Book Reviewing: A new challenge for me

 

 The idea of creating this blog emerged since last year, when I still had a Facebook account, which I finally deleted further to all a series of personal problems that I have been accumulating in my life and which forced me to delete Facebook permanently from my life and to live my life anew and afresh after a long but yet still incomplete period of recovery.

While I had that blog, I created on it a group, in which I invited a lot of people to adhere to that blog to post links of their freshly published books, so that I can review them, and this free of charge.

Unfortunately the project couldn’t go ahead immediately because of that period of recovery and silence, until I decided to create that blog which you will retrieve on top menu of my blog, entitled “Book Reviews

In that blog, I will propose pages about some interesting authors and bloggers I had the opportunity to meet via linkedin and Facebook and who remained some good friends even though I removed myself from those two social platforms.

I will also propose some constructive reviews, where I will elaborate the story via a synopsis and deep analysis of the characters, places, interesting themes mentioned, interesting scenarios, narrative points of view within the story framework, etc. After this, I will then give my personal opinion as a reviewer, with all the positive and negative points in the book, since I want to give something honest, though I am mostly sure to give mostly positive reviews.

I hope you will enjoy my work, though I admit I haven’t really advanced in it, and that all the authors on that blog will be satisfied of my work.

Advertisements

Krishna Athal: My personal review of his Wikipedia biography

A couple of weeks ago, I got informed about an existing Wikipedia biography about a young Mauritian politician and activist in the name of Krishna Athal, for which Krishna himself didn’t have any control on that biography. Since I have an account on Wikipedia, I wanted to bring my contribution since there were some modifications to bring regarding his biography, and which were false.

Unfortunately, it was my very first try on Wikipedia, and since I had no experience before, I used a lot of external links about him to better make people understanding on how his hard work is very important, and how each and every little detail of his career counts, as a source of inspiration for every Mauritian youngster who wants to shine on a political career. Because of that lack of experience, the Wikipedia administrator re-published the initial version of Krishna’s biography and I couldn’t do anything to remediate about the situation, despite several tries to convince the administrators about my new version of his biography.

Also, I would like to express myself in that blog post so that you all come to know about the truth behind Krishna’s life, career and achievements. I wouldn’t say that the author of the initial biography is wrong, but what was sad was that Krishna didn’t have any control on that biography and that the author of that biography didn’t always have the correct information about Krishna. I will not modify the biography, but I will just give a review about that biography and show you how important it is to be well informed before publishing any stuffs.

You can click here to retrieve the initial version of Krishna Athal’s wikipedia biography, which I will shell hereunder little by little on what was written in it.

INTRODUCTION

Krishna Athal (Jawahar Lall Athal, born 21 April 1988) is a Mauritian youth leader known for his involvement in social awareness and development projects around Mauritius. He is currently the national president of La Voix Nationale, president of Non-Governmental Organisation YUVA, served as Chairman of the National Youth Council, authored Ramrajya: An Enigmatic Leader’s Rise to Power, and is recipient of various national and international awards and recognitions.

Here, the introduction seems to be a good one. However, I underlined a few stuffs and inserted some hyperlinks, so that you could know more about the different projects on which Krishna actively works right now and I also underlined Mauritius, since unfortunately a lot of people worldwide ignore about the existence of our little island, despite its increasing popularity worldwide when it comes on social, politics, education, economy, environment, etc. I also underlined the terms “Non Governmental Organisation” and “Chairman”, since it’s important for readers to know the definition of those terms, so that you know all how their meanings. Here are the first lines to especially bear in mind regarding those two terms, according to Wikipedia:

1. A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a not-for-profit organization that is independent from states and international governmental organisations. They are usually funded by donations but some avoid formal funding altogether and are run primarily by volunteers. NGOs are highly diverse groups of organizations engaged in a wide range of activities, and take different forms in different parts of the world. Some may have charitable status, while others may be registered for tax exemption based on recognition of social purposes. Others may be fronts for political, religious, or other interests.

