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."

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Do Most Soldiers Just Want to Get Home in One Piece?

Erich Maria Remarque in “All Quiet On The Western Front":

“This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.”

George Orwell in "Homage to Catalonia":

"One of the most horrible features of war is that the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting."

Arundhati Roy:

"...Sometimes the most rabid people calling for war, calling for Pakistan to be nuked, etc, are those who live far away, who will not have to suffer the consequences of what they're saying. You see it all the time in the Letters columns of magazines and newspapers..."

Recently in India, 10th anniversary of the Kargil war was observed. Many 'celebrated' India's 'victory' there.

On September 1, 2009, the world observed 70th anniversary of the start of the World War II.

The Greatest Generation is a term often used by Americans to describe the generation who grew up during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II.

While reviewing "D-Day: The Battle for Normandy" by Antony Beevor, Dominic Sandbrook says:

"...Despite all the patriotic American nonsense about the "greatest generation", Beevor shows that there were remarkably few heroes. There were rarely "more than a handful of men prepared to take risks and attack," he says; most men just wanted to get home in one piece and "somebody else to play the role of hero". Surveys showed that if a few broke ranks and fled, the rest would follow; in most engagements, as many as half never fired a shot..."

(The Observer, Sunday 31 May 2009 )

JONATHAN SUMPTION on "Finest Years" by Max Hastings:

"...Max Hastings’ views about the British army in the second world war are well known, and are pungently repeated here. Its ranks were filled with ‘many men willing to do their duty, but few who sought to become heroes.’ Its leaders, with a handful of exceptions, were risk-averse blockheads, devoid of imagination or initiative..."

(Spectator, September 16, 2009)

Back home, consider the third battle of Panipat that was fought on January 14, 1761.

Many high-profile commanders of Maratha army just wanted to get home in one piece and somebody else to play the role of hero.

What about India's battles since 1947? Are they tales of only courage and bravery?

For me, Haqeeqat(1964) remains the only authentic war tale told by the Hindi cinema since 1947.

Artist: Pat Oliphant

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