Journey from Techie to Novelist

Bombay based Anil Goel is a writer of a rare genre in India. He is passionate about anything associated with technology and enjoys writing tech thrillers. “Exit Point”, which is his second book, was recently launched and is based on real technology but stretches the limits of what are currently available and future possibilities.
He saw a computer for the first time in the Asiatic Supermarket at Churchgate and thus began his lasting passion for computers and anything technology related. Two decades later, he is currently the Vice President of Media and Entertainment for Accenture in Mumbai itself.
Mr. Anil Goel was born in Benaras and grew up in Mumbai. His passion and knowledge for technology is exceptional. He went on to graduate as “the best outgoing student” from his college in the 90s. Anil sees the miracle of technology in everything, including the universe itself and that is what awakened in the form of creative writing around technology.
His first novel “Release 2.0: The Bangalore Imperative” was a first of its kind and was widely appreciated in the media for its fast pace, imagination and understanding of the IT industry. “Exit Point” is a tech thriller that takes us into a dark, mysterious online world where an ancient mystery is finally unraveling after centuries. The investigation into the baffling death of a teenage girl takes on chilling proportions when it turns out that the girl had committed suicide a year ago and snowballs rapidly into a global crisis spreading across all of humanity via the internet.
He plans on writing at least three more tech thrillers in the foreseeable future.

  • Jaipur Book Mark 2016

    Jaipur BookMark, now an established international publishing event in its third year, will once again take place in the Pink City this January, in association with the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2016.

    To be held on the 21st and 22nd January 2016 at Biblio Square, Jaipur BookMark (JBM), powered by DailyHunt, is a dynamic forum for the global publishing industry, with seminars, talks and discussions focused on the emerging South Asian books and allied services markets.

    The event also creates a unique platform for publishing professionals from across the world to come together and connect with their South Asian counterparts over issues facing the industry as a whole.

    Jaipur BookMark 2016 is delighted to welcome DailyHunt as an associate sponsor. Over 90 million people in India access eBooks and news in 15 languages through DailyHunt every day. A champion of content in the Indian languages, it is an important player in broadening the diversity of consumption of digital material.

    We are also thrilled that the Oxford Book Cover Prize will be announced at JBM 2016. This award for brilliance in book design recognises the extraordinary work of illustrators, designers and publishers throughout India in making a book stand out from the many others in book stores and online. The prize will be announced on 22 January.

    The 2016 Jaipur BookMark edition will have presentations and workshops running throughout the two days. The workshops will offer those in the industry insights and practical advice around signing contracts and book deals, copyright laws, and translation support with industry experts.

    Translation is the main focus of JBM in 2016. For the first time, Jaipur BookMark is bringing out a Translation Rights Catalogue featuring 8 – 10 titles from across Indian languages for which rights will be made available at the event allowing publishers to pick up new authors and support translation.

    Highlights of JBM 2016

    – Opening keynote by John Makinson, Chairman of Penguin Random House.

    – Translation: Focusing on South Asia, its expanding print and digital publishing industry across languages and cultures. How do we ensure South Asia’s translated stories make it to readers around the world?

    – Technology: With Apps, e-wallets and 4G, how do we optimize technology and opportunity in publishing?

    Forefronting Books: In a crowded market place how do you create and sustain an effective platforms for books? The specialized activity of forefronting books is explored in traditional and new marketplaces.

    – New Frontiers of Narrative: Data, statistics and intuitive innovations inform debate. How do we monetize new media markets? A diverse panel shares insights into new and emergent trends in publishing, hybrid media and the new frontiers of narrative.

    – Ravinder Singh, India’s best-known romance writer, shares his unique and refreshing publishing success story. He discusses a platform set up by him for aspiring authors, which offers mentorship, guidance and the opportunity to publish their work under the Black Ink imprint.

    Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival said, “This year’s edition of Bookmark brings together many exciting and pertinent aspects of the trade, including a special emphasis on translations. The publishing industry is indeed the heart and core of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. It is gratifying to see a significant space emerging for the exchange of opportunities in the dynamic and emergent world of print and electronic culture.”

    Sanjoy K. Roy, Director of Teamwork Arts, Producers of the Jaipur BookMark said, “Jaipur BookMark is a unique opportunity bringing together publishers, agents, festival directors and authors at the back of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival. It is also being developed as a platform for acquiring translation rights across languages and platforming the best Non Fiction and Fiction across Indian languages

    Virendra Gupta, CEO and Founder DailyHunt said, “We at Dailyhunt are excited to be part of 3rd edition of Jaipur Bookmark and we appreciate the effort of bringing Indian and global publishers together on a common platform. We look forward to forging new alliances & partnerships with publishers and opening India’s largest marketplace for e-books to them”

    Neeta Gupta, publisher and co-organiser of Jaipur BookMark said, “Jaipur Bookmark, held in association with the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, provides a dynamic platform for a meaningful dialogue between traditional publishing and latest technology. DailyHunt is a natural partner. JBM is also a perfect networking opportunity for International Publishers and their South Asian counterparts.”

    Registration for the Jaipur BookMark is now open and is Rs 3,500/- per day or Rs 6,000/- for two days per person (which includes delegate status for the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival specific to the date).

    Cover Story: Air Commodore Zafar Masud and the Separation of East Pakistan

    By Nasim Yousaf

    December 16, 1971 was a dark day in Pakistan’s history. On this day, Pakistan lost its east wing (now Bangladesh). The 1971 war and the separation of Pakistan’s two wings could have been avoided if then President of Pakistan, General Yahya Khan, had followed the advice of Air Officer Commanding, Air Commodore M. Zafar Masud, then the top Pakistani Air Force officer in East Pakistan.

    Air Commodore Masud was a highly respected, brilliant fighter pilot. He was widely regarded as a potential future Chief of Air Staff for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). In 1965, as Base Commander of PAF Base Sargodha (now PAF Base Mushaf), Masud became a war hero for his outstanding performance in the 1965 war with India. The pilots under his command, inspired by Masud’s courage and the tactical training he imparted, performed brilliantly during the war; these pilots included: the legendary M.M. Alam, Sarfaraz Ahmed Rafiqui, Munir-ud-Din Ahmed, Alauddin Ahmed, Yunus Hussain, Mervyn L. Middlecoat, Cecil Chaudhry, Aftab Alam Khan, M. Anwar Shamim, Syed Saad Akhtar Hatmi, Syed Nazir Ahmed Jilani, Yusuf Ali Khan, and Jamal A. Khan.

    In April of 1970, Masud was sent to Dhaka as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) commander of the East wing. Masud arrived in Dhaka during a particularly trying time for the nation, as there was ongoing political turmoil and strife between the East and West wings of Pakistan. To provide a bit of background, during the general election of 1970, the Awami League political party (led by Sheikh Mujibur Rehman) had won the majority of seats in the National Assembly (NA). But President Yahya and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (Founder of the Pakistan People’s Party) were not in favor of Mujib emerging as Head of the Government. Yahya was concerned that if Mujib became the Prime Minister, then Yahya would have to relinquish the Presidency. Meanwhile, Bhutto, whose party had won the majority of seats in West Pakistan, was concerned that Mujib’s strong showing in the election would block his own path to becoming Prime Minister. Therefore Bhutto stated, “Udhar Tum, Idhar Hum” (“You rule there, we rule here”). Dawn (March 15, 1971) newspaper wrote, “Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto…said in Karachi yesterday that if power was to be transferred to the people before any constitutional settlement…it should be transferred to the majority party in East Pakistan ‘and the majority party here [West Pakistan]’” Bhutto’s statement can be interpreted to mean that he wanted a separation of East Pakistan, presumably so that he could become Prime Minister of West Pakistan (he publicly stated that he wanted a united Pakistan, but his actions indicated otherwise).

