Happy Birthday, Amitav Ghosh, born 11 July 1956
- How do you lose a word? Does it vanish into your memory, like an old toy in a cupboard, and lie hidden in the cobwebs and dust, waiting to be cleaned out or rediscovered?
- To use the past to justify the present is bad enough—but it’s just as bad to use the present to justify the past.
- It is madness to think that knowing a language and reading a few books can create allegiances between people. Thoughts, books, ideas, words – if anything, they make you more alone, because they destroy whatever instinctive loyalties you may once have possessed.
- Men do what their power permits them to do. We are no different from the Pharaohs or the Mongols: the difference is only that when we kill people we feel compelled to pretend that it is for some higher cause.
- If you are from my part of the world, climate change hits you in the face. In front of my eyes I’ve seen islands disappearing. I’ve seen saltwater invading deeper and deeper. This is the most vulnerable part of the world apart from the low-lying islands, and unlike the low-lying islands, Bengal has 250 million people. What is of much interest to me is why the arts, which are meant to be in the avant garde, have been so slow to recognise this.
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