Archive for September, 2013

Much pity, you have cast your 

Name for the hollow prattle

Of some foul fiend who showed

You his world to come,

And pressed the lead hot shot

To fashion as you will.

Without a Name wander you will-

Never know the wind, nor music

Of the Spheres from which

You ignoble beggar, without a name 

Shall forever wander.

For when soul was your own name

You chose some fiend for your sage

That made nit-picking of Word

his empire-building.  

If you should come across nameless fears

these are ever your pickings 

Gone is your aim; so has your ease-

Nothing remains but darkness surround:

Consider you earned your wages

And also the empire of darkness

That now surrounds you.


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As you sow shall you reap:

It is seed cast by wind

From which I seek not so much

as the Source but to draw

what stray winds blow

And the loam of habits that gather

to hinder my passage.

I know I have learned to leave the

seat of cosmic filaments firm of hold

To its tasks as it is past my purpose.

What is before is not the comfort

Of tradition sown by stray winds

But my very passage home

where every star is a blossom

Bursting with intimations of

my Immutability.


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This Soul Thing

I can’t read a man by his gait;

Nor I am much for Iris by the gate

I see the eye and my blinking stare 

sees not her iris but smile;

I can’t tell least of my soul

though my very life I swear.

All that colors the world wears and

Holds promises never meant to keep

I know I must see through with Intent.

Intent is but wind unless I prove it

By deeds that speak best for me.

Only my deeds have I to discern

the verity of Soul : I swear by it.


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“Soul is your signature , that stands for you; it is your word standing its own in the cosmic silence; it is a tacit agreement you have entered with the universe to be a light in darkness wherever it happens. It is a seal that is not broken though your body hits the dust.”


Originally a comment left of a blog which I regularly follow. 

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PATRICK HENRY  (1736-1799) US



Patriot, Orator




Patrick Henry was not a learned man but had a powerful and persuasive mind  and eloquence to match. The concluding parts of the speech he made on the floor of the Burgesses, Virginia on May 1765 in the wake of the Stamp Act he said,   “Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third..” There were cries of ‘Treason’ from the assembly. He proceeded in a solemn tone,”…may profit from their example. If this be treason make the most of it.”

The only flaw was the manner of his speaking bedazzled his audience too well to take to heart the substance of what he said, and as Thomas Jefferson once put it succinctly,  “ when he ceased to speak I asked myself what the devil has he said?”

“I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or death.” Immortal sentences ever to come out of a man.  His oratory prevented others from seeing in him a role that made George Washington a statesman or Jefferson, a political thinker.

An indifferent scholar, a failure  who went bankrupt twice in seven years, he married at 18 and had 17 children. With no prospects he lived aimlessly in the backwoods and at the age of 24 he took stock of himself. Since he had a gift of the gab he went to study law. At the time momentous events were shaping the destiny of the colonists. From Virginia he ‘started the ball of the Revolution rolling.’ The crown offered him many posts outside Virginia which he refused. When revolution did come he saw himself an American and not a Virginian. But he never fully made that transition. 

Who doesn’t recall Dr King’s Speech, ‘Í have a dream…’speech or Churchill’s war time speeches? Sincerity of the speaker made it resonate even this day. Now can anyone recall a single speech of Adolf Hitler? Hitler was a demogogue whose appeal didn’t go beyond the primitive baseline of his public. Rapterously the nation stood to attention with the Nazi salute but not a single line that carried truth of the man nor from any genuine conviction. No wonder, we ask ourselves what had he beyond his toothbrush moustache?








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WEIZMANN, DR. CHAIM, (1874-1952) Israel





Without Dr. Weizmann it is inconceivable that a homeland for the Jews could be founded at a crucial period in the modern history. The 20 th century had begun with so many crises one after the other,- and Great Powers harried by the ethnic problems in their own backyard looked to convulse entire Europe into some great catastrophe.
Theodore Herzl’s Zion Movement* was already in the air which was coalesced when Dr. Weizmann came into contact with Arthur J. Balfour,Lloyd George and Churchill among other influential politicians of the day.

In 1917 Weizmann became president of the British Zionist Federation and worked with Arthur Balfour to obtain the milestone Balfour Declaration.

In 1904, Weizmann became a chemistry lecturer at the University of Manchester and became involved with the Movement. With the help of people like CP Scott, Harry Sacher he made Manchester the fulcrum of practical Zionism.At that time in Manchester, Balfour was a Conservative MP representing the district, as well as Prime Minister, and the two met during one of Balfour’s electoral campaigns. Balfour supported the concept of a Jewish homeland, but felt that there would be more support among politicians for the then-current offer in Uganda. Following mainstream Zionist rejection of that proposal, Weizmann was credited later with persuading Balfour, then the Foreign Minister, for British support to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the original Zionist demand.


