links for 2009-10-02

02 Oct
  • To be a Muslim in today’s world involves a life of different challenges. The empires have changed, the wars as well, but Gujarat, that much-conquered land, maybe not so much…
    You cannot explain integrity, nor can you argue for respect. These things are already lost if you have to fight for them…
    When I tell the story of the Muslims that I have known, I tell the story of clerks and generals, doctors and victims, engineers and farmers. I tell the story, largely, of Indians. And yet, is there a difference?
    Yes, there is. However private my faith, however common my fears or aspirations, I am a Muslim and that means something. What precisely it means changes from person to person; to them I may be a believer, a non-vegetarian, a terrorist, or somebody intent on marrying four times and covering each wife in a tent of black cloth. My faith exists in the eye of the beholder.
  • you will have met the FabIndia-kurta wearing gentleman and the ethnic-bindi wearing lady who will wave their Scotches in your face and tell you that the "Real India" is anywhere but where you are…So if you write in English, and are improperly contaminated by the West…then the "Real India" is by definition beyond your grasp…
    in this understanding of the universe, to write in English is to be transparently vulnerable to the demands of the market…to write in anything but English is to be preternaturally chaste and upright…
    All art is born at this crossroads of ambition and integrity, between the fierce callings of fame and the hungers of the belly and the desires of one’s children and the necessities of art and truth…Those who believe in the salutary effects of poverty on artists have never been truly hungry, and are suspicious of money from the safety of their own middling comforts.
  • A year ago, terrorists took over the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, India’s fabled five-star hotel, in an attack that left 172 dead across the city. As India still seethes over the bungled rescue efforts, those who survived the 60-hour ordeal reveal the full horror of what happened.
  • Pinker sensibly points out that thinking precedes writing and that the reason we sound smarter when writing is because we deliberately set out to be clear and precise, a luxury not usually afforded us in conversation. True, and especially true if one writes for magazines where nitpicking editors with expensive shoes are waiting to kick us around for every small mistake. When people who write for a living sit down to earn their pay they make demands on themselves that require a higher degree of skill than that summoned by conversation. Pinker likens this to mathematicians thinking differently when proving theorems than when counting change, or to quarterbacks throwing a pass during a game as opposed to tossing a ball around in their backyards. He does concede, however, that since writing allows time for reveries and ruminations, it probably engages larger swaths of the brain.
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Posted by on October 2, 2009 in Links


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