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."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Vote Your Caste Here

Justice J.S. Verma, a former Chief Justice of India:

"Earlier, people looked at caste only at the time of marriage. Now caste is not relevant at marriage, but it is prominent all the time. This malady exists at the highest levels.... Reservations are still with us though they were meant to be transitory. All this shows that we have not been able to integrate society. We see national integration only when there is a national calamity..."

Wendy Doniger:


“India is a country where not only the future but even the past is unpredictable. You could easily use history to argue for almost any position in contemporary India: that Hindus have been vegetarians, and that they have not; that Hindus and Muslims have gotten along well together, and that they have not; that Hindus have objected to suttee, and that they have not; that Hindus have renounced the material world, and that they have embraced it; that Hindus have oppressed women and lower castes, and that they have fought for their equality. Throughout history, right up to the contemporary political scene, the tensions between the various Hinduisms, and the different sorts of Hindus, have simultaneously enhanced the tradition and led to incalculable suffering.”

Pranab Bardhan:

"Our governance structures are also hemmed in by our sociology and culture. In 19th-century Europe (as in Mao’s China) the state took a leading initiative in spreading mass education and health services. In contrast, our elite is relatively callous about these basic needs of the poor; this may be a reflection of traditional elite disdain for the lower classes and castes. But even when the latter come to power, the issue of basic social services gets low priority in comparison with larger symbolic issues of dignity politics (particularly in North India). A perceived slight in the speech of a higher-caste political leader resented by a lower-caste one will usually cause much more of an uproar than if the same leader’s policy neglect keeps hundreds of thousands of children severely malnourished in the same lower caste. The issue of job reservation for backward castes catches the public imagination more fervently than that of child mortality or school dropouts that afflict the majority in those communities. Thus the demand from below for those basic social services is as inarticulate as their supply from above is deficient."


Hindi film 'Aarakshan' (आरक्षण) is being released today August 12 2011. (Or is it?)

I was just browsing "CASTE, ITS TWENTIETH CENTURY AVATAR", 1996 edited and introduced by the one and only the late M N Srinivas.

The best place to start reading the book is the back cover of the book.

It has this brilliant cartoon by the late Abu Abraham:


I would make just one change to it in 2011. Remove the word 'UP' from the ballot box.

(p.s I think it was Abu who created the word play on caste / cast that has now so pervasive.)

There is a brilliant cartoon by Sudhir Tailang in today's The Asian Age on how the film "Aarakshan" was reserved for different categories!