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!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

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."

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: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

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