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."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

After George W. Bush, what will I be Hawkish about?

If Mr. Obama becomes the president of the US, the feat will be even greater than Ms. Mayawati-a Dalit woman- becoming the chief minister of the biggest state in India.

However, I don’t think much will change for the rest of the world as far as America is concerned because what Paul Krugman says in following quote is not going away in a hurry.

“… I was born in 1953. Like the rest of my generation, I took the America I grew up in for granted – in fact, like many in my generation I railed against the very real injustices of our society, marched against the bombing of Cambodia, went door to door for liberal candidates. It’s only in retrospect that the political and economic environment of my youth stands revealed as a paradise lost, an exceptional episode in our nation’s history…”

Not just that the excitement and expectations are so high with Obama, the disappointment is likely to be even higher.

The Janata Party became the first political party to defeat institutions-destroyer Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s Indian National Congress in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections, forming the central government from 1977 to 1980.

It was the worst administration that ruled India. I felt crest fallen by 1980.

FOUAD AJAMI said in The Wall Street Journal on October 30, 2008:
“…the tragedy of Arab political culture has been the unending expectation of the crowd -- the street, we call it -- in the redeemer who will put an end to the decline, who will restore faded splendor and greatness. When I came into my own, in the late 1950s and '60s, those hopes were invested in the Egyptian Gamal Abdul Nasser. He faltered, and broke the hearts of generations of Arabs. But the faith in the Awaited One lives on, and it would forever circle the Arab world looking for the next redeemer.

America is a different land, for me exceptional in all the ways that matter. In recent days, those vast Obama crowds, though, have recalled for me the politics of charisma that wrecked Arab and Muslim societies. A leader does not have to say much, or be much. The crowd is left to its most powerful possession -- its imagination…

…The morning after the election, the disappointment will begin to settle upon the Obama crowd. Defeat -- by now unthinkable to the devotees -- will bring heartbreak. Victory will steadily deliver the sobering verdict that our troubles won't be solved by a leader's magic.”

(By the way I am surprised to read the verbal attacks on Fouad Ajami by the likes of Brad DeLong and James Fallows for saying this.)

Personally speaking I will miss George W. Bush's tremendous sense of humour. Every time I see him on a TV screen, I start smiling in anticipation. Indian government will miss him too.

He may have been a kind of mafioso. But he was like one of those 'bad men' who are portrayed very kindly in Hindi films. For me, one of the most moving images of 2008 is his embrace of Indian Prime Minister when they met last at the White House. I thought both had a hint of tears in their eyes.

But above all, once Bush is gone, I won’t know for a while what to be hawkish about!


Artist: Barney Tobey The New Yorker 23 August 1969