Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2008

Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World, Visions

It is not the dark authoritarian vision of Orwell’s 1984 that is coming true but that of chilling indulgence adumbrated by Huxley's Brave New World. In Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history; people will come to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. Orwell feared those who would ban books; Huxley feared no one would want to read one. Orwell feared the truth would be concealed from us; Huxley feared it would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance; Orwell feared we would become a captive culture; Huxley feared we’d become a trivial one. In Orwell’s prophecy, people are controlled by inflicting pain; in Huxley’s by inflicting pleasure.

The Psychology of Self-Respect, G. Bernard Shaw

The human conscience can subsist on very questionable food. No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect. The shirk, the duffer, the malingerer, the coward, the weakling, may be put out of countenance by his own failures and frauds; but the man who does evil skilfully, energetically, masterfully, grows prouder and bolder at every crime. The common man may have to found his self-respect on sobriety, honesty and industry; but a Napoleon needs no such props for his sense of dignity. If Nelson's conscience whispered to him at all in the silent watches of the night, you may depend on it it whispered about the Baltic and the Nile and Cape St. Vincent, and not about his unfaithfulness to his wife. A man who robs little children when no one is looking can hardly have much self-respect or even self-esteem; but an accomplished burglar must be proud of himself. In the play to which I am at present preluding I have represented an …

Feed

Alfred Hitchcock with the Bird
Well, it's just no good. The chickens won't eat it.
(pause)
They're always hungry, Fred. I opened one of the sacks when I got home,
and I poured it out for them, and they wouldn't touch it. Now you know
chickens as well as I do, and when they won't eat, there's just something wrong with what they're being fed, that's all.
(pause)
No, they're not fussy chickens.
(pause)
Who? What's he got to do with it?
(pause)
Fred, I don't care how much feed you sold him. My chickens...
(pause)
He did? Dan Fawcett?
(pause)
This afternoon?
(pause)
Well, that only proves what I'm saying. The feed you sold us is...
(pause)
Oh. Oh, I see. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Maybe I ought to go over to see
him. You don't think there's something going around, do you?
(pause)
No, never.
(pause)
No, Fred, they don't seem sick at all. They just won't eat.
(pause)
Mmmm. Mmmmm. Well, I'll try to get over to Dan's farm. …

About Thinkers, Philosophers, Bulls and Goats

The Thinker
I was lonesomer than Crusoe's goat.
- O. Henry

The image of the thinker as a withdrawn figure, wrapped up in himself, is hopelessly out of date. Today, when ideas have to compete in the market place, they have to get out of the books, learn to look bright and inviting, and the person who has thought them up has to make sure that they do not age too soon.
That there is always some pawing, and even mauling, is only to be expected since this is part of the game. The promise of a wider circulation more than compensates for the risk. When the words of a philosopher go singing and screaming into the media, who wants to find out what he really means? Even a cult figure like Sartre often loses track of his own thoughts in the thick of publicity.

This is an entry in my cousin brother’s diary which I stole. Writer unknown.

-0-

A philosopher while going on a morning walk saw bulls with bells tied in their necks. Growing curious, he enquired of the farmer walking behind the bulls, …

Dil he to hai Ghalib

Dil he to hai na sango-khisht, Dard se bhar na aaye kyon
Royenge hum hazaar baar, koi hamein sataye kyon


(It is heart after all, not brick and stone, why won’t it well up with pain
Why should anybody harass us, we shall a thousand times cry )

Dair nahi, harum nahin, dar nahin, aastaan nahin
Baithey hain rahguzar pe hum, koi hamain uthaye kyon


(No home, no hearth for us, no temple, no mosque
Why should anyone remove us from one throughfare, can we ask)

Jab who jamale-dil-faroz saratey-mehare-neemroz
Aap he ho nazara soaz, pardey men muhb chhipaye kyo


(Her beauty illumines all, a full waxing moon in grace
loveliness incarnate indeed, why should she hide her face)

Quaide-hayat-obande-ghum, asal mein dono ek hain
Maut se pahale aadmi ghum sey nijaat paye kyon


(Life’s incarceration and bondage to suffering are the same thing indeed
Until our death how can we from suffering be relieved)

Haan who nahin Khuda parast, jao who bewafa sahi
Jisko ho dino-dil aziz, uski gali mein jaye kyon


(All right …

A Sufi Night of Music and a Red Tomb

Quli Tomb at Night Last night, I had gone to the tomb of Ali Quli Khan to listen Sufi singers Wadali Brothers and Sabri Brothers. The concert of Sufi music titled Dharohar and held by Times of India group as part of its Delhi festivals, was quite a delight.
Reached the venue without pass, but that didn’t stop me or the others who had come unannounced. Everyone was welcome. The concert was supposed to start at 6:30 but it started an hour late due to a phenomenon called as Dilli Traffic. The night was dead cold with chilling winds rattling the bones of everyone present.
Sabri Brothers performed first. I heard giggling sound of young girls, sitting behind me, every time the brothers called on Allah in a thick burpy voice. By the time they sang their popular song Khawaja Ki Diwani, the immensely responsive crowd was clapping and singing along.

Saurab, my marwari friend who had accompanied me, was all ears when in the song they re-counted miraculous tale of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishty. The …

Biographies, Clothes and Buttons ― Mark Twain

What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his word’s! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history. These are his life, and they are not written, and cannot be written. Everyday would make a whole book of 80,000 words ― 365 books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man ― the biography of the man himself cannot be written.- Mark Twain

Had Mark Twain been still around, he would have assumed that blogging is an activity dear to nudists and equally dear to people who are perpetually bottomed up.

