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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Great Debate- A Persepective by Mr.Mohan Guruswamy

This was a briefing paper on TELANGANA prepared by me a couple of years ago at the request of some concerned people.

Telangana: The End of the Beginning.

by Mohan Guruswamy

It was meant to be a new beginning with the reorganisation of India along linguistic lines. The ball had began to roll with the formation of an Andhra state from the old Madras state after Potti Sriramulu fasted himself to death. What followed is now history. The early vision of new nationalism built upon one common language was effectively abandoned. The linguistic states were to provide cohesive and effective states based on a common language and a shared subsidiary history. It was meant to be a new beginning. But linguistic states do not seem to have redressed old problems and have apparently caused more problems than they solved. The recent events in Telangana have now set off a clamour for smaller states in all parts of the country. Is it the end of that beginning?

The Telangana crisis is now getting more complicated each passing day. No sooner did the Congress party's "high command" concede the demand for a separate state, its leaders in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra rose in apparent revolt with a vociferous demand for a united state. Now the Home Minister has very categorically reversed his government's earlier position conceding a Telangana state. Despite this it seems that the partition of AP is inevitable. Even if that partition is inevitable, the future status of Hyderabad - India's fastest growing metropolis - is now stirring the pot even more. The problem is that Hyderabad lies squarely within Telangana, very unlike Chandigarh which sits astraddle the Punjab/Haryana fault-line thereby making it a perfect bone of contention. The leaders of the non Telangana regions seem to veering towards a price for it. A tag of Rs.2 lakh crores is being bandied about as a "compensation" for their perceived "investment" in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

And within the twin cities a sentiment is developing for a Union Territory status to protect its cosmopolitan character. Recent events in Bombay, with rabble rousers like Raj Thackeray seeking to arouse intense regionalism by stoking antagonism towards migrants from other parts of India, give rise to concerns that, one day, this too might happen in Hyderabad. As it is the Telangana Rashtra Samithi of K Chandrasekhara Rao had given the slogan "Andhra wale bhago!”

Like India, Hyderabad and Secunderabad comprise only of minorities. The Muslims of old Hyderabad are its largest minority. The next big minorities are the large populations from the Andhra region and Telangana. In addition Hyderabad has people from almost every part of India living in it. Every group brought with it something that made the city unique. The Marwari businessmen and bankers of the old city harnessed its wealth to lay the foundations of today's industrial powerhouse. The Maharashtrians with their fondness for soirees established a unique school of classical Hindustani music ; the Kayasthas fused the cooking styles of the Deccan with that of Lucknow to create the famous Hyderabadi cuisine; the Tamil speaking Mudaliars built English language schools and ran banks in Secunderabad; the Gujaratis contributed with their resourcefulness and entrepreneurial abilities; the coastal Andhras made it a great centre for IT, even far bigger than Bangalore's; and the Sikhs and Punjabis gave it a vigour and drive. Today you run into all of India here. Bengalis, Oriyas, Biharis, Malayalees, Kannadigas and even proud people from all over the Northeast. To get a feel of who lives in Hyderabad one needs just to open the film pages of a newspaper on a Sunday morning and see the morning shows of regional cinema from all over the country advertised. This and the unique Deccani Hindustani patois have given the twin cities a very special personality. Will this be so in a Hyderabad that will be capital of only Telangana is a question that now bothers many old Hyderabadi’s? To get a better understanding of all these issues, the reader needs to be familiar with two different stories with very different timelines, that of Hyderabad and Telangana.

There once was a Hyderabad.

On the morning of September 13, 1948 five infantry battalions and an armoured regiment of the battle hardened Indian Army under the command of Maj.Gen. JN Chaudhry commenced Operation Polo by entering the princely state of Hyderabad, over a year after independence and after the patience of the new Indian Union was tested beyond endurance. The Nizam of Hyderabad like the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir too entertained notions of an independent state and had so far managed to avoid accession. In the meantime the Nizam sought to widen the issue by moving the United Nations, took the advice and assistance of Pakistan, and began stockpiling arms. The Times in London reported on August 9, 1948 that the Hyderabad army was strengthened to 40,000 and supplies of arms were being received, presumably from Pakistan. The Prime Minister of Hyderabad Mir Laik Ali boasted that if “the Indian government takes any action against Hyderabad, 100,000 men are ready to fight. We also have a hundred bombers in Saudi Arabia ready to bomb Bombay!”

Within the Nizam’s realm, militant Razakars led by Qasim Razvi , had stepped up their campaign of terrorizing Hindus and whipping up religious sentiments among the Muslims. After five days of the “police action”, actually a military operation, it was all but over and the Hyderabad army commanded by Maj. Gen. El-Edroos formally surrendered. The Indian Army’s “police action” was as violent as it was swift. It killed 1373 Razakars and captured 1911. In addition Hyderabad State Army lost 807 killed and 1647 captured. The Indian Army’s losses were never officially revealed but a figure of less than 10 killed is commonly accepted. It was a sudden and crushing to a movement that had vowed to hoist the Asafia flag on the Red Fort. The surrender itself was not without drama. The Nizam made an abject and pathetic speech on the radio. He tried to shift the blame on to the extremists led by Qasim Razvi. It was hardly convincing, but the Indian government appointed him the Rajpramukh or Governor of the state of Hyderabad.

At the time of India’s independence, Hyderabad was the largest Indian princely state in terms of population and GNP. Its territory of 82,698 sq. miles was more than that of England and Scotland put together. The 1941 census had estimated its population to be 16.34 million, over 85% of who were Hindus and with Muslims accounting for about 12%. It was also a multi-lingual state consisting of peoples speaking Telugu (48.2%), Marathi (26.4%), Kannada (12.3%) and Urdu (10.3%). Its diversity and broad heritage can be seen today in the historical monuments at Ajanta, Ellora and Daulatabad in Marathwada, Bijapur, Bidar, Gulbarga, Anegondi and Kampili in Karnataka, and Warangal and Nagarjunakonda in Telangana.

Hyderabad city’s history goes back to the 11th century when the Kakatiya kings of Warangal built the fort that later became famous as Golconda . Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah founded the capital city that we now know as Hyderabad in 1590. Quli Qutab Shah was quite a romantic fellow and first called his city Bhagyanagar after his Hindu born Queen Bhagmati. Bhagmati later took the name Haider Mahal and hence Hyderabad. Haider Mahal also inspired him to pen the immortal lines: “piya baaj pyaala piya jaaye na, piya yakthil jiya jaaye na.” This romanticism suffused the spirit of Hyderabad through most of its existence.

Hyderabad, not only had its own Army, but also had its own Railways, Airline, Postal Service, Radio Broadcasting network and currency. The Nizam and his court ruled over it with the British Resident keeping a close and watchful eye over everything. The British Army also had a permanent garrison, just in case the “faithful ally of the King Emperor” was ever found lacking in faith.
As can be imagined it was a Muslim dominated state. Typically in 1911, 70% of the police, 55% of the army and 26% of the public administration were Muslims. In 1941 a report on the Civil Service revealed that of the 1765 officers, 1268 were Muslims, 421 were Hindus, and 121 others, presumably British, Christians, Parsis and Sikhs. Of the officials drawing a pay between Rs.600 –1200 pm, 59 were Muslims, 38 were “others”, and a mere 5 were Hindus. The Nizam and his nobles, who were mostly Muslims, owned 40% of the total land in the kingdom. Quite clearly it was too much of a good thing for so few and the time for its end had come.
The Asaf Jah dynasty came into being in the waning years of the Mughal Empire. Mir Qamruddin a Muslim general of Indian origin was first appointed Governor of the Deccan in 1707. He was called the Nizam-ul-Mulk. He returned to Delhi soon after as uncertainty and turmoil overtook the house of Babar. Qamruddin after a brief stint as the Mughal wazir returned to the Deccan in 1723 to carve out an independent domain for himself. He was now Asaf Jah I. On his death in 1748, his second son and a grandson, who secured the support of the French and British respectively, contested the succession. The French won this time, but in 1761 the French were all but beaten by the British in the Carnatic wars. In 1798 Hyderabad came under the dominance of the English when Asaf Jah II entered into a Subsidiary Alliance with the East India Company, which made sure that Hyderabad remained under the Nizam’s rule, but under their guidance.

As can well be imagined there was absolutely no political activity in the kingdom for most of this period. The faithful ally remained just that while the British waged war on the Maratha’s, Sikhs and then by introducing the doctrine of the lapse gobbled up princely state after state. Even the 1857 war passed Hyderabad by. The first stirrings began in 1927 when the Majlis-e-Ittihad-ul-Muslimeen was formed to unite various Islamic sects for “the solution of their problems within the principle of Islam”; and to protect the economic, social and educational interests of the Muslims.

In 1933 an association of mulki’s or local born Hindus and Muslims called the Nizam’s Subjects League was formed as a reaction to the continued domination of gair-mulki’s in government, even though most of them were Muslims. This was soon to be known as the Mulki League. It was the Mulki League that first mooted the idea of a responsible government in Hyderabad. In 1937 the Mulki League split between the more radical elements that were mostly Hindus and the more status quo inclined. This led to the formation of the Hyderabad Peoples Convention in 1937, a prelude to the establishment of the Hyderabad State Congress the following year. With this the movement for political and constitutional reform picked up momentum.

The Hyderabad State Congress agitation coincided with a parallel agitation led by the Arya Samaj and Hindu Mahasabha of VD Savarkar on Hindu civil rights. To a large extent the interests of the Congress and Hindu organizations coincided. This put them squarely against the Majlis who were now led by Bahadur Yar Jung who was also the founder of the Anjuman-i-Tabligh-i-Islam, a proselytizing Muslim organization whose prime activity was the conversion of Hindus. Bahadur Yar Jung was a charismatic figure became popular among the Muslims. He also had the ear of the Nizam, Osman Ali. The main thrust of Bahadur Yar Jung was to establish that Hyderabad was separate from the rest of India and that it should be declared a Muslim state. The Majlis also considered British style parliamentary democracy as unsuitable to India in general and Hyderabad in particular. Bahadur Yar Jung summed this up very succinctly: “The Majlis policy is to keep the sovereignty of His Exalted Highness intact and to prevent Hindus from establishing supremacy over Muslims.”

