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."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lord Irwin: And now, Ms. Gauhar Jaan, I wonder if I could take a small liberty?

Gauhar Jaan (1873-1930) was a legendary singer. Probably as big as what K L Saigal was and Lata Mangeshkar today is.

Frontline June 5-18 2010 has a review of a book on her: "My Name is Gauhar Jaan!" - The Life and Times of a Musician by Vikram Sampath.

In school hisory books one comes across Lord Irwin who was Viceroy of India from 1926 to 1931.

Wikipedia informs: "Irwin's rule was marked by a period of great political turmoil. The exclusion of Indians from the Simon Commission examining the country's readiness for self-government provoked serious violence..."

Looks like among all this he found time to violate Ms. Jaan.

"...Lord Irwin, visiting Rampur, was lavishly entertained, and a part of it was a concert by Gauhar Jaan. She sang gloriously. She, however, made one inadvertent mistake. Dressed in a saree with her customary elegance, she pinned all the medals she had received from bigwigs during her illustrious career on her chest. After the concert, against all norms of civilised etiquette, Lord Irwin reached out to examine the medals. Nawab Hamid Ali was incensed. He told Gauhar later, “So you did manage to get a white man to touch your breast, didn't you?” She, due to a silly, unthinking act on her part, found herself suddenly out of favour with the nawab. Most humiliating of all was the discovery that the precious diamonds she had got as gifts from him were actually cheap imitations..."


Artist: Peter Arno, The New Yorker, March 29, 1947