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, December 13, 2008

Nanasaheb Peshwa (1720 – 1761) and Mumbai Attacks (2008)

(There are a number of entries on this blog on Shivaji, Panipat 1761, T S Shejwalkar. Nanasaheb Peshwe. You can search it to reach them.)

William Faulkner: “The past is not dead; it is not even past.”

If I were India’s navy chief, November 26, 2008 would be one of the saddest days in my life. Only on November 20, 2008, “Indian warship sinks Somali pirate vessel in the Gulf of Aden” was FT’s most ready story. Indian navy was darling of the international and local media.

Sea is a great leveler.

My first thought after hearing about the Mumbai attacks on the morning of 27th November: India’s vulnerability from the sea-borne invaders has changed little since medieval times

Robert D. Kaplan has put it well: “…the tragedy has caused the world to focus on India’s weaknesses — its lax security, its vulnerability to age-old maritime infiltration and, most of all, the constant threat of caste and tribal violence — that have been obscured by its economic success…” (NYT December 8, 2008)

Notice: “India's vulnerability to age-old maritime infiltration.” Exploiting that, Europeans entered, looted, and ruled India.

Since the dawn of 17th century, Shivaji शिवाजी was perhaps the only Indian ruler who understood the importance of an effective navy. But Peshwas- his successors- were not that wise

T S Shejwalkar त्र्यंबक शंकर शेजवलकर and his classic “Panipat 1761 पानिपत 1761” will continue to remain relevant –even prophetic- as long as volatile situation prevails in South Asia. After analysing contemporary actors of 18th century India and Afghanistan, he has blamed Mahatma Gandhi- for whom he had enormous respect- and J L Nehru for not learning from Panipat.

Shejwalkar has pilloried Nanasaheb Peshwe- who also was a principal actor in 1761- for destroying the Maratha navy created by Shivaji. Read scanned image- given below- of a passage from Shejwalkar’s essay: “Nanasaheb Peshwe नानासाहेब पेशवे” (1925).

("निवडक लेखसंग्रह" त्र्यंबक शंकर शेजवलकर; परिचय गं दे खानोलकर "Selected Articles” by Tryambak Shankar Shejwalkar 1977 introduction: G D Khanolkar)

Has modern Indian state learnt enough from Shivaji (1630-1680) when it comes to self-defense? Or is Shivaji there only to be abused for waging wars against fellow Indians?