there is, however, someone who understands each word in its duplicity and who, in addition, hears the very deafness of the characters speaking in front of him-this someone being precisely the reader.
via The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes Full Text, Downloads, Cliff Notes, and Essays.
This text, pointed to me by Dan on ADN (which was in response to this article posted there by Matthew) reflects what I believe about writing today – that in as much as we want to give meaning to the text in terms of the context of the author, the real meaning can only be derived by the reader himself. The same is true, in my book, about any art – paintings, sculptures etc, where it is not the artist’s life, times, societal pressures or addictions, that define the true meaning of the work, but the impressions it makes upon the viewer that truly reflect the value of the art. Continue reading
It’s a cold, windy morning. I am waiting for the bus, sitting on a frozen bench. My face is burning with the gushes of wind that are blowing at me from every direction. My mind is burning with the words in front of me. I am reading a LongRead about the MacDonald murders that happened in 1970 and have haunted the annals of law since the past 40 years. The story is incredulous but something I’ve read and heard many times over. The length to which judicial process allows a person to go to prove their innocence is amazing. I cannot say whether Jeffrey MacDonald is guilty or not, except for the fact that everything in the article points towards it. But what matters is the strength of human resolve. Continue reading
It is meant to be a memorial for the nation’s war dead but seems to be more of a monument to India’s slothful bureaucracy. The army has wanted a memorial inscribed with the names of nearly 50,000 soldiers killed in four major wars since Independence. The British-built India Gate has the names of fallen soldiers from the two World Wars who served in a colonial army. Free India’s National War Memorial proposal has been through various various ministerial hoops for a decade now. The first objection was that the memorial would block the view of India Gate. The Ministry of Defense responded by saying that the memorial would have the martyrs’ names inscribed on marble slabs in the ground below eye-level. Now the Ministry of Urban Development has reservations on the project due to “certain statutory clearances and availability of land”. Never a shortage of feeble excuses when it comes to honouring India’s war dead. – India Today (August 17, 2009)
The Akshardham temple in Delhi is magnificent. Maybe opulent is a better word. 356 ft (109 m) long, 316 ft (96 m) wide and 141 ft (43 m). high, covering an area of 86,342 sq ft (8,021.4 m2), it provides a breathtaking view of religion through the ages. It is a monument of worship. Worship of money, that is. Magnificent sculptures, fountains etc show how money can buy everything. This can be expected in a country where books like White Tiger are criticized for depicting the truth.
It is inexplicable how we can manage to spend millions on temples and other places of worship and yet turn a blind eye to the millions who live below the poverty line. The Indian Army wants a memorial for their heroes. Frankly, God for me is that unknown soldier who patrols the border, making sure his countrymen can sleep peacefully and asking for nothing in return. Why doesn’t he deserve a memorial? Just ask yourself, if you are in the middle of a war, who would you rather have by your side? A beautiful idol of your God or a trained soldier with plenty of ammunition? Doesn’t that unknown soldier deserve better?