The statesman in him saw the land as a national home, the growth of many generations living in peace and amity with the Arabs. The scientist,-he was a chemist who developed the ABE process, in him saw the barren land transformed by the Jews into a fertile and humane country. In the subsequent events like the rise of Nazism, Zion militancy and Arab intransigence and the holocaust destroyed his optimism for an evolutionary state. He was the first President of the state of Israel after its birth.


Theodore Herzl after the Dreyfus Affair realized Jews will not get an equal standing because of the deep seated prejudice against them. He published a book Der Judenstaat –1896 placing all their unfulfilled hopes into print and it was the writing of the wall on the European consciousness. How sincere was the idea of European Enlightenment would be judged in the way it was answered. The United Kingdom was the first world power to endorse the Establishment in Palestine a homeland for the Jews. In 1916 the Picot –Sykes agreement had given Great Britain the mandate over Palestine and the rest is history.




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Tsiolkovsky now remembered as the father of space travel was a school teacher, almost entirely self taught. Isolated by his deafness, result of scarlet fever as a child and by conditions of the Tsarist Russia he devised the kinetic theory of gases only to be told of Maxwell’s work had preceded his by a decade, his reply was that it had been a good experience.

He was suspended from school at the age of 14.  Two years later he went to Moscow where he taught himself at Chertkovskaya Library and lived on a small allowance sent from home. “I ate just black bread didn’t have even potatoes and tea, he would later recall, “Instead I was buying books,pipes, sulfuric acid (for experiments) and so on.”

His arrival in Moscow however coincided with great social changes and also in arts and sciences. It was the age of Tchaikovsky, Dosteovsky and Dimitri Mendeleev who developed the first periodic table of elements. Nikolai Zhukovsky did his pioneering work on aerodynamics. Tsiolkvsky came across Nikolai Fedorov, whose theories,- cosmism, however bizarre, captured his imagination. In 1865 From the Earth to the Moon a novel by Jules Verne was creating a stir.


From 1883 he had worked out principle of rocketry in detail , propulsion was provided by a mixture of liquid hydrogen and oxygen; he also had correctly foreseen it would require a multi-stage principle to get the rocket escape the Earth’s gravity. A single engine he realized was impractical. Starved of funds needed for the experimental work he published in 1911 a series of comprehensive survey of the theory of space flight.

His genius was however recognized and Sputnik was slated to go into orbit on the birth centenary,- alas it got delayed by 29 days. His tombstone carries the words, ‘Mankind will not remain tied to Earth forever.’




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GERTRUDE STEIN (1874-1946)



In popular culture she is now remembered chiefly for one quote ‘A rose is a rose is a rose.’ and her friendship with Alice B. Toklas.

She was much more. She served as an oracle to the lost generation. Self exiled from her native shores she settled in Paris from 1903  and her Paris apartment was open to two generations of American visitors including soldiers from both world wars.  Her discerning eye for modern trends and the artists who were on the threshold of their international  fame, she could count Matisse, Picasso, Juan Gris, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway among her acquaintances. She was the literary link between her fellow Americans and the European literary and artistic avant-garde.

She also wrote where novels were her experiments with the language and the already quoted ‘Rose is a rose..’ stated her position that things are only what they are despite attempts of symbolists or any other to extend association of the object beynd its traditional meaning.  A scythe is a scythe whether the Grim reaper would find use for it or not.   From her Three lives(1909) and Autography of Alice B. Toklas(1933) her writing  included criticism(‘Lectures in America’) poetry and a few plays. She applied to literature what Mondrian discovered in art and Wittgenstein in philosophy. By her own admission her literary experiments were conducted not with an eye ‘to the future but to the fuschia.’

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Wonder Tales-2-comic strip series

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Erwin Rommel (1891-1944), Field Marshall



One of Nazi Germany’s heroes he was a member of the Nazi Party which many generals were not. He spearheaded many of Hitler’s spectacular successes he was a hero to his soldiers while he fell foul with the megalomaniac in the end. He never allowed himself privileges denied to the ranks. He was sent to North Africa in command of Afrika Korps to fight the British away  from the Suez Canal. At first he was successful but Montgomery in Oct. 1942 launched the first major counter-offensive against Rommel at El Alamein and drove the Germans away signaling a decisive turning point in the WWII.

Rommel was recalled to Germany and during a visit to the front in France in 1944 he was severely injured by British fighter planes. While convalescing he was accused of treason for his alleged role in the abortive July attempt on Hitler’s life. ‘Either suicide or stand trial’ he was told and he chose the first and was given a state funeral.


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