    Yahya and Bhutto had a common interest in blocking Mujib from assuming power, and it seemed they were willing to use any means necessary to do so. When people began protesting Government attempts to block Mujib, the Government forcefully suppressed them. Meanwhile, on February 28, 1971, Bhutto demanded a postponement of the previously scheduled National Assembly session in Dhaka (originally planned for March 3, 1971). The purpose of the session was for Assembly members to vote on a new Prime Minister (presumably Mujib). The day after Bhutto’s demand, Yahya announced that the Session would indeed be postponed (Dawn, March 02, 1971); a few days later, he announced a new date of March 26, 1971 for the session. There was no justification for this postponement, other than to try to block Mujib from assuming the Prime Ministership.

    On March 02, 1971, Mujib issued a statement deploring the postponement of the Assembly session and called for a public strike across the whole of East Pakistan (Pakistan Times, Lahore, March 03, 1971); the Bengalis observed the strike. The Government again responded to demonstrations with brutal force and violent suppression.

    The Government’s strategy of trying to resolve a political issue with force was causing great dissension within its ranks. On March 01, 1971, Vice-Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan (Governor and Unified Commander of the Pakistan Armed Forces in East Pakistan), who was not in favor of using force, resigned in protest of Yahya and the Government’s handling of the situation in East Pakistan. Ahsan was replaced (on the same day, March 01, 1971) by Lieutenant General Sahabzada Yaqub Khan (Pakistan Times, March 02, 1971). Four days later (March 05, 1971), Yaqub Khan also resigned for the same reasons as Ahsan. Air Commodore Masud was then appointed as the Unified Commander of Pakistan Armed Forces in East Pakistan. Meanwhile, Lt. General Tikka was appointed as the Governor and Martial Law Administrator, Zone B.

    The situation in East Pakistan was now reaching a boiling point, but the Government continued using force to suppress protestors. On March 7th, in a public speech Mujib called for independence from West Pakistan, although still leaving the door open for negotiation.

    Despite the precarious situation, Yahya still had not realized the gravity of the circumstances. He didn’t bother to visit Dhaka to review the situation firsthand and try to resolve it. Masud was unhappy with the way President Yahya was handling the political turmoil. He felt that the uprising in East Bengal could not be suppressed through guns or violent means. Masud and others convinced Yahya to travel to Dhaka on March 15, 1971. Finally, Yahya arrived in Dhaka and held a meeting at the President’s House along with Masud and top brass from the Pakistani Army.

    During the meeting, Air Commodore Masud briefed Yahya and the attendees of the meeting on the complexity and seriousness of the situation. Masud told President Yahya:

    “The situation is very delicate. It is essentially a political issue and it needs to be resolved politically, otherwise thousands of innocent men, women and children will perish.”

    Yahya replied, “Mitty, I know it…I know it…” Air Chief Marshal Jamal A. Khan further wrote in an article entitled, “Mitty Masud folds his wings” (Dawn, Karachi on October 13, 2003):

    “Air Commodore Masud…for well over an hour gave a candid, fact-filled evaluation of the civil-military environment. He forcefully argued that the turmoil in East Pakistan could never be resolved with military force…”

    Masud thus apprised President Yahya of the grave situation and explained the consequences of using violence to suppress the people, recommending a political solution instead. While in Dhaka, Yahya also held meetings with Mujib and on March 22nd a joint meeting with Mujib and Bhutto. But nothing fruitful came out of these meetings. To further block Mujib, Yahya once again, on March 22nd, announced a postponement of the National Assembly session without giving any rescheduled date (Pakistan Times, March 23, 1971).

