Handcrafted Book Summary of I Am Malala

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                                          I Am Malala

   Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

Orion Publishing

320 pages; Average reading time 5 hours 12 min

This bookbhook book summary will take not more than 11 minutes

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This bookbhook summary has been handcrafted by Ruchi Nagpal, exclusively for India’s favourite book summaries app-bookbhok. Ruchi is a research scientist and believes books are the wings that help you reach the unknown.

The real life story of Malala, the Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban, comes as a refreshing hope that God’s chosen ones are here to make a significant difference to the world in their own small ways.

 

Early days

I, Malala, born on 12th July 1997, was named after the great icon of Afghanistan, Malalai of Maiwand who inspired many Afghan men to defeat the British army during the second Anglo-Afghan war, in the 1880s. I belong to the proud Pashtun tribe spread between Pakistan and Afghanistan. I used to live in the beautiful Swat valley, known as Switzerland of the East. My family members are my two brothers, my beautiful pious mother and my hero, my father Ziauddin Yousafzai. The courage and determination of my father laid the stepping stones towards my destiny. My father often says that he could follow his dreams because of the gift of education. He has led an exemplary life. A poor Pashtun boy without any money struggling to go to a college, completing a master’s degree in English, running a school in Mingora  and becoming a well-known political figure in Swat. I remember virtually living in school from early on. Because of the helpful nature and generosity of my parents, our small home was always like a boarding home, occupied by distant relatives and needy people.  Money was not the only problem in our lives; my father had to consistently overcome the resistance and pressures of local religious Mufti or Maulana over the girls’ freedom, their going around without purdah or veil and their right to education

The strife begins

Ever since its inception, Pakistan has been struggling with its internal feuds.   Its founder,Jinnah, could not complete his vision due to health issues. Most of Pakistan’s independent years have been under military dictatorship. When General Musharraf took over Nawaz Sharif’s elected government, Pakistan’s tryst with military dictatorship started again.  In 2001, the 9/11 attack on WTO had an indirect impact on us since Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda was living in Kandahar at the time.  Osama took refuge in Swat by hiding in the network of tunnels built along the Afghanistan border. Everybody was aware of Musharraf’s deceit, taking American money to help their campaign against Al-Qaeda and yet helping the jihadi. In 2002, he brought the ’mullah government’ to power in our valley. The Muttahida Majlis e-Amal (MMA) alliance included parties who ran the madrasas where the Taliban were trained. The MMA government enforced stringent and unreasonable laws against women. In 2004, General Musharraf was forced by the American government to send the army into the seven agencies of FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) that lie along the border of Afghanistan. One of which was Bajaur, next to Swat valley.  My father predicted that the military intrusion in our valley was not far away. The earthquake in 2005 further deteriorated the existing economic condition of Pakistan. The visible volunteer help to common people came from Islamic organisations which were fronts for military groups, mainly Jamat-ul-Dawa (JuD), the welfare wing of LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba). Even the gods were not in favour of Pakistan.

In grip of fear

2007 marked the entry of Taliban into our valley. Their leader, Maulana Fazlullah started a radio station, introducing himself as an Islamic reformer and a Quran interpreter. His aim was to raise local problems and target the government to win support and sympathy for the poor in Swat. In the name of God, he pushed people to give their gold and money and help him build his headquarters. All the beauty parlours, barber shops and DVD & CD shops were closed. Health workers were stopped from giving vaccinations. Taliban workers destroyed historic monuments, cable connections and targeted the police. Our school also received threats to close down.  My father started protests through a newspaper. Around this time even Islamabad was also hit by terrorism. In 2007 when Benazir Bhutto stepped into Pakistan, people had high hopes. Our hopes were soon shattered with her assassination in December 2007 by a suicide bomber. Around this time, tension increased in north-western Pakistan as different militant groups emerged. The momentum against the Pakistan government grew with the formation of Teheik-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) or the Pakistan Taliban.  We were afraid to go to school, but the school was actually my stress buster. We abandoned our school uniforms and went to school in casuals, covering our books in shawls so that nobody noticed.

My right to education

I had always followed my father’s advice to learn only the literal meaning of Quran written in Arabic from the Quran Practitioner and to draw my own explanations and interpretations. The operation Rah-e-Haq was the first battle of Swat where the army could not clear the Taliban. Throughout 2008, the situation continued to worsen with bomb blasts and killings. The Swat council of elders was formed in which my father was the spokesperson. Through seminars and media, he challenged Fazlullah of his misdoings. A peace march was held with children of my age who were interviewed by the media. My parents were always supportive and encouraged me to speak my mind. The local journalists were willing to interview us and make us speak against the Taliban destruction, which they could not do themselves. I once went to Peshawar with my father to appear on a BBC Urdu Talk show and put across my point that the Taliban had no right to decide against our right to education.

In October 2008, prominent schools in our area schools like the Sangota Convent School for Girls and Excelsior College for boys were blown up.  Around 400 schools were destroyed by the end of the 2008. Each day was marred with brutal attacks on innocent people. The Green Square had become a brutal display of dead bodies murdered by Taliban in the name of non-compliance of Islamic rules imposed by them. One such killing which still gives me jitters was of dancer Shabana of Banr Bazaar. Though people loved her dance, nobody came forward to help. My father also received death threats. To save us from Taliban attacks, he started living in his friend’s house.  My mother started sleeping with a knife under her pillow. We children were always planning on how to save ourselves in case of a Taliban attack.  Meanwhile, Fazlullah’s deputy had ordered closing down of all girls’ school by 15th January 2009.

Class dismissed

On 3rd January 2009, under the pen name Gul Makai, I started writing a diary about my life under the Taliban regime. I started this on the insistence of my father’s friend Abdul Hai Kakar, a BBC radio correspondent based in Peshawar. He would talk to me on my mother’s mobile for half an hour every day in Urdu to know about my daily activities, my dreams or aspirations about future, and my point of view of the current situation. This was to appear on the BBC Urdu website once a week. I spoke about our fears of not being able to do simple things like wearing colourful clothes or going to school picnics. As the diary of Gul Makai received attention worldwide, I further realized the power of education. My last day of school, 14th January 2009 was captured  as a documentary titled ’Class dismissed in Swat Valley’  for The New York Times’ website. This was a mirror to the world about the reality in Pakistan Swat valley which had become a Taliban hub and how it was affecting a simple school going child’s life.

 I continued writing blogs for the website, which gave me hope that justice will be delivered. We found great support a Stanford University student, Shiza Shahid. A trip to Islamabad with video journalist Adam Ellick was a happy break for me, from our current hell-like situation. On 16 February 2009, a peace deal was struck between Taliban and the Pakistan government. Little did we know that Taliban had become the state-approved terrorists! Although my father resisted leaving the valley till end; we became IDPs (Internally displaced persons) on 5th May 2009.

  

Coming back to home

Coming back to our valley after living as IDPs for almost three months was both joyful and painful. Our beloved beautiful Swat valley was now deserted and in urgent need of rehabilitation and reconstruction. Fortunately, our house was not damaged. I was happy to see my school bag with my precious books intact. Our school had been the army’s base in the battlefield. There were anti-Taliban slogans all over the school compound. Only two members of Taliban were in police custody. And their leader, Fazlullah was still a free man.

Our school ‘Khushal School’ reopened. Soon, our Stanford friend Shiza Shahid took us on a memorable school trip to Islamabad. It was a very informative and eye opening trip for all the girls, since we were very new to the modern culture of Islamabad. We were introduced to professionally qualified women who were balancing work and home with equal finesse. This was my first visit to McDonalds also. We also met Major General Abbas, the chief spokesman for the army and its head of public relations. He gave us his visiting card and offered his help whenever needed. It was generous of him to help us in paying our school expenses, which was a great relief for my father. Things were getting back to normal in Swat and people were returning home. Back in school, I was appointed the Speaker of the District Child Assembly Swat, a UNICEF initiative. I, along with my friends, started learning about journalism from a British organisation called ‘Institute for War and Peace Reporting’. My birthday month, July 2010, brought grief for our valley again, when relentless floods devastated everything.  Tourist places, schools, buildings and hospitals, all were affected. The Swat River, our lifeline, had become our enemy.

 Leading a cause

In October 2011, I was nominated for the International Peace Prize for Child Rights, which I didn’t win. Shortly, I was awarded with a cheque for half a million rupees by the Chief Minister of Punjab for my campaign for girls’ rights.  In December 2011, the Prime Minister of Pakistan awarded me the National Peace Prize. This annual award was named Malala Prize for kids under eighteen years of age. My parents were not very happy with the naming of a prize in my honour, since they were a bit superstitious. My family was now campaigning heavily for education as no one else was raising this issue with the government. I was nursing the idea of an education foundation having received a lot of money from the awards and recognitions. I also decided that I will grow up to be a politician. In January 2012, the Sindh government announced the renaming of a girls ‘secondary school in my honour in Karachi.

