G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Languages that are understood all over the Country

U.R. Ananthamurthy says (India Today, August 20, 2007): “The only two languages that are understood all over the country are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.”

He could as well have added one more- Ganga (Ganges) because he himself touchingly says:
“My grandfather, deeply religious and orthodox, would never have said something like “I am an Indian” in his whole life. Yet India was still an idea, a concept derived mostly from her rivers. When he drew water from our well and poured it over his head he recited a mantra which prayed that the waters of the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada and Kaveri be present in the well-water of our home and sanctify him… Both globalised, rootless modernity and ferocious, fundamentalist communalism will weaken the Puranic sense of unity that is present among the people of India.”

My son, my wife and I might have stopped chanting names of rivers while bathing but I remember my mother doing it. I think it’s a beautiful tradition.

Business Standard September 04, 2007 says: “The Ganges figures on the list of the world's ten most endangered rivers, according to a report of the World Wide Fund for Nature. But the Ministry of Environment and Forests has claimed in Parliament that the quality of water has improved since 1985, when the first Ganga Action Plan (GAP) was launched… The World Health Organisation says that an estimated 114 towns release waste into the Ganges. The Centre for Science and Environment, which brought out a report on polluted rivers last year, has said the claim does not hold ground because the hardware created under the GAP is inadequate.”

Let us hope the government is right.

Julian Crandall Hollick has recently written a book “Ganga”. Business Standard has reviewed it.
“……how come Indians venerate the Ganga so much and yet seem bent on destroying it with such vigour with their pollution, dams and other acts of the most frightening vandalism?
Hollick has also taken the trouble to speak to many scientists whose views would not otherwise become known to the lay public. They appear to confirm what the godmen have been saying about the Ganga — that, thanks to the amount of dissolved oxygen in it, not to mention other things like its high rate of aeration and its amazing ability to retain dissolved oxygen, it is something of a scientific marvel.”

Do you want to read Hollick’s book?

Artist: Helen E. Hokinson The New Yorker 22 Feb 1947