    Instead of coming up with a political solution to the situation in East Pakistan, Yahya and the top brass in the Pakistan Army decided to intensify their efforts against the Bengalis with the power of their guns. Prior to his departure for Karachi from Dhaka, Yahya issued orders to launch full-fledged, immediate army action. At Dhaka airport, Masud spoke to the President and again reminded him of the repercussions of using force.

    Nevertheless, General Tikka followed President Yahya’s order and, on the night of March 25-26, 1971, launched an aggressive military operation to suppress the Bengali uprising. The military also arrested Mujib. Prior to his arrest, Mujib issued a declaration of Bangladesh’s independence:

    “This may be my last message; from today Bangladesh is independent. I call upon the people of Bangladesh wherever you might be and with whatever you have, to resist the army of occupation to the last. Your fight must go on until the last soldier of the Pakistan occupation army is expelled from the soil of Bangladesh. Final victory is ours.”

    At this juncture, Tikka asked Masud for Air Force support; this was an incredibly difficult decision for Masud. He could see the ground reality that launching a ruthless and barbaric Air Force operation to massacre Bengali civilians would clearly lead to the separation of East Pakistan. So, Masud took what he felt was the only moral and honorable course of action: in the interest of saving Pakistan and avoiding a massacre of the Bengalis, Masud decided not to comply with Tikka’s demand. He sacrificed his brilliant career in the PAF for the future of the nation and its people.

    On March 26, 1971, Masud handed over command to Air Commodore (later Air Marshal) Inam-ul-Haque Khan. Masud traveled to West Pakistan, where he was offered another assignment, but he refused and resigned from the Pakistan Air Force. Upon his resignation, the media attempted to obtain his views on East Pakistan and the reasons for his resignation, but Masud was barred from commenting (His views are not available in the published Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report. It is unknown whether Masud’s statement was recorded and omitted from the published report or if it was not recorded at all).

    Meanwhile, in early April of 1971, Lieutenant General A. A. K. Niazi was sent to East Pakistan and took over from Tikka. With each day passing the situation deteriorated further. Towards the end of 1971, India intervened, and in December of 1971 a full-fledged war between Pakistan and India began. The Pakistan army ultimately lost the war and on December 16, 1971, Bangladesh emerged as an independent country.

    Masud’s refusal to comply with the army operation showed incredible foresight. While the overall separation movement had begun right after the creation of Pakistan (see additional details in the book entitled “Air Commodore M. Zafar Masud: A Pioneer of the Pakistan Air Force”), perhaps the parting of East Pakistan in 1971 could still have been avoided, had the leadership listened to Masud and others who were against military action. Masud’s heroic and principled stand is commendable; he sacrificed a promising career in support of what he felt was right for the people and the country. He is – and will remain – a true hero of the Pakistan Air Force.

    Movie Review: ‘Angrej’


    Movie Review: ‘Angrej’

    Punjabi cinema has arrived finally and now the greatest challenge would be living upto the zenith high benchmark by ‘Angrej’. Till now the question was – Do we deserve the cinema we are getting,  overall dominated by stand-up comedy type concepts and’Golmaal’ type scripts. Now a very wise and pertinent question to be asked would be: Do wedeserve this cinema that has come to us as a full-packaged form in the masterpiece called ‘Angrej’? To put it into other words rather than answering this question we can safely say that now is the time that Punjani audience elevates its cinematic sensibilities. We can’t complain that there’s a dearth of such brilliant concepts in Punjabi cinema. Now that you have it, give it your best response because otherwise you run the risk of not having it repeated  again in Punjabi film industry.

    Talking about the film in detail, we know that it is set in the Punjab of 1945. But it is needless to say that merely saying is not enough. ‘Angrej’ film ensures that every aspect of it, every thread is woven around that flavour of undivided Punjab. One actually visits it as the journey of the characters progresses. You feel like being one of them.

