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."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Did Shivaji See a Tulip at Dutch Factory in Surat?

Today February 19 2014 is 384th Birth Anniversary of Shivaji (शिवाजी)


William Dalrymple, October 2012:

"...it was India’s extraordinary wealth that drew in the merchant adventurers of the East India Company. They came to India not as part of some Tudor aid project, but instead as part of a desperate effort to cash in on the riches of the Mughal empire, then one of the two wealthiest polities in the world. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, the Mughal city of Lahore is revealed to Adam after the Fall as a future wonder of God’s creation: by the 17th century, Lahore had grown richer than Constantinople, and with its two million inhabitants it dwarfed London and Paris combined. It was, in terms of rapid growth, prosperity and opportunities, the Gurgaon of its day.
What eastern Europeans are to modern Brit­ain – economic migrants in search of a better life – the Jacobeans were to Mughal India. It was only after the arrival of the various colonial powers that India came to be perceived as poor..."

Jennifer Szalai, Lapham's Quarterly:

"The speculator is fixated on what everybody else is thinking, because the existence of a market in shares means that prices will be determined more often by the mentality of the herd than by the thing itself—whether it be a tulip, a pork belly, a pound sterling, or a house...Tulips may be beautiful to look at, a lovely addition to the breakfast table, but during the height of Tulipomania in the winter of 1636-7, the bulbs were in the ground and speculators were trading pieces of paper: no tulips were actually delivered"

Mr. Narendra Modi claims that Shivaji did not sack Surat in 1664 and 1670

Instead, Mr. Modi says, he plundered Mughal emperor Aurangazeb's treasure in the city with the help of local people.

Maybe. 

In any case, it looks like, we all have to start loving Mr. Modi.


As  'Aurangazeb's treasure in the city was being looted', by one account,  narrated so beautifully (maybe little speculative perhaps) by the late D G Godse (द ग गोडसे), Shivaji watched it, for some time,  from the Dutch factory. 

Dutch painter then present grabbed that opportunity to draw Shivaji's most moving portrait available to us today. 

If you read Marathi (मराठी), read a couple of pages from Godse's said essay  below:


 [ "Shivrayache Kaise Bolane....", 'Samande Talash', Shreevidya Prakashan

("शिवरायाचे कैसे बोलणे…. ", 'समन्दे तलाश', श्रीविद्या प्रकाशन , 1981) ]

On February 2 1637,  legendary Dutch tulip bubble burst. It very much happened on Shivaji's watch. Maharaj was six years old. 

Did Shivaji know (they say he was generally well informed even about European affairs)  about the speculative madness as he stood in the Dutch factory? If he knew, what would he think about the money that changed hands in Holland during the mania? He needed only a tiny fraction of it to build his own dream and that's why he was in Surat in the first place!



Courtsey: The Economist


Dan Piepenbring writes in 'Tulipomania!': 


"...Most edifying of all, though, is a list of various articles that “were delivered for one single root of the rare species called the Viceroy,” which gives an astonishing sense of just how inflated the flowers’ value was:


·        Two lasts of wheat

·        Four lasts of rye

·        Four fat oxen

·        Eight fat swine

·        Twelve fat sheep

·        Two hogsheads of wine

·        Four tuns of beer

·        Two tuns of butter

·        One thousand lbs. of cheese

·        A complete bed

·        A suit of clothes

·        A silver drinking-cup..."



Artist: Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678), 1640

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