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Dipesh Majumdar

Blog and Paintings

Even death can't set them free

April 23, 2012

Just imagine... a man sleeping untouched and peacefully inside his tiny burial space is suddenly intruded upon by some curious phrenologists. And in the name of research his head is cut off and separated from the rest of his body, washed and analyzed. The head is subjected to relentless research to unveil the mystery behind the erstwhile musician's masterpieces. The logic, strange as it may sound - the brain must have some hidden secret which scientists ought to know! Any oddity is easily assigned to his musical genius. If you still don't have an idea of what I am alluding to... well... this is the story of the great musician Haydn. Finally, after a long time, Haydn’s head was united with other remnants and restored in a marble tomb.
 
In 1863, another great musician – Beethoven’s body was taken out, analyzed, studied and then re-buried.
 
Pathetic! What a torture! No respite even after death!

Like Haydn and Beethoven there were many others who failed to get any respite even after their death. To name a few -
Albert Einstein, Paul Broca, Major John W Paul, Del Close, Dan Sickles, Galileo, Lazzaro Spallanzani, George Washington, St. Bonaventure and so on…

They all have achieved unthinkable acmes in their lives and so nostalgic is the whole world about them that it cannot accept their death as full and final. There is this strange craving to subtract some part of their lives before the final burial and keep those parts alive in chemical formulae... a cruel act which doesn't allow them to die a normal death, peacefully and with respect and whose bodies, in their complete nudity, endure countless probing and cutting by knives. An act which tampers with one of the most personal aspects of an individual, the body, with or without the subject's consent and which is frozen into immortality for no real purpose... if at all any, for gratifying unreasonable and empty curious eyes through public display and sometimes in the name of further research, for probing into the enigma behind their extraordinary genius.
  
But the real question is - what have we achieved by preserving body parts of a famous person. Can we preserve his indomitable will and emotional state in a container of preservatives? Can we capture his soul? The impalpable essence which we call life? Are we not fooling ourselves? Is life as simple as a conglomeration of chemicals?

What is George Washington's lock of hair going to serve to the new generation of Homo sapiens that is going to come and live the earth?

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