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, September 07, 2013

Historical Truth and Malfunctioning of Word Processor

Maitri Upanishads:

‘As one acts and conducts himself, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good. The doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action’ 

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.”

Dwijendra Narayan Jha:

"...Togadia and others speak of Muslim hostility towards Hindus. But what happened in Karnataka? Lingayats occupied Jain temples. They put their tilak [a Hindu symbol] on Jain statues, appropriated other religious places of worship. In fact, Jains were so much oppressed by the Lingayats that they had to seek protection from the Vijaynagara rulers. In Tamil Nadu, 8,000 Jains were impaled at a Madurai court, as mentioned in a historical text. It is not only Muslims who did it. This has been done by all religions. Similar things happened in Europe also. Churches were damaged by Muslims. Sects within Christianity fought against each other. We always say that Hinduism is the most tolerant. If there is anything like the Hindu, there is a streak of intolerance in all historical texts. Vaishnavas and Saivites have fought all the time..."

(Frontline, December 18 2009) 

Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins, 'Freedom at Midnight', 1975, page- 378:

"...On both sides of the border a man's sexual organ became, in the truest sense, his staff of life. In India, Sikhs and Hindus prowled the cars of ambushed trains; slaughtering every male they found who was circumcised. In Pakistan Muslims raced along the trains murdering every man who was not. There were periods of four and five days at a stretch during which not a single train reached Lahore or Amritsar without its complement of dead and wounded..."

 
Nicholas Taleb:

"....journalism may be the greatest plague we face today- as the world becomes more and more complicated and our minds are trained for more and more simplification".

Marathi daily Loksatta (लोकसत्ता)  has reviewed 'Buddhist Warfare', 2010  by Michael Jerryson (Editor) , Mark Juergensmeyer (Editor) on September 7 2013. Read it here.

 The summary at the top says:

"बौद्ध धर्म हा शांतताप्रिय आहे, असं सर्वसाधारणपणे मानलं जातं. पण या पुस्तकातले दाखले पाहिले की, या समजाला मोठमोठे तडे जातात. हा धर्मही ख्रिश्चन, इस्लाम या धर्माइतकाच हिंसक आहे, असं वाटायला लागतं..."

"It is generally considered that Buddhism is peace-loving. But if you see the evidences in this book, that understanding cracks. One starts thinking that even this religion is as violent as Christianity and Islam..."

 I chuckled after reading this. Why doesn't the reviewer include Hinduism in that list? 

If he didn't wish to say Hinduism specifically, he could have said: "one starts thinking that even this religion is as violent as other major religions".  ("हा धर्मही इतर प्रमुख धर्मांतकाच हिंसक आहे, असं वाटायला लागतं").

It can't be that the reviewer forgot about the Hinduism while writing this statement. 

Therefore, there are three likely reasons for this omission.

1. You don't know  history. 2. You don't want to say Hinduism  because most readers of the paper are Marathi speaking Hindu's. 3. Your word processor malfunctioned.

Without referring to the violence that took place, in the name of Hinduism, in 20th/21st  century India, here are a couple of reasons why it has something to do with history and not word processor.



"What is perhaps especially valuable about The Buddha and the Sahibs is Allen's gentle reminder of exactly how and why Buddhism died out in the land of its birth. Every child in India knows that when the Muslims first came to India that they desecrated temples and smashed idols. But what is conveniently forgotten is that during the Hindu revival at the end of the first millennium AD, many Hindu rulers had behaved in a similar fashion to the Buddhists.

It was because of this persecution, several centuries before the arrival of Islam, that the philosophy of the Buddha, once a serious rival to Hinduism, virtually disappeared from India: Harsha Deva, a single Kashmiri raja, for example boasted that he had destroyed no less than 4,000 Buddhist shrines. Another raja, Sasanka of Bengal, went to Bodh Gaya, sacked the monastery and cut down the tree of wisdom under which the Buddha had received enlightenment.

According to Buddhist tradition, Sasanka's "body produced sores and his flesh quickly rotted off and after a short while he died". At a time when Islamaphobia is becoming endemic in both India and the west, and when a far-right Hindu government is doing its best to terrorise India's Muslim minority, the story of how an earlier phase of militant Hinduism violently rooted out Indian Buddhism is an important and worrying precedent, and one that needs very badly to be told, and remembered."

(The Guardian,


John Keay:

"...
In the course of perhaps several campaigns, more triumphs were recorded by the Cholas, more treasure was amassed, and more Mahmudian atrocities are imputed. According to a Western Chalukyan inscription, in the Bijapur district the Chola army behaved with exceptional brutality, slaughtering women, children and brahmans and raping girls of decent caste. Manyakheta, the old Rashtrakutan capital, was also plundered and sacked...

 ...The classic expansion of Chola power began anew with the accession of Rajaraja I in 985. Campaigns in the south brought renewed success against the Pandyas and their ‘haughty’ Chera allies in Kerala, both of which kingdoms were now claimed as Chola feudatories. These triumphs were followed, or accompanied, by a successful invasion of Buddhist Sri Lanka in which Anuradhapura, the ancient capital, was sacked and its stupas plundered with a rapacity worthy of the great Mahmud...

...When, therefore, Rajendra I succeeded Rajaraja and assumed the reins of power in 1014, his priority was obvious. Sri Lanka was promptly reinvaded and more treasures and priceless regalia seized; prising open even relic chambers, says a Sri Lankan chronicle, ‘like blood-sucking yakkhas they took all the treasures of Lanka for themselves’..."

('INDIA A HISTORY: From the Earliest Civilisations to the Boom of the Twenty-First Century', 2000/ 2010)

    

  
Artist: Saul Steinberg

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