मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

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);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Opium Dens of Delhi, Aundh, New York and Vietnam

Times of India on November 3, 2007 reported: “Jaswant in opium controversy”
“A brew served by BJP leader Jaswant Singh to welcome Rajasthan party dissident leaders at a much publicised at-home at his native village of Jasol in Barmer district is threatening to leave the host with a nasty after-taste.

A Jodhpur special court dealing with drug-related offences has agreed to hear a petition against Singh on Saturday which wants directions to be issued to the police under the harsh Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act — better known as NDPS Act — which prescribes a minimum 10-year jail term for offenders…”

The paper had reported in 2006: “Indians among highest opium users…According to the report, India has 25 million drug users, which makes the country account for 1/10th

A great leveller opium,like alcohol and tobacco, has always been with us.

I am told opium is eaten, drunk and smoked.

My father’s father- D G Kulkarni- was a political secretary to the ruler of princely state of Aundh- BHAVAN RAO SHRINIVAS, Pant Pratinidhi - until its accession to Indian union in 1948.

My grandpa's family hailed from Atpadi. His younger brother once came from Atpadi to visit him at Aundh and asked for something. Brothers had an argument. Younger brother wasn’t happy with the outcome. He felt so depressed that he bought opium from multiple vendors at Aundh-one could buy only a limited quantity from a vendor- and walked all the way from Aundh to Atpadi consuming opium all along. He died at the end of the journey.
(I have never known if my grandfather felt any guilt for this involuntary manslaughter and if he did, how he dealt with it.)

No artist has described as well as Graham Greene what it must feel while smoking opium pipes in the company of a Vietnamese girl. Read his “The Quiet American”. It’s very tempting!

William Dalrymple says in “The Last Mughal”:

“In northern India opium was drunk rather than smoked, and judging by the frequency with which opium shops appear in miniatures of the period, opium addiction seems to have been a major problem. Since the Company had the monopoly on the growing and trade in the substance, which by the 1890s provided an astonishing 40 percent of their exports from India, it of course made no attempt to control the problem.”

Artist: Leonard Dove The New Yorker 26 Feb 1949

Unlike New York of The New Yorker above in Delhi of following miniature you didn’t have to ask for opium dens, off the record!

A Delhi opium den with recumbent addicts, from James Sinner’s Tazkirat al-umara