2. The chairman is the highest officer of an organized group such as a board, a committee, or a deliberative assembly. The person holding the office is typically elected or appointed by the members of the group. The chair presides over meetings of the assembled group and conducts its business in an orderly fashion.[1] When the group is not in session, the officer’s duties often include acting as its head, its representative to the outside world and its spokesperson. In some organizations, this position is also called president (or other title),[2][3] in others, where a board appoints a president (or other title), the two different terms are used for distinctly different positions.

EDUCATION

Athal’s early education includes attendance at Ramsoondur Prayag State Secondary School as well as Royal College Port Louis where he obtained his Cambridge Higher School Certificate. Athal’s tertiary education then began in 2007 at the University of Mauritius (UOM) where he was enrolled in the field of Information Systems and via correspondence at the Institute of Commercial Management in the UK pursuing Journalism and Media Studies. However his attendance at UOM was predominantly focused towards his involvement in the Badminton Club, the launch of the youth periodical, INSIGHT, and his association with the Students’ Union. In 2008, Athal discontinued his academic attendance at the UOM and pursued his studies via correspondence.

There we also have a very interesting introduction regarding Krishna’s educational journey, which looks promising and brilliant. I congratulate the author for having underlined the terms Higher School Certificate, since all governmental and most private schools follow the British curriculum from Cambridge University, and for having focused on the Royal College of Port Louis and the University of Mauritius, since they represent two of the best educational institutions in Mauritius. However, I also underlined a few additional stuffs and included a few additional hyperlinks too regarding some of the institutes and schools where he has been studying, and put emphasis regarding the Information System field he had been studying as per the Wikipedia researches I did as below:

Information system is an academic study of systems with a specific reference to information and the complementary networks of hardware and software that people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create and also distribute data. An emphasis is placed on an Information System having a definitive Boundary, Users, Processors, Stores, Inputs, Outputs and the aforementioned communication networks.


YOUTH INVOLVEMENT IN MAURITIUS

 

1) Insight

 

In 2007, Athal, along with fellow university students, launched the first-ever youth publication..,[1] published by youth for youth – called INSIGHT.[2] The magazine, which started with 4,000 copies in circulation in 2008 had grown to 48,000 in 2012.[3] INSIGHT’s objectives included providing University students with a medium to voice their issues with life on campus, allowing the student unions to promote activities pertaining and affecting students, generally reporting university happenings in a news-style format like that of a mainstream newspaper, investigating a variety of issues on campus by creating talking points and transparency, and providing an outlet of entertaining content for students. The magazine was an initiative for students on campus to connect to their happenings as well as gain a better view on matters that were raised at a global level. A total of 47 publications were printed to date. In 2009, the university-registered association was converted into an independent registered association where it was then able to increase its publication production.

 

Here is another very interesting paragraph regarding Krishna’s competences and especially his involvement as a young voice for university students in Mauritius. However, what is sad in that paragraph is that the author of the biography didn’t properly insert the sources in reference to each of those paragraphs. For example, the hyperlinks which were supposed to link both points 1 and 2 are missing. I failed into retracing the article illustrating those two references and the best source I could find was that one, which features as a hyperlink too regarding Krishna’s involvement in his educational journey. The hyperlink to reference 3 is an interesting article describing Krishna Athal as a successful and ambitious youngster, since the article mentioned his nomination as the youngest chairman of the National Youth Council whereas Krishna was only 24 years old!

 

2) Youth Olympic Games

 

Another such involvement dates back to 2010, when Athal was among the two Africans selected, along with 28 other ambassadors, by the International Olympic Committee to participate in the Young Reporters Programme to cover the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.[4] The purpose of which was to provide journalism students with a journalist-training platform as well as job experience while allowing the students to report on the regions they originated from. During the course of the games, Athal covered 26 sporting events, wrote press releases on a daily basis, worked on strategies to increase the Youth Olympic Games’ social media engagement. He worked in collaboration with reporters from Reuters, Xianhua News and the Young Olympian Daily.[5]

 

I allowed myself underlining a few important stuffs in that paragraph to better illustrate Krishna’s involvement into journalism and his active participation as one of the two Africans selected in the participation in the Young Reporters Programme. I inserted hyperlinks to the Young Reporters Programme, Xianhua News and Young Olympian Daily to give you a more concrete clue about those organisations and newspapers.  Regarding the reference 4, I would rather propose that link instead of the one previously mentioned in reference 4, since in that link I am proposing you, you can clearly see Krishna’s name featuring on top of the list of the Young Reporters selected for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Regarding reference 5, when I clicked on the hyperlink, it didn’t work properly, so to retrieve the correct hyperlink, you can click here. It’s sad that the author of that biography didn’t properly check the hyperlinks, since lots of young Mauritians will always be curious to know more about that young prodigy.

