Saturday, 7 December 2019

A few facts about Popes

  • The first Pope or Papa, St. Peter, was born in West Asia. He died in Rome, leading to the shift of Christianity to Rome.
  • The next Pope, Linus, was born in the region now known as Italy. Most Popes since then have been of Italian origin.
  • The third Pope, Anacletus, was the first Greek Pope. Most of the early Popes were either of Italian or Greek or West Asian origin.
  • The 14th Pope, Victor I, was the first African Pope and was a Berber born in the region now known as Libya. He, however, was not the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere. That distinction belongs to Francis who became Pope in 2013.
  • In 217 CE, the tradition of having two claimants to the title of Pope started. Such disputes continued on and off till the accession of Nicholas V in 1447 CE.
  • Boniface II, who became Papa in 530, was the first Germanic Pope.
  • Gregory III, who became Pope in 731, was born in West Asia, and was the last non-European Pope before Francis in 2013.
  • Leo III, crowned Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day 800 CE. It established the office of the Holy Roman Emperor and also the tradition of the Holy Roman Emperor having to seek the sanction of the Pope for his legitimacy. This dual power centre set off further skirmishes later on.
  • John VIII, who became Papa in 872, was the first Pope who was assassinated.
  • Sylvester II, who became Pope in 999, was the first French/ Occitan Papa. After Gregory XI, who became Pope in 1370, there has not yet been any other French Pope.
  • Adrian IV, in 1154, became the first and till date the only English Pope.
  • John XXI, in 1276, became the first Portuguese Pope.
  • Benedict XIII, who was a claimant to the title of Pope, became the first Spanish claimant in 1394. After the end of the Western Schism, Callixtus III, who was a Borja, became the universally acknowledged Pope in 1455.
  • Alexander VI, a Borja, was the last non-Italian (Spanish) Pope before John Paul II in 1978, who became the first Polish Pope.
  • Leo X, in 1513, became the Pope. He was the son of Lorenzo de' Medici.
  • Adrian VI, in 1522, became the only Dutch Pope.
  • The next Pope, Clement VII, was also a Medici, and forbade the divorce of Henry VIII of England.
  • Francis, in 2013, became the first Pope from the Americas and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.

In addition, whenever I think of Popes, I am reminded of two poems by Robert Browning,'The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church' and 'Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister'

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Amitav Ghosh’s language

His words are like a journey in an elevator: they don’t take your breath away, and if they do, it is because of the storeys.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Kolkata Dylan Blues

Thrown in to the world
Told only nice tales
Grew up believing them
Despite what the world hurled
Couple on the telly
Hugging and smooching
Blood in the papers
No one is watching
Grow up kid
Time to rid
Of all the sunshine
Idea that life's fine
Justice isn't a velvet path
It's blood-skin that a dead man hath
Person on the pavement is asking for money
Words he doesn't mind if you can cough up honey

Went through college school
Numbers don't add up
Or even if they do
You'd still be the cool fool
Thousand and one jobs
Passing and calling
Working for the boss
Without good feeling
Grow up kid
Time to rid
Jobs aren't for the dole
It's your slotted role
Money isn't for keeping
See the earth the worms are heaping
Six feet under or fire-burnt for the earth's keep
Who will know whether you had sown what you did reap

Medicine's called love
Bitter be the taste
You got to swallow it
There isn't any choice dove
Breakups and hookups
Swiping screens of love
Company that you seek
From the stars above
Grow up kid
Time to rid
Love isn't a red heart
Squabbles fill the cart
Marriage is far from fun
Everyone marrying their someone
The smile that you put on every time you step out
You got to make up over the tears that brought them 'bout

Loose pants and shrill voice
Memories are fading
Winnowing wheat from chaff
Bad roads from Rolls Royce
Thinking 'bout legacy
Long-lasting impacts
You tend to forget
As people your facts
Grown up kid
Not yet rid
No one remembers you
All time save a few
Do not think a tome
Bringing it all back home
If you feel good then crush the fruit and taste the juice
Wanna try to spread the feel and enjoy the blues

(To be sung to the tune of Bob Dylan's 'Subterranean Homesick Blues')

Sunday, 9 June 2019

BBC's Desert Island Discs

বাইবেল ও শেক্সপিয়ারের সমগ্র রচনা তো থাকবেই।

তা ছাড়া, যে আটটি গান, একটি বই ও একটি বিলাস সামগ্রী সঙ্গে নেবো তা হলো এ রকম।


১) রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর, 'আমার নিশীথ রাতের বাদল ধারা', সাহানা বাজপেয়ী-র গাওয়া -- কলেজে পড়ার সময় এই গানটা খুব শুনতাম।

২) Louis Armstrong, 'What a Wonderful World' -- হয়তো আমার সব চেয়ে প্রিয় গান।

৩) Frank Sinatra, 'Moon River' -- Sinatra-র গলাটা শুনতেই হবে।

৪) आरिफ लोहार, 'भाग मिलखा भाग' -- গানটা খুব অনুপ্রেরণা জাগায়।

৫) मधुश्री, 'कान्हा सो जा ज़रा', বাহূবালি ২ চলচ্চিত্রের হিন্দি সংস্করণ থেকে-- গানটা শুনে ঘুমোতে ভালো লাগে। 

৬) मोहित चौहान, 'सबसे पीछे हम खड़े' -- কলেজে পড়ার সময় এই গানটা খুব শুনতাম।

৭) मोहम्मद रफी एवं गीता दत, 'हम आप की आँखों में', পিয়াসা চলচ্চিত্র থেকে -- খুব ভালো লাগে এই গানটা।

৮) Leonard Cohen, 'Closing Time,' -- অন্তিম গান।

The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 4th edition

বিলাস সামগ্রী
পুরনো কিছু ফটোগ্রাফ

Friday, 25 January 2019

Doubt, protest and empathy

The three Christian theological virtues were faith, hope and charity. In addition to the four classical virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance and justice, these three came together to form the seven virtues of the Christian world.

In the twenty-first century, I think faith is less of a virtue than it earlier was when religion had greater significance for a larger section of the population. On the contrary, what improves the world is technological innovation, which in itself is fuelled by doubt.

One of the other factors which improves humankind is acquiring rights, which is rarely gifted but has to be demanded and seized from the powers that be. The protests manifesting the demand are carried out in hope, hope that the demands will be met. Thus, hope in the form of protest remains one of the forms of human progress.

Charity (Latin caritas = love) was the greatest of the Christian theological virtues. I think it remains the greatest virtue even now. In order to love or even be charitable (in the modern sense of donating), one needs to empathise, imagine oneself in the place of another.

Thus, I think the three modern virtues which propel the human race forward are doubt, protest and empathy.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Rhetorical devices/ figures of speech most amenable to computer detection

Devices which use repetition of a specific word or a sequence of words are most amenable to automatic computer detection algorithms.

Thus, these figures of speech are easier to detect than other rhetorical devices

Epiphora or epistrophe
Epizeuxis or palilogia

Other figures of speech which are also similarly amenable are

Alliteration — one or more letters at the beginning of a word, rather than an entire word, being repeated
Anti-metabole — the word order is reversed, so slightly tougher for the computer to detect
Homeoteleuton — reverse of alliteration. One or more letters at the end of a word, rather than an entire word, being repeated