G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

त्या मला कायम आवडत राहिल्या: जयश्री गडकर...Jayshree Gadkar @75

Today February 21 2017 is 75th birth anniversary of Jayshree Gadkar (जयश्री गडकर) (1942-2008)

माझ्या आई बरोबर मी त्यांचा 'थांब लक्ष्मी कुंकू लावते', १९६७ सिनेमा मिरजेला आशा टॉकीजला १९६८ साली बघितल्याचे आठवते. मी बघितलेला तो  त्यांचा पहिला सिनेमा होता. रडका आणि भिकार. मी आठ वर्षांचा होतो. पण त्या  मला खूप आवडल्या.

नंतर कै. अरुण सरनाईकांबरोबरचे त्यांचे सिनेमे पाहून आईला नेहमी विचारायचो  की त्या दोघांच लग्न झालय का? आई खर सांगत असे : 'नाही'....मग गोंधळ उडायचा!

मधुबाला, नूतन, गीताबाली सारख्या त्या मला कायम आवडत राहिल्या...

लावण्यवती, महान सिनेनर्तकी, बऱ्यापैकी अभिनय, आकर्षक अदा आणि माझ्या लहानपणापासूनच्या अतिशय आवडत्या ....

courtesy: respective copyright owners

Monday, February 20, 2017

एक प्राचीन शापवाणी, Blood, frogs...and a Maharashtra-style Election Campaign

"Blood, frogs, lice, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of the first born, and an American-style election campaign."

"With the formal announcement of two-phase elections to 10 municipal corporations, 26 Zilla Parishads and 283 Panchayat Samitis, the stage is set for a mini-Assembly elections in Maharashtra...Elections to 10 municipal corporations, including the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, will be held on February 21"

भारतातील पुराणे आणि महाकाव्य वाचलेल्यांना रागीट ऋषी, मुनी- दुर्वास, विश्वामित्र इत्यादी  - माहिती आहेतच...बघा अशीच एक शापवाणी प्राचीन इजिप्त मधील.... 

Artist: David Sipress, The New Yorker

Among the visual artists working today, Mr. Sipress makes me laugh more often than any. I have laughed hard and often looking at the picture above...

Friday, February 17, 2017

सहावे व सातवे स्वप्न दोन्ही अश्लील असल्याने भाषांतर केले नाही...Mahasupin Jatak

चिं वि जोशींचे 'जातक कथा' हे एक उत्कृष्ट पुस्तक आहे. कै. दुर्गा भागवतांनी त्याचे तोंडभर कौतुक केले आहे: "...चिं. वि. जोशी यांचा प्रसंगनिष्ठ निरोगी विनोद कुणाला आवडत नाही? चिमणरावानं कुणाला जिंकलं नाही? पण मला पाली भाषेचे, बौद्ध वाङ्मयाचे अभ्यासक म्हणून ते आठवतात. त्यांचं जातककथांचं पुस्तक लहानसंच आहे, पण त्यात निखळ भाषांतराचा उत्कृष्ट नमुना आढळतो. मला तो फार उपयोगी पडला..." (डिसेंबर ६, १९७५, कराड)

मी ते २०१७ मध्ये वाचायला सुरवात केली आणि माझ्या लक्षात यायला लागल की जातक कथा हा केवढा मोठा मौल्यवान सांस्कृतिक ठेवा आहे ते.

त्यात पान  ४३, आवृत्ती २०११, वर 'महासुपिन जातक' कथा दिली आहे. अतिशय गूढ आणि रंजक अशी ती कथा आहे. त्यात राजाला पडलेल्या सोळा स्वप्नांचा उहापोह केला आहे. (मला ही कथा कै. धर्मानंद  कोसंबींच्या 'जातककथासंग्रह भाग १-२-३' मध्ये मिळाली नाही.*)

पान ४५ वर , चिं वि म्हणतात: "...(सहावे व सातवे स्वप्न दोन्ही अश्लील असल्याने भाषांतर केले नाही.)..."...हे वाचल्यावर ती दोन स्वप्न कधी वाचतो असे झाले!

