Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Lazy Sunday

Sunday has been very lazy so far. Partially because of a rather severe bout of cough :-( , and partially because I really want to read and not browse the 'Net interminably.

I broke-down and bought "The Argumentative Indian" after waiting interminably for Vivek to finish his copy and give it to me :-). Saw the book on a pavement bookshop and could not resist. Especially since a heavy breakfast of Puliyogare and Sakkara Pongal had left me in a very body-sated state. Food for the mind was indicated.

A couple of quotes in the book I found quite fascinating.

As Alexander wandered around north-west India around the fourth-century BCE, he queried a group of Jain monks on why they were not paying him much attention. He got the following reply:
King Alexander, every man can possess only so much of the earth's surface as this we are standing on. You are but human like the rest of us, save that you are always busy and up to no good, travelling so many miles from your home, a nuisance to yourself and to others!... You will soon be dead, and you will own just as much of the earth as will suffice to bury you.
What kind of a person would have the clear-mind and courage that he could reply in such a manner to an all-conquering Emperor?

And though we have all read the following passage from the Gitanjali many times, it struck me as very profound wisdom, reading it afresh after a very long time.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;...
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;...
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
This stanza captures perfectly what I could never express clearly, the ideal state of human-kind. How much longer will it take for even one corner of this world to reach such a state?

Also I know now why I'm so incorrigibly argumentative :-). It's not my fault, we desi folk have always been so. And I have also an excuse for why I collect so much crap^W information about so many things in my head;
All the convergent influences of the world run through this society: Hindu, Moslem, Christian, secular, Stalinist, liberal, Maoist, democratic socialist, Gandhian. There is not a though that is being thought in the West or East that is not active in some Indian mind.
writes E. P. Thompson. I'd like to think that mine is contributing in some small measure to this heterodoxy :-).

The curse and blessing of India is that we are ponderous in thought, and the plurality of expression and opinion mean that we can rarely find two people who have the same opinions on a majority of issues.

I think this is a great benefit when we actually use this to form structures of infinitely malleable, pure-thought stuff, a.k.a. software.

And, still on thoughts, dipping into the ever bountiful HHGTG,
"The mere thought," growled Mr Prosser, "hadn't even begun to speculate," he continued, settling himself back, "about the merest possibility of crossing my mind." - Mr Prosser, head builder.
An even more appropriate Dune quote,
Whether a thought is spoken or not it is a real thing and has powers of reality.
fReaK ouT!

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