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."

Chris Ware: "Being a cartoonist means you don’t consider yourself too fancy."

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: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Painless to the Criminal and Terrible to the Beholder?

Laxmibai Tilak’s लक्ष्मीबाई टिळक Smritichitre स्मृतिचित्रे (Memory-pictures) 1934 is one of the best books written in Marathi.

It opens with a devastating event for the family. In an act of John Company's terrorism, her mother’s father is hanged by the British after the revolt/war/mutiny of 1857. This drives her father crazy resulting into disastrous consequences for her family.

I wish I could get to read the story of Laxmibai’s grandfather. She says he enjoyed the trust of poor and was loved by the town’s (Jalalpur जलालपूर)
residents.

There is very little documentation of that period available, in easily accessible Marathi sources. The only exception is “Maza pravas” by Godse Bhataji माझा प्रवास, गोडसे भटजी.

GEOFFREY WHEATCROFT writes in his review of “THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE 1781-1997” By Piers Brendon (NYT Books Update on November 23, 2008):

“…The growing realm in India was a corporate enterprise, literally so, run by “John Company,” as the East India Company was known, until what Indians no longer call the Indian Mutiny. This was put down with the most horrifying brutality by the British, raising not for the first time the question of who were the “savages” and who the civilized…”

I have always found darkest humour in following description of the event that took place much before 1857.

Elphinstone did not hesitate to order the (Brahmin) ringleaders (of a plot to murder all the Europeans in Pune) to be blown from guns, observing that this method of execution ‘contains two valuable elements of capital punishment; it is painless to the criminal and terrible to the beholder’.” (Philip Mason. “Men Who Ruled India”)



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