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, January 30, 2008

Institutionalised Racism Runs Deep amongst Middle and Upper Class Urban Indians

Indian media are rejoicing today.

Times of India January 30, 2008 screams: “Monkey off Bhajji’s back.” And then gives all five instances of Harbhajan Singh’s violation of the ICC code of conduct.

“But Bhajji won’t be racial. He’s our boy.”

Sounds like typical Indian parents defending their spoilt children.

The same paper asked for annulment of Sydney test.

I wonder if they will ask annulment of medals table of 2008 Beijing Olympics if- as is likely- India fails to get on to it and Indian athletes are found doping.

Economic & Political Weekly January 12, 2008 said:

“The hysteria in the past week over l’affiare Sydney Cricket Test has shown urban India at its sanctimonious worst; quick to don the robes of the victim and at the same time ready to flex its financial muscle to dictate its orders to the rest of the cricketing world. It is not the emotions that have been expressed in this cricket-crazy society that have been surprising. It is that most commentators have refused to use the opportunity to engage in any introspection or reasoned discussion – be it of matters cricket or Indian society’s attitude to racism and colour prejudice.

To begin with the more important issue of racism in sport: Here was an opportunity for the media and public opinion to use the following cricket has in India to confront the issue of prejudice on colour. Instead, the overwhelming response has been either denial or a resort to homilies about India’s record in fighting racial discrimination.

The first thing to note is that the moral high ground that urban India has sought to occupy compares poorly with the fair amount of diversity, self-criticism and condemnation of the national cricket team that has been expressed in Australian public opinion…

…The fact is that colour prejudice, if not institutionalised racism, runs deep amongst middle and upper class urban Indians. How easily we forget that skin whitening cream is the largest selling “wellness” product in India, that matrimonial advertisements need to draw attention to colour and at times hide the dark complexion of the bride-to-be by describing it as “wheatish” and that for a baby to be born with a fair complexion is a source of immense pride to the family. No black visiting India leaves the country without being horrified at Indian expression of colour prejudice. And in cricket, for years spectators have often taunted West Indians for being, yes, “monkeys”…”

From January 12-26, 2008, from time to time, I was amidst marriage party gathered at Pune. We had a few guests from US. Two of them were white females, one of them Anglo-Saxon. That gave me one more opportunity to witness colour prejudices in our society.

What are we as a nation capable of?

SWAMINATHAN S ANKLESARIA AIYAR Times of India SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2003:

“…India says the UN should sanction any war on Iraq. Did India ask the UN permission for its 1971 war with Pakistan? Not at all, it acted unilaterally. It used its buddy, the Soviet Union, to veto peace moves by the UN. Officially, India claims that Pakistan started that war through an air attack on December 3. In fact the Pakistan Air Force was simply responding to the intrusion of Indian troops into East Pakistan on November 21, an invasion reported by the international press but blanked out totally by the tame Indian press…”