"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

past

Put It All Behind You

________________

The ability to let go of what’s behind me and focus on the present is something I aspire to,
Rather than achieve.
________________


Déjà Vu

__________

“Neither (he) or his advisers had considered the reactions of the Afghans to the advance of an infidel army into their country to evict the ruler and replace him with a prince whom few of them knew and fewer cared for…

__________

__________

He imagined that by throwing large sums of money at the Afghans he could win them over… A policy which had worked up to a point (elsewhere) but failed in Afghanistan where religious and national passions were deeper and fiercer.”

__________

Both quotations from a discussion of the First Anglo-Afghan War 1839 – 1842 in “Raj: The making of British India” by Lawrence James, published in 1997.

__________

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

__________

“A new generation has arisen which, instead of profiting from the solemn lessons of the past, is willing and eager to embroil us in the affairs of that turbulent and unhappy country. Although military disasters may be avoided, an advance now, however successful in a military point of view, would not fail to turn out to be as politically useless.”

George Lawrence, Letter to the London Times, prior to the Second Anglo-Afghan War, 1878 – 1880.

__________

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  George Santayana

__________



Revisiting

This week, in “The Hindu” newspaper, Pranay Gupte wrote of a reunion he attended.

It reminded me of a similar episode in my life. The feelings of estrangement that such events induce are probably inevitable.

Pranay Gupte finished his piece by saying:

“The past is not prologue.

When the past is gone, it is gone; no amount of imagery can truly reconstruct it.

There is no way I can translate my regret into something more meaningful. My past was lived in a different time, and although it will linger in my mind. I don’t think I will revisit it through another punishing journey. With every word I write, that past recedes, it moves away beyond my grasp. Perhaps just as well.”

__________

Revisiting the past is like turning to capture your shadow.

The image is immediately distorted. What we see, although attached to us, lacks full dimensions. It almost seems to mock us.

We are told “the unexamined life is not worth living“, but what we look at is a strange affair: a chimera. It should not be fully trusted.

The past cannot be viewed with innocent or unbiased eyes.

Its full truth is forever barred to us.

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”   L. P. Hartley.

__________

__________