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The Nirmala Effect by Fiza Pathan

Powerful, Passionate Fiction – and Why Fiza Pathan Wrote it…

Nirmala: The Mud Blossom graphically depicts the travails, discrimination, and abuse faced by female children in India from the cradle to the grave. Not an easy read I thought before starting the book. Despite it is a fictional story, it is a clear indictment of India and the inhuman way women and girls are still being treated today. However the story immediately drew my attention and I finished this gripping, fascinating novel in one reading session over the weekend.
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The Reason for Writing this Story?
I was wondering how Fiza Pathan, a very well educated, and well-off writer, could tell the story of Nirmala the Mud Blossom. After all I knew her for her great non-fiction work CLASSICS: Why We Should Encourage Children To Read Them.  And now a novel that takes place in the slums of Mumbai?
“Rejected and thrown into the dustbin when she was just two days old, the child was rescued and returned to her family by the NGOs. All because this little girl had the misfortune to be born as a female in Mumbai, India …
Nirmala is ill-treated by her mother, always subject to violence at her hands. She is allowed to continue her studies only because she can then coach her younger brothers, as the parents are illiterate. Each beating is accepted with forbearance, as she loves to go to school to get books to read from her library.
Nirmala is forced to stop her studies after the twelfth grade so her parents can save enough money to send the boys to college. She is then married off, but while her married life begins smoothly, it is only the beginning of her next phase of hell. After giving birth to her first child, Nirmala is subjected to harassment, beatings, and forced into doing things contrary to her beliefs and dreams. Her life is shattered.
What will happen to this little mud blossom? Will she fight back or succumb? How can she rid herself of harassment and rise above the stigma she endures?”
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Fiza Pathan Explains in Her Own Words Why She Had to Write Nirmala: The Mud Blossom

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The Nirmala Effect

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00032]

My first novel which has just been released titled ‘Nirmala: The Mud Blossom’ was an accident. I had no intention of writing this story, let alone framing and formatting it into a novella. Yet when I pass the many filthy slums of Mumbai surrounding sky rise buildings and towers…I think to myself that maybe my character Nirmala and I both were accidents. Nirmala, was tossed into a dustbin because she was a girl…I was sent home to my mother’s family because I was a girl. Nirmala and I are two really different people and I can’t understand how I managed to write about her in the first place.

Do I empathize with Nirmala? Maybe…Do I sympathize with Nirmala? Maybe…but one thing is for sure. Nirmala got me thinking about reality, the reality that girls in India are not wanted…Nirmala and I both were not wanted.

Many people…

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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Author/Writer, Writing

 

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Reading Classics Can Change Humanity

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Guest Blog by Fiza Pathan
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In the wake of the present war in Syria one tends to wonder how can humans be so cruel & merciless? Is it possible that humanity has degenerated just the way old vegetables get soiled with fungus in a Tupperware can? Is there any remedy to war, terrorism, rape, homicide, genocide, suicide, murder, abuse etc., According to me there is one unique & yet unusual way of putting an end to all the evils of our world…….the reading of good classic literature!

At first on hearing my suggestion one would wonder if I was making a joke as, how can a book change humanity? Well, for most of us who are well aware of history, we have in its annals certain places where books however harmless they seemed from the outside….were heralds of change sometimes for the better & sometimes for the worse. Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ was one such book during the early phase of the 20th century that sparked hate among the hearts of so many people against their own human brethren.

On the other hand Thomas Paine’s ‘The Rights of Man’
influenced a whole nation including America towards the overall emancipation of man & democracy. Yet another book ‘On The Origin Of Species’ by Charles Darwin changed the way we looked upon ourselves as human beings. Many such books can be quoted written by many authors who have by their efforts, molded our present. It would therefore be incorrect to state that books cannot change people…..in fact, books can change the past, present & future in ways unimaginable.

In this context, where does classic literature stand? According to me from all types of literature, classic literature should be given prime importance in every manner possible, if we have to save our future from being destroyed by our very ignorance.
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Could the reading of good classics avert many man-made disasters?
Yes, where classics are concerned, everything is possible. For if we do agree that books have acted as milestones in history ‘good & bad’……and if we do not want our children to make the same mistakes we made or their ancestors made, then I believe that the reading of classic literature must be taken up on a grand scale immediately by all parents, teachers, counselors & other educationists.

For those of you who do not comprehend what I mean by ‘classic literature’ I refer to those books that have been written so well in the past that they have been cherished by generations as wholesome books of literature, art & ethics. I’m talking about ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’, ‘David Copperfield’, ‘The Red Badge Of Courage’, ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘The Railway Children’, ‘The Odyssey’, ‘The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes’, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, ‘Little Women’, ‘The Invisible Man’……I’m talking about literature with morals as well as a rich story……I’m talking about ‘the classics’.

All classics written by revered authors of the past that have lasted from generation to generation according to me should be made mandatory in our modern day education system. I don’t want to sound like a Judgement Day preacher but, the gruesome happenings of the world around me does not make me quite optimistic either unless certain action is taken on the positive front at once. By making our children & students read good classics which project & promote morals like peace, tolerance, dignity of labour, honesty, justice etc., we will be cultivating the fertile ground for a much better society than what we have got now.
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How is this possible? Why by just reading, reading & READING.
In my latest book ‘Classics: Why we should encourage children to read them’ in one chapter, I’ve even analysed how my students have become better people by just molding themselves on the values they have gained by reading classics. I have seen this work & with a group effort. I know that the love for classic literature can spread not only within our own society or school…but throughout nations & cultures.