    The writer has done a brilliant job with the story and dialogues being something that stand out from the mundane crowd of Punjabi films we had been a witness to recently. The almost flawless screenplay is and will prove itself to be the thing that carries on its shoulders the success of an experimental subject based movie. ‘Angrej’ is actually a writer’s film and Amberdeep Singh, who has contributed the story, screenplay and dialogues of the movie, is the man who carries the success of the film on his shoulders.

    The film has a brilliant opening. It’s brilliant in the sense that it sets the tone and flavour of the film. We have an old man, who comes out of nowhere amidst the already laid down fabric of modern phone-hooked generation. The entry of the old  man serves two purposes – on the one hand he gives us a fair idea that we have two generations in front of us and hence, a comparison would  follow; secondly, he is remiscient and nostalgic about his past and has come to his old house and this proves to be the connecting link with the past times to be portrayed in the film as its main fabric.

    Talking about the dialogues, one can only but marvel at their being so beautifully worded. They are not just well-worded but has an indepth connotation. “Azadi aayi nhi sagon fael gayi si”; “Jawani aayi nhi handayi si”; “Fatt khulla chhad chheti bharoo ya patti  bann ke”;  –  a just a few instances. They have some  literary air around them, which makes them all the more meaningful. All dialogues are very aptly placed. There’s one more characteristic feature about the dialogues in this movie, what at times where someone might even do without saying something, we have a word or two, but not just for the sake of saying it. There it adds to the psychological dimensions of the character in question.

    The exotic natural sights and sceneries have been used so charmingly that they are in such close proximity of the main fabric of the film, that they become a part of it and thus, add to the portrayal of the particular emotion. For instance, Angrej’s  (Amrinder Gill) pain is depicted by the place where he is standing – an open hut made with dried straws.

    Screenplay of the movie is so flawless that not even for a single moment we feel that the writer leaves your finger to be lost in the listless movement. The journey is so perfectly timed throughout the film.

    Binnu Dhillon finally got a chance to act instead of just indulging in his funny acts as had been the case in his previous films. In ‘Angrej’ we also have a full-stop to the stand-up comedians getting the limelight in a major part of the film and trying to take forward the plot of the film with they comic acts and punches.

    Amrinder Gill has climbed quite a few ladders as far as his acting skills are concerned. Ammy Gill was very repetitive in his actions, not just physical actions like curving up his moustache, but also in his dialogues. There can be two reasons for that – either his role did not require much of verbal brilliance apart from a few charming dialogues or he wasn’t given a major chunk of a larger variety with a view to test the waters since it is his debut film. After all, he is a singer just like Amrinder Gill and that too par-excellence as far the singing capabilities of both the actors are concerned. Of all the heroines Sargun took the cake with her spontaneity while playing Dhan Kaur, though Aditi Sharma playing Maado too did justice to her part.

    The music is another highlight of this film. None of the song is imposed or inserted unwanted. The songs have some very good lyrics and nice music. Overall the some songs are actually addictive. The background score adds to the charm.

    The humour in the film is so natural and spontaneous that nowhere one is forced to laugh. It is actually witty at times than just simple plain humour. The complexity of emotions and romantic inclinations keep the audience spellbound. It was tough to entangle the situations thus developed till the climax but the have been beautifully justified with full support from the tight screenplay. Overall it is a must watch film, not just once but at least twice.

    Star Rating: 4.5/5

    Self and Development: Do they go together?



    The windows of my soul I throw

    Wide open to the sun.



    The modern thinking man is leading his life just on the superficial level, so much so that the concept of self-development or of reaching the soul is simply out of place. Instead, what dominates is the egoistic feeling os the self as man is just busy feeding his ego. The masked identities veil the real self that is greedy, selfish, jealous and so on.  The serenity and a calm mind is what is lacking in the modern man, living in a society torn apart by frequently occurring acts of violence. We have had two World Wars but things haven’t stopped at that. A continuous war has been going on in the form of cold war or bickering on several other fronts.

