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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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, December 27, 2013

His Secular AK47 Became the Coca-Cola of Small Arms

When Suredra Paul, owner of the Apeejay group and brother of UK-based Swraj Paul,  was brutally murdered by militants in Assam near Chabua on May 9 1990, my wife and I almost heard the gunshots because we lived only a few kilometers away from the scene at Doom Dooma.

Later we came to know that the murder was done with a weapon called AK-47 and any 'idiot' could operate it with ease and that it was easily and cheaply available in Assam.

I still remember that eerie afternoon. Luckily we did not see any AK-47 while we lived there. It seems as of today the rifle has killed more people than any other firearm in the world!

In the wee hours of November 8 1990, we were asked to leave our tea-garden homes, with as little baggage as possible,  on a gun-mounted Indian military truck before being airlifted from Sookerting airfield- almost never used for nondefense purpose- in an Indian Airlines Boeing flight to dodge the bullets of Ulfa's AK-47's.


courtesy: Frontline dated December 8-21 1990

(I knew well all the employees from the picture above and the late Mr. Deepak Sen lived in the bungalow above.

By the way,  the cars were not "abandoned" by any definition of that word. They were parked in the head office because the military convoy  carrying us started from that point. Managing Director was NOT evacuated with us. He was already in Kolkata.)

A lot of blood has since been shed in the streets of India. 

Mikhail Kalashnikov, credited with creating the AK-47, the most popular assault rifle in history, died at age 94 on December 23 2013.

Nigel Fountain  writes in the Guardian while reviewing Michael Hodges's 'AK47: The Story of the People's Gun', on  July 28 2007:

"...With 650 rounds pumped out a minute, Kalashnikov's cheap and cheerless, charismatic assembly of tube and wood has, with added global trickle-down, put mass slaughter inside the budgets of ordinary Joes - and Abdullahs and Reiks - everywhere..."

Not just Joes,  Abdullahs and Reiks but also Baruah's, Singh's, Prabhakaran's...


Artist: Tome Toles, July 2009