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."
Thursday, August 04, 2011
History is thought of largely in nationalist terms, and such things as the Inquisition, the tortures of the Star Chamber, the exploits of the English buccaneers (Sir Francis Drake, for instance, who was given to sinking Spanish prisoners alive), the Reign of Terror, the heroes of the Mutiny blowing hundreds of Indians from the guns, or Cromwell's soldiers slashing Irishwomen's faces with razors, become morally neutral or even meritorious when it is felt that they were done in the 'right' cause.
Instead of recognizing the importance of apocalyptic thinking, Mr. Landes argues, we prefer to posit a common-sense world in which grand flights of imagination are construed as outbursts of misguided enthusiasm. Most historians, he says, make the same mistake. They view apocalyptic prophecy as a kind of falsified madness that leaves little of importance behind.
In fact, Mr. Landes says, the whole texture of our lives is deeply affected by our response to both past apocalyptic beliefs and current millennial aspirations. Nor is apocalyptic frenzy limited to the religious sphere. It also underlies the secular world of seemingly common-sense understanding. (WSJ, July 28 2011)
Ramachandra Guha's book "Makers of Modern India" was recently published.
It profiles nineteen Indians whose ideas, according to the author, had a defining impact on the formation and evolution of our Republic.
Here are my nineteen who were borne 1800 CE or later and whose ideas and actions, ahead of others, have a defining impact on the state of Indian union today:
(Names are not in any order. And I defy anyone who says history is progress.)
1. Lord Macaulay
2. B G Tilak
3. M K Gandhi
4. Rabindranath Tagore
5. M A Jinnah
6. B R Ambedkar
7. J L Nehru
8. M S Golvilkar
9. Indira Gandhi
10. L K Advani
11. V P Singh
12. Dhirubhai Ambani
13. Raj Kapoor
14. M. G. Ramachandran
16. C. Subramaniam
17. Rajesh Khanna
18. Manmohan Singh
19. Sachin Tendulkar
And remember, like Mr. Gridley in the picture below that is now 78-year old but remains brilliant, whether best-selling historians or ordinary bloggers, they put too much of themselves into 'it'!
Artist: Leonard Dove, The New Yorker, July 29 1933