Danger looms ahead

It was in Karachi that a Pakistani journalist, Shehla Anjum, informed me that the Taliban had raised a death threat against me, along with Shad Begum, an activist from Dir in Swat.  The police inquired about the death threats and offered to give me protection.  A different kind of Talibanisation had now started against people who were raising their voices for peace, education rights and rehabilitations. The intelligence services started visiting our home and keeping a check on our activities.  The Taliban started showing its presence again by kidnapping foreign aid workers and blowing up some schools. The murder of Vice Chancellor of Swat University, Doctor Mohammad Farooq was a big blow to our valley. As I turned fifteen, Taliban killed one of the members of peace committee in which my father was actively involved. My mother was getting worried about threats to me and my father. We had started taking precautions in our day to day activities but we were still protesting and campaigning for human rights.

Praying for the well-being of our home, our swat valley, all Muslims, and all humankind had become my routine before sleeping. Like everyone else, I prayed more during my exams. I wanted to beat my classmate Malka-e-Noor this time.  After the Physics paper, we had an exam on Pakistan Studies which was a bit difficult. After the exam that day, my brother Atal refused to come with us in the bus and remained in the school with his friends. I was chatting with my best friend Moniba and occasionally looking outside the bus window seeing the busy Haji Baba road. I didn’t realize when two young gun men forced their entry into our van and asked ‘Who is Malala’?’ Before I could respond, they fired three bullets one after the other that altered my life forever.

Facing death

Immediately after this gun shoot-out, our bus driver wasted no time in taking our van to Swat Central Hospital. The news about Khushal school bus shooting spread fast in Mingora town. My father rushed to the hospital hoping that I was not on the bus. Shazia, one of the girls, was hit twice in the left collarbone and palm. Kainat, the second girl, had been hit by a bullet on her right arm. The bullet had passed through my forehead to my left shoulder blade. I was taken to Peshawar’s CMH, the Combined Military Hospital in a helicopter along with my father. My mother arrived late in the evening by road.  In the operation theatre, Colonel Junaid, the neurosurgeon along with Dr. Mumtaz, removed an eight by ten centimetres bone from the upper left part of my skull to allow my swelling brain space to expand. They removed blood clots from my brain and the bullet from the shoulder blade.

Meanwhile, the Taliban issued a statement that I was attacked because of my role in preaching secularism and not because of my campaign for education. I was punished because I was pro-west and speaking against them. That night, two British doctors were brought in to examine my condition. This was requested by General Kayani, the army chief. Dr. Javid Kayani and Dr. Fiona were not satisfied with the post-surgery arrangements in the hospital and were concerned about my safe recovery due to risk of infection which may lead to brain damage or other medical complications. Under the guidance of Dr. Fiona, I was again airlifted to an army hospital in Rawalpindi which had the best intensive care in Pakistan. The hospital, Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, was completely closed down for security reasons.

Defeating death

My parents were not in a state to make decisions; all the decisions were made by the army. After the global outrage   against the shooting, the army was doing everything possible to save me or at least provide sufficient medical support. Due to the   strained relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, General Kayani was insistent about not accepting any American support for my medical care. Due to security and political reasons, no consensus could be reached on how I would be taken abroad for better medical care. The ruling family of UAE came to our rescue by offering their private jet which had an on-board hospital as well. My father was   asked to join me and was instructed not to disclose anything about my whereabouts to anyone, including my family.  My father decided to stay behind with my family in Pakistan and to leave me in the trusted hands of Dr. Javid and Dr. Fiona. He felt he could not take chances with the family’s security. So, I was  air lifted, with the doctors, at 5 am on 15th October under armed escort.  My parents waited for the legal formalities of passport and visa to be completed so that they could join me in my fight against death. They hoped and prayed endlessly.

Rebuilding my life

‘Thank God I’m not dead’ was the first thought that came into my mind when I woke up in the unknown surroundings of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.  Terrifying thoughts about my parents’ whereabouts flooded my mind. My head was throbbing; my left ear was bleeding and the left side of my face was not responding. The soft and healing prayers of Rehaanna, the Muslim chaplain appointed in the hospital, calmed my unstable mind and put me to sleep. A few days later, I got to speak with my parents for the first time. I could not talk because of the tube in my throat.  I was just happy and reassured to hear their soothing voices. With the help of a notepad, I started communicating with the nurses and doctors. I still have the white mirror in which I first saw my disfigured face.

Dr. Fiona told me about my miraculous escape from the Taliban attack. Once I was able to talk a little, I spoke with my parents on Dr. Javid’s phone. I was anxious about their arrival. The government was planning to hold a joint press conference from the hospital to inform the world about my well-being. The hospital staff did everything possible to keep me entertained. The nurses and Dr. Fiona played games with me. The hospital staff also bought a DVD player to play Disney movies to keep me occupied.

 I am Malala

The hospital press office provided daily updates about my condition to the world. The messages, presents, gifts and support from politicians, influential celebrities and common people from all over the world was unbelievable. By attacking innocent kids, the Taliban had spread my campaign for education, worldwide. Gordon Brown, the UN special envoy for education coined the slogan ‘I am Malala’ to demand no child be denied schooling by 2015.

I was shifted to a regular room when my parents finally arrived in Birmingham after sixteen days. We were all crying constantly seeing our whole family being reunited. It was very difficult for them to see me in this distraught state. They thought I had lost my divine smile When the UN designated 10th November as ’Malala Day’, I was preparing for the big surgery to repair my facial nerve. The surgery was successful.  The left side of my body started responding by the end of the third month. My rehabilitation started in the gym with the physiotherapist.

Pakistan President Asif Zardari visited us and also informed the high commissioner to appoint my father as an education attaché and to arrange his diplomatic passport. In early January 2013, I was discharged from the hospital to reunite with my family in an apartment that the Pakistan commission allotted to us in Birmingham. I came back for another surgery in February when Dr Anwen White, carried out ‘Titanium Cranioplasty’ of my skull. Yet another surgeon, Richard Irving put a cochlear implant inside my head to improve my left side hearing.

The good and bad exist side by side. It took one wrong-doing to destroy my life but many good-doings to heal. It is strange how many people stood by me and helped me to regain my earlier self. Sometimes, I feel that I am living another innings of my life. I think I am the chosen one where my role is to help each and every one around me. And this is a story about a girl shot by the Taliban and not me, Malala.

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Book Summary of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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                             The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

   Stephen R Covey

Simon & Schuster

432 pages; Average reading time 6 hours 07 min

This bookbhook book summary will take not more than 9 minutes

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This bookbhook book summary is handcrafted by Gayathri Manikandan. Gayathri describes herself as an ex-software engineer, book lover, craft enthusiast and a proud citizen of ‘Imagi’nation.

This handcrafted book summary will help you learn

  • What is Character Ethic?
  • What is a paradigm shift?
  • What are the seven habits to bring about a personal change?
  • Why do you need to keep ‘sharpening the saw’?

Character Ethic vs Personality Ethic

When Stephen Covey started researching on writing about success, it took him 200 years back. Stephen realised two things:

  1. Almost all the writing about success in the first 150 years was about integrity,humility,courage and other such elements of the Character Ethic
  2. However, in the last 50 years, a certain level of superficiality has crept into success literature where public relations technique and positive mental attitude started defining success as a Personality Ethic.

It is not that Personality Ethic elements like communication skills and positive thinking are not important for being successful, but just that these are not primary traits. The real foundation needs to be built with Character Ethic.

Building principle-centred habits

It is possible for us to be very busy in life. It is easy to get caught in the busy-ness of life, work efficiently and achieve success. It is also possible to achieve success that are empty- empty victories that are achieved at the expense of other things. To be truly effective, we need to cultivate habits that are principle centred. Habits have a powerful impact on our lives.

Albert Einstein observed, ‘The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them’. We need a new level, a deeper level of thinking. We need a paradigm-shift. Character Ethic & Personality Ethic are paradigms-how we see, perceive, understand and interpret the world. Moving from character to personality ethic or the reverse is an example of paradigm shift. Whether positive or negative, paradigm shifts helps see the world differently and create change.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny’- we are what our habits make us.

Paradigm shifts help us see situations in a very different perspective. This new level of thinking is what The Seven Habits of Effective People is all about. The first three habits – Be Proactive, Begin with the end in the mind and Put first things first are habits of private victory. They help you know yourself in a deeper and more meaningful way. They help increase your self-confidence. The next three habits – Think win-win, Seek first to understand then to be understood and Synergize are habits of public victory. They help you improve and deepen solid relationships. The seventh habit – Sharpen your saw renews the other six habits and helps you charge your batteries.

