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."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why should Luckier Zoozoos be Angry and Ashamed?

Joe Leahy says in FT June 25, 2009

“A study funded by the Asian Development Bank found that, by early last year, India had 50 billionaires who together controlled wealth equivalent to 20 per cent of gross domestic product and, reportedly, 80 per cent of stock market capitalisation… Per capita income is about $1,000 (€715, £625), but many in its population of 1.1bn scrape by on much less...

…“This concentration of wealth and influence could be a hidden time bomb under India’s social fabric,” warned the report….”

If indeed it is 'hidden time bomb under India’s social fabric', it has been there for centuries!

From "The Mughal World" by Abraham Eraly, 2007

"...At the height of Mughal splendour under Shah Jahan (reign 1628-1658), over a quarter of the gross national product of the empire was appropriated by just 655 individuals, while the bulk of the 120-odd million people of India lived on a dead level of poverty."

Drawing on Indivar Kamtekar‘s work, SWAMINATHAN S ANKLESARIA AIYAR wrote on 60th anniversary of Bengal Famine :

“…Above all, the business class flourished. The war (WWII) required unprecedented quantities of every sort of manufacture. Lack of shipping constrained competition from imports. The price of cloth rose five-fold before the colonial state imposed price controls: its top priority was to encourage production, not worry about janata cloth. Business fortunes were made, and new giants like Telco and Hindustan Motors emerged in this period. Tax evasion was widespread and not seriously checked by the authorities. Indeed, some businessmen defended tax evasion as “patriotic” non-cooperation with the Raj!…

Kamtekar says, “In a situation where franchise was based on property and education, they (the rural poor) were not on the provincial voters’ lists. Although many died on the streets of Calcutta, none actually belonged to the city. City dwellers were safe, covered by various food schemes: it was the rural poor who came to the city to die. For all their misery, they remained marginal (to the political scene). The dead were not articulate actors in the theatres of modern politics. The Great Calcutta Killing of 1946, when 5000 people were slaughtered, threatened the Bengali bhadralok, and a furore followed. But the children of the Bengali Renaissance were unharmed by the Bengal Famine...

The Great Bengal Famine was a colossal human tragedy, but, cynically, no cause for political panic. Those who died could not even be counted properly, because they counted for so little.”

This is a harsh indictment of the class that led our independence movement. It suggests that it was no accident that Mahatma Gandhi was also a personal friend of G D Birla.

According to the Direct Taxes Enquiry Committee of 1958-59, not a single Indian was convicted of tax evasion in the decade after Independence. The situation has not improved since. ”

(The Times of India, AUGUST 20, 2003)

Recently, I read about Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”:

“…Harrington argued that Americans should be angry and ashamed to live in a rich society in which so many remained poor. “The fate of the poor,” he concluded, “hangs upon the decision of the better-off. If this anger and shame are not forthcoming, someone can write a book about the other America a generation from now and it will be the same or worse.”…”

(Maurice Isserman, NYT, June 21 2009)

Americans should learn from Indians. Most of us have never felt ashamed.

Why don’t the poor in India rise in 'revolt' or have never 'revolted'? I have no clue.

Perhaps they are inspired by Saint Namdev संत नामदेव.

Namdev tells his god- Vitthal विठ्ठल-who is wealthy:

"Nama says at your home gold & money and at our home your name."

"नामा म्हणे तुमचे घरीं सोनें दाम। आमुचे घरीं तुमचे नाम।।"




courtesy: Vodafone Zoozoo campaign