Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Reading Period 12: December 1-7: India

Class meeting: December 7
Due Date: December 6, 7pm

Long Read:

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, chapters 1-6

Short Read:

Preface to The Bhagavad Gita by Sri Swami Sivananda (pages 7-16 of the linked PDF).


Poems by the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, read by Salman Rushdie in Urdu and then in English:

This web site has more of his poems with English translations. The translations are forced into rhyme -- not sure how wonderful the poems become after this treatment.

Creative Assignment:

Create an illustration of one of the scenes in Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Use color and create your image on unlined paper. We should be able to determine which scene you are illustrating by looking at the picture.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories has been compared to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz because of its imaginative landscape and nonsense elements. The scenes and characters in these stories are absurd because they're obviously just made up out of someone's crazy imagination. However, as the novel is teaching us, such imaginary landscapes have value even in absurdity. Write a 300 word description of a made-up place like Kahani. Give it a name. You might include its origins, its inhabitants, its modes of transportation, its plants and animals, its history, its purpose, its imports and exports, its holidays, its landmarks, etc. Make sure your absurdity is on point.

Writing Assignment:

Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, was published in 1988. It was rejected by Muslims as blasphemy, and the Ayatollah Khomeini, then the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa against Rushdie, ordering any Muslim who saw him to kill him. Learn more about this fatwa and write a 300 word essay about this topic. You may look for biographical information about Rushdie, for news of what the actual effects of the fatwa were at the time, information on what a fatwa is (historically and in modern times), or more about the Ayatollah Khomeini. You can use quotes from Rushdie to support your ideas, anecdotes of specific incidents, quotes from Khomeini, examples of other fatwas, etc. Whichever direction you take your essay, please cite your sources.


Watch the movie, "Gandhi" from 1982, about the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the revolution in India, proponent of non-violence, and a popular spiritual leader and hero of India. Write 300 words about Gandhi's life, based on what you saw in the movie. You can include a personal response to the film -- what you thought of it and if you were inspired by Gandhi's ideas as a result. Here's the trailer for the movie, to give you a taste of what it's like:


1. Give a line from chapter 1 that shows you are being told a story, not just reading a book. Where does the narrator make his presence felt?
2. What is the difference between a glumfish and a pomfret?
3. What is Haroun's mother's reason for leaving?
4. Why does Haroun blame himself for his father's inability to tell stories?
5. Why does Butt not stop to pick up or deliver the mail when driving to the Dull Lake?
6. Why does Haroun think that Dull Lake is in the Moody Lands?
7. What is Haroun's second clue that the places in his father's stories might be real?
8. What is a P2C2E?
9. Why has Kahani remained invisible?
10. Who is the stranger arrested by the Guppee patrols?

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