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."

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