Archive for October, 2007

  Katmandu, Katmandu

von Satis Shroff

Satis Shroff’s anthology is about a poet caught between upheavals in two countries, Nepal and Germany, where maoists and skin-heads are trying to undermine democratic values, religious and cultural life. Satis Shroff writes political poetry, in German and English, about the war in Nepal (My Nepal, Quo vadis?), the sad fate of the Nepalese people (My Nightmare, Only Sagarmatha Knows), the emergence of neo-fascism in Germany (Mental Molotovs, The Last Tram to Littenweiler) and love (The Broken Poet, Without Words, About You), women’s woes (Nirmala, Bombay Brothel). His bicultural perspective makes his poems rich, full of awe and at the same time heartbreakingly sad. In writing ‘home,’ he not only returns to his country of origin time and again, he also carries the fate of his people to readers in the West, and his task of writing is a very important one in political and social terms. His true gift is to invent Nepalese metaphors and make them accessible to the West through his poetry.

(187 Seiten) Paperback:  €13.84 Download:  €6.25


  Through Nepalese Eyes

von Satis Shroff

‘Through Nepalese Eyes’ is about the journey of a young Nepalese woman to Germany to meet her brother, who lives with his German wife and daughter in an allemanic town named Freiburg. It is a travelogue written by a sensitive, modern British public-school educated man. He describes the two worlds: Asia and Europe and the people he meets. There is a touch of sadness when his sister returns to her home in the foothills of the Himalayas.

(205 Seiten) Paperback:  €12.00 Download:  €6.25

Read Full Post »

Dear Blog-readers,

I received this information per e-mail and thought there might be Blogging journalists out there in the wide world who’d be interested in a Fellowship to finance a project. The Fellowship is open to any projects about South Asia or the diaspora. You don’t have to be South Asian to participate!

If you have any questions regarding the same, then please contact Prof. Sandeep Junnarkar, SAJA Awards Chair:

From SAJA, the South Asian Journalists Association, http://www.saja.org

SAJA Reporting Fellowships–$20,000 toward in-depth projects

As part of its mission to encourage in-depth coverage of South Asia and
the South Asian Diaspora, SAJA & SAJA Group Inc are pleased to announce a
call for submissions for its third Annual SAJA Reporting Fellowships
(SRF). Open to freelancers and staff journalists in any medium, the
fellowships are meant to encourage in-depth reporting projects by
providing grants to cover a portion of reporting expenses.

A total of upto $20,000 may be given out annually, divided among projects or a
single project at SAJA’s discretion. Each fellowship award is typically between

These Fellowships, which were launched in 2005 to ensure follow-up
reportage about the 2004 tsunami and its victims, were initially funded by
SAJA members, corporate donors and friends of SAJA. This year, SRF
received a major financial boost thanks to the support of the Mahadeva
Family Foundation, which will make an annual contribution of $20,000.

“The support of Kumar Mahadeva and Simi Ahuja, who have been part of the SAJA
community for more than a decade, is critical to SAJA’s core mission of
improving the coverage of South Asia through the SAJA Reporting Fellowships and
similar programs,” said Deepti Hajela, the group’s president and an Associated
Press newswoman. “This is going to have a major impact on the kind of stories
that the Fellows do and how Americans learn about what’s going on in South Asia
and the diaspora today.”

The deadline for SRF proposals is Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007.

More info at:

Questions to Prof. Sandeep Junnarkar, SAJA Awards Chair:

– Your friends at SAJA
SAJA Group, Inc. is a non-profit charitable organization (EIN: 55-0844632)
and is registered with the State of New York Charities Bureau
(Registration Number 20-70-28). Please send any funding questions to


I’d like those who apply for the Fellowship luck and success in their application. If you don’t win the Fellowship this time, you might win it the next time.

Yours sincerely,

Satis Shroff

Read Full Post »



If Boeing wants to establish itself and sell more jets in Europe and sell more of their products, it would be advised to use ecological compatible ideas in the manufacture of aerospace technology. It is a fact that the Airbus industry buys a lot of landing-gears, engines, electronics, parts for interiors from the USA. But there are handicaps too. The long distance to the USA from Europe is a problem for development engineers, and it is more convenient to work with fellow Europeans from the European Union to produce products and develop common strategies. In the case of Costenaro and Dolder we have an Italo-Dutch team working in Germany with German precision workers, or Fachleaute, as we say in Germany.


Samuel Piatti and Erik van den Dolder are partners of General Aerospace based in Eschbach, south-west Germany.


Costenaro gathered his experience working with a US company in Verese (Italy) as a sales manager. The private owner of the American company founded a new company. Mr.Piatti, who wears thin glasses with greying hair on the sides of his proud Roman head and drives a black BMW said, ‘I was offered the opportunity to sell American aeronautical products. ‘However, there was a litigation between the two companies, and as a result one of them decided to sell back to the other.’