 1.  Be Proactive

Can you identify the mood you are in now? Can you describe your current mental state and what you are feeling? This ability to think about one’s own thoughts distinguishes human from animals. Between a stimulus (that triggers you to act) and response (your act), human have the ability to think and freedom to choose.

Few people are reactive and few proactive. Reactive people feel good if the weather is good, they feel well if people treat them well. Proactive people are affected by weather and how others treat them as well, but they choose to respond differently.

‘That’s just the way I am’, ‘He makes me mad’, ‘I can’t do it, I don’t have the time’, ‘I have to do it’ are typically the language used by reactive people. Proactive people, on the other hand, use ‘I choose’, ‘I prefer’, I will’. Once a student asked if I can excuse him from my class as he had to go on a tennis trip. However after introspection, it turned out that he chose to go to the tennis trip. If he didn’t go, the tennis team might drop him which he didn’t wish to happen. However if he missed my classes, he will miss the learning. He chose to go for the trip and it was his choice not someone else’s responsibility for deciding to have the tennis trip on the same day.

To become aware of how proactive you are, make a list of all your concerns – health, children, and problems at work, and so on. Now, within this circle of concern, push those that you have control over towards the centre. This is the circle of influence. Determine in which circle you are spending most of your time and energy. In the outer circle of concern or the inner circle of influence? Proactive people focus on the circle of Influence, they work on things that they can control.

The problems we face can be categorized broadly as those under direct control, those under indirect control i.e. those that involve other people’s behaviour and those that we have no control over. Being proactive helps us to tackle direct control problems by changing our behaviour and the indirect control problems by changing our methods of influence. Proactive approach also teaches us to accept the problems that we have no control over as they are.

2.  Begin with the end in mind

All things are created twice. A blueprint and a house, a plan and a trip, a script and a speech, a design and a dress. The first creation is in your mind, the second is physical. One has to take responsibility for the first creations. You need to rescript your life, not live the script handed to you by your family, associates, conditioning or circumstances. Re-scripting requires personal leadership. Leadership is deciding if your ladder is on the right wall. Climbing comes next.

You first begin with the end in the mind. If you begin with the end in the mind, you know clearly where you are going. You do not end up being so busy climbing up the ladder, only to find the ladder is on the wrong wall when you are up there. You can ‘Begin with the end in mind’ at different stages and levels of your life. But the fundamental application is to visualise this habit as ‘Begin with the end of your life’- Suppose you are at your own funeral, what would you want to hear from your family, friends, colleagues and others? This is what is supremely important in your life and visualizing this helps you contribute to it each day.

The most effective way to begin with the end in your mind is to have a personal mission statement. A solid mission statement is created by pivoting your lives on the right principles. Suppose tonight you have booked tickets for a concert with your wife and your boss says he needs your help with an important meeting. You could call off the concert or politely refuse your boss’ request depending on whether you are family-centred, work-centred, money-centred or self-centred. But being ‘XYZ-centred’ is a perception problem. What sounds right to you might not be perceived so by your boss or wife.

On the other hand, being a principle-centred person will help you to stand away from the emotion and help you evaluate the options. You feel comfortable about your decision as you know it is the most effective because you have based it on principles with predictable long-term results.

3.  Put first things first

While leadership decides what the ‘first things’ are, management, essentially, is the discipline of actually executing the first things first actions. The first generation of time management philosophy was all about making lists and to-dos. The second generation is about scheduling tasks. The third generation of time management adds the idea of prioritizing. The emerging fourth generation recognizes that the challenge is not time management but managing ourselves.

The popular time management matrix divides tasks into four quadrants – Important & Urgent (I), Important & Not Urgent (II), Not Important & Urgent (III), Not Important & Not Urgent (IV). Quadrant II is the heart of effective personal management. The key is to say ‘Yes’ to Quadrant II tasks. This means you would have to say ‘No’ to other activities, which may include ‘apparently urgent’ things.

 As you spend more time doing Quadrant II activities, you will notice that Quadrant I shrinks. The fourth generation time management tools let you recognize that the first person to consider to be effective rather than efficient is you yourself. It encourages you to spend time in Quadrant II activities rising above the limitations of daily planning and organizing.

The key to effective management is delegation.You can pick up the room better than a child but the key is to empower the child to do it. You have to get involved in the training and development and it takes time but it is worth it in the long run.

4.  Think Win-Win

I once worked with a company whose president was very concerned about the lack of cooperation among his people. He had implemented a ‘Race to Bermuda’ strategy for encouraging people to achieve results. There was a picture of the racetrack, with his managers’ face superimposed on the racehorses. At the end of the race was the reward, a beautiful poster of Bermuda, enticing the participants for a trip to Bermuda. The president wanted his people to work together but was setting them up for a competition, where most will lose and some will win.

The most effective interpersonal leadership is to think win-win. Win-win is not a technique but a philosophy of human interaction. It’s not your way, it’s not my way; it’s a better way, a higher way. In reality, there may be situations where one has to choose win/lose or lose/win. But in most interdependent situations, win-win is the only viable long term solution. There is an even higher expression of win-win. It is called ‘No Deal’. If family members can’t agree on a video that everyone will enjoy, they can simply decide to do something else – No Deal. When you have No Deal as an option in your mind, you feel liberated, you don’t have to manipulate people to accept your agenda. Win-win can only thrive when the systems support it. Competition has its place in marketplace or even against another individual when there is no interdependence. But cooperation in the workplace is equally important and it can only be achieved by thinking win-win.

5.  Seek first to understand, then to be understood

How would you like if you were to go to a physician for some trouble in your eyes and she offered you her glasses that she has been using for more than 10 years? The glasses might have helped her, but for you it would help to diagnose before she prescribes. Imagine your kid is troubled by something. You encourage and coax them into sharing the problem with you. And let’s say your kid just starts off by saying, ‘Well, I don’t like school anymore’. Chances are you will rush in to fix her with your advice, quoting all the sacrifices you have made to educate her. You have just made sure that you will be the last person your kid will discuss it with you in future.  A better approach for effective interpersonal communication is definitely about seeking first to understand, then to be understood.

Most people do not listen with an intent to understand. They listen with an intent to reply. We are usually listening at one of the four levels: ignoring, pretending, selective listening, and attentive listening. There is a fifth level, the highest form of listening – empathetic listening. In empathetic listening you listen not only with your ears but also with your eyes and heart. Empathetic listening is powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with. As you start listening deeply, you appreciate the differences in perception. Our perceptions can be vastly different and yet we are trying to work together. Once we understand the differences, we open the door to creative solutions and to third alternatives. We don’t see the differences as stumbling blocks anymore but as stepping stones to synergy.

6.  Synergize

Synergy, by definition, means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Imagine this to be a vacation time and the husband has been planning all the year to go on a fishing vacation. His wife, however, wants to visit her ailing mother. In this situation, the husband may give in to the wife, grudgingly. Or the wife may give in to the husband, but wouldn’t forgive herself or her husband if her mother’s health deteriorates and she becomes seriously ill. Or they can split up and spend their respective vacations feeling guilty and unhappy. But there is a middle way, middle doesn’t mean compromise. It means somewhere higher like the apex of a triangle. When the husband and wife deeply understand their desires and communicate, they pool these desires. They are not on the opposite sides of the problem. They are together on one side of the problem looking at the problem.

May be the couple could arrange some time within this month for the wife to visit her mother. Or they could find a fishing site closer to her mother’s place. They could even plan some activities with aunts, cousins and uncles. They synergize. They communicate back and forth until they arrive at a solution they both feel good about. It’s better than a compromise. Instead of a transaction, they have a transformation. They get what they both really want and in the process build their relationship.

7.  Sharpen the saw

Suppose you come across someone working hard for hours together to saw down a tree. You notice that the saw needs sharpening and will bring the tree down much faster if taken care of. Will it be wise for the person sawing the tree to say he is too busy to sharpen his saw? Sharpening the saw is preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you. You need to renew four dimensions of your nature- Physical, Mental, Social/Emotional and Spiritual. Taking the time to sharpen the saw is a Quadrant II activity. It must be acted upon.

The Physical dimension involves taking care of your body – eating right, resting sufficiently and exercising regularly. This Quadrant II activity will apparently bring phenomenal long term effects. Neglecting health will later push you into Quadrant I with health issues and crisis. The Spiritual dimension involves renewing yourself and your purpose through meditation or prayers or connecting to nature, whichever is best suited to you.

The Mental dimension involves continually honing and expanding your mind. It could be in a disciplined classroom environment or any other unconventional method that a proactive person can easily figure out. Reading is one of the most effective way to inform and expand your mind. Writing is another powerful tool to sharpen the saw. It affects our ability to think clearly and deeply. Sharpening your Physical, Spiritual and Mental dimensions is ‘Daily Private Victory’. Spending one hour a day will greatly affect the quality and effectiveness of your life.