The leadership of the Congress took more nationalist overtones after the arrival of Swami Ramanand Tirtha on the scene. Tirtha hailed from Gulbarga and as a young man became a sadhu. He became President of the Hyderabad Congress in 1946 and attracted around him several young men who rose to prominence in independent India. Foremost among these was PV Narasimha Rao. Others were former Home Minister and Maharashtra Chief Minister, SB Chavan, former Karnataka Chief Minister Veerendra Patil, and former Andhra Chief Minister M Channa Reddy. In doing so Tirtha transformed the Congress from a party dominated by Marathi speakers and Arya Samajis into a broad-based organization representing the diversity of Hyderabad.

While the Congress was gaining strength, the Communists were also active in the Telugu speaking areas. They captured the Andhra Mahasabha that was formed in 1921 to represent the interests of the Telugu speaking people in 1942. Unlike the Hyderabad Congress, which took the cue from Mahatma Gandhi and launched a movement for democratic rights in the state to run parallel to the Quit India movement, the Communists joined hands with the Majlis to support the Nizam, who being a faithful ally of the British was fully immersed in the war effort. When WWII ended the Communists, now following the militant line of BT Ranadive took the path of armed revolution. It is said that when they went to Stalin for help in 1948, he took one look at the map and decided that armed insurrection was impossible to sustain in landlocked Telangana. The CPI was accordingly advised to seek other ways of coming to political power.

The advent of the Indian Army brought in its wake great changes that were sought ever since political activity began in the state. The Muslim elite soon found themselves marginalized and many migrated to Pakistan. Others like Ali Yavar Jung made a smooth transition into the new order. A new bureaucratic elite was quickly installed even as the communist insurrection was being quelled. The Nizam quickly came to terms with the new circumstances and became the Rajpramukh of the newest state of the Indian Union. Nothing reflected the handing over of the baton better than the transition in the Secunderabad Club seen in its picture gallery of past Presidents. The Club was for long the citadel of power, prestige and privilege in the state and always had a senior Britisher as its President. Maj.Gen. El-Edroos C-in-C of the Hyderabad State Army became its first non-British President in 1947. In March 1949 he made way for Maj.Gen. JN Chaudhry, Military Governor. The times still keep changing and the pictures truly reflect this! Chaudhry was succeeded by a slew of civil servants, including my father the late NK Guruswamy IAS. Now we have pictures of businessmen, many of them hailing from the coastal Andhra region.

The States Re-Organization Act of 1956 was the beginning of the end. The Marathi speaking areas went to Maharashtra, Kannada speaking areas to Karnataka, and Hyderabad city and Telangana were absorbed into Andhra Pradesh.

And now there is Telangana.

A second Telangana movement for a separate state seems to be in its final act now, with K Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR) ending his "hunger strike". This will hopefully see the culmination of the Telangana statehood movement that actually began way back in 1956 when the composite Andhra Pradesh was created by dismembering the old Hyderabad state. When the re-organization of states was undertaken in 1956, the people of Telangana expressed apprehensions about being forced into a shotgun marriage with the Andhra region. The people of Telangana also spoke Telugu but it was quite different from the Telugu of the coastal people. Telangana boasted of a heritage quite different from the Andhras. The Kakatiya kings of Warangal and the Vijayanagar kings were Telangana dynasties. The Muslim rulers of Golconda and later of Hyderabad only came to the fore when the Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan along with some Hindu rulers of coastal Andhra kingdoms ganged up on Vijayanagar and defeated it in the decisive battle of Talikota .

The Andhra region was also much more developed and wealthier than Telangana, with the British having invested a good deal in education and infrastructure, while the Nizam of Hyderabad seemed more preoccupied with collecting baubles like the Jacobs diamond and accumulating a huge personal fortune. He was reckoned to be the richest man in the world. In fact this took him to the cover of Time magazine well before Mahatma Gandhi's experiments with truth placed him there! So wealthy was the Nizam that he gifted an entire Spitfire squadron to Britain when it was being pushed to the wall by the German Luftwaffe.

As the Nizam thrived, so did his court and the feudal bureaucratic elite. Hyderabad blossomed into a beautiful and well laid out city. What began as the Muslim citadel in the Deccan had now acquired its famous cosmopolitanism. But the common people of Hyderabad, like other princely states, remained excruciatingly poor. The Hyderabad model of development ended a few miles out of the city where the wide and smooth concrete roads terminated into narrow and pock marked bitumen topped roads. There was little irrigation and the only sign of any government usually was the Police Station!

Thus, in the aridness of the Deccan a fertile ground was created for a popular communist movement which morphed into India's first armed insurrection. This was the first Telangana movement, which was terminated on orders from Joseph Stalin himself. Stalin also saw in that Telangana movement the glimmerings of Maoist dogma which postulated that the villages will strangle the cities and take over the state. In the first Lok Sabha election of 1952 the Communist leader Raavi Narayan Reddy won Nalgonda with a plurality that exceeded even Jawaharlal Nehru’s margin in Phulpur. After Stalin’s diktat that it will be the workers who will spearhead the revolution, the Communist Party of India reverted to trade unionism, which it soon discovered was a far more lucrative proposition than the grind of revolution in the hinterland. This was why Charu Mazumdar, who spawned Naxalism in India, denounced the CPI and CPM and took to waging the Peoples War.

The apprehensions of the people of Telangana and the Hyderabad elite in 1956 were not entirely unfounded. At that time Jawaharlal Nehru assuaged them somewhat with safeguards like reservations in educational institutions and government for mulkis, as the locally born were known . But most of these assurances remained on paper and the people of Andhra gained ascendancy over Hyderabad's and Telangana's social and economic life.

By the mid 1960's things were hotting up again. I remember long afternoons in the canteens of Nizam College and later in the Arts College of Osmania University in heated and passionate discussions on the desirability of a separate state. My good friend Jaipal Reddy, now Union Minister, earned his political spurs as the Congress Party’s student leader championing a unified Andhra Pradesh. Jaipal who had a long innings as Osmania University’s unchallenged student leader, during which time he took three masters degrees, lost his student constituency but went on to bigger things. Many of our more ideologically committed contemporaries took to the gun and joined the now resurgent Naxalite movement in the forests of Telangana, inspired by Communist ideologues like Vempatapu Sathyanarayana and Adhibatla Kailasam. When they were killed in Jalagam Vengala Rao's (then Home Minister) reign of terror, Kondapalli Sitaramiah took over and greatly expanded the Peoples War Group. In this manner the original Telangana movement revived.

In 1969 the bleak prospects in the real world agitated the students of Osmania University enough to launch a separate state movement. This movement was seized by Congress dissidents like Dr.M Channa Reddy, a charismatic leader whose commitment to a separate Telangana was only exceeded by his hunger for an office of profit. Under his leadership over three hundred students lost their lives but the hacks of the Congress party were satisfied with the removal of Kasu Brahmananda Reddy and the promise of office. But instead of Channa Reddy, Mrs Indira Gandhi found PV Narasimha Rao more convenient.

Soon the agitation revived, but now in both parts of the state. The Andhra side too now wanted a separate Andhra state and the Telanganites resumed their agitation. But in reality all they wanted was the removal of Narasimha Rao. The BJP’s Venkaiah Naidu earned his spurs by vociferously championing a separate Andhra state. His party now supports a separate Telangana. Mrs Indira Gandhi had no choice but to kick PV Narasimha Rao upstairs as a cabinet minister in her government. This done the Congress Party went back to business as usual, till the advent of KCR, who was a Deputy Speaker under the Telugu Desam dispensation of Chandrababu Naidu. KCR fell out with Babu, and guess what he took to next? Separate Telangana!

But let's take a step backwards for a moment. Till 1998 the BJP supported a separate Telangana, as it smaller states in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal. But when the election manifesto of 1998 was being written LK Advani insisted that the reference to a separate Telangana be removed from the manifesto as he had done a deal with Chandrababu Naidu’s for support to a BJP led government. It was only after Naidu deserted the NDA did the BJP once again begin espousing a separate Telangana. Such was the strength of commitment our national parties to the cause!

After a good show in the 2004 elections KCR too settled down to a good life as a cabinet minister in the Manmohan Singh government, till cries of betrayal turned his party against him. But by now YS Rajasekhara Reddy was well and truly in charge and had successfully marginalized all rivals, inside and outside the party. In the 2009 elections the separate Telangana party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), now in alliance with the Andhra dominated TDP, CPM and CPI was reduced to a mere two seats in the Lok Sabha and ten in the assembly.

The integration of the Telangana region of the erstwhile Hyderabad state and Andhra region of the old Madras state in 1956 was intended to be a trial marriage. The Andhra’s of Madras were the ones who wanted a Telugu state. It was originally a rallying call of the communists that was deftly appropriated by ambitious Congressmen in Madras wanting a more active share of the pomp and prize of high offices, not possible in the composite Madras state. The people of Telangana always had doubts about this union, and the vivisection of Hyderabad state. It took all the charm and authority of Jawaharlal Nehru to persuade Telangana Congress leaders to accept a trial. Jawaharlal cajoled them to give it a try for five years. If it doesn’t work for you, come back to me and we will do something about it was the implicit assurance. They don’t make leaders bigger and taller than Jawaharlal and when he gave an assurance it was taken.

