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."

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