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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ramsevaks Reflect

India keeps churning out news faster than we all can digest. Ram once again is in news: “Did he really exist or not?”

Ram and his story are so central (see my previous post on this) to India that it doesn’t matter.

TULSI RAMAYAN- Ramcharitmanas is arguably the best book in Hindi. Vinoba Bhave विनोबा भावे has written beautifully on the book. ("Vinoba Saraswat" Edited by Ram Shewalkar, Sahitya Akademi 1987)

Utopia is translated as “Ram Rajya” (Ram’s Regime) in Indian languages.

Tukaram describes Ram Rajya thus: राम राजा राम प्रजा लोकपाळ, एकचि सकळ दुजे नाही। (In which kingdom Ram is king, in which kingdom Ram is populace and in which kingdom Ram is the administrator)

Mahatma Gandhi’s famous last words were “He Ram”.

Now in the name of Maryada-Purushottam Ram, at Bangalore, Ramsevaks have attacked the house of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s daughter because he reportedly said: “Ram was a mythical figure and there was no historical evidence of his existence.”

I would say: Ramsevaks, Reflect. Let tham call you conservative.

Artist: George Price The New Yorker July 21 1934