The case for a separate Telangana was not based on an economic argument then. Our story is of a deep cultural divide between two peoples united by language but divided by habits, values, history and culture. We know that language alone cannot be the basis of statehood. German is spoken in Austria as well, but Germany and Austria are different countries. Ukrainian and Russian are 90% identical. The Ukraine in Russian means border territory. Yet they are separate countries. Within India, the four BIMARU states (Bihar, MP, Rajasthan and UP) have dozens of dialects latticed together by Hindi. Yet they are separate states. Language like religion cannot be the sole basis of nationality. The story of Pakistan tells us that you can never be united by religion alone. The story of Germany and Austria tells us that you can never be united by language alone. And the story of Spain and Portugal tells us that you cannot even be united by a confined geography.

India is a vast mosaic of peoples where colors, sounds, shapes and landscapes change after every few hours of road travel. To argue that all Telugu speaking people are one is nonsensical. No state in India, even a small one like Nagaland can claim a monochromatic oneness. In Nagaland behind every successive ridgeline there is another tribe speaking a different language and wearing a different tartan. Tangkhul and Angami, or Konyak and Ao are as different as Telugu is from Tamil and Bengali from Oriya. Andhra Pradesh is not an exception.

Two centuries ago when the Nizam of Hyderabad ceded the Circars and the British Presidency usurped the Rayalaseema region, the basis of separateness was established. Geography only accentuated it. The British invested in education and enriched the delta districts with canals and roads. Even without the tax revenues of the Circars, the Nizam was the richest man on earth. Even richer than the British sovereign he was a vassal to. It tells a lot about the kind of regime the Nizam’s ran. The hard soil and constant toil for so little, and the prolonged subservience to an Urdu speaking elite made the people of Telangana different and also disadvantaged compared to their other Telugu-speaking brothers. This fact is indisputable.

Large states in India are really large. If UP were a country, it would be the sixth largest one in the world. AP is bigger than the UK. Large states in a centralized dispensation are difficult to govern. They make the government distant from the people. They are inefficient and wasteful. And you cannot have uniform policies over large tracts with different agro-climatic and socio-cultural regions. Aristotle wisely opined that “it is an injustice to treat equals as unequal’s, just as it is an injustice to treat unequal’s are equals.” Which today is broadly the complaint of the Telangana people.

The Srikrishna Committee Report: A Waste of Time.

The long awaited Srikrishna Committee report is now out. It makes no specific recommendations and has thrown the ball squarely back to the politicians to decide. Thus, even though it was completed in time, it has largely been a waste of time. All it did was to keep Telangana tempers bottled up for some months. Now be ready for the explosion.

The Report’s tendency is towards retaining the status quo with some palliatives to assuage the sentiment widespread in the Telangana area. To serve this end it has sought to disprove the claim of most Telangana protagonists that the Telangana region remained backward and under-developed even after more than half a century as a part of Andhra Pradesh. It has marshaled numbers and has used data to support its case. As a professionally qualified economist and policy analyst, I know very well that facts can be used to prove or disprove pretty much any proposition. The Srikrishna Committee has used the economist on board to good effect and he has done a pretty good job of what he obviously was tasked with. But what the good Dr. Abusaleh Shariff misses is that the issue is not one of regions as much as it is about people. The essential grouse of the Telangana protagonists is that the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1956 was not adhered to and the people of Telangana were systematically excluded from the development process and were given short shrift in the political process.

Two examples are all it takes to establish this. At the time of integration, it was promised that the Telangana would have a Regional Council that would oversee the development works and most importantly all land transfers. This was to ensure that wealthier migrants from the coastal Andhra region did not buy out the individually poorer people of Telangana. This has happened in every Telangana district where large migrant populations from coastal Andhra have bought up vast tracts of the best canal and tank irrigated lands. All around Hyderabad city people like Ramalinga Raju of Satyam accumulated thousands of acres of land. The migrants will argue that land was bought legally and everything was paid for. That is exactly what the Jewish settlers in occupied Palestine say.

Now if the Srikrishna Committee spent some of its time studying who owned how much, it would have got a pretty good understanding of what the Telangana protagonists were really talking about. Instead it went out of its way to make a case that all was well in Telangana and that the area had done well. An area is about geography and a people’s fears and aspirations are the stuff of politics.

It was this fear of being swamped, widespread among Telangana people, which was very apparent to the States Reorganization Commission (1953-55) headed by Justice S Fazal Ali. The SRC’s recommendation is as follows: “the residuary State of Hyderabad might unite with Andhra after the General Elections likely to be held in about 1961, if by a two-thirds majority the Legislature of Hyderabad State expresses itself in favor of such a unification. The SRC also recommended that the residuary state should continue to be known as Hyderabad state and should consist of Telugu-speaking districts of the then princely state of Hyderabad, namely, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Warangal (including Khammam), Karimnagar, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Hyderabad and Medak, along with Bidar district, and the Munagala enclave in the Nalgonda district belonging to the Krishna district of Andhra.” This recommendation of the SRC was not heeded and it is the root of today’s popular demand.

Statistics are the essential truth. However much we might seek to misinterpret them they show up the reality in pretty stark terms. Water for agriculture has been a big issue for the people of Telangana. The region is home to two of India’s greatest rivers, the Godavari and Krishna, yet canal irrigation accounts for little more than 10% of the irrigated acreage. The area irrigated by private sources, such as wells and tube wells account for about 65% of all irrigated acreage. Tanks which used to account over 60% of Telangana’s irrigated acreage in 1956 now account for less than 5%. In terms of state supported irrigation, even semi-arid Rayalaseema with 20% under canal irrigation does much better than Telangana. By contrast over 50% of the irrigated acreage in Coastal Andhra is by canals and another 15% or so from tanks. Mind you water from canals and tanks comes free to the user, whereas well irrigation entails huge capital costs and recurring expenses. To rub salt into Telangana’s wounds, a good part of the water from essentially Telangana projects like the giant Nagarjunasagar project is drawn away into Coastal Andhra.

The Srikrishna Committee was constituted to examine issues that have led to widespread alienation in Telangana. Instead of doing that in an honest and dispassionate manner, it seeks to establish that the claim for a separate Telangana is without any economic or social basis. Its main recommendation is that a single state with some constitutional provision to assuage Telangana sentiments will suffice. The least the learned Judge should have known is that such constitutional arrangements will inherently be unconstitutional, if they are only applicable to one region. The Constitution is for the whole country, and what’s good for the goose must be good for the gander. The sorry state of our democratic process is illustrated by the fact that despite the demand for a Telangana State being supported by all the elected representatives of the region and by every political party except the CPM, it is sought to be fobbed off taking recourse to the specious and nonsensical logic that the Naxalites will somehow take over Telangana in the end. If mal-governance becomes the only reason for the takeover by Naxalites, then it would seem the whole country is ripe for it?

We have backwardness written into our geography. We have backwardness written into our sociology. And we have backwardness hardwired into our mentality. Even if the dubious arguments that more money has flowed into Telangana and Telangana has progressed more than the other two regions advanced by the Srikrishna Committee are accepted, it still does not erase the argument in favor of a smaller state. I have dealt with the speciousness of the economic argument elsewhere. A smaller state does not threaten the more recent settlers, just as it didn’t the old settlers. Ask the Maharashtrians of Sultan Bazar, the Gujarathis of Jeera, the Tamilians of Walker Town, the Marwari’s of Maharajganj, the Rajputs of Dhoolpet and even the Andhra’s of Mushirabad. Telangana has been home to many others. It’s only that the sons of the soil have not fared as well as others. Now is the time to redress that situation.

Mohan Guruswamy

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Persisting Vision- Complete Essay By Martin Scorsese

The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema

August 15, 2013

Martin Scorsese

Robert Donat in The Magic Box, 1951
In the film The Magic Box, which was made in England in 1950, the great English actor Robert Donat plays William Friese-Greene—one of the people who invented movies. The Magic Box was packed with guest stars. It was made for an event called the Festival of Britain. You had about fifty or sixty of the biggest actors in England at the time, all doing for the most part little cameos, including the man who played the policeman—that was Sir Laurence Olivier.
I saw this picture for the first time with my father. I was eight years old. I’ve never really gotten over the impact that it had. I believe this is what ignited in me the wonder of cinema, and the obsession—with watching movies, making them, inventing them.
Friese-Greene gives everything of himself to the movies, and he dies a pauper. If you know the full story of his life and its end, the line in the film about the invention of the movies—“You must be a very happy man, Mr. Friese-Greene”—of course is ironic, but in some ways it’s also true because he’s followed his obsession all the way. So it’s both disturbing and inspiring. I was very young. I didn’t put this into words at the time, but I sensed these things and I saw them up there on the screen.
My parents had a good reason for taking me to the movies all the time, because I had been sick with asthma since I was three years old and I apparently couldn’t do any sports, or that’s what they told me. But my mother and father did love the movies. They weren’t in the habit of reading—that didn’t really exist where I came from—and so we connected through the movies.
And I realize now that the warmth of that connection with my family and with the images on the screen gave me something very precious. We were experiencing something fundamental together. We were living through the emotional truths on the screen, often in coded form, which these films from the 1940s and 1950s sometimes expressed in small things: gestures, glances, reactions between the characters, light, shadow. These were things that we normally couldn’t discuss or wouldn’t discuss or even acknowledge in our lives.

