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."

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!