The Social/Emotional dimension involves interpersonal leadership, empathetic communication and creative cooperation. It does not take time in the same sense as other dimensions but can be practised in everyday life when interacting with people.

Editor’s note

While The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a simple to read book, it is extremely difficult to summarise. The book has visual frameworks and interesting exercises, almost becoming a workbook. While we have made our best effort to summarise this book, and include relevant videos, we would really urge you to pick up your own copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and read the entire book.

 

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Handcrafted book summary of Mind in the Making

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                 Mind in the Making- The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs

   Ellen Galinsky

William Morrow

400 pages; Average reading time 5 hours 40 min

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We are connected 24/7 with the world around us. This makes life complex, distracting and stressful. This holds for adults as well as children. For children especially, we try to help them imbibe different skills in sports, studies and performing arts. One area that gets neglected in this race to build a multi-dimensional individual is helping children learn life skills. Life skills, unlike your child’s tennis class, does not require expensive equipment to learn. While there is no age to learn life skills, adults need these skills as much as children do, it helps to begin early.

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Handcrafted Book Summary of The Lean Startup

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                                         The Lean Startup

   Eric Ries

Crown Publishing

336 pages; Average reading time 4 hours 45 min

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The reality is that most start-ups fail. Most of these failures are externalised to ‘not being in the right place at the right time’, ‘product not being perfect for launch’ and many more reasons. With my own start-up experience and of those around me, I believe that startup success can be engineered into a process, and therefore startup success can be learnt as well as taught.  I began writing on the blog Startup Lessons Learned-which has now refined into the theory of Lean Startup. The Lean Startup is not a ‘how-to’ book of tactics-it is an approach that helps entrepreneurs move away from ‘Can this product be built?’ to ‘Should this product be built?’ After all, the biggest risk that a startup carries is consuming precious resources to build a product that nobody wants! The Lean Startup is now a global movement. This book is divided into three parts:

  1. Build the vision for the startup with validated learning
  2. Steer the startup towards success using the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop
  3. Accelerate the Build-Measure-Learn loop while scaling up simultaneously

 

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Handcrafted Book Summary of My Gita

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                                                 My Gita

   Devdutt Pattanaik

Rupa Publications

256 pages; Average reading time 3 hours 37 min

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This bookbhook summary is handcrafted by Pooja Terwad, exclusively for India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook. Pooja is a partner in a full service law firm, based out of Mumbai. She loves exploring books and interpreting their theory in her practice.

Why ‘My’ Gita?

The real quintessence of ‘GITA’ lies in ‘TAGI’ (One who lets go), yet I have named this book using a possessive pronoun.  The book is linear and the sequence of themes broadly follow the original sequence found in The Gita. The original Gita is narrated by Sanjaya, who has merely transmitted the conversation between Krishna and Arjun to Dhritirashtra, but did not really know what he was talking about. Through this book I am looking to put forth my narrative of The Gita in the light of several other mythologies around the world. However, this still remains my subjective understanding and my subjective truth. What you understand or take away will continue to remain your subjective truth and no one else’s. My Gita does not merely suit the hermit who isolates himself from the society, but it is meant for the householder, who has much to do with relationships.

 A Brief History of The Gita

Before the Bhagavad Gita (God’s song), there was the Vyadha Gita or the butcher’s song.  Just like the Bhagawad Gita, the Vyadha Gita’s description of dharma, karma and atma focused more on the householders’ way of engagement, and not on the hermits’ way of withdrawal. Hinduism goes back to over 5,000 years, and it is around the Vedic phase, roughly 4,000 years ago that Gita started emerging in hymns and rituals. The Mahabharata has multiple Gitas, but the Bhagawad Gita has been the most read and interpreted. The Bhagawad Gita has 700 verses, split into 18 chapters, of which 574 are spoken by Krishna, 84 by Arjuna, 41 by Sanjaya and 1 by Dhritarashtra.  There are several commentaries, translations and retellings of The Gita which have appeared from time to time and have reflections of the contemporary religious, social and political situations.

  1. Theme of My Gita: darshan (observation) ; Theme of The Gita: Arjuna’s despair

Where Dhritarashtra and Kauravas both consider their own family as enemies, Arjuna is worried about killing people who he considers his own. The Kauravas have already created distinctions on whom they consider their own and who as enemies, while Arjuna is not scared of violence -but violence against his own family. The Kauravas have already separated themselves from the other, the Arjun is unable to separate his own self from the other. The actions of Kauravas, Dhritarashtra and Arjun all involve judgment, thus preventing themselves from darshan. There are either divisions of good/bad, powerful/powerless and so on, or there is cause and consequence.  There is either the judgment or darshan. Where we look beyond the boundaries which are separating one from the other, we do darshan.

  1. Theme of My Gita: atma (rebirth) ; Theme of The Gita: sankhya (analysis)

True wisdom is where death is irrelevant. Life is a battlefield of infinite experiences of the dehi (immortal occupier) and the deha (mortal body). One experiences the world time and again in different deha, till those who fix their minds on the immortal reality break free from this wheel of re-births, which often fluctuates between the form and the formless. Once a soul does darshan, it motivates him to accept the present and take responsibility of the future. Another life is another chance: either to stay entrapped in the cycle of fear or break free by discovering the reality and observing it without judging it.

  1. Theme of My Gita: deha (mortal body); Theme of The Gita: karma (informed action)

The world is primarily divided into four: humans, animals, elements and plants. While elements are a-jiva, (lifeless), the rest three are sa-jiva (living). Plants have sensory organs but are immobile, unlike animals. Animals display emotions and some degree of intelligence. However, humans have manas, the power to imagine in addition to the above qualities. Every human imagines differently and hence has different experiences, even when put under same circumstances. Everything that we value is actually a result of our imagination. The most certain imagination of a human mind is fear and it is this fear which restrains us from gaining insight, accepting immortality as fear and help us function without fear. Immortality is a concept just like 0 and infinite and cannot be measured or proved by pure sciences.

  1. Theme of My Gita: dehi ; Theme of The Gita: gyana

Dehi is the atma which is located in the body. It is the body’s immortal resident, and which is beyond the senses and the mind. Dehi is just like the purusha, located inside nature. Deha-the outer body, on the other hand, is like the prakriti (nature) and these two (deha and prakriti) are within the reach of the senses, unlike the dehi and purusha which are immeasurable and permanent. Dehi is the jiv-atma and has limited experience as it is constrained by the deha it resides in. The purusha, however, is called the param-atma and its experience is unlimited as it resides in limitless prakriti. Every individual is a jiv-atma and every other individual is a param-atma. The dehi does not mean the soul, as soul can get corrupted, but dehi is pure and pious under any circumstances, even if it is in the body of a sinner.

  1. Theme of My Gita: karma ; Theme of The Gita: sanyasa (detached action)

Every living creature feels hungry and indulges in violence. Wherever there is hunger, there is food and the act of fetching food is a violent act as we indulge in destruction of life, that we consume as food. This is the ultimate truth. In anticipation of fear of violence, human refrains from acting but little do they realize that even inaction is going to have a reaction. Action or no action, both equally constitute karma and shall have consequences (karma-phal). As long as a human is not expecting any fruit out of his action, and is content with whatever is the result, he wouldn’t get entrapped. Remember, a good karma can have a bad reaction. We cannot have control over the fruits of our action. Not judging, and accepting things as they are, is the essence of karma- also called the nishkama karma.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: dharma ; Theme of The Gita: dhyana

The first word uttered in The Gita is dharma, often referred to as righteousness and debated as paap and punya. At times, it is also referred to as religion. However, as humans, we have the potential to imagine and respond to other person’s pain. When an individual values his needs along with the needs of others, he is following the path of dharma. Dominating the weak or consuming the weak is the animal nature, as humans we are supposed to empathize with the needs of others. Traditions and laws, which develop their own definition of dharma, is not dharma at all. The intent and care we give others related or not related to us is dharma. A person who follows dharma will never care to justify or complain, he will just engage himself in doing the karma, without expecting the karma-phala of their karma-bin (seeds of Karma).

  1. Theme of My Gita: yagna (exchange); Theme of The Gita: vi-gyana (inner potential)

Yagna is one of the only rituals of the outer journey which Krishna talks about. Yagna is an exchange, where the yagna doer (yajaman) gets in return of what he offers the devata. Exchange teaches us to reciprocate and thus value relationships. The concept of offering flowers/ghee or even bali (sacrifice) came later on, and do not propound the intent of The Gita. The true meaning of yagna always was to feed the hungry, it was an action inspired by a justified intent and thought.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: yoga (introspection); Theme of The Gita: askhara (liberation)

The process of connecting with the disconnected deha and ultimately finding the dehi is yoga. Krishna refers to disconnecting and breaking things into their parts, and then connecting them through yoga. Yoga helps us establish what the mind should do and what it shouldn’t. While the yagna is referred to as the outer journey, yoga is referred to as the journey of the mind, which one has to take. Yoga teaches us to take a decision with utmost clarity and without being insensitive to the feelings of others. A balance of yagna and yoga teaches a yogi to see the world with utmost equanimity, without judgment. The inner journey should be taken to better the outer journey.