And that’s actually part of the wonder. Whenever I hear people dismiss movies as “fantasy” and make a hard distinction between film and life, I think to myself that it’s just a way of avoiding the power of cinema. Of course it’s not life—it’s the invocation of life, it’s in an ongoing dialogue with life.
Frank Capra said, “Film is a disease.” I caught the disease early on. I felt it whenever I walked up to the ticket booth with my mother or my father or my brother. You’d go through the doors, up the thick carpet, past the popcorn stand that had that wonderful smell—then to the ticket taker, and then in some of the old theaters there would be another set of doors with little windows and you’d get a glimpse of something magical happening up there on the screen, something special. And as we entered, for me it was like entering a sacred space, a kind of sanctuary where the living world around me seemed to be recreated and played out.
What was it about cinema? What was so special about it? I think I’ve discovered some of my own answers to that question a little bit at a time over the years.
First of all, there’s light.
Light is at the beginning of cinema, of course. It’s fundamental—because cinema is created with light, and it’s still best seen projected in dark rooms, where it’s the only source of light. But light is also at the beginning of everything. Most creation myths start with darkness, and then the real beginning comes with light—which means the creation of forms. Which leads to distinguishing one thing from another, and ourselves from the rest of the world. Recognizing patterns, similarities, differences, naming things—interpreting the world. Metaphors—seeing one thing “in light of” something else. Becoming “enlightened.” Light is at the core of who we are and how we understand ourselves.
And then, there’s movement…
I remember when I was about five or six, someone projected a 16mm cartoon and I was allowed to look inside the projector. I saw these little still images passing mechanically through the gate at a very steady rate of speed. In the gate they were upside down, but they were moving, and on the screen they came out right side up, moving. At least there was the sensation of movement. But it was more than that. Something clicked, right then and there. “Pieces of time”—that’s how James Stewart defined movies in a conversation with Peter Bogdanovich. That wonder I felt when I saw these little figures move—that’s what Laurence Olivier feels when he watches those first moving images in that scene from The Magic Box.
The desire to make images move, the need to capture movement, seemed to be with us 30,000 years ago in the cave paintings at Chauvet—in one image a bison appears to have multiple sets of legs, and perhaps that was the artist’s way of creating the impression of movement. I think this need to recreate movement is a mystical urge. It’s an attempt to capture the mystery of who and what we are, and then to contemplate that mystery.
A film made by Thomas Edison of boxing cats, 1894

Which brings us to the film of boxing cats illustrated here, one of the lesser-known scenes that Thomas Edison recorded with his Kinetograph in his Black Maria studio in New Jersey in 1894. Edison, of course, was one of the people who invented film. There’s been a lot of debate about who really invented film—there was Edison, the Lumière brothers in France, Friese-Greene and R.W. Paul in England. And actually you can go back to a man named Louis Le Prince who shot a little home movie in 1888.
And then you could go back even further to the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, which were made in the 1870s and 1880s. He would set a number of still cameras side by side and then he’d trigger them to take photos in succession, of people and animals in motion. His employer Leland Stanford challenged him to show that all four of a horse’s hooves leave the ground when the horse is running. Muybridge proved they did.
Does cinema really begin with Muybridge? Should we go all the way back to the cave paintings? In his novel Joseph and His Brothers, Thomas Mann writes:
The deeper we sound, the further down into the lower world of the past we probe and press, the more do we find that the earliest foundations of humanity, its history and culture, reveal themselves unfathomable.
All beginnings are unfathomable—the beginning of human history, the beginning of cinema.
A film by the Lumière brothers of a train arriving at a station in France is commonly recognized as the first publicly projected film. It was shot in 1895. When you watch it, it really is 1895. The way they dress and the way they move—it’s now and it’s then, at the same time. And that’s the third aspect of cinema that makes it so uniquely powerful—it’s the element of time. Again, pieces of time.
When we made the movie Hugo (2011), we went back and tried to recreate that first screening, when people were so startled by the image of an oncoming train that they jumped back. They thought the train was going to hit them.
When we studied the Lumière film, we could see right away that it was very different from the Edison films. The Lumière brothers weren’t just setting up the camera to record events or scenes. This film is composed. When you study it, you can see how carefully they placed the camera, the thought that went into what was in the frame and what was left out of the frame, the distance between the camera and the train, the height of the camera, the angle of the camera—what’s interesting is that if the camera had been placed even a little bit differently, the audience probably wouldn’t have reacted the way it did.
Georges Méliès, circa 1929, with a painting for his 1902 film A Trip to the Moon
Georges Méliès, whose contribution to early cinema is at the core of Hugo, began as a magician and his pictures were made to be a part of his live magic act. He created trick photography and astonishing handmade special effects, and in so doing he remade reality—the screen in his pictures is like a magic cabinet of curiosities and wonders.
Over the years, the Lumières and Méliès have been consistently portrayed as opposites—the idea is that one filmed reality and the other created special effects. Of course this kind of distinction is made all the time—it’s a way of simplifying history. But in essence they were both heading in the same direction, just taking different roads—they were taking reality and interpreting it, reshaping it, and trying to find meaning in it.
And then, everything was taken further with the cut. Who made the first cut from one image to another—meaning a shift from one vantage point to another with the understanding that we’re still within one continuous action? Again, to quote Thomas Mann—“unfathomable.” One of the earliest and most famous examples of a cut is in Edwin S. Porter’s 1903 milestone film The Great Train Robbery. Even though we cut from the interior of the car to the exterior, we know we’re in one unbroken action.
A few years later, there was a remarkable film called The Musketeers of Pig Alley, one of the dozens of one-reel films that D.W. Griffith made in 1912. It’s commonly referred to as the first gangster film, and actually it’s a great Lower East Side New York street film, despite the fact that it was shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey. There’s a very famous scene in which the gangsters move along a wall, each one slowly approaching the camera and coming into dramatic close-up before they exit the frame. And in this scene they’re crossing quite a bit of space before they get to Pig Alley, which is in fact a recreation of a famous Jacob Riis photo of Bandit’s Roost, but you’re not seeing them cross that space on the screen. You’re seeing it all in your mind’s eye, you’re inferring it. And this is the fourth aspect of cinema that’s so special. That inference. The image in the mind’s eye.
For me it’s where the obsession began. It’s what keeps me going, it never fails to excite me. Because you take one shot, you put it together with another shot, and you experience a third image in your mind’s eye that doesn’t really exist in those two other images. The Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein wrote about this, and it was at the heart of what he did in his own films. This is what fascinates me—sometimes it’s frustrating, but always exciting—if you change the timing of the cut even slightly, by just a few frames, or even one frame, then that third image in your mind’s eye changes too. And that has been called, appropriately, I believe, film language.
In 1916, D.W. Griffith made a picture—an epic—called Intolerance, in part as an act of atonement for the racism in The Birth of a Nation. Intolerance ran about three hours and Griffith goes much further with the idea of the cut here: he shifts between four different stories—the massacre of the Huguenots, the passion of Christ, the fall of Babylon, and a modern story set in 1916 about conflicts between rich and poor Americans. At the end of the picture, Griffith cut between the different climaxes of these different stories—he cross-cut through time, something that had never been done before. He tied together images not for narrative purposes but to illustrate a thesis: in this case, the thesis was that intolerance has existed throughout the ages and that it is always destructive. Eisenstein later wrote about this kind of editing and gave it a name—he called it “intellectual montage.”
For the writers and commentators who were very suspicious of movies—because after all they did start as a Nickelodeon storefront attraction—this was the element that signified film as an art form. But of course it already was an art form—one that started with the Lumières and Méliès and Porter. This was just another, logical step in the development of the language of cinema.
That language has taken us in many directions, from the pure abstraction of the extraordinary avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage to a very well done commercial by the visual artist and filmmaker Mike Mills, made for an audience that’s seen thousands of commercials—the images come at you so fast that you have to make the connections after the fact.
Or consider the famous Stargate sequence from Stanley Kubrick’s monumental 2001: A Space Odyssey. Narrative, abstraction, speed, movement, stillness, life, death—they’re all up there. Again we find ourselves back at that mystical urge—to explore, to create movement, to go faster and faster, and maybe find some kind of peace at the heart of it, a state of pure being.
But the cinema we’re talking about here—Edison, the Lumière brothers, Méliès, Porter, all the way through Griffith and on to Kubrick—that’s really almost gone. It’s been overwhelmed by moving images coming at us all the time and absolutely everywhere, even faster than the visions coming at the astronaut in the Kubrick picture. And we have no choice but to treat all these moving images coming at us as a language. We need to be able to understand what we’re seeing and find the tools to sort it all out.
We certainly agree now that verbal literacy is necessary. But a couple of thousand years ago, Socrates actually disagreed. His argument was almost identical to the arguments of people today who object to the Internet, who think that it’s a sorry replacement for real research in a library. In the dialogue with Phaedrus, Socrates worries that writing and reading will actually lead to the student not truly knowing—that once people stop memorizing and start writing and reading, they’re in danger of cultivating the mere appearance of wisdom rather than the real thing.
Now we take reading and writing for granted but the same kinds of questions are coming up around moving images: Are they harming us? Are they causing us to abandon written language?
We’re face to face with images all the time in a way that we never have been before. And that’s why I believe we need to stress visual literacy in our schools. Young people need to understand that not all images are there to be consumed like fast food and then forgotten—we need to educate them to understand the difference between moving images that engage their humanity and their intelligence, and moving images that are just selling them something.
As Steve Apkon, the film producer and founder of the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York, points out in his new book The Age of the Image,* the distinction between verbal and visual literacy needs to be done away with, along with the tired old arguments about the word and the image and which is more important. They’re both important. They’re both fundamental. Both take us back to the core of who we are.
When you look at ancient writing, words and images are almost indistinguishable. In fact, words are images, they’re symbols. Written Chinese and Japanese still seem like pictographic languages. And at a certain point—exactly when is “unfathomable”—words and images diverged, like two rivers, or two different paths to understanding.
In the end, there really is only literacy.
Kim Novak and James Stewart in Vertigo, 1958
The American film critic Manny Farber said that every movie transmits the DNA of its time. One of the really great science fiction films of the golden era of American cinema is Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. It was made in 1951, in the early years of the cold war, and it has the tension, the paranoia, the fear of nuclear disaster and the end of life on planet earth, and a million other elements that are more difficult to put into words. These elements have to do with the play of light and shadow, the emotional and psychological interplay between the characters, the atmosphere of the time woven into the action, all the choices that were made behind the camera that resulted in the immediate film experience for viewers like myself and my parents. These are the aspects of a film that reveal themselves in passing, the things that bring the movie to life for the viewer. And the experience becomes even richer when you explore these elements more closely.
Someone born today will see the picture with completely different eyes and a whole other frame of reference, different values, uninhibited by the biases of the time when it was made. You see the world through your own time—which means that some values disappear, and some values come into closer focus. Same film, same images, but in the case of a great film the power—a timeless power that really can’t be articulated—is there even when the context has completely changed.
But in order to experience something and find new values in it, the work has to be there in the first place—you have to preserve it. All of it. Archaeologists have made many discoveries by studying what we throw away, the refuse of earlier civilizations, the things that people considered expendable and that accidentally survived.
For example, there’s a Sumerian tablet that is not a poem, not a legend, but actually a record of livestock—a balance sheet of business transactions. Miraculously, it’s been preserved for centuries, first under layers of earth and now in a climate-controlled environment. When we find objects like this, we immediately take great care with them.
We have to do the same thing with film. But film isn’t made of stone. Until recently it was all made of celluloid—thin strips of nitrocellulose, the first plastic compound. For the first few decades of cinema, preservation wasn’t even discussed—it was something that happened by accident. Some of the most celebrated movies were the victims of their own popularity. In certain cases, every time they were rereleased, the prints were made from their original negatives, and in the process those negatives became degraded, hardly usable.
It wasn’t so long ago that nitrate films were melted down just for the silver content. Prints of films made in the 1970s and 1980s were recycled to make guitar picks and plastic heels for shoes. That’s a disturbing thought—just as disturbing as knowing that many of those extraordinary glass photographic plates taken of the Civil War not long after the birth of photography were later sold to gardeners for building greenhouses. Whatever plates survived are now in the Library of Congress.
We have to look beyond the officially honored, recognized, and enshrined, and preserve everything systematically. At this point in film history, many people have seen a 1958 picture directed by Alfred Hitchcock called Vertigo. When the film came out some people liked it, some didn’t, and then it just went away. Even before it came out, it was classified as another picture from the Master of Suspense and that was it, end of story. Almost every year at that time, there was a new Hitchcock picture—it was almost like a franchise.
At a certain point, there was a reevaluation of Hitchcock, thanks to the critics in France who later became the directors of the French New Wave, and to the American critic Andrew Sarris. They all enhanced our vision of cinema and helped us to understand the idea of authorship behind the camera. When the idea of film language started to be taken seriously, so did Hitchcock, who seemed to have an innate sense of visual storytelling. And the more closely you looked at his pictures, the richer and more emotionally complex they became.
For many years, it was extremely difficult to see Vertigo. When it came back into circulation, in 1983, along with four other Hitchcock films that had been held back, the color was completely wrong. The color scheme of Vertigo is extremely unusual, and this was a major disappointment. In the meantime, the elements—the original picture and sound negatives—needed serious attention.
Ten years later, Bob Harris and Jim Katz did a full-scale restoration for Universal. By that time, the elements were decaying and severely damaged. But at least a major restoration was done. As the years went by, more and more people saw Vertigo and came to appreciate its hypnotic beauty and very strange, obsessive focus.
As in the case of many great films, maybe all of them, we don’t keep going back for the plot. Vertigo is a matter of mood as much as it’s a matter of storytelling—the special mood of San Francisco where the past is eerily alive and around you at all times, the mist in the air from the Pacific that refracts the light, the unease of the hero played by James Stewart, Bernard Herrmann’s haunting score. As the film critic B. Kite wrote, you haven’t really seen Vertigo until you’ve seen it again. For those of you who haven’t seen it even once, when you do, you’ll know what I mean.
Every decade, the British film magazine Sight and Sound conducts a poll of critics and filmmakers from around the world and asks them to list what they think are the ten greatest films of all time. Then they tally the results and publish them. In 1952, number one was Vittorio de Sica’s great Italian Neorealist picture Bicycle Thieves. Ten years later, Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane was at the top of the list. It stayed there for the next forty years. Last year, it was displaced by a movie that came and went in 1958, and that came very, very close to being lost to us forever: Vertigo. And by the way, so did Citizen Kane—the original negative was burned in a fire in the mid-1970s in Los Angeles.
So not only do we have to preserve everything, but most importantly, we can’t afford to let ourselves be guided by contemporary cultural standards—particularly now. There was a time when the average person wasn’t even aware of box office grosses. But since the 1980s, it’s become a kind of sport—and really, a form of judgment. It culturally trivializes film.
And for young people today, that’s what they know. Who made the most money? Who was the most popular? Who is the most popular now, as opposed to last year, or last month, or last week? Now, the cycles of popularity are down to a matter of hours, minutes, seconds, and the work that’s been created out of seriousness and real passion is lumped together with the work that hasn’t.
We have to remember: we may think we know what’s going to last and what isn’t. We may feel absolutely sure of ourselves, but we really don’t know, we can’t know. We have to remember Vertigo, and the Civil War plates, and that Sumerian tablet. And we also have to remember that Moby-Dick sold very few copies when it was printed in 1851, that many of the copies that weren’t sold were destroyed in a warehouse fire, that it was dismissed by many, and that Herman Melville’s greatest novel, one of the greatest works in literature, was only reclaimed in the 1920s.
Just as we’ve learned to take pride in our poets and writers, in jazz and the blues, we need to take pride in our cinema, our great American art form. Granted, we weren’t the only ones who invented the movies. We certainly weren’t the only ones who made great films in the twentieth century, but to a large extent the art of cinema and its development have been linked to us, to our country. That’s a big responsibility. And we need to say to ourselves that the moment has come when we have to treat every last moving image as reverently and respectfully as the oldest book in the Library of Congress.
  1. * Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013. 

