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."

Monday, July 18, 2011

मुंबई नगरी बडी बांका, जशी रावणाची दुसरी लंका

CNN July 14 2011:

"Mumbai returned quickly to a strange sense of normality on Thursday, less than 12 hours after triple blasts hit the city late Wednesday, leaving dozens dead and many more injured.

Heavy monsoonal rain overnight and all day Thursday posed the only practical impediment to residents.


At a live press conference in Mumbai early Thursday, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Mumbai and Mumbaikars “responded splendidly” in evacuating the injured and assisting police.

“Children are going to school, people are going back to work … this is the resolute response that one expects from Mumbai.” 


“Mumbai has always lived up to that high expectation,” the minister added.

"


Indian Rebellion of 1857 which happened from May 10 1857 to June 20 1858 was one of the most important events of world history that year.

Almost as much as India's independence in year 1947.

A scene from that:

The British retaliated with horrific violence against the native population. (Charles Ball, `History of the Indian Mutiny', Vol. 1.)


Irfan Habib :

"Therefore, when our statesmen (as our Prime Minister did, the other day, at Oxford) speak of the good things that happened under British rule, like the establishment of the Indian Civil Service, they should think sometimes of 1857, not only of the rebels but also of the ordinary citizens - men, women and children - who were shot or hacked to death or killed by various means, under the aegis of our great praiseworthy benefactors."

"While the death toll is often debated by historians with figures ranging between one hundred thousand and one million, it is usually agreed that several hundred thousands were killed (in Indian Rebellion of 1857)." (Wikipedia)

0.05% to 0.50% of estimated Indian population of 200 million died. It easily is the second most violent chapter in the history of modern India, next only to her partition. Far ahead of any of her wars or terrorist attacks on her.

How was Mumbai impacted by this in 19th century?

"१८५७ सालच्या बंडाची धामधूम जेव्हा चालली होती तेव्हा मुंबईतला व्यापार आणि तिथले व्यवहार पुष्कळसे नेहमीसारखेच चालू होते. "

(गंगाधर गाडगीळ, 'प्रारंभ', 2002)
.

["When rebellion of year 1857 had caused tumult then trading and other activities in Mumbai were going on almost normally."
(Gangadhar Gadgil, 'Prarambh')]

Gadgil's book- part history, part fiction- on 19th century Mumbai is very good but not great. (To start with it lacks index.) The book is also a slap in the face of those people who say that Marathi speaking population of Mumbai has not contributed significantly towards making the city financial capital of India.

When I read it, I realise the kind of problems the ordinary people of Mumbai have faced since the city's founding.

And who were (and are) those people?

People of multiple races, religions, languages, castes, skin colours, nationalities, class.

Of course, they were fortunate to get leaders like Jaganath Shunkerseth (जगन्नाथ शंकरशेट) and Balshastri Jambhekar (बाळशास्त्री जांभेकर)- both visionary giants who happen to be very liberal and Marathi speaking- in 19th century.

(There was a Hindu-Muslim flare-up in Bhiwandi, Thane in c 1830's.

Mr. Shunkerseth, a devout Hindu, gave exemplary leardership to help quell it. As long as Mr. Shunkerseth was on the Governor'c Council, Muslims never asked for their own representative to be included in it.

Gandhiji and others would play such roles in 20th century.)

They have helped make the city what it is today, described aptly by inimitable poet Paththe Bapurao (पठ्ठे बापूराव):

"Mumbai Nagari badi banka, jashee Ravanachee dusari Lanka" (मुंबई नगरी बडी बांका, जशी रावणाची दुसरी लंका)

The Times of India, July 15 2011:

"A rough estimate shows that diamonds worth Rs. 25 crore flew into the air at the time of the blast."


Bombay Stock Exchange c 1864

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