 

3) National Youth Council

Athal is also recognised for his role as Chairman of Board at the National Youth Council (NYC) in 2012, a body corporate serving under the aegis of the Ministry of Youth and Sports that serves as a bridge between the Government of Mauritius and the nation’s youth sector.[6]His appointment to the NYC is recorded as the youngest recipient of the position to date.[7][8] While posted as chairman, the NYC worked on several projects including the organisation of Leadership Development Programmes[9] in collaboration with other regional youth groups for the youth sector, the launching of an annual NYC magazine as well as other relief programmes and related youth empowerment activities around Mauritius.[10][11]

 

There again another interesting paragraph regarding Krishna’s career that the author wrote in Krishna’s Wikipedia biography. I already underlined, in introduction to Krishna’s biography before, the terms “Chairman” and “National Youth Council”, on which you can go back to revisit them again.  I also underlined and inserted a hyperlink for the Ministry of Youth and Sports to give you a better clue about what it is. However, there are some problems with the hyperlinks which were inserted to the different references. I saw also an interesting definition about the Leadership Development Programme, for which I inserted a hyperlink, certifying, I quote hereunder, that:

 

The Leadership Development Program (LDP)® is forLeaders of Managers: Experienced managers who lead other managers and senior professionals. Operational, group, or departmental managers. Leaders who work up, down, and across the organization.

 

Now to come back on the references in that paragraph, I noticed that the hyperlink to reference 6 didn’t work properly and is linked with the NYC “About” page, which you can retrieve here. The reference 7 was inserted without any hyperlink, but then duplicated by reference 8 with, in hyperlink, that article in Le Mauricien, featuring Krishna Athal once more as the youngest nominated chairman at the National Youth Council. The hyperlink to reference 9, however is inexistant and I failed into retracing it, but you can refer to the short definition I quoted above and the hyperlink I inserted in the corrected version of the NYC wikipedia paragraph for more details. The photo album of the NYC in reference 10, featuring on Facebook, is also an interesting hyperlink, which will give you a clue about the courage, devotion and determination of those young mauritian activists and social workers who actively help into several projects in the country. However, I failed into retracing the hyperlink to reference 11, but I previously shared with you the hyperlink for the NYC website in introduction to Krishna’s introduction to his wikipedia biography.

 

4) YUVA

 

YUVA is currently a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) operating in Mauritius that was founded by Athal in January 2015.[12]Currently posted at its head, Athal is responsible for working together with youth around the island in empowering themselves and their communities. The NGO encourages youth leaders within their own particular communities to engage with others and cooperate to leave a larger footprint within their objectives they have set out. As such, the organisation was created as a voice in society that represents the youth in one structured place, hoping that the youth would see their own potential and stand up to encourage change in their society for generations to come. Its activities include the introduction of reforms the members wish to see realised and encourage all forms of youth to get involved with action being the main key word in the organisation. The organisation has also launched a 12-step sustainable development goal objective which is collectively being worked on for adequate and successful implementation across Mauritius.[13]

 

There, I have nothing to add to review this paragraph, since the author correctly described the YUVA goals and inserted the hyperlinks correctly. But what I told once to Krishna is that before knowing more about YUVA, when I heard that name for the very first time, it reminded me especially about the Bollywood movie YUVA, in which Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan plays the role of Michael, a young Indian who wants to involve into politics against the corrupted actual government. I saw in the personage of Michael exactly the portrait shown by Krishna Athal, and who knows if Krishna inspired himself in Michael to succeed in his political career with flying colors despite his young age?