Scorcese on Cinema

The Nine Best Quotes from Martin Scorsese's Essay on the Language of Cinema

by Maggie Lange
July 28, 2013 2:46 PM
  • |
Martin Scorsese pens an inspiring, spiritual, and comprehensive essay for The New York Review of Books called "The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema." He meditates on the history of cinema, its impact on the humanities, and his own personal connections to different aspects of film. Of course, Scorsese's activism for film preservation is a beating subtext throughout the essay. 
The whole thing is worth a read, but we have selected some key highlights from the original piece. 
  • And I realize now that the warmth of that connection with my family and with the images on the screen gave me something very precious. We were experiencing something fundamental together. We were living through the emotional truths on the screen, often in coded form, which these films from the 1940s and 1950s sometimes expressed in small things: gestures, glances, reactions between the characters, light, shadow. These were things that we normally couldn't discuss or wouldn't discuss or even acknowledge in our lives. And that's actually part of the wonder. Whenever I hear people dismiss movies as "fantasy" and make a hard distinction between film and life, I think to myself that it's just a way of avoiding the power of cinema. Of course it's not life—it's the invocation of life, it's in an ongoing dialogue with life.

  • The desire to make images move, the need to capture movement, seemed to be with us 30,000 years ago in the cave paintings at Chauvet--in one image a bison appears to have multiple sets of legs, and perhaps that was the artist's way of creating the impression of movement. I think this need to recreate movement is a mystical urge. It's an attempt to capture the mystery of who and what we are, and then to contemplate that mystery.

  • All beginnings are unfathomable--the beginning of human history, the beginning of cinema.
  • Over the years, the Lumieres and Melies have been consistently portrayed as opposites--the idea is that one filmed reality and the other created special effects. Of course this kind of distinction is made all the time--it's a way of simplifying history. But in essence they were both heading in the same direction, just taking different roads--they were taking reality and interpreting it, reshaping it, and trying to find meaning in it.

  • You're seeing it all in your mind's eye, you're inferring it. And this is the fourth aspect of cinema that's so special. That inference. The image in the mind's eye… For me it's where the obsession began. It's what keeps me going, it never fails to excite me. Because you take one shot, you put it together with another shot, and you experience a third image in your mind's eye that doesn't really exist in those two other images... And that has been called, appropriately, I believe, film language.

  • We're face to face with images all the time in a way that we never have been before. And that's why I believe we need to stress visual literacy in our schools. Young people need to understand that not all images are there to be consumed like fast food and then forgotten--we need to educate them to understand the difference between moving images that engage their humanity and their intelligence, and moving images that are just selling them something.

  • So not only do we have to preserve everything, but most importantly, we can't afford to let ourselves be guided by contemporary cultural standards--particularly now. There was a time when the average person wasn’t even aware of box office grosses. But since the 1980s, it's become a kind of sport—and really, a form of judgment. It culturally trivializes film.

  • We have to remember: we may think we know what's going to last and what isn't. We may feel absolutely sure of ourselves, but we really don't know, we can't know. We have to remember Vertigo, and the Civil War plates, and that Sumerian tablet. And we also have to remember that Moby-Dick sold very few copies when it was printed in 1851, that many of the copies that weren't sold were destroyed in a warehouse fire, that it was dismissed by many, and that Herman Melville's greatest novel, one of the greatest works in literature, was only reclaimed in the 1920s.

  • Someone born today will see the picture with completely different eyes and a whole other frame of reference, different values, uninhibited by the biases of the time when it was made. You see the world through your own time--which means that some values disappear, and some values come into closer focus. Same film, same images, but in the case of a great film the power--a timeless power that really can't be articulated--is there even when the context has completely changed.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

the story of malana

A remote primitive little village in the Himalayas, Malana was isolated from the outside civilization for thousands of years. Was never invaded or ruled by an external administration. The people there had been living in harmony with nature, an innocent pure existence with their own language, their own world, their own democracy. Their people’s republic has been governed by a village council with an upper house and a lower house like the bicameral assemblies of our parliament. The council members are chosen by the village folk through a process of unanimous selection - not an election! Their court has been resolving all their internal disputes. No manipulation, no favoritism, they have their God in front. All decisions have been unanimous; every individual’s opinion is considered – unlike the present form of democracy that leads to dictatorship of the majority. And the secret of their civilization has been trust. the democracy of trust. Since a given word is taken as absolute, they have never felt the need for formal education.

In popular belief they are supposed to be the descendants of some deported Greek soldiers of Alexander, yet some traces their existence rooted deep in Hindu mythology. Their ancestral roots may be debatable but their democratic setup with participatory court procedure has similarity to that of ancient Greece.

