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."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Indian Museum, Calcutta. This time they could not bury it!

The only place I really like to take visitors to Pune is classy Kelkar museum. Aga khan Palace flatters to deceive.

Pune has not bothered to preserve almost anything else. Shaniwar-wada- once the most powerful habitation in whole of South Asia- is a ghostly relic.

In Calcutta, I really liked visiting Belur Math and Indian Museum. I must have visited them half a dozen times each.

And I must confess I always smelt a rat at the museum. It is too rich to escape the attention of India’s highly corrupt government servants. Before I came to live in Calcutta, I had seen rampant corruption in Assam and knew that West Bengal if anything was even worse. (I have never seen more corrupt person than Calcutta-based resident manager of the multi-national company where I worked.)

Outlook April 7, 2008 said:

“…it's not just artifacts that are coming out of the cavernous vaults of the 194-year-old Indian Museum in Calcutta. Now that the Union ministry of culture has ordered a full audit of all the art treasures in this oldest museum in the Asia-Pacific region, a number of skeletons are also tumbling out. Among the objects missing from the vaults are some priceless relics dating to the Indus valley civilisation, sculptures, and gold and silver coins. And some recent acquisitions, shown in the books as ancient, for which the museum paid crores of rupees, have now been discovered to be not even five decades old!

The CBI, which started probing complaints of financial irregularities in end-2006, has now also unearthed a Rs 22 crore scam in purchase of security and other equipment, printing and travel expenses,

… The CBI probe revealed that some senior officers of the museum had amassed huge properties. The agency's sleuths found Rs 1 crore in cash at the residence of the former keeper of the museum's anthropology gallery. The design and drawing officer—suspended earlier this month—had recently purchased 3.25 hectares of land in the city's suburbs.

…Shockingly, senior officers used to remove priceless relics from the galleries and display them in their chambers and, if some employees are to be believed, in their homes as well…”


Artist: Rea Gardner The New Yorker 18 March 1933


missing: seventh century sandstone bust of the Buddha