Dear friends, I am pleased to announce the release of my three new books during the last 3 three months. All three books are significant for humans and for the promotion of peace and reconciliation between communities and for happy living.
a) The Exiled Pandits of Kashmir – Will They Ever Return Home? (2020)
b) The Charmed Triangle – Religion, Science & Spirituality (2020)
c) We Humans – Our initial 100 days during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020)
Happy reading and best wishes! Take care and stay safe. COVID-19 will pass away as any dark threatening cloud disappears sooner or later.
… Bill Koul (Perth, Western Australia, 17 October 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed humans, bringing disruptions and fear to our lives, but also an opportunity for reassessment of our place in the world and in history. This book is intended for those humans who are not born yet. They must know how we humans behaved even during the pandemic days. The book provides a current report card for the human race.
This book neither calls for perfect or ideal humans nor for perfect or ideal societies. It was conceived and completed during the initial 100 days of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines the big news stories that have emerged during the pandemic, particularly the protests around the world against black deaths in custody, the conflicts in Kashmir and between India and China, and the geopolitical influence of the US. It delves into the reasons behind our mysterious behaviours at individual and political levels, and provides a commentary on our greatest challenges and our opportunities, with a glimpse of what life may look alike after the pandemic if we seize this moment to make our world anew.
Most humans exhibit varying shades of all three primary behaviours — sometimes good, sometimes bad and sometimes ugly — which keep changing over time and with situations. This book compels the readers to face themselves and accept their multifarious character, to feel humbled with humility and develop respect for fellow humans and be less judgemental of them. Many aspects of life and living have no right or wrong answers. In most situations of everyday life, most humans, knowingly or unknowingly, judge others, without realising that they themselves exhibit the same or similar behaviours.
The Charmed Triangle - Religion, Science & Spirituality
Many people seek solace in religion, but what if, rather than showing us to a higher truth, religion blinkers us to the real world we live in? Trying to nurture our souls, we may instead become caught in the trappings of organised religion and charismatic spiritual leaders. What if our religions have got it all wrong?
In a series of dialogues, Vijay Narain Shankar and Bill K. Koul provoke and prompt each other to bring their open-minded questioning to bear on the tenets of karma and destiny in Hinduism, the doctrine of non-materialism in religious belief, the uses of God to make sense of natural disasters and extinction events, how we adapt religion to suit our times, and the dangers of seeking absolute truth. They also discuss how to balance forgiveness with anger, realism with idealism, and science with intuition, illustrating their points with quotes from philosophers and poets and from the Hindu scriptures.
The Charmed Triangle does not give answers but invites readers to also question how our beliefs can confine and constrict our thinking. Shankar and Koul offer this as their contribution to an ongoing global conversation about finding purpose in our lives and living well. As their dialogues unfold, they outline a path to a pragmatic spiritualism grounded in respect for each other and for the world we live in.
The Exiled Pandits of Kashmir Will They Ever Return Home?
This book discusses all the questions related to Kashmiri Pandits and their relation and current issues regarding their return to Kashmir. The book explores the importance of return of Kashmiri Pandits for Kashmir and both major Kashmiri communities, especially those who really want to return home, out of their own volition and for all right reasons.
The book shows how to bring about a reasonable and realistic degree of practical and sustainable reconciliation between the two communities, whilst trying to make them stand in each other’s shoes, understand each other’s perspective and pain and then self-introspect sincerely, so that a bridge of mutual trust and acceptance is rebuilt between the two communities, which can then allow those Pandits who genuinely want to return cross over and be home.
A bouquet of random thoughts
This work, A bouquet of random thoughts, is for all times. It is a collection of thoughts – random thoughts – some big, some short – just like a bouquet that contains an assortment of everything – from leaves and ferns to beautiful flowers – big and small – of varied colours and shades – some with barbs. It is a bouquet one of its kind – imperfect to an extent – some natural and some deliberate – to mirror humans. Open any page and pick a few thought-provoking thoughts.
This book provides the author’s thoughts – about life, humanism, education, gender equality, politics, liveability and sustainability of the world – as an assortment of articles, passages, one-liners and poems, wrapped with a number of thoughtful and beautiful illustrations. It should be of interest to all readers, young and old, it has universal themes.
DOES INDIA NEED A DICTATOR
My latest book, Does India Need A Dictator, is about India’s survival, sustainability and general health. It has been written with intent to provoke a positive debate across India. I believe the current political infrastructure in India is inadequate in truly addressing the issues that continuously undermine the country, such as an alarmingly increasing population, dwindling liveability, environmental degradation, corruption, poor education of the masses, poverty etc. I believe a significant transformation in the political infrastructure is necessary to address those issues, for which an authoritarian government, headed by a benevolent dictator, is necessary for at least one generation. Kashmir has a special coverage in this book. I believe a peaceful Kashmir is vital for India’s good health and integrity, and vice versa.
This book should be of interest to the policy makers in India and all those readers who are interested in political science and legislation, education, environment and sustainability of India.
22 Years: A Kashmir STORY as A nominee
"best story award"
by. the NY Literary Magazine
22 Years: A Kashmir Story
My first book, 22 Years, is a memoir and a Kashmir story. I see Kashmir as the geographical head of India, as well as an ancient seat of spirituality. A peaceful and progressive India is crucial for a peaceful and progressive Kashmir, and vice versa.
The book tells an inspiring true story about a Kashmiri boy, Billu, whose life journey has been an absolute rollercoaster. He virtually rose from the ashes, not once but several times in his life. He got uprooted from Kashmir in December 1989, due to an unprecedented politico-religious upheaval, when he was just about 27 year old. About five lakh members of his Pandit community also left the valley after a month of his departure.
Over years, Billu’s state of his mind changed from extreme anxiety, fear and depression during the months leading to the mass exodus of his community from Kashmir; back to utter despondency and extreme anger in the period immediately following the mass exodus; to anxiety and continued struggle in life for achieving some dignity and stability in life; and finally back to love, compassion and empathy.
My life does not to have to be unhappy
My second book, My life does not have to be unhappy, was born out of unhappiness that I experienced while writing my Kashmir book, 22 Years, wherein I had to revisit my past years of despair and distress.
A growing number of people in the world, especially the youth, suffer from unnecessary unhappiness and mental illness, including mental depression. Unfortunately, many people commit suicide.
The rate of mental depression and suicide epidemic is alarmingly on the rise, both in India and outside. The book raises important basic questions about life and what is it all about, and provides a way forward, supported by the thoughts of various spiritual teachers, philosophers and medical practitioners. In particular, this book targets the present youth. It illustrates why one must be unselfish and try to live to a greater purpose for others; and the benefits of meditation and physical exercise for one’s mental health and wellbeing.
ISSUES WHITE-ANTING INDIA
As an NRI sees it
My third book, Issues White-anting India, was a direct result of my frequent travels between Perth and India over the last couple of decades.
This book summarises a number of ground issues in India, some directly as a result of a growing population, coupled with a typical Indian psyche/ mindset, which must be addressed in a timely manner so that the future generations in India live a healthier and happier life.