And they have been producing some very good quality hashish. Blessed by Lord Shiva good quality cannabis plant grows in abundance there. For ages the use of cannabis has been an integral part of their lives, from medicine to footwear. But in the past they had never traded it; neither did they know the value of it. Their only trade with the outside world had been sheep wool.

In the seventies came some white men. They taught the villagers how to rub the cream – the cleaner and more potent hashish suitable for an international market. Those foreigners drew them into business. Malana cream became an international brand. Hashish production grew like a home industry for each household. The poor villagers started earning money and they didn’t know the value of money either.

The Indian government took notice of a hidden backward tribe who as par laws of the state were into criminal activity. The outlaws were to be brought under the rule of our mainstream democracy. Malana became a part of our national electorate, a part of our mainstream administration.
And the invasion begins… To give them the light of our civilization government starts building a series of dams, tunnels through the mountain to generate hydel-power. Malana gets electricity, Television, satellite dishes, mobile phones, a vehicular road. With them comes all the vices of a modern world, comes money, comes greed. The incursion of political parties also means creation of political polarity among the beautiful people of a peaceful hamlet. With no knowledge or perspective of the outer world innocent illiterate villagers take sides of political parties and create a divide within.
And the fire strikes… In January 2008, in a devastating fire, caused by an electrical short circuit, half the village including four ancient temples gets completely destroyed. The villagers comprehend that the political divide has disturbed their unity so the God is angry. The people who haven’t lost their houses accommodate those who have lost theirs. But the fire annihilates; the curse of the modern world has hit hard upon the hidden treasure of this ancient civilization - their trust.
The rebuilding of Malana witnesses transition of an ancient civilization. Rules of the modern world, which promote homogenization and convenience, force replacement of traditional methods and practices. In our democracy it’s illegal to cut trees, so the villagers are forced to build concrete houses instead of their traditional stone and wood ones. Poor villagers cannot understand how come the government can destroy their jungle to built the dam or the road and they themselves are prohibited to cut a few trees to rebuild their homes! Concrete house means outside knowledge, outside people, more money; so comes outside aids with their political interests! An age-old traditional society crumbles; the influential individuals turn corrupt, families break apart, brothers fight.
For the poor villagers hashish still remains their only means to earn some money, and it’s a very little money, not even enough to make their living forget about rebuilding their homes. Their production is very restricted now because of police watch. They don’t understand why they have to give away something, which has been so special to them for thousands of years! For them governance is for the people, so why can’t the government make special sanctions for these poor people in crisis! They don’t realize why they have to become a part of India and loose their sovereignty!
We can see the end is very near. In the name of progress of human civilization, like thousands others, another ancient civilization is getting engulfed by a modern one, loosing its unique identity to homogenization. When the whole world is looking for an answer to the shortcomings of the present form of democracy, we witness a beautiful model of self-governance, one of the world’s oldest forms of democracy for the people being obliterated by the rule of the majority.
I feel destined to record such a reality… some moments of truth, some disappearing myths, some wisdom of trust… a dying account of an obscured victim of human progress!

The day jobs of famous authors.

55 Famous Writers - What they did before they wrote.

The day jobs of famous authors.
  1. Anne Rice was a waitress, cook and insurance claims examiner.
  2. Charles Dickens worked in a shoe-polish factory.
  3. China Miéville lived in Egypt in 1990, teaching English for a year.
  4. Dan Brown was a high school English teacher.
  5. Dean Koontz was an English teacher.
  6. Don DeLillo was a parking attendant. It was so boring that he became an avid reader, which led him to pursue a career in writing.
  7. Douglas Adams worked as a hospital porter, barn builder, chicken shed cleaner, a hotel security guard and a bodyguard.
  8. E.E. Cummings worked as an essayist and portrait artist for ‘Vanity Fair’ magazine.
  9. Franz Kafka was the Chief Legal Secretary of the Workmen’s Accident Insurance Institute.
  10. George Orwell was an officer of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. 
  11. H.G. Wells became an apprentice to a draper at the age of fourteen.
  12. Harper Lee was a reservation clerk at Eastern Airlines.
  13. Haruki Murakami worked in a record store during college, and owned a coffee house and jazz bar in Tokyo called the Peter Cat.
  14. Henry Fielding was a magistrate.
  15. Herman Melville was employed as a cabin boy on a cruise liner.
  16. Hilary Mantel was a social worker.
  17. Ian Rankin was a grape-picker, swineherd, taxman, alcohol researcher, hi-fi journalist, college secretary and punk musician.
  18. J.D. Salinger was the entertainment director on a Swedish luxury liner.
  19. J.K. Rowling worked as a secretary and also as a teacher.
  20. Jack Kerouac was a gas station attendant, cotton picker, night guard,  railroad brakeman, dishwasher, construction worker, and a deckhand.
  21. Jack London worked at a cannery, then became an oyster pirate.
  22. James Joyce sang and played piano.
  23. James Patterson worked as a junior copywriter at J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. He later became the CEO.
  24. Jeanette Winterson was an ice cream truck driver and a make-up artist at a funeral parlour.
  25. Jeffery Deaver was a lawyer.
  26. John Grisham worked at a nursery watering bushes, then as a plumber, before becoming a lawyer. 
  27. John Steinbeck was a tour guide at a fish hatchery.
  28. Jorge Luis Borges worked as an assistant in the Buenos Aires Municipal Library.
  29. Joseph Conrad was involved in gunrunning and political conspiracy.
  30. Joseph Heller was a blacksmith’s apprentice, messenger boy, and file clerk.
  31. Ken Kesey was a voluntary participant in CIA psych tests. 
  32. Kurt Vonnegut was the manager of a Saab dealership, worked in public relations for General Electric, and was a volunteer fire fighter.
  33. Lee Child was as a television director with a British TV network.
  34. Margaret Atwood worked as a counter girl in a coffee shop in Toronto.
  35. Mark Twain was a steamboat pilot.
  36. Mary Higgins Clark was a secretary, a model, and a stewardess. 
  37. Michael Crichton was a medical doctor.
  38. Neil Gaiman was a journalist, writing articles for British newspapers and magazines.
  39. Nicholas Sparks was a real estate appraiser, sold dental products by phone, and started his own manufacturing business.
  40. P.D. James worked for the National Health Service and the Civil Service.
  41. Pat Conroy taught English in Beaufort, South Carolina. 
  42. Paulo Coelho worked as a songwriter, an actor, a journalist, and theatre director.
  43. Philip Pullman was a teacher.
  44. Raymond Carver worked at a sawmill, as a janitor, delivery man and again at the sawmill to support his family while building his career.
  45. Roald Dahl worked for the Shell Oil Company of East Africa until World War II. He then served in the Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot.
  46. Robert Frost was a newspaper boy, his mother’s teaching assistant, and a light-bulb-filament replacer in a factory.
  47. Stephen King was a high school janitor
  48. Stephenie Meyer was a receptionist in a property company.
  49. Sylvia Plath worked as a receptionist at a psychiatric hospital. 
  50. T.S. Eliot worked at the Colonial and Foreign Accounts desk for Lloyd’s Bank of London
  51. Tess Gerritsen was a medical doctor. 
  52. Tom Wolfe was a reporter.
  53. Vladimir Nabokov was an entomologist.
  54. William Faulkner was a mail man.
  55. William S. Burroughs was an exterminator.                      by Amanda Patterson

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spike Lee's list of films every young filmmaker must watch so 'Do the right thing' ahem

Here's The List In Its Entirety:

"Bad Lieutenant," Abel Ferara (1992)
"Rashomon," Akira Kurosawa (1950)
"Yojimbo," "Akira Kurosawa (1961)
"Ran," Akira Kurosawa (1985)
"Rear Window," Alfred Hitchcock (1954)
"Vertigo," Alfred Hitchcock (1958)
"North by Northwest," Alfred Hitchcock (1959)
"Bonnie and Clyde," Arthur Penn (1967)
"The Conformist," Bernardo Bertolucci (1970)
"Last Tango in Paris," Bernardo Bertolucci (1972)
"Ace in the Hole," Billy Wilder (1951)
"Some Like It Hot," Billy Wilder (1959)
"Killer of Sheep," Charles Burnett (1977)
"Night of the Hunter," Charles Laughton (1955)
"Raising Arizona," The Coen Brothers (1987)
"The Bridge on the River Kwai," David Lean (1954)
"Lawrence of Arabia," David Lean (1962)
"On the Waterfront," Elia Kazan (1954)
"A Face in the Crowd," Elia Kazan (1957)
"La Strada," Federico Fellini (1954)
"La Dolce Vita," Federico Fellini (1960)
"8 1/2," Federico Fellini (1963)
"City of God," Ferando Meirelles, Katia Lund (2002)
"The Godfather," Francis Ford Coppola (1972)
"The Godfather: Part II," Francis Ford Coppola (1974)
"400 Blows," Francois Truffaut (1959)
"Day for Night," Francois Truffaut (1973)
"Patton," Franklin J. Schnaffner (1970)
"Mad Max," George Miller (1979)
"The Road Warrior," George Miller (1981)
"Battle of Algiers," Gillo Pontecorvo (1966)
"The Last Detail," Hal Ashby (1973)
"Breathless," Jean-Luc Godard (1960)
"West Side Story," Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise (1961)
"Stranger than Paradise," Jim Jarmusch (1984)
"The Train," John Frankenheimer (1964)
"The Maltese Falcon," John Huston (1941)
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," John Huston (1948)
"Fat City," John Huston (1972)
"Midnight Cowboy," John Schlesinger (1969)
"Marathon Man," John Schlesinger (1969)
"Boyz n the Hood," John Singleton (1991)
"Los Olivdados," Luis Bunuel (1950)
"Black Orpheus," Marcel Camus (1959)
"Home of the Brave," Mark Robson (1949)
"Mean Streets," Martin Scorsese (1973)
"Raging Bull," Martin Scorsese (1980)
"Apocalypto," Mel Gibson (2006)
"Casablanca," Michael Curtiz (1942)
"Thief," Michael Mann (1981)
"The Red Shoes," Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger (1948)
"Coolie High," Michael Schultz (1975)
"I Am Cuba," Mikhail Kalatozov (1964)
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Milos Forman (1975)
"District 9," Neill Blomkamp (2009)
"In the Heat of the Night," Norman Jewison (1967)
"Touch of Evil," Orson Welles (1958)
"Blue Collar," Paul Schrader (1978)
"White Heat," Raoul Walsh (1949)
"Is Paris Burning?," Rene Clement (1966)
"M*A*S*H," Robert Altman (1970)
"To Kill a Mockingbird," Robert Mulligan (1962)
"Rome Open City," Roberto Rossellini (1945)
"Paisan," Roberto Rossellini (1946)
"Chinatown," Roman Polanski (1974)
"Black Rain," Shohei Imamura (1989)
"Dog Day Afternoon," Sidney Lumet (1975)
"Singin' in the Rain," Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly (1952)
"Paths of Glory," Stanley Kubrick (1957)
"Spartacus," Stanley Kubrick (1960)
"Dr. Strangelove," Stanley Kubrick (1964)
"Kung Fu Hustle," Stephen Chow (2004)
"Dirty Pretty Things," Stephen Frears (2002)
"Hoop Dreams," Steve James (1984)
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind," Steven Spielberg (1977)
"Empire of the Sun," Steven Spielberg (1987)
"Cool Hand Luke," Stuart Rosenberg (1967)
"Badlands," Terrence Malick (1973)
"Days of Heaven," Terrence Malick (1978)
"The Wizard of Oz," Victor Fleming (1939)
"An American in Paris," Vincente Minnelli (1951)
"Lust for Life," Vincente Minnelli (1956)
"The Bicycle Thief," Vittorio De Sica (1948)
"Miracle in Milan," Vittorio De Sica (1951)
"Dead End," William Wyler (1937)
"Zelig," Woody Allen (1983)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Latin words every Man must know... Or so I've been told

