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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

India's Top 10 Foreigners. My list

Wendy Doniger:

"...And so from the very start India was a place made up of land and people from somewhere else..."

[Chapter 2, 'Time and Space in India' from her book 'The Hindus: An Alternative History', 2009]

(notice the word: 'land' in the quote above)

The Times of India reported on December 10 2009 that Dr. Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis (द्वारकानाथ शांताराम कोटणीस) is in the list of China's top ten foreigners who made exceptional contributions to the country in the past 100 years.

What an honour!

Very few native Marathi speaking persons have been feted on such a scale on the global stage.

What about top ten foreigners, not necessarily friends or well-wishers, who have visited India since Alexander the great and shaped India's destiny for the better or the worse?

Here a foreigner means someone who was not borne or raised in the subcontinent.

Here is an attempt:

Alexander the great 356–323 BCE

Mahmud of Ghazni 971-1030

Vasco da Gama 1460/1469–1524

Babur 1483-1531

Ahmad Shah Durrani/Abdali 1722–1773

Robert Clive 1725–1774

William Jones 1746-1794

Thomas Babington Macaulay 1800–1859

The Lord Curzon of Kedleston 1859–1925

Mother Teresa 1910–1997


Artist: Mischa Richter, The New Yorker, 9 October 1965