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!"

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."

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."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

When will India Get National Museum of History and Culture of Dalits?

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati has asked Dalits to “never forgive” the Congress for its anti-dalit stance. (Asian Age April 15, 2008).

It’s obvious “Congress” here is euphemism for upper caste Hindus.

“…In fact, the Congress played a very dirty game with Dr Ambedkar when its leaders tried to foil the election of Dr Ambedkar to the Constituent Assembly by giving away a part of Bengal (that had elected Dr Ambedkar) to Pakistan. By doing so, Dr Ambedkar would have ended up as member of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. However, when Dr Ambedkar apprised the British of this gameplan, they (British) asked the Congress to include Dr Ambedkar in the Indian Constituent Assembly and finally the Congress had to agree…”

This indeed is a very grave charge, as grave as 19th century Mahatma Phule’s stated preference for the British Raj over the tyranny of Brahmin Peshwa’s rule. (One should read Phule's book to begin to comprehend the extent of decay in Maharashtra.)

My mother-in-law’s maternal uncle (Sarang Chapalgaonkar) once explained to me that Dalits in Pune were not allowed to construct houses in certain directions of the city because the upper-caste people didn’t want to breath air coming from that side!

ROGER COHEN wrote: “Why has the U.S. produced a magnificent Holocaust Memorial Museum before opening an institution of equivalent stature dedicated to slavery and segregation?” (NYT April 17, 2008)

“…Why, I wondered as I viewed the exhibit, does the Holocaust, a German crime, hold pride of place over U.S. lynchings in American memorialization? …

…But I do think some psychological displacement is at work when a magnificent Holocaust Memorial Museum, in which the criminals are not Americans, precedes a Washington institution of equivalent stature dedicated to the saga of national violence that is slavery and segregation…

… The truth can be brutal, but flight from it even more devastating…

…“The Holocaust is a horribly difficult subject, but the bad guys are not Americans,” Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s director, told me. “Race, however, is the quintessential American story and one that calls into question how America defines itself and how we, as Americans, accept our own culpability.”..


India needs National Museum of History and Culture of Dalits where the challenge will be to express not only the lynching and other atrocities against the Dalits, but also the resiliency and spirituality of their tribe that are part of the core Indian identity.


Artist: Robert Minter The New Yorker 25 April 1970