आत्ताच्या काळात ते करण अगदी सोप होत. (The Jataka, Volume I, tr. by Robert Chalmers, [1895], at sacred-texts.com)

“....Howbeit, you have nothing to fear therefrom. Tell me your sixth dream."
"Methought, sir, I saw people holding out a well-scoured golden bowl worth a hundred thousand pieces, and begging an old jackal to stale therein. And I saw the beast do so. This was my sixth dream. What shall come of it?"

"This dream too shall only have its fulfilment in the future. For in the days to come, unrighteous kings, though sprung of a race of kings, mistrusting the scions of their old nobility, shall not honour them, but exalt in their stead the low-born; whereby the nobles shall be brought low and the law-born raised to lordship. Then shall the great families be brought by very need to seek to live by dependence on the upstarts, and shall offer them their daughters in marriage. And the union of the noble maidens with the low-born shall be like unto the staling of the old jackal in the golden bowl. Howbeit, you have nothing to fear therefrom. Tell me your seventh dream."

यात अश्लील काय मला समजले नाही!

"A man was weaving rope, sir, and as he wove, he threw it down at his feet. Under his bench lay a hungry she jackal, which kept eating the rope as he wove, but without the man knowing it. This is what I saw. This was my seventh dream. What shall come of it?" 

"This dream too shall not have its fulfilment till the future. For in days to come, women shall lust after men and strong drink and finery and gadding abroad and after the joys of this world. In their wickedness and profligacy these women shall drink strong drink with their paramours; they shall flaunt in garlands and perfumes and unguents; and heedless of even the most pressing of their household duties, they shall keep watching for their paramours, even at crevices high up in the outer wall; aye, they shall pound up the very seed-corn that should be sown on the morrow so as to provide good cheer;--in all these ways shall they plunder the store won by the hard work of their husbands in field and byre, devouring the poor men's substance even as the hungry jackal under the bench ate up the rope of the rope-maker as he wove it. Howbeit, you have nothing to fear therefrom. Tell me your eighth dream."...”

यातही अश्लील काय मला समजले नाही! हे पुस्तक कदाचित प्रामुख्याने लहान मुलांसाठी लिहल असाव  पण तसेही कै. जोशी अश्लीलतेच्या, सेक्सच्या किंचित वासान सुद्धा दूर पळतात. मी त्या बद्दल आधी इथे (१६/९/२००९) लिहले आहे. पण ह्या 'शुचिते'मुळे रसभंग होतो हे निश्चित

Another point is, I feel, most of the things described in these dreams had come to pass even when Mr. Joshi was translating and also, in 21st century, the Jataka tales have further lost ability to surprise. The future described there is already here and is being dealt with, being rationalized, is perhaps more just. 

 ह्या कथेतील स्वप्ने वाचून मला महान स्टाईनबर्गच्या एका कार्टून ची आठवण झाली...

Artist: Saul Steinberg (1914-1999), 1960's

* जाता जाता एक मजा. कोसंबी त्यांच्या पुस्तकाच्या प्रस्तावनेत म्हणतात: "...जातकट्ठकथा प्रसिद्धीला आणण्याच्या कामीं ज्यांनी परिश्रम केले त्यांत व्ही. फॉसबोल (V. Fausboll) ह्या जर्मन पंडिताला अग्रस्थान दिलें पाहिजे. जर्मनी कोठें आणि सिंहलद्वीप कोठें ! पण 'किं दूरं व्यवसायिनाम्' ह्या न्यायानें या गृहस्थानें तेथून सिंहली ताडपत्री पुस्तकें गोळा करून त्यांच्या आधारावर, दुसर्या कोणाचें साहाय्य नसतां, रोमन अक्षरांनी जातकट्ठकथा छापण्यास १८७७ सालीं आरंभ केला; १८९६ साली हे काम संपविलें..."

पण फॉसबोल (1821-1908) तर डॅनीश होते. ते कोपनहेगन मध्ये संस्कृत शिकवायचे.

अर्काइव्ह.ओजी येथे फॉसबोलांचे 'Ten Jatakas. The original Pali text with a translation and notes', 1872 हे पुस्तक उपलब्ध आहे. त्यात मला कुठेही जर्मन किंवा जर्मनीचा उल्लेख सापडला नाही. त्यात इंग्लीश आहे आणि रोमन लिपीत लिहलेले पाली आहे.

