‘Son of Saul’s László Nemes: ‘Our civilisation is preparing for its own destruction’

INTRO:

The day before we met, László Nemes went to see a superhero movie. He didn’t last long. “I found it unwatchable and false, boring and self-referential, a world of ideal people who don’t behave as humans but more like machines.”

He smiles. It’s tea-time in the Islington, north London branch of Caffè Nero and Nemes gently explains that such films infantilise viewers in two ways. The plots let them defer responsibility for the fate of the world to demigods; the way they are shot – lots of signposting, everything carefully controlled – offers a false sense of omniscience.

The ultimate proof of India’s Hindu-Muslim harmony is locked away in a Jaipur palace

One of Rama’s servants overhears a washerman quarrelling with his wife. Episode from the 14th book, the Aśvamedhikaparva (ʻhorse sacrificeʼ).

INTRO:

When Akbar, at the age of only 13, succeeded to the throne in 1556, the Mughal empire was vast and powerful. When he died, in 1605, he left it three times the size: It was a flourishing empire that encompassed much of the Indian peninsula, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, which gained him the epithet of Akbar the Great.

One of the key factors of his success was tolerance of diversity, and a harmony amongst different rulers. The Mughals were Muslims, a minority in the land they ruled, so it was vital to involve Hindus and other non-Muslims in the running of the state. That’s what Akbar did: Non-Muslims held positions of all levels within the administration—from generals to ministers, from artists to scribes. He didn’t impose an Islamic rule, and he discontinued the levying of the jizia, a tax on non-Muslims, and of any taxes imposed on Hindus traveling to their pilgrimage site.

This Bird Went Extinct and Then Evolved Into Existence Again

The Aldabra white-throated rail, a flightless bird that lives on its namesake atoll in the Indian Ocean, doesn’t look like anything special at first glance. But the small bird has big bragging rights, because it has effectively evolved into existence twice after first going extinct some 136,000 years ago.