  1. Theme of My Gita: deva-asura (trust); Theme of The Gita: raja-guhya (special secret)

Although devas and the asuras have often been termed as Gods and Demons, in reality they stand for believers and non-believers of atma. The God in The Gita has always been referred to as Bhagavan. Neither deva nor asura are given the status of BhagavanAtma is the one which is forever true and it can’t be proven and needs to be experienced. A yogi needs to value yoga, tapa and agni. Devas preferred the yagna and asuras preferred tapa. The devas were always insecure of the asuras and often tried to violate their tapasya, while the asuras envied the abundance that the devas were blessed with. The deva has been successful and the asura strives to be successful. Devas believes God will help them and asuras don’t believe so. Devas believe in param-atma but have not realized the value of jiv-atma and the asuras do not believe in atma at all. Hence, neither of them have completed the true inner journey. Both of them are unable to break free and are trapped in the karma-phala of their own actions.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: Bhagavan (potential); Theme of The Gita: vibhuti (divinity)

The word Bhagavan is used in The Gita to refer to God. While every living creature experiences one slice of reality (bhag), God is master of every slice. It means the one who has experienced it all. Finding the hidden meaning of God is an evolution. Understanding that God is not outside but within us and in others. God has been referred in various names since the Vedas to the Puranas. He is one who does not have a form, gender or any other identity. He is the Enlightened Householder. However, The Gita says the Bhagavan is the ultimate source and destination- where everyone and everybody should finally return. The Hindu God, as The Gita says, is located in Humanity.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: brahmana (mind); Theme of The Gita: vishwa-rupa ( sight of divinity)

Vanara (monkey), nara (human) and Narayana (God-refuge of nara) are the three aspects of human existence. They respectively denote the presence of animal, human and divine instinct. The animal instinct often wants to identify the prey or rival. The human instinct wants to judge, however, the divine instinct only observes. This journey involves unwinding of aham and eventually discovering the atma, which is the secure mind. This is brahmana. The observer, or the divine instinct, helps others to transform for the good, without making them feel small. A brahmana mind totally overrides the animal brain and outgrows fear. It is a stage where no one can be an enemy. Even someone who is harming you cannot be your enemy, as a brahmana considers the person causing harm merely another human who is indulging in animal like behaviour out of his fear.

  1. Theme of My Gita: avatar ; Theme of The Gita: bhakti

Krishna is addressed in over 40 ways in the Gita. Over the centuries and during every phase of Hinduism, various characters have expressed their love for God in a particular way. The bhava (emotions) of bhakta vary in every yug. Sometimes in form of a mother (Yashoda), at times in form of gopikas, at times like a preyasi (Radha). The devotee can either cling to the deity like a baby or could be passive in devotion.  The God has accepted every form of love and accepted the bhakta with every inadequacy without making him feel inferior. This sustains the relationship between the deity and its bhakta. Eventually, humans began to accept some forms of devotion and rejected a few. But Krishna categorically says that the relationship with god need not be governed by riti/niti (rituals) as long as it emerges from within.

  1. Theme of My Gita: guna; Theme of The Gita: kshetra

Humans are often faced with a dilemma where we wish to act in a certain manner, but end up with a completely different behaviour. This is because our nature compels us do what we do. Every instinct is manifested by a guna, which constitutes an individual. The a-jiv as well as the sa-jiv behave based on their respective gunas. The tri-gunas are classified as ‘rajasik, tamasik and the sattvik’. Every individual will have all the three gunas in proportion, but the guna that dominates at a particular hour, determines the reaction of the individual. Every human should realise that the reason for a particular response is not the dehi but the deha which is over powered by a guna, it is then we do not blame or judge.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: kshetra; Theme of The Gita: guna

Humans value everything that can be measured. I constitute of my atma and atma cannot be measured, but everything that is mine, can be. Hence, society attaches value to ‘mine’ rather than ‘me’.  This ‘mine’ is termed as Narayani, and people have forgotten what the Narayan (me) is. Property (kshetra) becomes the substitute for feelings and the purpose of life revolves around acquiring Narayani. While the nature does not classify anything as Narayani, humans create it- to nourish themselves. Kshetra is an artificial construction by human as he relates his identity through this kshetra. Our mind needs to outgrow from the dependence on kshetra to look for an identity from within. This identity needs to be acquired by effort. Society values the social body, but what needs to be values is an individual’s strength and skill. One should acquire kshetra as it is vital for survival, but should not attach or derive his identity from it.

  1. Theme of My Gita: maya; Theme of The Gita: Purushottam

The human potential to determine what belongs to me and what does not, is called Maya. It literally means delusion. We measure, we judge, we compare and we compete- this results in conflict and creation of hierarchies. This is all done to merely give ourselves an identity and make ourselves significant.  The dehi however cannot be measured.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: moha; Theme of The Gita: dev-asura

Humans feel secure when they cling or relate themselves to a physical identity. Even with a religion like Buddhism that preaches impermanence, the remains of Buddha were converted into stupas. Similarly, humans cling to their property or goals that satisfy their aham (ego) and ultimately lead to the six obstacles of kaam (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (attachment), maad (pride) and matsarya (jealousy). A householder runs behind his goals and a hermit shuns everything that naturally belongs to him. Both do not accept the reality of accepting what comes his way and letting go of what does not. Both these reactions keep us away from the atma and eventually nurture the aham.

  1. Theme of My Gita: moksha; Theme of The Gita: shraddha

Humans derive value from within as well as outside. The within, that is the atma, is immortal and infinite, and the exterior comprises of aham. The within is our primary root and the exterior, a secondary one. One should use knowledge to cut the secondary roots and liberate oneself. This is moksha, when one does not need validation from outside but is validated from within. While moksha begins by realizing that nothing is permanent, The Gita says that one can have two identities. One derived from aham and the other from atma. Atma results in moksha. Our insecurities disconnect us from others, and when we let these insecurities go, we automatically connect with the atma, which then, makes us generous and liberated. This is moksha.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: atma (immortal within); Theme of The Gita: brahma-nirvana (discovery of the other)

The continuous tension between building relationships (dharma) and abandoning relationships (moksha) underlines The Gita. There have been various school of thoughts on the superiority of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. The latter three indulge in the self, while dharma ordains that everything is meant for the other. Hence, Arjuna says, instead of finding moksha through abandonment, one needs to surrender and offer all his actions to Krishna and it will lead to automatic liberation. Siddhartha became Buddha by killing Mara (the demon of desire). Buddha, Rama, Pandavas – all of them returned back wiser, and yet disconnected, from the forest. Moksha can be attained by the expansion of mind to accommodate the truths of life and it is the outcome of dharma. Krishna advises Arjuna to take darshan of the other person by looking at him beyond his aham, hunger and fears – which are nothing, but the other person’s imagined identity. This can be done by discovering one’s aham, hunger and fears, and eventually discover the infinite atma. And this is atma-gyana, the ultimate promise of The Gita.

After My Gita

Arjuna’s confusion is now replaced by clarity and the battle of dharma at Kurukshetra begins. But even after the war, doubts in Arjuna’s mind continue. When Arjuna overhears a conversation between Yudhishthira and Krishna where Krishna says craving cannot be destroyed. The only way to destroy desire is by pursuing dharma. Pursuing dharma will lead to craving for more dharma, which then becomes a positive loop, and is good for the entire world. This is when Arjuna requests Krishna to repeat what he said in the starting verse of Bhagawad Gita. Krishna then narrates a follow-up Gita, which is known as the Anu Gita, in which the focus is on karma and gyana, not bhakti. Even after being the recipient of The Bhagawad Gita, Arjuna goes to hell. Why? With all his virtues, Arjuna was not perfect, and the desire to be perfect makes one control the situation, eventually judge the world, and not be secure and satisfied until the world has a happy ending. The Gita does not talk of perfection. It suggests the three interdependent paths of Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Gyana Yoga to be followed. One also does not need have control over expected results. The final outcome depends on will (sankalpa), tendencies (guna) and what one is supposed to experience (karma).

This is a world without boundaries and that there will always be another chance.

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Handcrafted Book Summary of The Sleep Revolution

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                                   The Sleep Revolution

   Arianna Huffington

W H Allen

288 pages; Average reading time 5 hours 40 min

This bookbhook book summary will take not more than 11 minutes

 

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Handcrafted Book Summary of Ten Judgements That Changed India

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                  Ten Judgements That Changed India

   Zia Mody

Penguin India

256 pages; Average reading time 3 hours 37 min

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This bookbhook summary has been handcrafted by Surbhi Kasid and the editors at bookbhook.com.