Latin Words and Phrases Every Man Should Know

by Brett & Kate McKay on July 25, 2013 · 73 comments

What do great men like Benjamin Franklin, Teddy Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill have in common?
They all were proficient in Latin.
From the Middle Ages until about the middle of the 20th century, Latin was a central part of a man’s schooling in the West. Along with logic and rhetoric, grammar (as Latin was then known) was included as part of the Trivium – the foundation of a medieval liberal arts education. From Latin, all scholarship flowed and it was truly the gateway to the life of the mind, as the bulk of scientific, religious, legal, and philosophical literature was written in the language until about the 16th century. To immerse oneself in classical and humanistic studies, Latin was a must.
Grammar schools in Europe and especially England during this time were Latin schools, and the first secondary school established in America by the Puritans was a Latin school as well. But beginning in the 14th century, writers started to use the vernacular in their works, which slowly chipped away at Latin’s central importance in education. This trend for English-language learning accelerated in the 19th century; schools shifted from turning out future clergymen to graduating businessmen who would take their place in an industrializing economy. An emphasis on the liberal arts slowly gave way to what was considered a more practical education in reading, writing, and arithmetic.
While Latin had been dying a slow death for hundreds of years, it still had a strong presence in schools until the middle of the 20th century. Beginning in the 1960s, college students demanded that the curriculum be more open, inclusive, and less Euro-centric. Among their suggested changes was eliminating Latin as a required course for all students. To quell student protests, universities began to slowly phase out the Latin requirement, and because colleges stopped requiring Latin, many high schools in America stopped offering Latin classes, too.  Around the same time, the Catholic Church revised its liturgy and permitted priests to lead Mass in vernacular languages instead of Latin, thus eliminating one of the public’s last ties to the ancient language.
While it’s no longer a requirement for a man to know Latin to get ahead in life, it’s still a great subject to study. I had to take classes in Latin as part of my “Letters” major at the University of Oklahoma, and I really enjoyed it. Even if you’re well out of school yourself, there are a myriad of reasons why you should still consider obtaining at least a rudimentary knowledge of the language:
Knowing Latin can improve your English vocabulary. While English is a Germanic language, Latin has strongly influenced it. Most of our prefixes and some of the roots of common English words derive from Latin. By some estimates, 30% of English words derive from the ancient language. By knowing the meaning of these Latin words, if you chance to come across a word you’ve never seen before, you can make an educated guess at what it means. In fact, studies have found that high school students who studied Latin scored a mean of 647 on the SAT verbal exam, compared with the national average of 505.
Knowing Latin can improve your foreign language vocabulary. Much of the commonly spoken Romantic languages like Spanish, French, and Italian derived from Vulgar Latin. You’ll be surprised by the number of Romantic words that are pretty much the same as their Latin counterparts.
Many legal terms are in Latin. Nolo contendere. Mens rea. Caveat emptor. Do you know what those mean? They’re actually common legal terms. While strides have been made to translate legal writing into plain English, you’ll still see old Latin phrases thrown into legal contracts every now and then. To be an educated citizen and consumer, you need to know what these terms mean. If you plan on going to law school, I highly recommend boning up on Latin. You’ll run into it all the time, particularly when reading older case law.
Knowing Latin can give you more insight to history and literature. Latin was the lingua franca of the West for over a thousand years. Consequently, much of our history, science, and great literature was first recorded in Latin. Reading these classics in the original language can give you insights you otherwise may have missed by consuming it in English.
Moreover, modern writers (and by modern I mean beginning in the 17th century) often pepper their work with Latin words and phrases without offering a translation because they (reasonably) expect the reader to be familiar with it. This is true of great books from even just a few decades ago (seems much less common these days – which isn’t a hopeful commentary on the direction of the public’s literacy I would think). Not having a rudimentary knowledge of Latin will cause you to miss out on fully understanding what the writer meant to convey.
Below we’ve put together a list of Latin words and phrases to help pique your interest in learning this classical language. This list isn’t exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination. We’ve included some of the most common Latin words and phrases that you still see today, which are helpful to know in boosting your all-around cultural literacy. We’ve also included some particularly virile sayings, aphorisms, and mottos that can inspire greatness or remind us of important truths. Perhaps you’ll find a Latin phrase that you can adopt as your personal motto. Semper Virilis!

Latin Words and Phrases Every Man Should Know

a posteriori from the latter -- knowledge or justification is dependent on experience or empirical evidence
a priori from what comes before -- knowledge or justification is independent of experience
faber est suae quisque fortunaeevery man is the artisan of his own fortune --
quote by Appius Claudius Caecus
acta non verbadeeds, not words
ad hocto this -- improvised or made up
ad hominemto the man -- below-the-belt personal attack rather than a reasoned argument
ad honoremfor honor
ad infinitumto infinity
ad nauseamused to describe an argument that has been taking place to the point of nausea
ad victoriamto victory -- more commonly translated into "for victory," this was a battle cry of the Romans

alea iacta estthe die has been cast
aliasat another time -- an assumed name or pseudonym
alma maternourishing mother -- used to denote one's college/university
amor patriaelove of one's country
amor vincit omnialove conquers all

annuit cœptisHe (God) nods at things being begun -- or "he approves our undertakings," motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of the United States one-dollar bill

ante bellumbefore the war -- commonly used in the Southern United States as antebellum to refer to the period preceding the American Civil War

ante meridiembefore noon -- A.M., used in timekeeping
aqua vitaewater of life -- used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky (uisge beatha) in Scotland and Ireland, gin in Holland, and brandy (eau de vie) in France
arte et marteby skill and valour

astra inclinant, sed non obligantthe stars incline us, they do not bind us -- refers to the strength of free will over astrological determinism

audemus jura nostra defenderewe dare to defend our rights -- state motto of Alabama
audere est facereto dare is to do

audioI hear
aurea mediocritasgolden mean -- refers to the ethical goal of reaching a virtuous middle ground between two sinful extremes

auribus teneo lupumI hold a wolf by the ears -- a common ancient proverb; indicates that one is in a dangerous situation where both holding on and letting go could be deadly; a modern version is, "to have a tiger by the tail"

aut cum scuto aut in scutoeither with shield or on shield -- do or die, "no retreat"; said by Spartan mothers to their sons as they departed for battle
aut neca aut necareeither kill or be killed
aut viam inveniam aut faciamI will either find a way or make one -- said by Hannibal, the great ancient military commander
barba non facit philosophuma beard doesn't make one a philosopher
bellum omnium contra omneswar of all against all
bis dat qui cito dathe gives twice, who gives promptly -- a gift given without hesitation is as good as two gifts

bona fidegood faith
bono malum superateovercome evil with good
carpe diemseize the day
caveat emptorlet the buyer beware -- the purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need
circaaround, or approximately
citius altius fortiusfaster, higher, stronger -- modern Olympics motto
cogito ergo sum"I think therefore I am" -- famous quote by Rene Descartes
contemptus mundi/saeculiscorn for the world/times -- despising the secular world, the monk or philosopher's rejection of a mundane life and worldly values

corpus christibody of Christ
corruptissima re publica plurimae legeswhen the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous -- said by Tacitus
creatio ex nihilocreation out of nothing -- a concept about creation, often used in a theological or philosophical context
cura te ipsumtake care of your own self -- an exhortation to physicians, or experts in general, to deal with their own problems before addressing those of others

curriculum vitaethe course of one's life -- in business, a lengthened resume
de factofrom the fact -- distinguishing what's supposed to be from what is reality
deo volenteGod willing
deus ex machinaGod out of a machine -- a term meaning a conflict is resolved in improbable or implausible ways
dictum factumwhat is said is done

disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras morituruslearn as if you're always going to live; live as if tomorrow you're going to die
discendo discimuswhile teaching we learn
docendo disco, scribendo cogitoI learn by teaching, think by writing
ductus exemploleadership by example
ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahuntthe fates lead the willing and drag the unwilling -- attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca

