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."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Running like Headless Chicken. For Five Years.

Where do I see chicken that has lost its head?

In one of the severest indictments of India’s UPA government, Business Standard said on November 19, 2008:

“…A review by the Planning Commission is reported to have found that barring rural telephony and housing, all other sectors chosen for focused attention under the Rs 1.76 lakh crore five-year (2005-09) rural infrastructure programme are lagging behind the set targets. Notably, the situation is particularly dismal in key areas of irrigation, rural roads and rural electrification, though it is below par also in the provision of safe drinking water. Sadly, in the first four years, only one-third of the target for rural connectivity and electrification, vital for inclusive growth, could be attained. Worse still, the progress was an abysmal 10 per cent in the case of electric supply to the below-poverty-line households. The achievement in critical areas of irrigation and potable water supply, too, was far from satisfactory, being 50 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively…

…The track record of many a critical programme under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is equally dismaying. Provision of sanitation facilities to curb open defecation, deemed a national scourge, is a case in point. It is estimated that as many as 1,12,300 toilets need to be built every day if the MDG aim is to be attained by the set deadline of 2012. What really needs to be appreciated here is that the country is paying a heavy economic price for poor sanitation that causes diseases and consequent manday losses. Such losses are estimated at around Rs 1,200 crore, including 180 million mandays, a year. Little wonder that the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), in its recent report on South Asia, has ranked India far below its neighbours like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in terms of sanitation. Notably, between 1990 and 2006, only around 20 per cent of additional people gained access to sanitation facilities in India, against 40 per cent in Pakistan, the UNICEF reported to the discredit of India.

Such a woeful profile of the fundamental facilities for the people is disgraceful. What makes the situation all the more disconcerting is that all these programmes, even if executed by the ministries concerned, are supposed to be monitored regularly by the Planning Commission and, more importantly, the Prime Minister's Office…”



Artist: P C Vey The New Yorker November 24, 2008 Cartoon Caption Contest 170

My caption:

“…For today’s presentation, I found no better symbol than headless chicken to sum up running around of India’s coalition government for last five years.”