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."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I wish we had a lot of Dadoji Konddeo's and S R Sankaran's

E A S Sarma:

S R Sankaran, the retired IAS officer, died on October 7 2010. During the 30-odd years that he served the state and the centre as a civil servant in various capacities, Sankaran’s home offered an open shelter to anyone in need of help and solace. He transcended the rigid barriers of the civil services to reach out to the needy, the oppressed and the deprived. His uprightness, sincerity and compassion for the poor disarmed politicians, inspired young civil servants and provided hope and succour to millions of voiceless people. He was a civil servant with a difference. More than that, he was a self-effacing human being par excellence. (EPW, Vol XLV No.43 October 23, 2010)


Mel Brooks:

“Nietzsche whispers to you: ‘Without audacity there is no greatness.’ Freud whispers to you: ‘Why must there be greatness?’ That fight’s still going on. And you don’t understand either one, because they’re both whispering in German."

Peter Maass, The New Yorker, January 10, 2011:

"In a way, statue topplings are the banana peels of history that we often slip on."


Dadoji Konddeo (दादोजी कोंडदेव) was NOT Shivaji's (शिवाजी) guru. I agree.

They removed Konddev's statue from Lal Mahal (लाल महाल) . I have no quarrel with that.

One of the all-time top five Marathi writers, Samarth Ramdas (समर्थ रामदास) was NOT Shivaji's guru. I have no quarrel with that either. (In fact, M V Dhond म वा धोंड argues that Shivaji was Ramdas's guru. I agree with Dhond. When you are a contemporary of a giant like Shivaji, how can you be NOT his disciple?)

But when I heard caste-fundamentalists of Maharashtra disparaging Konddev as "ordinary", "lowly" servant of Shivaji, I felt sad.

By all accounts I have read, Konddev was an honest and trusted civil servant of Shivaji and his father.

Isn't that enough to make him a hero in this country? How many honest civil servants has India got 363 years after Konddev's death?

Why can't you be ordinary? Why do you have to be great to be remembered? What have most elites done for the majority of this country?

Konddev-sir, Don't feel bad. Your statue has only been removed from one place. Mr. S R Sankaran most likely will have no statue.