Monday 22 August 2016

Wazir: Pawn's Story of Pawn's Revenge over the King

Wazir: The Hindi Film

The journey of pawn from powerless insignificant identity to powerful Wazir - an equivalent to Queen in modern game of Chess is not an impossible one. If it goes on moving ahead with persistence, perseverance, determination and diligence, it can metamorphose itself into powerful identity. But as it is not possible in each and every game of chess to see that pawn reaches to final home-square to gain the power of Wazir, similarly, in real life too, it is only in the rarest of the rare stories that it happens. There are examples like Dhirubhai Ambani, J K Rowling, Oprah Winfrey . . . the list may include many more who's who.

The story of such pawns turning into wazirs, or the story of rags to riches is a very famous and popular literary archetype (ref: Northrop Frye's The Archetypal Criticism). In popular culture, popular films and literature also, this trope is quite in vogue.

But this concept is not much loved by social reformers and revolutionaries. They are bitter critics of this fairy-tale-sort-of-story. They prefer to narrate things more realistically. They argue that only a handful of exceptionally capable and/or mainly lucky persons are actually able to travel the "rags to riches" road, being the great publicity given to such cases a natural Survivorship bias illusion, which help keep the masses of the working class and the working poor in line, preventing them from agitating for an overall collective change in the direction of social equality (Wikipedia). Some of the interesting books with the similar theme are:
  • Peña, Manuel. "American Mythologies" Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2012. ISBN 9781409442745
  • Weiss, Richard. "The American Myth of Success: From Horatio Alger to Norman Vincent Peale" Basic Books, 1969. ISBN 0252060431
These observations are quite true. The Hindi film Wazir narrates a story of the struggle between the helpless pawn against an evil King. Not all pawns are lucky enough to metamorphose into powerful wazir to avenge itself against the evil King. Most of them, standing in front row, fight against the likes of theirs, and get sacrificed in protecting the evil kings. If they are intelligent enough, they may open the gateway for Elephant (Rook) or Camel (Bishop), who in turn can checkmate the revenge of pawn. But that too is some thing happening in fairy tales. Realistic commentators or narrators or viewers may not get convinced with it. In reality, most of such stories remains unavenged.

At the same time, this film also raised important question against the idea of 'talent' and 'merit'. If one extraordinarily talented or meritorious persona (Wazir / Queen) over shadows innumerable 'mediocre' or average individuals (pawns), how far is it fair enough to sing the songs of talent / merit? The popular culture and society loves to sing such songs. May be because it gives them an illusory dream that some day they also will be meritorious and their talent will also be respected, and if it is not, the fault lies with them - they are not meritorious, they are not talented! They will not have enough confidence to tell their stories with confidence.  Bejoy Nambiar (Director), Abhijat Joshi and Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Writers) gave voice to the struggle of a pawn named Pandit Omkar Nath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan) against the talented politician who can blind people's eyes to become very popular with his language of peace and love, who in reality has strong connections with terrorist groups. Had it been not popular Hindi cinema, and has it been some realistic film, Pandit Omkar, like real Kashmiri Pandits pushed out of their homes to dwell in refugee camps, would have died an unknown death. But as it is a piece of feel-good cinema, he gets an elephant (Rook) to take his revenge. We see, in real world of human existence, millions of pawns meeting dead ends and lost in the oblivion from public memory as their stories rarely find an appropriate bard.

This film narrates the revenge story of one such pawn who reaches the final square to become Wazir. But that was not enough, he has sacrifice itself and make a way open for the Elephant (Rook) to rush in where even eagle dare to and end the game with checkmate. Kudos to Bejoy Nambiar (Director), Abhijat Joshi and Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Writers). The film is worth watching. Such thrillers are not watched without the presence of mind. It is normally advised not to carry the mind to the cinema-theatre to enjoy the films. But the watchers of this genre know it very well that they have to keep their minds on the toes. And as we watch with awakened mind, we start sensing at some point in the film - the secret which the film makers wants to keep. So, it is not a surprise when it is revealed. Yes, Sujoy Ghosh's Kahaani (2012) had that secret, very well kept till end and did not allow the viewers to doubt it. Wazir is, surely not, Kahaani. But Wazir has master performances by Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar. It has some very well written dialogues. Its ups is not only script, which has some loops, but it is performance and dialogues.The movies is worth watching.