 

RAMRAJYA: AN ENIGMATIC LEADER’S RISE TO POWER

 

Ramrajya: An Enigmatic Leader’s Rise to Power, is the first book authored and published by Athal. The project, which took just over a year to materialise presented Athal offering readers his thought patterns around the previous Prime Minister of Mauritius, Navin Ramgoolam. The book was centred around the Mauritian political landscape and featured in depth analysis into several themes relating to the previous prime minister as well as political themes of relevance to the country. It also offered a glimpse into a critical analysis of the previous prime minister and spoke about matters pertaining to control and power that were previously never written about in the country.[14]

 

That introduction is correct and you can retrieve more information about that book on the hyperlink I inserted at the beginning of that paragraph, and on the link I inserted in Krishna’s introduction at the beginning of his Wikipedia biography. I may soon come back with a review of the Ramrajya cover, since it’s worth to talk about it, until I have the chance to read that book and review it in its full integrality one day. We say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that cover has wonderfully been created and already gives you a clue about what to discover in the book. Otherwise, the hyperlink to reference 14 doesn’t work, but let’s hope the other ones I gave you before on that book may be helpful to you.

 

CONTROVERSIES

1) University

In 2013, allegations of diploma falsification were directed towards Athal with media reporting that the UOM had lodged police complaints against him for document falsification. However, the charges were never brought against him as it was found that no actual case pertaining to such matter was in existence by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.[15]

 

I remember having been informed, before better knowing Krishna, about some rumors regarding that controversy regarding document falsification, and a newspaper article which was edited during that time regarding that controversy. I tried to retrace the article featuring in reference 15 but then noticed it didn’t exist anymore. I don’t know Krishna enough to judge him, but personally I DON’T BELIEVE IN THAT ACCUSATION AT ALL even though there were newspaper sources about it (which don’t exist anymore) regarding that controversy. If Krishna REALLY falsified his documents and that there were proofs, how was it then that “no charges were brought against him” and that “no actual case pertaining to such matter was in existence by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions”? It clearly defines there that those accusations are FALSE and WITHOUT PROOFS, since they are INEXISTENT!

2) National Youth Council chairman appointment under Labour Party and subsequent official joining of MSM in 2014

Another somewhat controversial matter that surfaced pertaining to public opinion and Athal involved his appointment to the NYC that took place under Labour Party rule in Mauritius. Assumptions that the appointment meant an official political allegiance was afoot made the rounds and public opinion surrounding the matter held up. Following the announcement then of the book to be published of the Labour Party leader further fueled speculation that the allegiance had indeed been made even though audiences were not aware what the content of such a book was to be. Midway during said book release project, right in the middle of general election campaigning, Athal publicly announced his membership to the then opposition party.[16]

 

Another proof on how newspapers tell so many lies again! And when I tried to retrace the article in reference 16, I didn’t find it since it completely disappeared. Personally I never heard about this but if there are no proofs regarding that controversy, it’s another proof that those accusations are FALSE!

3) Speculation surrounding book release

When the book officially reached bookshelves, speculation had been that Athal had written a book of praise towards the former leader of the country. However, it was soon met with disdain on some parts while others believed that the content was bold enough to empower the change needed in the country itself[17]

 

Yes, I have heard about that case, and the hyperlink to reference 17 was written by Krishna Athal himself in his personal blog, where he described in its whole integrality how so many false allegations, defamations and scandals have been made against Krishna to blacken his name regarding his book “Ramrajya”, without even having read the book in its whole integrality. I salute Krishna’s courage for having expressed his anger against that hater and all that hater’s followers (or rather should I say “blind followers”). Let’s hope that the “Paul” in question will recognize himself or herself in that article. I am impatient to purchase a copy of that book and to read it in its integrality for a review. When that review then will be released, I will invite that famous Paul and his gang to read it carefully, with the hope that he will be taught a tough but useful lesson.

