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."

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