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, May 13, 2010

How Little They Know India...And perhaps care

As Brits elected hung parliament and the prospect of coalition government loomed, I thought there would be many references from the British punditry to India's experience in this field.

For instance, the new British PM and Deputy PM were asked on May 12 2010, in a press conference, whether they would both field candidates in a future by-election.

Now this happens in Indian democrarcy almost every day and yet one BBC commentator was amused by the prospect of coalition partners fighting it out in an election.

All 'experts' kept referring to either Europe or USA.

And our TV channels want us to know that the Indian PM called the new British PM to congratulate him.

They say Britain is USA's poodle. Is India a poodle of both Britain and USA?

Have Marathas been Generous Enough towards their Bhimthadi Ponies?

Sir F. W. Fitzwygram:

"It is impossible for a man of average sensibility to observe closely and to note the painful expression and the intelligence of these creatures … to witness their sufferings [and] the brutal treatment which they too often meet from ignorant and cruel men; it is impossible for him to see these things without sorrow, without endeavouring to alleviate their agony …"

('Horses and Stables', 1901)

Many Marathi speaking people feel proud about the military success of Marathas across the subcontinent in 18th century.

Many legends, heroes and myths are borne out of that pride.

A good part of that success was surely due to their mount- a pony aka Bhimthadi-Tatta(भीमथडी तट्टं).

"Maharashtra has Krishna, Nira, Ghodnadi, Bhima, Pravara, Godavari as main rivers. Out of these, more than Krishna, since the water from Bhima, Pravara, Nira, Ghodnadi, Godavari suited the horses better, horses brought up on their water were strong, smart, loyal..."

['Peshwekalin Maharashtra' (पेशवेकालीन महाराष्ट्र) by Vasudev Krushna Bhave (वासुदेव कृष्ण भावे), 1936]

("महाराष्ट्रात कृष्णा, निरा, घोडनदी, भिमा, प्रवरा, गोदावरी या प्रमुख नद्या होत. यांपैकी कृष्णानदीपेक्षांही भिमा, प्रवरा, निरा, घोडनदी, गोदावरी या नद्यांचे पाणी घोड्यांना चांगले मानवणारे असल्यामुळे त्या पाण्यावर पोसलेली घोडी बळकट, चलाख, इमानी व पाणीदार असत.")

I have read a few books describing that period but have never come across the praise for their horses as much as following.

Reviewing "Russia Against Napoleon" by Dominic Lieven that analyses one of the greatest military triumph in history, JENNIFER SIEGEL says:

"...Russia's triumph is also a story of logistics, supplies and, above all, the horse.

The country's leaders mobilized what Mr. Lieven calls "the sinews of Russian power": its vast population (although much smaller than the combined numbers at Napoleon's disposal); its outstanding and plentiful horse stock; its arms manufacturing; and even the sometimes unstable Russian economy.

Of these, it is the horse, and Russia's ability to mobilize its light cavalry to harass Napoleon's rearguard as it retreated across the great European plain, that receives the greatest attention in "Russia Against Napoleon." Coming in a close second to the horse in significance were the victuallers who managed to feed and supply more than a half-million troops during the two-year campaign..." (WSJ, APRIL 14, 2010)