With the help of novelists like Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Alexander Dumas, Anna Sewell, Jane Austen, Jonathan Swift, J.M.Barrie, Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lew Wallace, Bernard Shaw, E.Nesbit, Jack London etc., we can promote a healthier society for the future generations to come. It is said a pepper seed cannot produce a mango fruit, thus  by allowing our children to only indulge in materialistic pleasures will only lead to negative forces plaguing our planet……as it is doing right now.

Through my experiments with classic literature I’ve only seen it benefitting my students. Infact, the 7th graders the other day were feeling troubled with the affairs in Syria & one of them innocently stated that:  “Fiza miss, I’m already against anymore wars & so are my children even before they are born.” To which his twin sister added: “My grandchildren are seconding his children.”

For is it not true, that only ‘war begets war’…..if we sow the good seeds of enriching classics, won’t we be helping our own people to prosper?
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If anyone yet presumes that classics are old, ancient & decadent & they cannot be connected with our present…..then what does one have to say about:

1)    The terrible destruction in ‘War Of The Worlds’

2)    The racial discrimination in ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’

3)    The child labour in ‘David Copperfield’

4)    The fear in ‘The Diary Of A Young Girl’

5)    The treachery in ‘Treasure Island’

6)    The corruption in ‘The Pickwick Papers’

These may be old texts but their themes are running on ‘full house’ mode even till this day. If we allow our children to read classics, we will not only be enlightening them intellectually but, also morally. It does not take a doctor in literature to see:

1)    The love in ‘Little Dorrit’

2)    The sacrifice in ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’

3)    The charity in ‘David Copperfield’

4)    The faithfulness in ‘Greyfriars Bobby’

5)    The friendship in ‘Peter Pan’

6)    The love for animals in ‘The Call Of The Wild’

7)    The bravery in ‘The Red Badge Of Courage’

8)    The kindness in ‘The Prince & The Pauper’

One only need name a classic & one will realize that from it pours out all the good qualities that one would want to observe in all our children. In the end, all classics do not end happily but I know that our future can, so also the civil strife in Syria. May our education change to a moral humanity based one …let’s read a classic a week!

A link to my book on Amazon:
http://amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=CLASSICS+children%2CB0091BCNTU

Blog:  http://insaneowl.com

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Guest Blogs

 

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Amazon in India, the World’s Most Avid Readers

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Taj-Mahal-in-India
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Who Spends the Most Time Reading in the World?  INDIA  It took the Western world a bit by surprise, that the most avid readers can be found in India. See the info-graphic by Publishing Perspectives. Canada is #21, Germany #22 and the USA #23 …
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David Gaughran wrote:”The Indian market has huge potential: a burgeoning middle class which speaks English and enjoys an increasing level of disposable income. Skeptics might point to high levels of poverty and low levels of internet connectivity, but with a population of 1.2 billion, only a very small percentage of the population needs to purchase devices (or read on existing devices such as lap tops or smartphones) before this is an extremely important market.”
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Forbes.com posted on July 2, 2013:  Amazon’s Perfect Timing for India – Why Jeff Bezos’ late India entry will work to the company’s advantage.  Business Today wrote: Amazon launches India website, begins with books and movies categories.
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Most popular in India: self-help books
Penguin India, for example, has sold 5,000 copies of The Ultimate Visual Dictionary. According to a report published in The Sunday Times, in small towns, encyclopedias and dictionaries are sold by travelling salesman and are often occupy pride of place as the sole book owned by a family.
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The strong market for educational books reflects the fierce competition faced by young Indians when applying for a job or a place in the university. Self-help books, how-to guides and textbooks are considered the quickest way to improve prosperity and social status. Every middle-class family dreams of having a doctor or engineer in the house.
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Children-India
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Reading for pleasure is considered less useful and a novel is a bestseller if it sells 2,000-3,000 copies, a tiny number in a country of more than one billion people.  India seems to be almost a paradise for non-fiction authors!
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More readers
With literacy rising, there are also more reasons to pick up a book: Improving conversational skills, being ‘in the know’, and getting cheaper books.
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More publishers
Penguin India, is celebrating its 25th year in India. Plus there are other big publishing houses such as Random House and HarperCollins on the Sub-Continent. There are also independent publishers, for example Katha Press. And many writers are self-publishing, in print or digitally.
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More contests and prizes
Notable ones are the Hindu Literary Prize, the DSC Prize, Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize, and many others.
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More Festivals
Mumbai has three literature fests, Goa, two. There are fests in Kerala, Kolkata, Hyderabad; and these are just the major ones. Many more literature events are taking place in other Indian cities.
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More authors

Goodreads Listopia presents a huge list of “Best Indian Books” – and readers can vote!  
One more author from India: Fiza Pathan.  Her books (short stories) as well as the new one
Classics: Why we should encourage children to read them  (launch July 2013), 
can be found on Amazon. Poetry lovers go to http://insaneowl.com to read more from Fiza. 

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Classics-for-Children

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Amazon explains:
“Authors can track your book sales to customers in India with the new KDP sales reporting, detailed by country. Digital Books enrolled in KDP Select will be eligible to earn 70% royalty for sales to our customers in Brazil, Japan, and India. The List Price you set for Brazil, Japan, and India must also meet the 70% List Price requirements for sales to customers in these territories. If your Digital Book is not enrolled in KDP Select or you do not meet the 70% List Price requirements, you will earn 35% royalty.”   Let me add this: Authors can enroll in KDP Select (which means their book can be borrowed by Prime Members, and which earns the author more than $2 per borrowed book) but they do not have to use the 5 free days, if they don’t want. 

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