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!"

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."

Chris Ware: "Being a cartoonist means you don’t consider yourself too fancy."

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Selling of Heritage, Fragment by Fragment!

KATHERINE BOUTON has reviewed Nina Burleigh’s book “MIRAGE /Napoleon’s Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt.” (NYT December 9, 2007).

“…The most famous artifact the scholars discovered was the Rosetta stone, which soon wound up in British possession. The French military leadership, ever impatient with the scientists left in their care, bargained it away, along with all the scientists’ notes, drawings and specimens, in the truce that finally allowed them to return home. To this day it sits in the British Museum despite Egypt’s request for its return, with a label that says only “Captured in Egypt by the British Army in 1801, presented by King George III.” Perhaps it was historic justice that a Frenchman eventually cracked the code (working from copies), in 1822.

…The book’s legacy — and the legacy of Napoleon’s Egyptian adventure — was enormous, prompting the half-century of Egyptomania that swept Europe. The resulting decades of plunder brought Cleopatra’s Needle to New York, the Luxor obelisk to the Place de la Concorde, and room after room of mummies to the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum and the Louvre. Two hundred years later, a new struggle over national cultural heritage may in the end restore at least some of this magnificence to its country of origin.

We all know India was looted of its treasures during the British Raj and is being done so during the Indian Raj. But now I begin know the price tag of the loot!

Times of India reported on November 26, 2007 an example of how “precious” our heritage is in dollar terms!

See the picture below of Avlokitesvara and Green Schist Gable Relief circa 2nd-3rd century.

Those two alone are reportedly worth US$ 1,070,000!

It may be interesting to put up a price tag outside each archeological site to let people know the worth of what they are viewing and how careful they should be.


Avlokitesvara and Greenschist Gable Relief Gandhara 2nd-3rd century



Artist: Alan Dunn The New Yorker 7 March 1959