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."

Monday, July 18, 2016

मी पाहू कशाला नभाकडे?...How to Make Your Victim Bare His Neck



I recently learned one more time how poorly most of us are taught at school.

We were told (I forget the year) that Lord William Bentinck​ achieved the suppression of the thugs but no one told us, certainly not the text book, who exactly thugs were.

I thought they were like dacoits, like mythical Valya-koli (वाल्या कोळी): they stopped you in your track, robbed you and killed you.

I realized how wrong I was when I started reading Mike Dash's book 'Thug: The True Story Of India's Murderous Cult', 2005.

"....Any skilful party might have had three or four affairs a night without anyone being any the wiser for it. People knew not what Thuggee was, nor what kind of people Thugs were. Travellers were frequently reported to have been murdered by robbers, but people thought the robbers must be in the jungles; and never dreamed that they were murdered by the men they saw every day about them.

From the interrogation of Hurree Singh by William Sleeman, 1835..."

Thugs were the men you saw every day about you...Dash's book starts with a harrowing tell of the murder of an entire upper middle-class traveling family by the people who have been traveling with them and then leaving no trace whatsoever of their crime behind...quite chilling...


'Thug inveiglers induce an intended victim to bare his neck by pointing to the stars.', 1837

Artist: Unknown Indian artist at Lucknow

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