The US holding offered Piatti to go and work in Germany’s Bad Bellingen as a sales marketing executive for the whole of Europe, for they wanted to develop the aircraft market in Europe. He said, ‘They asked me to help them expand into the European aviation market.’


Erik van den Dolder, a blond with a receeding forehead likes to attend the Airbus-meetings in his Harley Davidson, and speaks English and German with a soft Dutch accent, said that he was working with Samuel in the same US firm and both were unhappy about the US products because they were old, not innovative, despite the fact that there was a big European market out there, waiting to be conquered.


The attitude of the US firm seemed to be: what’s good for the USA is also good for Europe. Which isn’t at all. Europe is more technically advanced, seeks customised solutions, makes sophisticated products for their passengers and searches for new ideas. Says Costenaro, ‘As an example, when you go to Boeing, they always sell the same products. In Europe the people ask for environment-friendly aircraft. In the US chemical industry they still use steel that is coated with cadmium, which is known to be hazardous to the environment.’


In this context Boing would be perhaps well-advised to seek environment-friendly solutions like its concurrence in Europe.


Take the Airbus A 380 with its four engines, with two elevators on board, is for instance, a new, sophisticated product. Boing also came up with its Dreamliner which has two engines. In the meantime, Airbus has developed another aircraft, which is a smaller Airbus-version to compete with Boeing’s dreamliner. The competition goes on.


The Italo-Dutch duo took over where the US-aeronautical firm ceased to develop its markets with new ideas. General Aerospace wants to „cross the line to the future“ and has been delivering parts to: Pilatus (Switzerland), Airbus, Diamond (Canada) and its strength is in commercial aviation, space and defence. Armed with a quality approval from Airbus called EN9100, they produce the landing gear, electro hydraulic activator (EHA), landing ‘shimmy dampers’, Browning M2-M3 gun recoil buffers, FN-Herstal minimi gun recoil buffers, aluminium chrome-plated hand-railings for use in executive aircraft, electro-chronic windows, activaros for lavatory lids and seats, VIP bathrooms for private jets, hinges and dampers for overhead compartments for the convenience of air-travellers.


I asked Samuel Piatti what the strong points of General Aerospace were, and he replied, ‘We create customised products. We have environmental conscious manufacturing processes and products and we provide fast development with quality. We also have lighter products with lower emission, which help to reduce air pollution.’


Eric van den Dolder had been working for fifteen years with the former Fokker Space, now Dutch Space. Dolder said, ‘Fokker had very good products but they went bankrupt in 1990. In June 2000 I got a new job with a US company ‘cos I was looking for a new challenge in commercial manufacturing. I just wasn’t satisfied with the US-firm and founded a new one with Samual.’


‘Now I have the most exciting job. I know what I’ll do in the morning but I don’t know what I’ll do in the afternoon,’ he said with a laugh. His partner Samuel added, ‘ Eric is an engineer with a lot of technical fantasy and I’m glad he likes to put technology into new products.’


Eric visits his family in Amsterdam once a month and said laconically: ‘When you leave your roots, you’ll know who your friends are, because only good friends visit you.’


Just two friends had visited him in Eschbach, South-West Germany, even though the Black Forest is so lovely.


I asked Samuel a last question regarding the buraucracy in Italy and Germany and he said: ‘I find German buraucracy rather progressive, but you have to give more information about your business plans, growth rate of your firm and your previous background. The financial support from the German bank was good but you have to impress them with your arguments and credentials and manufacturing know-how. In Italy it’s more on a personal and family business whereas and in Germany it’s on a fair basis.’


Read Full Post »


On Doctor Faustus and Mephistopheles (Satis Shroff)


Dr. Johann Faust, the man who sold his soul to the Devil. A mythical figure? Certainly not. I went to the pretty town of Staufen via Bad Krözingen from Freiburg. From the distance you can see the ruins of a castle looming above the vineyards on a hill. In the town below is a Gasthaus called Zum Löwen (To the Lion). The tavern has a fresco on the wall by Prof. Fritz Geiges on the front wall depicting the Devil– Mephistopheles—in the process of breaking the neck of a broken down Dr. Faustus. Below the fresco is a wonderful calligraphic scripture with the words:


In anno 1539 in Leuen-to-Staufen Dr Faustus, an astounding nigromantic, died miserably as a legend says, at the hands of the highest Devil named Mephistopheles, whom he called his brother-in-law as long as he lived, after the Pact which ended after 24 years, who broke his neck and sent his poor, eternally damned soul to Hell.


The only evidence regarding the death of Faust in Staufen can be found in two texts of the Zimmerschen Chronicle published in 1565. One source cites the end of the magician ‘in the herrschaft Staufen im Preisgew.’ The other source mentions ‘ in or far from Staufen, the town in Breigew.’ ‘Preisgew’ and ‘Breigew’ relate to the district Breisgau. There is a lack of other substantial evidence.


