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."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How Democracies Can Elect Hitler and Defeat Mahatma Phule महात्मा फुले

Indians are proud of their democracy. They feel it facilitates social mobility in a caste ridden society and is the least flawed of all forms of governance.

I agree with this assessment.

Ian Kershaw wrote on February 3, 2008:

How democracy produced a monster: Could something like it happen again? That is invariably the first question that comes to mind when recalling that Hitler was given power in Germany 75 years ago last week.

With the world now facing such great instability, the question seems more obvious than ever.

Hitler came to power in a democracy with a highly liberal constitution, and in part by using democratic freedoms to undermine and then destroy democracy itself…

…These distant events still have echoes today. In Europe, in the wake of increased immigration, most countries have experienced some revival of neo-fascist movements. Not so long ago, Serbian nationalism, inflamed by President Slobodan Milosevic, set off war and ethnic cleansing within the Continent…”

Marathi daily Pudhari पुढारी reported on March 19, 2008:

“125 years ago on March 19, 1883, two of the greatest Indians ever, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule महात्मा ज्योतिबा फुले (1827-1890) and Gopal Hari Deshmukh aka Lokhitwadi गोपाळ हरी देशमुख लोकहितवादी (1823-1892)- were trounced by conservatives in local elections.

In Vetal Peth वेताळ पेठ, Phule got zero votes and in Bhavai Peth भवानी पेठ he got just two votes, including his own vote. Keeping him company, in Shukravar Peth शुक्रवार पेठ, Lokhitwadi got zero votes.”

Pudhari claimed that today Phule would surely get elected because his agenda of social reforms is now universally accepted etc. (Btw- No such claim was made on behalf of Lokhitwadi.)

In deeply divided on caste lines of today's Maharashtra, I am not sure about Phule's electoral prospects but Lokhitwadi would surely be defeated in year 2008!

Artist: Frank Modell The New Yorker 12 January 1957