It is well said:  

BE NOT ashamed, my brothers, to stand before the proud and the powerful with your white robe of simpleness.Let your crown be of humility, your freedom the freedom of the soul.Build God's throne daily upon the ample bareness of your poverty, and know that what is huge is not great and pride is not everlasting. ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Monday 15 August 2016

Sardar - The Iron Man of India

Ketan Mehta's Sardar - The Iron Man of India

Ketan Mehta's ‪#‎Sardar‬ is not only bio-pic but a well researched docu-drama. It precisely records the in-house meetings and brainstorming discussions between leaders on how and in which form India can become ‪#‎independent‬ country. Ultimately, as no midway was sought and ‪#‎Gandhi‬'s idea of giving reigns of Indian union to Mohmad Ali Jinnah - Muslim League was not acceptable to other Congress leaders. The script is well researched and supported by evidences of real video footage and news paper headlines. The research n script by ‪#‎VijayTendulkar‬ makes this movie worth watching, again and again. The magical touch of his script and Ketan Mehta's direction has saved this film from being dull documentary. It has some memorable dramatic sequences which keeps interested in the film alive till end and even though very talkative, the film gives wonderful cinematic experience.
Best of all sequences: All the meetings on division of resources (money, army, air force, secret agency etc) between India and Pakistan - is beautifully portrayed; inclusion of Kashmir, Hyderabad and Junagadh is captured very well; the central struggle between Sardar and Jinnah gives best cinematic moments.
The communal riots and massacre in the backdrop gives elegiac colour tone to the texture of this film, which is brightened with fresh cinematography and shooting at real life locations like Shimla, Junagadh, Delhi.

Yes. The film presented Sardar Patel larger than life. Ketan Mehta directed most of the freedom fighters as "types" - representing a particular "image" for which they are popularly known rather than humans with strength n weaknesses. Jinnah, Nehru, Maulana, Abdul gafar khan, mountbaton, gandhi - all are portrayed with similar touch. And as this was Sardar's film, he is a bit exaggerated.
Rather than the characters, the historical background is presented very well.

The film can be viewed on YouTube:

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Online Test: Renaissance Literature

Online Open Internet / Open Book Test on the Age of Renaissance

Read study material on this page to appear in this online test:

  • Points to Ponder:
    • Write comparative analysis of Chaucer, Spencer and Shakespeare as Poets
    • If you have seen any film on Elizabethan time / Shakespearean era, write a blog on the review of the film. You can have a look at the list of films worth watching:
    • Can you differentiate general characteristics of Renaissance literature with that of Reformation or Restoration or Neo-classical or Romantic or Victorian or Modern literature?
    • Write a blog on the review of any Hindi film adaptation of Shakespearean plays or Elizabethan era.

Report on the Use of Technology

Report on the Integration of Technology

Dilip Barad

Published in:
A Quarterly Online Journal for Teachers of English
Volume VI                                                                          Number 3                        
July - September 2016
ISSN (Onlime): 2231-4431
Impact Factor (2015): 4.310

Dilip Barad

Prof. and Head, Department of English
Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University, Bhavnagar (364001) , Gujarat, India.
Phone: 09898272313 / 9427733691
ELTAI Membership No. 30009295; IATEFL Member ID:19674


Figure 1: Use and Integration of Technology
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that teaching – learning is incomplete in the 21st century without integration of Information and Communication Technology. No education institute can afford to neglect integration of technology. Yes, you have read it correctly. It is ‘integration’ and not merely ‘use’ of technology. The below given figure (1) makes the difference between the two quite clear. This brief report is all about integration of technology. All of the twelve points mentioned under ‘Technology Integration’ is fulfilled in the practice reported here.


  • Higher Goals of Education
    • It’s a university’s job to produce citizens who learn to think for themselves, not just humans who can be programmed to follow someone else’s code.
  • Holly Clark
    • It is imperative that in 2015, students be able to curate, archive and expand on the work they are producing in class.
    • Today’s education must help students authentically learn important digital citizenship lessons.  
    • Education must help students to internalize the core subject as well as vital digital literacy skills such as creating their own digital web presence and learning to effectively and purposefully share their learning with the world.
  • Classify and Reclassify Information
    •          "The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to evaluate its veracity, how to change categories when necessary, how to move from the concrete to the abstract and back, how to look at problems from a new direction  how to teach himself." (Herbert Gerjuoy)
·         UNESCO: 

Figure 2: UNESCO - Stages of ICT Integration


This report is about the integration of technology at Post Graduate Department of English, Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University, Bhavnagar, Gujarat. This is State University established in 1969.


The students of post graduate programme of English literature are involved in this project.

Purpose of Using Technology

·         To fulfill the objectives mentioned in ‘Objectives’.
·         Using technology like blog, Google group,, Google sites, digital portfolio, flipped learning is part and parcel of learning at Dept. of English, M K Bhavnagar University
·         All students have to publish their assignments on blog and presentations on Why? So that peer learning happens on its own. Slow learners learn from assignments and presentations of fast learners.
·         Students prepare Digital Portfolio: Why? The Students are strongly encouraged to build digital portfolio to document the four habits of mind:

·        1. Integrative thinking: The ability and habit to recognize relationships among ideas and experiences that are not routinely thought of as related.