This handcrafted book summary will help you learn

  • The judicial history behind the recent Supreme Court judgement on triple talaq
  • How the Court interprets the fundamental rights of the citizens of India?
  • How Vishaka guidelines led to safer working conditions for women?

We the people of India

The people of India gave themselves The Constitution of India on 26th January 1950 with these words ‘We, the people of India’. The Constitution is the bedrock of the world’s largest democracy and this holy grail of democracy is interpreted from time to time. The interpretation of the Constitution goes through various levels till it reaches the ultimate interpreter- the Supreme Court of India.

As the name suggests, the book 10 Judgements That Changed India is a concise account of the way the Indian judiciary evolved over the course of time. It is important for us to understand how the various liberties and the safe recourse that we enjoy came to exist. The Constitution forms the back bone of Indian democracy and the apex judiciary is the cornerstone of the unflinching faith that the Indian citizen has in getting his or her voice heard. Since independence, the Constitution has been interpreted on numerous occasions by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The 10 judgements discussed in this book are regarded as the turning points in the Indian legal system, and are somewhere or the other, linked with the Constitution.

In this book summary of 10 Judgements That Changed India, we will cover three out the ten landmark cases. For a detailed perspective of these four judgements and to read the other six judgements, please buy the book.

 Mohammad Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum

‘The law’ & then personal laws

India is a democracy and hence the right of equality is extended to every citizen. However, where matters such as marriages, divorces, and property settlements are concerned, there are different laws for different religions. These laws are also referred to as personal laws. Even before this case, the Supreme Court had passed several judgements regarding providing maintenance to a divorced Muslim woman by her husband but this case flared up the communal atmosphere in the country.

A divorce

In 1978, Mohammed Ahmed Khan divorced his wife of over forty years, Shah Bano, by pronouncing ‘triple talaq’- a Muslim religious custom that gave Mohammed Khan the right to do so, as long as the husband paid the pre-agreed amount mahr. The mahr amount was Rs 3000, something that would not help Shah Bano live the rest of her life without any financial support.

Shah Bano filed a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure), claiming maintenance from her husband as the mahr amount was grossly inadequate to help her lead the rest of her life.. The Judicial Magistrate at Indore, Madhya Pradesh, ordered her husband to pay a meagre sum of Rs 25 every month. Shah Bano then moved to the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which revised the maintenance amount to Rs 179.20 every month. In response to this, Mohammed Ahmad Khan challenged the Madhya Pradesh High Court decision at the apex court- the Supreme Court of India.

The problem

Mohammed Khan’s claim was that as per Section 127 of CrPC, since he had already paid the amount of mahr, he was not entitled to pay any further maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC. While Section 125 required a divorced woman (as long as she did not remarry) to be paid a monthly allowance of up to Rs 500, Section 127 of CrPC states that if the woman was paid any money under personal religious laws, then she could not claim any allowance under Section 125.

Section 127 aims to ensure that dual monetary allowance probability under both Section 125 (all citizens) and Section 127 (religious or personal laws) is reduced to zero. Mohammed Arif Khan claimed that since he had paid Shah Bano the mahr of Rs 3000, Shah Bano could not claim further support allowance under Section 125 of CrPC.

Is iddat enough for the dependent’s future?

The two judge bench hearing the Mohammed Khan’s petition decided to form a five judge Constitution Bench as the judges believed that the previous judgements in similar cases were not robust. Out of these five judges on the Constitution bench, four were Hindu and the fifth judge refused to be categorised under any religious label.

The question faced by the Supreme Court was a difficult and emotional one. Does providing financial support during iddat (the period set by Muslim personal law till which time a husband has to provide for his divorced wife), however meagre it may be, absolve him of his duty to provide for his divorced financially dependent wife’s future? In April 1985, the Supreme Court delivered its judgement on the Mohammed Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano case.

The verdict

The verdict of the Constitution Bench said that Section 125 of CrPC aimed to prevent dependents from financial penury and the struggle of living without financial support, irrespective of religious identity of the dependents. The judgement then distinguished between personal laws and Section 125 of the CrPC.

The Court said that while personal law declared that mahr should be paid, but the personal law did not take into account how the divorced dependent wife would lead her life beyond the iddat period, and hence the need for the divorced to get financial support under Section 125, irrespective of religious identity. The Court also said that in case of any conflict between Section 125 of CrPC and Muslim personal law, CrPC would take precedence over personal law.

The court asserted that mahr was not a payment similar to divorce settlement. Just because mahr was paid at the time of death or divorce, it did not classify as a divorce payment. Thus, the Constitution Bench granted the maintenance amount as decided by the Madhya Pradesh High Court and additional legal costs to Shah Bano Begum.

Soon after the judgement, the cauldron of communal affiliation and dissatisfaction started getting stirred. The judgement, delivered to improve the lives of dependent women after their divorce, became an issue of interfering with religious customs and practices. While there were vociferous protests from Muslim community, there were many liberal Muslims and Hindus who supported the judgement.That the Constitution Bench interpreting Muslim personal law did not have a single Muslim member also became a bone of contention. There was a scathing attack on Shah Bano and she dissociated herself from the case.

Facing the political heat

More than the judgment, it was the way that the judgement was delivered became the point of uproar. Did the Constitution Bench need to interpret the Muslim personal law? Could it not have taken the decision just on the principles of The Constitution and the CrPC? Around the same time that this judgement was passed, the ruling Congress party, led by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi suffered electoral defeat in state legislative assembly elections. Fearing that supporting the judgement in the Mohammed Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum would lead to loss of the Muslim vote bank, the Rajiv Gandhi government enacted the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights in Divorce) Act, 1986- also called the MWA.

The MWA, in a sense, reversed the judgement. According to the MWA, mahr and maintenance for a Muslim divorced woman was to be paid only during the period of iddat, and not beyond. The MWA did not explain what financial support the dependent divorced woman would get after the iddat period was over. It also closed all doors for Muslim women to seek financial support under Section 125 of CrPC after divorce.

Polarisation of the social fabric

This enactment of the MWA, as a response to the Supreme Court Constitution Bench judgement in the Shah Bano case, changed the history of India. This was the beginning of the rise of religious fundamentalism in post-independence India.

The MWA was challenged in 1994 and a petition was filed to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) that would overrule all religious and personal laws. This petition was rejected by the court saying implementing UCC was a matter of the legislature, not the judiciary. The debate over MWA’s provision of providing financial support to a Muslim divorced only during the period of iddat was interpreted by courts as the amount being given only during iddat, but the amount being sufficient enough for the dependent to be able to lead the rest of her life or in some cases, reach out to her relatives or the Muslim Wakf board for financial support.

In 2001, the  Danial Latifi v. Union of India case challenged the constitutional validity of the MWA as the MWA  did not stand up to Articles 14 & 15 of The Constitution ( which guarantee right to equality) and Article 21 (which guarantees right to life) . The Supreme Court did not accept this argument but highlighted that the under the MWA, the husband would not only provide financial support during iddat, but also ensure that this payment is sufficient for the dependent divorced woman to lead the rest of her life.

In yet another decision later, the Supreme Court ruled that a divorced Muslim woman can file a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC. These two rulings, after the MWA came into force, ensures that the divorced Muslim woman is free to either seek financial support under Section 125 of the CrPC or claim a reasonable lump sum alimony (an amount that is fair to help her lead the rest of her life) under MWA act.

Bookbhook.com editor’s note: On 22 August 2017, the Supreme Court of India declared the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional by a 3:2 majority. The bench comprised of five judges who belong to different religions, including Islam.

Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1985)

Please move, we want to help you

In July 1981, just when the monsoon clouds started hovering over the skyline of Bombay (now Mumbai), the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra A.R. Antulay announced that all slum dwellers and squatters in the city would be evicted out of Mumbai if they cannot prove their identity (with photo identity cards).

 Bombay then, even more so Mumbai now, is a city creaking at the limits owing to massive population influx with most migrants being part of the informal economy as daily wage earners living in slums or the footpaths. The Chief Minister believed that his decision would help the squatters and slum dwellers avoid the troubles associated with Mumbai’s rainy season. The irony was that the slum dwellers were being evicted from their place of stay (and work, as most of them stay close to their working area) to help them avoid the inconvenience of rains. The Municipal Commissioner of Bombay went about executing the order of the Chief Minister under Sections 312-314 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act (BMC Act) and started evicting the squatters and encroachers.

