Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Reading Effect

In economics, they have what they say is the 'lipstick effect', wherein, during the times of meltdowns, the sale of lipsticks goes up significantly. The reason is understandable — lipsticks don't cost much and have a special 'feel good' effect.

I believe books are much better — most of them cost as little as a lipstick, sometimes even lesser, and the 'feel good' effect is far more endearing. Not to forget, a book is not a consumable and gives us wisdom that may change our lives for good.

So go ahead, intuitively pick up a book from the millions available (don't bother about those funny bestseller lists) and beat the 'meltdown blues'.

That also makes publishing one of the most recession-proof professions, so better still, join it !

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Boycotting Books from Pakistan

So what is more important — nationalism or universal brotherhood? While Pakistan relentlessly bleeds India with a thousand cuts, we continue to create stars out of Pakistani singers, comedians and writers. The nation of Gandhi seems to be following his philosophy of offering the other cheek when slapped on one religiously. We are the big brother — forever resilient and pluralist. In that sense, is the Oxford Bookstore's decision to ban books written by Pakistani authors the right one? Or is it merely a knee-jerk reaction?

Well, if they have done it because it's a well thought out stand and they would replicate it across India, we should respect their decision and maybe even follow suit depending on our free will. But if they have done it because they are scared of extra constitutional powers or out of some pressure, all of us who believe in the power of democracy should condemn it in no uncertain terms. Our freedom of speech and independence are our strengths and we must do everything in our means to preserve them.

Forced bans are absolutely unacceptable, voluntary boycotts though are always welcome. Remember we live in India, not Pakistan.