dulce bellum inexpertiswar is sweet to the inexperienced
dulce et decorum est pro patria moriit is sweet and fitting to die for your country
dulcius ex asperissweeter after difficulties

e pluribus unumout of many, one -- on the U.S. seal, and was once the country's de facto motto
emeritusveteran -- retired from office
et aliiand others -- abbreviated et al.
et ceteraand the others
et tu, Brute?last words of Caesar after being murdered by friend Brutus in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," used today to convey utter betrayal
ex animofrom the heart -- thus, "sincerely"

ex librisfrom the library of -- to mark books from a library
ex nihiloout of nothing
ex post factofrom a thing done afterward -- said of a law with retroactive effect

fac fortia et pateredo brave deeds and endure
fac similemake alike -- origin of the word "fax"
flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta moveboif I cannot move heaven I will raise hell -- Virgil's Aeneid

fortes fortuna adiuvatfortune favors the bold

fortis in arduisstrong in difficulties
gloria in excelsis Deoglory to God in the highest
habeas corpusyou should have the body -- a legal term from the 14th century or earlier; commonly used as the general term for a prisoner's legal right to challenge the legality of their detention

habemus papamwe have a pope -- used after a Catholic Church papal election to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope

historia vitae magistrahistory, the teacher of life -- from Cicero; also "history is the mistress of life"

hoc est bellumthis is war
homo unius libri (timeo)(I fear) a man of one book -- attributed to Thomas Aquinas

honor virtutis praemiumesteem is the reward of virtue
hostis humani generisenemy of the human race -- Cicero defined pirates in Roman law as being enemies of humanity in general

humilitas occidit superbiamhumility conquers pride
igne natura renovatur integrathrough fire, nature is reborn whole

ignis aurum probatfire tests gold -- a phrase referring to the refining of character through difficult circumstances

in absentiain the absence
in aqua sanitasin water there is health
in flagrante delictoin flaming crime -- caught red-handed, or in the act
in memoriaminto the memory -- more commonly "in memory of"
in omnia paratusready for anything

in situ

in position -- something that exists in an original or natural state

in totoin all or entirely
in umbra, igitur, pugnabimusthen we will fight in the shade -- made famous by Spartans in the battle of Thermopylae and by the movie 300
in uteroin the womb
in vitroin glass -- biological process that occurs in the lab
incepto ne desistammay I not shrink from my purpose
intelligenti paucafew words suffice for he who understands
invictus maneoI remain unvanquished
ipso factoby the fact itself -- something is true by its very nature
labor omnia vincithard work conquers all

laborare pugnare parati sumusto work, (or) to fight; we are ready
labore et honoreby labor and honor
leges sine moribus vanaelaws without morals [are] vain
lex parsimoniaelaw of succinctness -- also known as Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one

lex talionisthe law of retaliation
magna cum laudewith great praise

magna est vis consuetudinisgreat is the power of habit
magnum opusgreat work -- said of someone's masterpiece

mala fidein bad faith -- said of an act done with knowledge of its illegality, or with intention to defraud or mislead someone; opposite of bona fide

malum in sewrong in itself -- a legal term meaning that something is inherently wrong

malum prohibitumwrong due to being prohibited -- a legal term meaning that something is only wrong because it is against the law
mea culpamy fault
meliorabetter things -- carrying the connotation of "always better"

memento moriremember that [you will] die -- was whispered by a servant into the ear of a victorious Roman general to check his pride as he paraded through cheering crowds after a victory; a genre of art meant to remind the viewer of the reality of his death
memento vivereremember to live
memores acti prudentes futurimindful of what has been done, aware of what will be
modus operandi method of operating -- abbreviated M.O.
montani semper liberimountaineers [are] always free -- state motto of West Virginia
morior invictusdeath before defeat
morituri te salutantthose who are about to die salute you -- popularized as a standard salute from gladiators to the emperor, but only recorded once in Roman history
morte magis metuenda senectusold age should rather be feared than death
mulgere hircumto milk a male goat -- to attempt the impossible
multa paucissay much in few words

nanos gigantum humeris insidentesdwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants -- commonly known by the letters of Isaac Newton: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants"
nec aspera terrentthey don't terrify the rough ones -- frightened by no difficulties, less literally "difficulties be damned"
nec temere nec timideneither reckless nor timid
nil volentibus arduumnothing [is] arduous for the willing
nolo contendereI do not wish to contend -- that is, "no contest"; a plea that can be entered on behalf of a defendant in a court that states that the accused doesn't admit guilt, but will accept punishment for a crime
non ducor, ducoI am not led; I lead
non loqui sed facerenot talk but action
non progredi est regredito not go forward is to go backward
non scholae, sed vitae discimuswe learn not for school, but for life -- from Seneca
non sequiturit does not follow -- in general, a comment which is absurd due to not making sense in its context (rather than due to being inherently nonsensical or internally inconsistent), often used in humor
non sum qualis eramI am not such as I was -- or "I am not the kind of person I once was"

nosce te ipsumknow thyself -- from Cicero

novus ordo seclorumnew order of the ages -- from Virgil; motto on the Great Seal of the United States
nulla tenaci invia est viafor the tenacious, no road is impassable
obliti privatorum, publica curateforget private affairs, take care of public ones -- Roman political saying which reminds that common good should be given priority over private matters for any person having a responsibility in the State

panem et circensesbread and circuses -- originally described all that was needed for emperors to placate the Roman mob; today used to describe any entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters

para bellumprepare for war -- if you want peace, prepare for war—if a country is ready for war, its enemies are less likely to attack
parvis imbutus tentabis grandia tutuswhen you are steeped in little things, you shall safely attempt great things -- sometimes translated as, "once you have accomplished small things, you may attempt great ones safely"

pater familiasfather of the family -- the eldest male in a family
pecunia, si uti scis, ancilla est; si nescis, dominaif you know how to use money, money is your slave; if you don't, money is your master
per angusta ad augustathrough difficulties to greatness
per annumby the year
per capitaby the person
per diemby the day
per sethrough itself
persona non grataperson not pleasing -- an unwelcome, unwanted or undesirable person
pollice versowith a turned thumb -- used by Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator
post meridiemafter noon -- P.M., used in timekeeping
post mortemafter death
postscriptumthing having been written afterward -- in writing, abbreviated P.S.
praemonitus praemunitusforewarned is forearmed
praesis ut prosis ne ut impereslead in order to serve, not in order to rule
primus inter paresfirst among equals -- a title of the Roman Emperors

pro bonofor the good -- in business, refers to services rendered at no charge
pro ratafor the rate
quam bene vivas referre (or refert), non quam diuit is how well you live that matters, not how long -- from Seneca
quasias if or as though
qui totum vult totum perdithe who wants everything loses everything -- attributed to Seneca
quid agiswhat's going on? -- what's up, what's happening, etc.
quid pro quothis for that -- an exchange of value
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videturwhatever has been said in Latin seems deep -- or "anything said in Latin sounds profound"; a recent ironic Latin phrase to poke fun at people who seem to use Latin phrases and quotations only to make themselves sound more important or "educated"
quis custodiet ipsos custodes?who will guard the guards themselves? -- commonly associated with Plato
quorumof whom -- the number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional

requiescat in pace let him rest in peace -- abbreviated R.I.P.
rigor mortisstiffness of death
scientia ac laboreknowledge through hard work
scientia ipsa potentia estknowledge itself is power
semper anticusalways forward
semper fidelisalways faithful -- U.S. Marines motto
semper fortisalways brave
semper paratusalways prepared
semper virilisalways virile
si vales, valeowhen you are strong, I am strong
si vis pacem, para bellumif you want peace, prepare for war
sic parvis magnagreatness from small beginnings -- motto of Sir Frances Drake
sic semper tyrannisthus always to tyrants -- attributed to Brutus at the time of Julius Caesar's assassination, and to John Wilkes Booth at the time of Abraham Lincoln's assassination; whether it was actually said at either of these events is disputed
sic vita estthus is life -- the ancient version of "it is what it is"
sola fideby faith alone
sola nobilitat virtusvirtue alone ennobles
solvitur ambulandoit is solved by walking
spes bonagood hope
statim (stat)immediately -- medical shorthand
status quothe situation in which or current condition
subpoenaunder penalty
sum quod erisI am what you will be -- a gravestone inscription to remind the reader of the inevitability of death
summa cum laudewith highest praise
summum bonumthe supreme good
suum cuiqueto each his own
tabula rasascraped tablet -- "blank slate"; John Locke used the term to describe the human mind at birth, before it had acquired any knowledge
tempora heroicaHeroic Age
tempus edax rerumtime, devourer of all things
tempus fugittime flees -- commonly mistranslated "time flies"
terra firmafirm ground
terra incognitaunknown land -- used on old maps to show unexplored areas
vae victiswoe to the conquered
vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitasvanity of vanities; everything [is] vanity -- from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 1)
veni vidi viciI came, I saw, I conquered -- famously said by Julius Caesar
verbatimrepeat exactly
veritas et aequitastruth and equity
veto I forbid
vice versato change or turn around
vincit qui patiturhe conquers who endures
vincit qui se vincithe conquers who conquers himself
vir prudens non contra ventum mingit[a] wise man does not urinate [up] against the wind
virile agiturthe manly thing is being done
viriliter agiteact in a manly way
viriliter agite estote fortesquit ye like men, be strong
virtus tentamine gaudetstrength rejoices in the challenge
virtute et armisby virtue and arms -- or "by manhood and weapons"; state motto of Mississippi

vive memor letilive remembering death
vivere est vincereto live is to conquer -- Captain John Smith's personal motto
vivere militare estto live is to fight
vox populivoice of the people
What are your favorite Latin phrases? Any other important Latin words and phrases that you think a modern man should know? Share with us in the comments!