Nevertheless, the local tradition and belief has it that it knows exactly where Faust’s journey which began in the realm of knowledge and ended with his sojourn in Hell. The last moments of Doctor Faust’s journey to Hell began in the tavern called To-the-Lion, on the third floor, in room number 5.You can spend a night in this room and be inspired to write a play or a sonnet on the Life of Doctor Faustus or perhaps a modern-day Faust who lives in a metropolis like NY, London or Berlin


Three houses away in the Late Gothic town hall of Staufen you can find the foot-prints of the Devil on one of the uppermost stairs. The Devil had come in the guise of a human to pick up Faust, and left the town of Staufen with an enormous leap.


You stars that reigned at my nativity

whose influence hath allotted death and hell

Now draw up Faustus, like a foggy mist,

Into the entrails of yon labouring cloud.

Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)


There’s another story (German: Sage) which was published by Constantin Geres in the magazine ‘Schauinsland’ in 1882. It connects the Faust-story with the Johannites:


It was late in the afternoon in the year 1541 when a farmer and his son were walking along the country road from Krözingen to Staufen. Suddenly, the weather changed for the worse and a gigantic bird with black wings flew over them. The appearance of the errie big bird scared them so much that they ran to a cross along the roadside and prayed till the scary bird flew away.


Thereafter, they set upon their journey to Staufen, where the farmer had to do some business at the tavern called The Lion. As they entered the tavern, they saw a doctor and another stranger. The stranger made a fool out of the farmer farmer and said that he’d been scared of a big black bird and had run in angst to a roadside cross and mumbled prayers to God.


The farmer found the words of the stranger extraordinary, for he and his son were the only ones who’d seen the big bird in the country road. And he knew that this stranger had flown over them in the form of the big black bird.


Shortly, the Doctor who was none other than the famous Faust, was taken by the Devil from room no. 5 of the tavern Zum Löwen.


In Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus’ Faust says:


Ugly hell, gape not! Come not Lucifer!

I’ll burn my books!


Goethe’s Faust was published in two parts in 1808 and 1832. Faust Part I is a dedicatory ode and laments the passage of time, the passing away of friends and shows Goethe’s dedication to his work. There are countless interpretations of Faust and the play symbolically embraces the irony of human life, commenting on human, social and political phenomena. He also praises the fundamental human virtue of endeavour, striving and endless creative activity found among poets, writers, artists.


It was at Schiller’s instigation that Goethe began in 1797 to work again at Faust II. Whereas Faust I contains Knittelverse, blank verse, hymnic passages and strophic songs, Faust II has various rhyming measures, ottava rima, terza rima and trimeters.


However, the best known early literary version of the Faust legend came from the Frankfurter printer Johann Spieß. In this popular German volksbuch (people’s book) Doctor Faust dabbles from theology to sorcery, makes a pact with the Devil for a period of twenty-four years. He lives extravagantly and riotously. Ans when his time is up he’s carried off to Hell. Dr. Faustus is active at the University of Wittenberg in the Volksbuch story. It is a book of stern moral intention, with a raised index-finger, and a dreadful warning to others who might undergo alliances with Satan. The Spieß’sches Faustbuch is the source of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus (1589). Goethe on the other hand was obsessed by the subject of Faustus, almost his entire life. He enjoyed the puppet play called ‘Puppenspiel von Dr. Faust’ when he was a kid and also read the Faust Volksbuch.


Faust’s Damnation (Fausts Verdammnis) an opera by Hector Berlioz is being stanged on October 20, 2007 at the Freiburger Theatre (Grosses Haus) and it is an attempt to use music to illustrate the complexities of Faust’s soul. Ach, even if Faust’s love and life were a fiasco, and he was damned to Hell, what survives is the work, the art and music.


There are English versions of the Faust legend by A.G.Latham (1902-5), Bayard Taylor (1908), L.MacNeice (1951) and Barker Fairley (1970) which deserve deserve mention, but I must admit I was chuckling with laughter, and I had tears in my eyes, when I read Rober Nye’s Faust, told by a certain Kit Wagner, Faust’s disciple. It was like reading P.G. Wodehouse in the days of alchemy and sorcery.


Here, yours truly would like to quote Faust as a motto for us all who’re caught in life’s vicissitudes like the famous Georgio Strehler did, when he acted in Goethe’s Faust I and II at the Piccolo Teatro with a thousand voices and 12,000 verses in the year 1989:


Ich fühle Mut, mich in die Welt zu wagen, mich in die Welt zu wagen,

Der Erde Weh, der Erde Glück zu tragen,

Mit Stürmen mich herumzuschlagen

Und in des Schiffbruchs Knirschen

nicht zu zagen.“

Read Full Post »