It’s about right to life

In response to this forceful eviction by the BMC, two groups of slum dwellers filed writ petitions in Supreme Court against these forceful evictions. These slum dwellers argued that it was against their right to life and liberty. As most of the slum or pavement dwellers moved from other villages of the country for finding work and basic sustenance, it was essential that they lived close to their work area. This was about right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of The Constitution, and not just about the need to live in the streets or slums.

More so, the slum dwellers, did not live in slums and on the streets out of choice but due to their limited economic means in a city like Mumbai. Hence, the BMC should provide them alternative accommodation. The BMC countered that these encroachments led to a rise in crime, were a hazard to public safety, and increased pollution and hence, should be demolished and the residents evicted. For the Supreme Court, this was not just about the eviction of encroachers but about guaranteeing the fundamental right to life. But can one have the right to life if he or she does not have the right to a livelihood?

A fundamental right

Human civilization in most parts of the world recognises first generation civil and political rights as core rights enforceable by a court of law. On the other hand, second generation rights like socio-economic rights (e.g. right to health) are more as guidance for the state, known as directive principles in India.

Olga Tellis V. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1985) is a landmark case that brought socio-economic rights within the ambit of fundamental rights. In this case, the Court had to decide between the right to life of the slum dwellers and the overall right to health and safety of the community. In its judgement on this case, the Supreme Court not just gave a judgement but also made observations that influence the debate on fundamental rights.  The Supreme Court made some stark observations regarding the life the people on streets lived and pronounced that the right to life includes the right to livelihood. How will a person live if he cannot sustain himself via earning a living?

Right to shelter

The Court, however, did not say that the procedure of BMC for evicting the encroachments was unjust, but that this eviction exercise had to be carried out based on constitutional principles. The Court thus ruled in favour of BMC only after the assurance that basic accommodation and rehabilitation schemes shall be provided so that the weak and the ignored sections of the society have equal opportunities. The Court also ruled that at least one month’s notice should be given to slum dwellers before evictions. The ruling, in this case, became one of the first instances where the Supreme Court of India while looking at a civic body procedure of eviction of encroachers, invoked it as a discussion on fundamental rights and broader policy issues of governance. The Olga Tellis case became the cornerstone for interpreting right to shelter as a constitutional obligation of the government, under Articles 19 & 21 of The Constitution.

Dilution of the spirit

In subsequent cases through the 1990s decade, the Supreme Court also laid down the need to ensure the minimum quality standard of the alternative accommodation for the impacted people, linking it to a certain level of quality of life. Olga Tellis case linked right to shelter to the right to livelihood, given that the under privileged need to stay close to their place of work.  However, by the mid-1990s, the Supreme Court shifted its stance on the displacement of the disadvantaged people, especially in the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) Sardar Sarovar Dam stand-off.

The NBA filed a petition with the Supreme Court challenging that the dam would lead to forced displacement of weaker sections of the society like the tribals, as well as lead to environmental degradation of the area. After extending a stay on the construction of the dam, the Supreme Court allowed raising the height of the dam in 2000, thereby ignoring its earlier precedent set in the Olga Tellis case.

 In recent times, the Supreme Court has further tilted away from the Olga Tellis precedence by comparing alternative accommodation for pavement dwellers with ‘rewarding pickpockets’ (Almitra Patel V. Union of India)

Providing adequate shelter to its citizens is now seen as a right across the globe. While Olga Tellis precedence is being weakened by the judgments of the Supreme Court itself, the fact that the Court took this as a case of not just civil eviction procedure, but as the bigger cause of right to livelihood, and thereby right to shelter, being a part of a citizen’s right to life, it is a strong example of the Court stepping in to protect the human rights of the underprivileged.

bookbhook.com editor note: On August 25, 2017, the Supreme Court passed landmark judgement that has far reaching impact on the fundamental rights of Indian citizens. The Court declared in its judgement that privacy is a fundamental right unless it concerns matters of national security and distribution of scarce resources

Vishaka v. the State of Rajasthan (1997)

Prosperity & women at the workplace

As the Indian economy unlocked itself in the early 1990s, it also opened up avenues for women to go out and seek employment. However, sadly, as the number of women in the workforce started to grow, the cases of sexual harassment against them also started to rise. Cases have been reported from private and public enterprises alike, be it police, defence, BPOs, or MNCs.

Bhanwari Devi versus society

Bhanwari Devi was a grassroots worker, locally known as saathin, in the state of Rajasthan. As part of an effort to remove the deplorable practice of child marriage, the Rajasthan government ran a focused campaign against child marriage in which the saathins like Bhanwari Devi played a major role at the village level.

In 1992, Bhanwari Devi made an effort to prevent the child marriage of a one-year-old girl but failed. However, in this effort to resist a deep rooted social malaise, the entire village turned against Bhanwari Devi. The village socially boycotted her family, and then in September 1992, Bhanwari Devi was sexually assaulted and raped by a group of five villagers. The local police were not much help, and the trial court in Rajasthan acquitted the five men. 

A group of five NGOs under the name of Vishaka then filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with the Supreme Court of India, asking it to define how sexual harassment of women at work could be prevented via judicial process. While there are international treaties on safeguarding women, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that India signed in in 1980, there was no judicial process in India regarding sexual harassment at work. So, the Supreme Court relied on CEDAW in interpreting Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of The Constitution as well as a decision by the High Court of Australia and its own earlier decisions to formulate a guidance on sexual harassment of women at work place.

Because under Article 141 of The Constitution all decisions of the Supreme Court are treated as law, the guidelines issued in the Vishaka case became a judicial mandate to be implemented at all workplaces till suitable laws were made.

The Vishaka guidelines consist of eight guidelines with the first one being ‘The employer and/or other responsible people in a workplace are duty bound to prevent or deter sexual harassment and set up processes to resolve, settle or prosecute in such cases.

Vishaka guidelines as the law

Today, these guidelines form the very basis of the human resource policy in every company as Article 141 says that decisions by the Supreme Court are the ‘law’. After Vishaka guidelines were formulated and implemented, many cases sprung up across different High Courts and sometimes even the Supreme Court.

In the Apparel Export Promotion Council v A.K. Chopra case in 1999, the Supreme Court used the Vishaka guidelines to deliver the judgement. In this case, the chairman of the Council was accused of sexually harassing his secretary. Basis her complaint, the chairman’s services were terminated. The Chairman then filed a petition in Delhi High Court, which then observed that since he had never made any physical contact with his secretary, he cannot be charged with sexual molestation. The Apparel Export Promotion Council then made an appeal to the Supreme Court, which reversed the High Court decision and duly recognised that under the Vishaka guidelines, any physical contact is not mandatory for sexual harassment. Anything that compromised the dignity of a woman at her workplace is an act of sexual harassment.

A double edged sword

The Vishaka guidelines are a comprehensive and inclusive set of laws that make workplace safe for women. It is not that this law does not have its negatives. In the case of Usha C.S v, Madras Refineries, the Madras High court heard the complaint of an employee of Madras Refineries alleging sexual misconduct by her manager. She said that she was not allowed a paid study leave, promotion, and salary because she rejected the sexual advances made towards her by the manager.

The Court, after careful examination of all the facts, came to the conclusion that the allegations made by the employee were not true. Further, as per the Vishaka guidelines, a complaint investigation committee was set up, and the female employee had constantly delayed appearance in front of the complaints committee. Did the Supreme Court take on the mantle of the legislature by issuing the Vishaka guidelines, thereby making them the law under Article 141 of The Constitution? The Court issued guidelines when both legislature and the executive did not take up the mantle of creating laws to make workplaces safe for women.

Justice Markandey Katju said that the Court could not keep addressing all social issues for which there are no laws framed by the legislature. Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly, however, said that such judicial intervention is okay if there is a legislative void and if accomplished jurists share this belief of existing void.

bookbhook.com editor’s note: In 2013, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal Act, 2013) was enacted as law by the Parliament of India. This Act plugged the legislature & executive void which was being done by the Vishaka guidelines from 1997 till the time the new law came into force in 2013.

This book summary covered just three of the ten judgements that changed India. To read these three in more detail and to read the other judgements, please buy the book

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bookbhook Handcrafted Book Summary of Grassroots Innovation

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 Grassroots Innovation: Minds on the Margin Are Not Marginal Minds

                                          Anil K Gupta

Random House

416 pages; Average reading time 4 hours 04 min

This bookbhook summary will take not more than 12 minutes

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This bookbhook book summary has been handcrafted by Swetha Karthik, exclusively for India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook. Swetha is a stay at home mother to an eleven year old girl. When she is not creating art on paper, Swetha seeks her ‘happy place’ between the pages of a book.

This handcrafted summary will help you learn

  • What is grassroots innovation?
  • How innovation happens without expensive R&D?
  • Why girls in India are more innovative than married women?
  • How innovation knowledge in India is being carefully curated via organisations like Honey Bee Network & National Innovation Foundation?