 

PERSONAL LIFE

 

Born into a middle-class Hindu family, Athal grew up and lives in the coastal region of Petit Raffray. His father, Birju Athal, is a retired Central Water Authority employee and his mother, Babita Athal is a housewife. Athal’s childhood dream was once to serve in the armed forces of the country, a wish he describes as wanting to serve the country and not sitting idly by.[3]

 

I allowed myself to add some hyperlinks regarding Krishna’s personal life. Unfortunately but true, there are still a lot of people worldwide who ignore about Hinduism, and it would be also interested to know more about the location of the coastal region of Petit Raffray in Mauritius, the CWA where his father has been working before retirement and which is a governmental company, and the armed forces of the country. This is another proof, like mentioned in the article in reference 3 in that paragraph, about the dynamic image that Krishna shows about his determination to actively work for a better Mauritius, at the example of fictional character Michael in YUVA movie, actively working for a better India against oppression, corruption and division.

 

BRANDING & APPEARANCE

 

Athal has steadily grown his brand across the digital landscape and currently holds substantial reach both across the Facebook and Twitter mediums. His presence online contributes to his professional brand and appearance in terms of youth involvement, professional affiliation and activities to which he is currently working on. As such, the Athal brand is consistently evolving[18] to adapt to the particular environments that he is involved in to ensure the leverage is steadily maintained and his digital brand presence is constantly growing[19]

 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t retrace the hyperlink to reference 18, but it would be very interested to discover the article in reference 19, where Krishna features in very 1st position in the Top 10 most influential people in Mauritius, a place which he really deserves for his hard work and involvement for a better Mauritius. Otherwise, I inserted a hyperlink regarding an interesting article which could inform us much better about the Athal Brand.

 

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

 

Between the years 2005 and 2007, Athal received the Best Team Leader award from the National Productivity and Competitiveness Council.

In 2006, he received the Mont Desir Mont Tresor Award from the Ministry of Environment.

In 2008 Athal was the Best Rotaractor Award from the Rotary Club of Grand Baie.

Under the theme, Youth Leadership & Community Work in Mauritius, Athal was awarded the Youth Excellence Award from the Government of Mauritius in 2009

In the same year, he also represented Mauritius at the One Young World Summit in the UK via e-conference as well as being awarded the National Coordinator Award from The Earth Action Mauritius.

In 2010, Athal was the Mauritian Ambassador for both the International Youth Climate forum in Indonesia and the International Youth Seliger Award in Russia.

He was also awarded the National Youth Excellency Award under the theme Entrepreneurship & Initiative for Employment Creation in Mauritius in the same year.

In 2011, Athal was the African Ambassador at International Youth Peace Festival (IYPF) in India as well as again in 2012 along with being the Mauritian Ambassador at the COMESA Programme for peace and security.

In 2015, he was a country representative at International Youth Against Terrorism, the Mauritian ambassador at the Asia-Pacific SF in Jakarta, a scholar of the International Sustainability School in Nepal, and the Mauritian ambassador at the annual youth dialogue for the Mandela Institute for Development Studies in Zimbabwe.

In 2016, Athal was the Mauritian Ambassador at Vibrant Saurashtra Summit in India.

 

I allowed myself including several hyperlinks wherever I could regarding all those awards, recognitions and events in which Krishna Athal actively participated at a national and international level, where he received multiple awards for his achievements, so that you could know more about them all too. It’s sad though that the author of the blog didn’t think about putting them in evidence, since it’s important to put the emphasis on such participations for a young activist like Krishna. And the fact that Krishna represented Mauritius at both national and international levels is another proof of him being a promising great leader for our country, among the young rising generation standing up for a better Mauritius.

 

MY PERSONAL CONCLUSION

 

I wanted, through that blog post, to give you a clue that when you look for some information and that you act as a Wikipedia contributor, it’s important to have with you some strong sources to determine whether your information sources are true or false. Regarding that Wikipedia biography, in general I would say that the author of that biography did a good job, but which could be much better if he went deeper in the researches and by acknowledging Krishna himself to know more about him. It’s very important, when you write a biography about someone on Wikipedia, to be properly informed about the person you are describing when you are a Wikipedia contributor. And if it’s still possible, to allow the concerned person you are describing in the biography, to have control over those information to avoid falsification of information and defamation in the future, since Wikipedia remains the most consulted source worldwide when it comes on looking for some useful information. Indeed, despite all, I congratulate the author of Krishna’s wikipedia biography for the job done. Good try indeed!