    Mata Amritananda Mayi in her speech at the United Nations on August 29, 2000 exclaimed that ‘we stepped into the new millennium with great hopes and expectations of change. But though numbers denoting years are different, essentially nothing has changed. The real change must happen within us. What we are faced with today is that phenomenon, which is termed as erosion of values. This erosion has emerged out to be a process that has come to stay in our lives. We, especially the youngsters, have been so overpowered by the foreign cultures that we are continuously drifting away from the traditional moorings, leading to our alienation. The tendency of self-understanding and introspection is a trend that has been long abandoned by the generation X – every individual of which has come to be nothing more than just being one of the crowd.

    Wordsworth has rightly pointed out in his famous sonnet:

    “The world is too much with us

    Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.”


    Present Scenario

    We, as humans, often waste our energies over trifles like choosing our materialistic ideals and goals. And it is often in such type of pursuits in which we are so much engrossed that we are cut off from our own selves. This is precisely why we are unable to hear our conscience’s words of warning at the time of committing a wrong deed. The face of it can be seen in the degradation of the moral standards, especially in the youngsters, who love everything that is fast – be it swanky cars or racy bikes or the urge of making fast money.


    Hindrances on the way of Self-development

    Before we take steps for the development of self-concept we must first of all identify all the hindrances that block the path of self-development – because only then will we be able to chalk out a targeted plan of action to reverse the damaging process in operation First of all, let us have a look at the much talked of term, that is, modernization.  Often being modern is taken to the blind imitation of the West – call it slavish mentality or the weakness of character but we are always trying to adopt the western values no matter how damaging they may be for us and we are always ready to relinquish our own, howsoever cherishable and practical they may be. This very nonchalant adoption of Western values by the youngsters construes that they live their life on a superficial level – trying to be something what they are not. So there is no question of self-development.

    A related trend that is being observed in society is the vulgar display of wealth. In this way the economic progress of particular section of society leads to dissatisfaction, frustration and a lacking feeling among the have-nots, it even promotes crime. Self-development is not a narrow concept. It includes the development of peace of mind, feeling of satisfaction and a sense of completeness; rather the reverse is happening.

    Healthy competition among fellow beings (whether students at school or persons in a job) is a must. But too much of it can cause problems. While talking of students, too much of academic pressure exerted upon them by either parents or teachers can cause more harm than good. It can prove to be a major hurdle on the path of the development of ‘self’ as it generates negativity.

    Lest we forget, the changing lifestyle is also a major stumbling block. Today’s kids no longer play the games the earlier generation used to. There is lack of physical activity – video games being the most popular recreational activity, thus hindering the physical development. And self-development is not possible until and unless there is harmonious development of all the aspects of one’s personality. The teacher should encourage participation of more and more students in physical activities at school and also spread   awareness amongst the students.

    Our society structure is in a flux at present. The institution of joint family system is fast giving way to the nuclear family system. The growing number of old age homes is a strong indicator of the degeneration of our society. The parents are busy with their jobs with little time to spend in company of their kids. All this leaves the child with very few options as far as expressing his emotions is concerned. The teacher, along with the peer group, can play a dominant role. The proper channelization of emotions will mean constructive use of energy otherwise the child might stray from the right path. Simply lending an ear in the time of crisis can work wonders. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan has rightly remarked, “One good schoolmaster is worth a thousand priests.”

    Education is the best means through which we can boost the positive image of students, overcoming all the hurdles that obstruct the path of self-development. Kahlil Gibran in his famous book, ‘The Prophet’ writes in the chapter ‘Self Knowledge’:

    The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
    And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
    But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
    And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
    For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

    Therefore, we can say that we cannot measure how much the self has been developed. Moreover it is an inner journey and it is the teacher who can influence the child in treading the path of self-development in a more effective way. “A teacher affects eternity, no one can tell where his influence stops”, says Henry Adams. So let us all as educators pledge today to do our bit honestly. Remember every drop counts!

    By Amritbir Kaur