Wodehousian Indian Grotesque Politicians

'Cocktail Time' by P.G. Wodehouse, Illustration by EH Shepard ( of Winnie the Pooh fame ) about Partition of India

“There may have been men in London”, writes P.G. Wodehouse about a character in his ‘Cocktail Time’, “who thought more highly of Sir Raymond Bastable than did Sir Raymond Bastable, but they would have been hard to find, and the sense of being someone set apart from and superior to the rest of the world inevitably breeds arrogance.”

More and more as one looks at the characters in the Indian political pantheon, one sees a resemblance to the dramatis personal of the world of Wodehouse. The only difference is that the real world of Indian politics, which is often ridiculous, sometimes to the point of being grotesque, is not harmlessly funny. It is deeply flawed in its moral seeting. Nevertheless, the ludicrousness of many of its leaders, their pomposity and pretentiousness, and the inflated sense of self importance of even some greenhorns makes them mimic the likes o…

Guru Dutt, The Romantic in Hindi Cinema

Guru Dutt, The Romantic in Hindi Cinema
If ever there was a passionate romantic in Hindi Cinema, it was Guru Dutt. He was perhaps the only one to create something of a personal cinema within the commercial format, complete with song and dance. He is the one who came nearest to a form fashioned out of drama, story and song, with one complementing rather than interrupting the other. He also combined the most romantic elements of both Urdu – Muslim and Bengali- Hindu culture.
I found these lines scribbled in a diary of a dear cousin brother of mine.

Searching for the source of these lines about Guru Dutt, I found that these lines were written by Chidananda Dasgupta, filmmaker, film critic, film historian and one of the founders of Calcutta Film Society along with Satyajit Ray in 1947, a man passionate about Cinema of Guru Dutt and Ritwik Ghatak. The source of the lines turned out to be an article written by Chidananda Das Gupta titled New Directions in Indian Cinema, leven pages written…

Freedom Run: The Torch Song from Doordarshan

Back in the turbulent '80s when air travel was still out of reach of common people due to what was called as an unliberalized economy, Indians were reminded of their great country's length, breadth, unity in diversity and diversity in unity by government commissioned songs to be played on national television, religiously. These songs having jazzy catchy tunes, visuals magnanimous - with famous personalities having different hues, castes and states of origin - were like magical harps played out to put some nasty beast to sleep. Big beasts like Communalism and Regionalism. India was facing unrest bordering on chaos. When wasn't India facing utter chaos, right!

The first songs in the memorable series Lok Seva Sanchar Parishad by Lok Seva Sanchar Parishad was 1988 video song “Freedom Run” that most folks would remember as “The Torch Song” or "Torch of Freedom" (the actual name of the video). It was first telecast on Doordarshan on the day of Indian Independence -…

Lost Mumbai: Collage of Old Photographs

Click to get a larger picture
Aye dil hai mushkil jeena yahan
Zara hat ke zara bach ke, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan
- Lines of the famous song from the movie C.I.D(1956)

The collage made up of old photographs of Mumbai,then known as Bombay.

Reading the images from top and left to right

Church Gate Station (1910)
Color illustration of Apolla Bunder, Bombay. The place is now known as Gateway of India
Asiatic Town HallBallard Pier. It was once a Railway Station
Kalbadevi Road
Oval Maidan near Churchgate Station, 1875
Three Cars and a Tonga on Queens Road
Victoria Terminus (now known as Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus)
Gowalia Tank
Walkeshwar. The note for the color illustration reads: H.E. THE GOVERNOR OF BAMBAY DRIVING THROUGH WALKESHWAR ROAD, BOMBAY
Wilson Collage, Girgaon Chopati
Steam Engines at Parel Loco Shed
Train at Mumbai Central Car Shed, 1950. Again from a Rail museum. The note reads: Old and New rakes stand in contrast at the Bombay Central EMU Carshed
Old photograph of Victoria Terminus
A train a…

Link Hover Effect for Blogspot

All right then!
A commenter asked me how did I manage to apply mouse over link hover effect to my Blog.
First thing first.

What is a link hover effect?


Answer:
Julia was the commenterOn moving the mouse on the link, the way link is displayed, changes. In the above case, the link gets an underline, an over line and the font size of the link increase.

How did I get hover effect in Blogspot?

In blogspot a link has four properties attached to it
a:link { }
a:visited { }
a:hover { }
a:active { }here actual attributes are given inside {}
For hover effect, we are concerned with the property
a:hover { }
It is quite simple actually
This requires making changes to the HTML code of the blog.
For the beginner this might be useful:


Also, remember to backup the template first using Download full template option. This is the most important step. I can’t tell you how many times I have muddled my template without taking a backup and later regretting it. It was good learning but you can act smarter. In ca…

Bardot and Dimple: Two Girls and Four Frames

Bardot and Dimple: Two Girls and Four Frames


-0-
Created using free image editing tool Irfan view
Images from:
Brigitte Bardot in Roger Vadim's movie And God Created Woman(1956)
Dimple Kapadia in Raj Kapoor's Bobby (1973)

Collage - We didn't Start the Fire, explained

Click to get bigger image
Collage based on Billy Joel song
We Didn’t Start the Fire
from the album Storm Front (1989)
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it
Goes the chorus of the song...
The images above are in the order of their occurrence in the song.

A brief description of events and personalities that are mentioned lyrically around these lines.

· Harry Truman is inaugurated as U.S. president after being elected in 1948 to his own term; previously he was sworn in following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He authorized the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during World War II. August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945 respectively.
· Doris Day enters the public spotlight with the films My Dream Is Yours and It's a Great Feeling as well as popular songs like "It's Magic"; divorces her second husband.
· Red Chinaas the Communist P…