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bookbhook Handcrafted Book Summary of Eat Move Sleep

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 Eat Move Sleep : Why Small Choices Make a Big Difference

                                                Tom Rath

Perseus Books Group

256 pages; Average reading time 3 hours 24 min

This bookbhook summary will take not more than 11 minutes

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This bookbhook summary has been handcrafted by Nandini Shanbhag. Nandini quit her corporate job of 17 years to pursue her passion for reading and writing. Nandini believes reading opens the doors to unknown realms and widens our horizons.

This handcrafted summary will help you learn

  • What are the myths around the food that we eat
  • What are the small ‘nudges’ that will help us towards a better lifestyle ?
  • How eating, moving and sleeping right helps us stay healthy?

Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath is a New York Times best seller that is a must read for all of those who have taken life choices for granted. We blame our busy lifestyles and jobs for the unhealthy choices that we make and our genes for getting diseases like diabetes or cancer.

 

 

You can read this book summary by subscribing to bookbhook subscription plans. For more details, visit https://bookbhook.com/subscription

Why book summaries?

In this tl;dr world, you are running short on time. There”s hardly any time to read for a few hours at a stretch. And yet we are in the knowledge economy, where knowing more is equal to more success at work. How can you, then, know more without reading more? book summaries are one way to grasp knowledge in nuggets. After all, you need to read it all quickly.So how long is too long to stop reading? Is tl;dr about the (l) (adjective) or about the ‘(dr) (verb). As per a recent report, the average attention span for humans seems to have dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000, to 8 seconds in 2016. At 8 seconds, our attention span is less than that of a goldfish. In simple words, we cannot focus on a task beyond 8 seconds without getting distracted. And this drop in attention span was across all age groups and gender. The number one reason attributed to this societal trend is penetration of multiple devices-smartphones,laptops,tabs.smart watches and the endless list.

Where can I find the best book summary app or book summaries website?

bookbhook.com curates non fiction books for you and then converts them into handcrafted short book summaries. But why book summaries? Because in this age of distracted attention, a book summary helps you grasp the book abstract and essence of the book in just a few minutes. bookbhook handcrafted book summary is available via one of the best book summary (book summaries) app and website-bookbhook.com. Like blinkist in Europe and getabstract in the U.S., bookbhook converts non fiction books into handcrafted short summaries. The bookbhook service is designed for the tl;dr world- with bookbhook you do not need to read more to know more.  Why should a Hindi medium educated young entrepreneur in Aligarh miss out on Peter Thiel’s Zero to One? bookbhook brings the Hindi summary of the startup bible. Do not like reading at all, not even a 10 min summary? Hopefully a book summary video will get you to know more without reading more?

How is a book summary different from a book review?

A book summary is not a book review. Book summaries actually much more than a book review, they are about the abstract of the book. While there are global book summary websites and book summaries websites like blinkist and getabstract, bookbhook is India’s first book summary and books based micro-learning service.With bookbhook.com, you no longer need to look for pdf of books like Blink, Outliers, The Secret, Thinking Fast & Slow, Dream With Your Eyes Open.

The best app for non fiction book summaries

You just need to fire up the best book summary app from India- bookbhook and read handcrafted book summaries of non fiction books like The Lean Startup, Zero to One. If you do not have the time to read or tired looking for pdf of books, your search ends with the best book summary app at bookbhook. bookbhook offers you book summaries of thoughtfully curated books as well as audio book summary. bookbhook.com is a website that has book summaries in English. bookbhook app for book summary has audio book summaries, summary in Hindi and English. For the best business book summary, history book summary, your search ends with bookbhook. bookbhook is available as android book summary app as well as iPhone book summary app. You can read some book summaries on desktop as well.  The audio book summary are available on the best app for book summary, for select books.

bookbhook Handcrafted Book Summary of Brick by Brick

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                                          Brick by Brick

                          David Robertson with Bill Breen

       Random House Business

320 pages; Average reading time 4 hours 32 min

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How LEGO came about?

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, Ole Kirk Christiansen founded LEGO by combining two initial letters of the Danish words ‘leg godt’ (play well), in the small town of Billund in Denmark. The company’s motto ‘Only the best is good enough’ emerged when Godtfred, Ole Kirk’s son, told his father that he had used two coats of varnish instead of the regular three, while making wooden toy ducks. This angered Ole Kirk so much that he ordered his son to go back to the train station and repaint the wooden ducks. The lesson inspired Godtfred to immortalize his father’s values by carving the motto onto a wooden plaque and since then it has been the signpost of the company.

In 1950, the father-son duo mutated the ‘Self-locking Building Bricks’ into an ‘Automatic Binding Brick’. LEGO had now moved from wood to plastic but this change failed to provide solidity to the LEGO bricks. They persevered and it was not until 1958, when Godtfred came up with the stud-and-tube coupling model, which had tight tolerances, enabling the studs to retain connectivity through friction. LEGO bricks as we know it, were born. Over the years, LEGO has maintained a relentless focus on its values and its ability to innovate via experimentation. In doing so, LEGO has seen success and failure, learning some important lessons in innovation management, on the way.

Is there something like ‘too much innovation’?

In 1997, in an attempt to keep up with the license-driven US merchandise market, Peter Eio, Chief of LEGO (USA), decided to collaborate with Lucas Film Ltd and came up with the concept of LEGO Star Wars toys. The sceptical Billund executives however, felt that the venture would violate the core values set by Ole Kirk: ‘to never let war seem like child’s play.’ Eio persevered, and armed with a customer survey that asked parents if they would welcome the LEGO-Star Wars tie-up, succeeded in rolling out the now extremely popular Star Wars LEGO merchandise. LEGO realised that the world was moving fast from free-play building blocks to franchise driven innovation.

 

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Why book summaries?

In this tl;dr world, you are running short on time. There’s hardly any time to read for a few hours at a stretch. And yet we are in the knowledge economy, where knowing more is equal to more success at work. How can you, then, know more without reading more? book summaries are one way to grasp knowledge in nuggets. After all, you need to read it all quickly. So how long is too long to stop reading? Is tl;dr about the (l) (adjective) or about the ‘(dr) (verb). As per a recent report, the average attention span for humans seems to have dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000, to 8 seconds in 2016. At 8 seconds, our attention span is less than that of a goldfish. In simple words, we cannot focus on a task beyond 8 seconds without getting distracted. And this drop in attention span was across all age groups and gender. The number one reason attributed to this societal trend is penetration of multiple devices-smartphones, laptops, tabs, smartwatches and the endless list.

In such a scenario, you need a nonfiction book summary that captures the essence of the book, without taking away the pleasure of reading.

Where can I find the best book summary app or book summaries website?

bookbhook.com curates nonfiction books for you and then converts them into handcrafted short book summaries. But why book summaries? Because in this age of distracted attention, a book summary helps you grasp the book abstract and essence of the book in just a few minutes. bookbhook handcrafted book summary is available via one of the best book summary (book summaries) app and book summaries website-bookbhook.com.

Like blinkist in Europe and getabstract in the U.S, bookbhook converts non-fiction books into handcrafted short summaries. The bookbhook service is designed for the tl;dr world- with bookbhook you do not need to read more to know more. Why should a Hindi medium educated young entrepreneur in Aligarh miss out on Peter Thiel’s Zero to One? bookbhook brings the Hindi book summary of Zero to One by Peter Thiel. Do not like reading at all, not even a 10 min summary? Hopefully a book summary video will get you to know more without reading more?

How is a book summary different from a book review?

A book summary is not a book review. Book summaries actually much more than a book review, they are about the abstract of the book. While there are global book summary websites and book summaries websites like blinkist and getabstract, bookbhook is India’s first book summary and books based micro-learning service. With bookbhook.com, you no longer need to look for pdf of books like Blink, Outliers, The Secret, Thinking Fast & Slow, Dream With Your Eyes Open. An example of book summary can be seen here http://bookbhook.com/bookbhook-handcrafted-book-summary-of-super-30/

Which is the best app for non-fiction book summaries in India?

You just need to fire up the best book summary app from India- bookbhook and read handcrafted book summaries of nonfiction books like The Lean Startup, Zero to One. If you do not have the time to read or tired looking for pdf of books, your search ends with the best book summary app at bookbhook. bookbhook offers you book summaries of thoughtfully curated books as well as audio book summary. Soe of these audio book summary are free for you to listen to.

bookbhook.com is a book summary website that has book summaries in English. bookbhook app for book summary has audio book summaries, summary in Hindi and English. For the best business book summery, history book summary, your search ends with bookbhook. bookbhook is available as android book summary app as well as iPhone book summary app. You can read some book summeries on desktop as well. The audio book summary are available on the best app for book summary, for select books.

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You can read high quality nonfiction book summery on www.bookbhook.com or you can click here to download India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook to read more than 100 non fiction book summaries