Bhubaneswar: Model Expansions needs to introduction to those who passed out of Orissa colleges and universities in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. However, with the revision of syllabus and changing reading habits restricted to classnotes and sample papers, this slim volume started passing into oblivion.
Although this was never a prescribed book for colleges and universities, it became instantly popular among students from all corners of the State at all levels as there was no such book in the market and a book of this kind was always sought for to learn English composition. This was the first-of-its-kind book in the market when its first edition was published. This perennially reprinted book from Friends’ Publishers, Cuttack (even to this day) always sold out soon and remained out of stock for most of the year. In view of its immense popularity, other publishers started commissioning authors to write similar books but none of them could compete with Model Expansions, which always stood apart remaining a ‘model’ in the real essence of the term.
What is this Model Expansions then? Well, this is a book of sample paragraphs in 100-150 words (the word limit as prescribed by Orissa universities then) on some popular proverbs and sayings, 108 to be precise. This book also explains what is an expansion and lays down step-by-step instructions on how to write it properly. It has also an exercise of more paragraphs at the end.
This unique book on epigrams – where they originate from, what they allude to and what their possible annotations and meanings could be – is written in a clear, simple and engaging way which, according to those who have read and swear by it, can be a student’s first lessons and best introduction to both literature and philosophy, Indian and Western. The book depicts episodes from world history, religion and mythology, deriving examples from lives of great men from Gopabandhu and Gandhi to Shankara and Socrates, and drawing parallels across different traditions and cultures.
Due to its easy reading and veritable store of inspiring stories, moral lessons and words of wisdom, it always remained a favourite book for generations of students. But with the passage of time and the proliferation and consumption of digital media, the readership base of this book fell apart. Keeping with the changing times and as the book marked 50 years of continued publication by the original publisher, a thoroughly revised and expanded 50th anniversary edition was released recently by Bhubaneswar-based non-profit organization Dhara Shree Radha Trust for free distribution among students. Some improvements have been made in language so that the new generation students can relate to the context of the age-old proverbs and sayings and learn a thing or two from the epigrams and idiomatic expressions whose meanings continue to elude us.
The author, A. C. Sukla, a former professor of English at Sambalpur University and the founding editor of the 43 years old Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (an academic journal of global repute), hopes to contribute to the new-found rigour among students and teachers alike through his all-time bestselling book, Model Expansions.