Amitav Ghosh quotes

  • What would it be like if I had something to defend - a home, a country, a family - and I found myself attacked by these ghostly men, these trusting boys? How do you fight an enemy who fights with neither enmity nor anger but in submission to orders from superiors, without protest and without conscience?
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Country #Home #Fighting

  • I know nothing of this silence except that it lies outside the reach of my intelligence, beyond words - that is why this silence must win, must inevitably defeat me, because it is not a presence at all.
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Lying #Winning #Silence

  • How do you lose a word? Does it vanish into your memory, like an old toy in a cupboard, and lie hidden in the cobwebs and dust, waiting to be cleaned out or rediscovered?
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Memories #Lying #Dust

  • [T]hat state, love, is so utterly alien to that other idea without which we cannot live as human beings --- the idea of justice. It is only because love is so profoundly the enemy of justice that our minds, shrinking in horor from its true nature, try to tame it by uniting it with its opposite [...] in the hope that if we apply all the metaphors of normality, that if we heap them high enough, we shall, in the end, be able to approximate that state metaphorically.
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Love Is #Ideas #Opposites

  • The government to you is what God is to agnostics--only to be invoked when your own well being is at stake.
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Government #Stakes #Well Being

  • (He) was in love with the idea of revolution. Men like that, even when they turn their backs on their party and their comrades, can never let go of the idea: it's the secret god that rules their hearts. It is what makes them come alive; they revel in the danger, the exquisite pain. It is to them what childbirth is to a woman, or war to a mercenary.
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Letting Go #Pain #War

  • To use the past to justify the present is bad enough—but it’s just as bad to use the present to justify the past.
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Past #Use #Enough

  • You see, in our family we don't know whether we're coming or going - it's all my grandmother's fault. But, of course, the fault wasn't hers at all: it lay in language. Every language assumes a centrality, a fixed and settled point to go away from and come back to, and what my grandmother was looking for was a word for a journey which was not a coming or a going at all; a journey that was a search for precisely that fixed point which permits the proper use of verbs of movement.
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Grandmother #Journey #Going Away

  • If the charter of your liberties entails death and despair for untold multitudes, then it is nothing but a license for slaughter.
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Despair #Liberty #Slaughter

  • ...yet, unbeknownst to him, it had been kept alive - and it was only now, in listening to Deet's songs, that he recognized that the secret source of its nourishment was music: he had always had a great love of dadras, chaitis, barahmasas, horis, kajris - songs such as Deeti was singing. Listening to her now, he knew why Bhojpuri was the language of this music: because of all the tongues spoken between the Ganges and the Indus, there was none that was its equal in the expression of the nuances of love, longing and separation - of the plight of those who leave and those who stay at home.
    -- Amitav Ghosh

    #Love #Song #Home