·        2. Reflective thinking: The ability and habit of looking back at previous learning and setting those experiences in a new context created by subsequent learning.

·        3. Thinking in Community: The ability and habit of seeking connections between your learning and the learning of others in the class / community.

·       4.  Thinking in context:  The ability and habit of seeking connections between what you learned in college and relating those connections to subjects, debate and discussion in the wider world. (Lorenzo and Ittelson)

Evidence of the use of Technology

Digital Portfolio

·         Also visit this post for online evaluation rubric of Digital Portfolio which is done as self-evaluation, peer-evaluation and teacher evaluation.

Blogs for Teacher Worksheet on Film Screening

·         The use of audio-visual materials in literature classroom is very helpful. An appropriate use must be though-out, otherwise it would fail to fulfill desired objectives. Pedagogically speaking, screening of the films should be followed by student-activities on teacher-worksheet. We used blogs for this purpose. Click here to view some of the teacher worksheet on film screening and read students’ responses / engagement / reactions in the comment section below the post:

Blog Worksheet for Teaching Literature and Critical Theories

·         To engage learners with learning, the teacher used blog worksheet to teach literary texts and critical theories. The students were asked to respond on the blog rather than in pen-paper mode. This helps in building an environment of trust among all learners. This also helps in peer learning as works produced by classmates is visible to all. It also leads to conceptual clarity of literary theories:

Blogs for Assignments and Critical Thinking

·         Here are some of the sample blogs of students reflection on their learning
·         Here are some of the sample blogs on students assignments on their learning

Teacher’s Content Sharing Website

·         We have used Google Site to share additional resources, question banks, core content with students
·         Please have a look at the website:

Hotpotatoes for Interactive Quiz / Test

·         Quite often Hotpotatoes suit is used to develop interactive quiz.
·         The sample can be viewed here:

Audacity: Sound Editing Software for Listening and Speaking

·         We experimented with this software and used it effectively for Listening and Speaking skills.

Wikieducator as collaborative and content sharing platform

·         We used to use wikieducator for collaboration and content sharing
· This is user page of Dilip Barad
·'s_Poetics: Here is content sharing page.

Flubaroo: Auto Grading Script plus Google Form

·         For unit end online quiz, we use Google Form. To auto-generate result, we run Flubaroo script. It also helps in sending emails to students with their grades and correct/incorrect itemized analyses.

Presentations by Students (Students’ involvement)

·         Here are some of the sample presentations by students:

Flipped Learning

·         We have successfully experimented with Flipped Learning also. Check this link:

Ted-Ed Lessons

·         We have also started using platform for online learning. Have a look at one of the lessons uploaded by us:
·         More lessons are in pipe line. We have prepared  several such small learning videos. Have a look at playlist on YouTube:
·         All these short videos are going to be on

Unit End Online Tests

·         It is usual practice that teaching is followed by Online Tests to check the progress of the learners.
·         Google Form, Hotpotatoes and Flubaroo script are used for the test and autograding.
·         Here are some of the links of such online tests:

Online Rubrics for Self and Peer-Evaluation

·         Online Rubric for the evaluation of Oral Presentaiton:
·         Online Rubric for the evaluation of Written Assignments:
·         Online Rubric for the Review of Language Lab software (Language Lab is one module in the course of ELT and Technology)
·         Online Rubric for the evaluation of Digital Portfolio

Students’ Reaction and Involvement

·         The real mark of integration of technology in education system is not measured on the grounds of what and how of technology used by ‘teacher’. Rather, it is  ‘what students do with technology’ that matters more. The involvement of students in the use of technology in their learning process is very vital. Here, we can see what and how students of last five batches (from 2010 to 2016) have used technology:
·         Many of the above given links also stand in support of involvement of student in the integration of technology. As it is well said that – Until and unless, students do not respond through technology, it is not integration of technology in learning process. It may be ‘use’ of technology by teacher, but cannot be considered as ‘integration’ of technology.’ All the above given links stand in support of how technology is integral part of learning process at Department of English, M.K. Bhavnagar University.
One of the best way to evaluate reaction of students is to compare their performance in ‘real-life’ examinations conducted by University. I mean, rather than going for traditional ‘pre-test, post-test’ analyses of target groups, if we compare their performance in real examinations conducted by University as independent body, we can get real picture of students performance. Well, the students never or rarely used technology at Under Graduate (B.A.) level. They extensively integrated technology at Post Graduate (M.A.) level. These charts displays that almost all students improved their performance in terms of percentage in University exam.

Figure 3: Batch 2010-12 Comparative Chart
Figure 4: Batch 2012-14: Comparative Chart

·          Click here to see more such charts of other batches:
·         By and large, students have responded positively.
o   Students’ response to use of Audio-Visual materials with traditional teaching:


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