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."

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

For more pictures of Pat Oliphant click here