay Diddee received a call
from District Collector of Jodhpur informing us that we would get the conversion letter in

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a week's time and asked us to return back. He informed us that he was doing so as per the
instructions from the Chief Minister's office and Revenue Secretary, with whom he was
coordinating. We refused. After sometime, Collector telephoned again and said that the
conversion would be done in three days time and asked us to return. We refused. Then
after sometime, he called up again and told us that we would get it next day and asked us
to return back. We refused. Then he told us that conversion letter would be handed over
to us at Kishangarh, which was around three hours away. Collector took our bus and cars
numbers. We reached Kishangarh around midnight. A posse of around 20 policemen
including two Inspectors and four police vehicles, who had our bus and cars numbers,
stopped us. When we asked for the land conversion letter, they said they had none and
told us that there were instructions from the highest level in the state government not to
allow us to travel ahead.

When we insisted to travel ahead, they contacted the officials and told us that we would
have to go to State Secretariat at Jaipur under police escort, where we would be provided
the land conversion letter. We reached the State Secretariat at Jaipur around 02.00 A.M.
in the night but there too, there was no letter. While the police went here and there, we
escaped and moved fast towards Delhi. When we entered Delhi around 08.30 A.M. on 13
April 2011, we were again stopped by Delhi Police from moving ahead. When we
threatened to complain to Mr. Tejendra Khanna, Lt. Governor of Delhi, who had visited
us at Jodhpur, we were allowed to move further.

When we reached Jantar Mantar, New Delhi around 09.30 A.M. on 13 April 2011, we
received a call from District Collector of Jodhpur informing us that he was sending us the
conversion approval letter and asked us not to begin the indefinite fast. We gave him the
fax number of Swami Agnivesh, who has been a member of our Board of Governors
since inception and whose office was just at Jantar Mantar Road only. Soon we received
the fax but its contents were shocking. It conveyed us conversion approval of only 135
bigha of land, subject to our paying the conversion charges again, not using the land for
non-agricultural purpose (which was self-contradictory) and handing over 101 bigha of
land to the government. We refused to accept it and formally began the indefinite fast at
10 A.M. on 13 April 2011, though we had not eaten anything since 08.00 P.M. previous

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The passion of our students, staff and faculty to this noble cause was seen to be believed.
The support of IITs & IIMs alumni and faculty members, former judges & Chief Justices
of High Courts, top officials, academicians, defence officers, social activists, media,
lawyers and many others was overwhelming. There was excellent coverage in both print
and electronic media, especially The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Hindu
and Nai Dunia. There were a large number of our well-wishers working behind the scenes
to garner support and message reach the leaderships at both the government and political
levels in Jaipur as well as Delhi. The state government was in regular touch with our Prof.
Sanjay Diddee.

On 15 April 2011, we received second communication from the state government.

Shockingly it again confirmed conversion of 135 Bigha only subject to our paying the
conversion charges for this land again and handing over the balance 101 Bigha land to the
government. We refused. Meanwhile, our support grew but the condition of my wife
worsened. Doctors from AIIMS New Delhi came and examined. Our daughter flew from
Mumbai to take care of her mother. On sixth day, 18 April 2011 evening around 06.00
P.M. Dr. Rajiv Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary and Mr. Vimal Sharma, Resident
Commissioner of Rajasthan came. They discussed, understood and followed up our
demands with the concerned in the state government till finally we got the written
confirmation of our demands being met around 08.00 P.M. After that we broke the fast
and around 09.00 P.M. Resident Commissioner of Rajasthan Mr. Vimal Sharma came
again and said that the Chief Minister wanted to talk to me. Chief Minister Mr. Ashok
Gehlot spoke to me and while apologizing for our hardships, assured us of all support
from the state government.

Throughout the above period of six days and six nights, the girl students and lady faculty
stayed in the guesthouse of Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. I stayed at Jantar Mantar footpath
only, along with our male students and faculty. In the night we slept there only, despite
the onslaught of mosquitoes whole night. In the mornings we used public facilities by
standing in the queue with the beggars, taxi drivers and others. Each day we walked upto
Bangla Sahib Gurudwara to have bath in the open there. Everybody cooperated with us
fully including the keeper of public facilities and people at gurudwara. There was
constant vigil on us by the police, CID, Intelligence Bureau and many other agencies. At
one time, we were about to be evicted but courtesy the timely intervention of Lt.

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Governor's office, we were allowed to stay on. We had a large number of visitors from
early morning till midnight everyday. Finally when we achieved the victory, a large
number of our well-wishers came till midnight with sweets, ice creams, etc. Just in case
the success had not been achieved by sixth day evening, next day around 15000 people
from Bharatiya Kisan Morcha and Bharat Swabhiman Andolan would have joined us,
whose leaders had come and assured their support to us, apart from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
and many others.

I had no words to describe how happy we all, in Aravali family, were to at last ensured
the significant success of truth, against all the odds. Around 08.00 P.M. on Monday, 18
April 2011 we received the requisite confirmation letters relating to the conversion of our
campus land from the Government of Rajasthan. With overjoyed students, faculty, staff
and other well-wishers providing us juice, my wife Anita and I broke our 145 hours
continuous fast during which we did not eat anything and did not drink anything, except a
little water. For this, before putting life of mine and my beloved at risk, we had tried

Next day, on 19 April 2011, we left Delhi at 05.45 A.M. At 01.00 P.M. we reached Jaipur
where all 60 of us were invited for lunch at Chief Minister's Residence. Chief Minister
Mr. Ashok Gehlot met us, talked to us and while again apologizing for the hardships
faced by us, assured us of all the support. In fact he went a step further, asking us to
establish a similar large educational campus for girls also for which too, he said that the
government would provide us all the support. At Jaipur we also had our alumni based
there who came in full attendance to felicitate with tilak and garland all the students,
faculty and staff who were part of this historic struggle to success.

Around 10 P.M. we reached our campus site, where the garlands and flowers were
offered in the temple there. At 10.45 P.M. we reached Umaid Bhawan Palace where
Maharaja Gaj Singh and Maharani Hemlata Rajye were waiting for us. They felicitated all
of us, offered juices and sweets and talked to us. Finally around midnight we reached our
Boys' Hostel. By the time we reached our homes, it was past midnight.

We should all know that the land matters (which include land conversion) are the biggest
source of bribes, black money and corruption in our country. Ours was not a personal
matter, but a case study struggle to fight successfully this menace for a noble cause,
turning impossible into possible without any compromise.
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However, the above joy unfortunately turned out to be short-lived. To end our indefinite
fast at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi during April 2011, the state government had given us
conversion approval for 135 bigha and written promise to convert the remaining 101
bigha also within a week after the due process was completed. Despite our having
completed the due process immediately after the end of the indefinite fast, later the
government went back on its commitment and insisted us to surrender 101 bigha to the
government wrongly citing the ceiling limit. In view of this, we refused to accept the
conversion of 135 bigha also unless the entire 236 bigha was converted, without surrender
of any land to the government.

Finally with the extensive use of RTI, at last we received the Government of Rajasthan's
approval letter on 2011 for the conversion of balance 101 bigha of land also, which they
had so far been insisting for us to surrender to the government.

I am glad that we have succeeded yet again to get the conversion approval for the entire
236 bigha of our campus site land without any compromise on our core value of ethics.

With the basic issue of the land conversion approval done and the significant
transformation achieved on the wasteland to make somewhat hospitable for the campus
purpose, we are now gearing up to take our activities for various societal benefit purposes to
a new pedestal.

The adventure of this educational entrepreneurship venture continues. Right thing

must be necessarily done the right way only! No compromise at all!!