विकिपीडिया डेन्मार्क बद्दल म्हणतो:

"...A nascent Danish liberal and national movement gained momentum in the 1830s; after the European Revolutions of 1848, Denmark peacefully became a constitutional monarchy on 5 June 1849. A new constitution established a two-chamber parliament. Denmark faced war against both Prussia and Habsburg Austria in what became known as the Second Schleswig War, lasting from February to October 1864. Denmark was defeated and obliged to cede Schleswig and Holstein to Prussia. This loss came as the latest in the long series of defeats and territorial loss that had begun in the 17th century. After these events, Denmark pursued a policy of neutrality in Europe...."
फॉसबोल साहेबांना जर्मन म्हटलेल बहुदा आवडल नसत!  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Weaker Sex: Valentine's Day

Today February 14 2017 is Valentine's Day

Illustration in "The Weaker Sex", 1903
Artist: Charles Dana Gibson (1867 – 1944)

Friday, February 10, 2017

जगातले सगळ्यात प्रसिद्ध स्मितहास्य उपदंशाने जन्माला घातले आहे...Syphilis and Mona Lisa

Thomas Mann, 'Doctor Faustus‘, 1947:
“...disease that rides on high horse over all hindrances, and springs with drunken daring from peak to peak, is a thousand times dearer to life than plodding healthiness. I have never heard anything stupider then that from disease only disease can come. Life is not scrupulous—by morals it sets not a fart. It takes the reckless product of disease, feeds on and digests it, and as soon as it takes it to itself it is health. Before the fact of fitness for life, my good man, all distinction of disease and health falls away. A whole host and generation of youth, receptive, sound to the core, flings itself on the work of the morbid genius, made genius by disease: admires it, praises it, exalts it, carries it away, assimilates it unto itself and makes it over to culture, which lives not on home-made bread alone, but as well on provender and poison from the apothecary’s shop at the sign of the Blessed Messengers...”

कै. शरद जोशी:
" ...जगाचा इतिहास 'सिफिलिस' या आजाराने मोठय़ा प्रमाणावर बदलला आहे. हा लैंगिक आजार त्याचे जंतू हळूहळू मेंदूपर्यंत पसरतात आणि रोग्याच्या मनात त्यामुळे विनाकारणच काही तरी भव्यदिव्य करून दाखवावे अशी बुद्धी तयार होते. त्याकरिता आवश्यक तर हजारो नाही, लाखो लोकांचेही मुडदे पाडायला तो सहज तयार होऊन जातो. इतिहासात रशियातील पहिले तीन झार आणि अलीकडच्या इतिहासातील माओ त्से तुंग वगैरे पुढारी या वर्गात मोडतात. भारतातल्याही एका नामवंत पुढाऱ्याची गणना यातच होते. आपण अकबराचे अवतार आहोत अशी भावना करून घेऊन त्यापोटी सगळा देश लायसेन्स-परमिट-कोटा-इन्स्पेक्टर राज्यात बुडवणारे आणि इंग्रजांनी प्रस्थापित केलेली कायदा आणि सुव्यवस्था संपवून टाकणारे नेतेही या वर्गातलेच."
 (लोकसत्ता, मे २९, २०१३)

Kevin Birmingham, July 2014:
"...Unlike gonorrhea and chlamydia, a case of syphilis was often a prolonged, multi-systemic affliction. It begins when a person comes into contact with a pale, corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Treponema pallidum that gathers in lesions on an infected person’s skin and genitalia. Once the microbe enters the body, it can lurch and coil its way into virtually every type of tissue it encounters: blood vessels, muscles, joints, nerves, cerebrospinal fluid, and vital organs are all potential targets, and any two cases might present substantially different symptoms. Periods of increased spirochete activity alternate with dormant periods, and the advanced stages sometimes led to what in (James) Joyce’s time was called “general paralysis of the insane,” which could cause abrupt psychosis, erratic personality transformation, memory loss, or grandiose delusion. Raising suspicions of syphilis in virtually any public figure (Lenin and Nietzsche are two examples) stirs controversy because a syphilis diagnosis potentially tarnishes a person’s life and accomplishments, be they a political regime, a philosophy, or Finnegans Wake..."

T S Shejwalkar (त्र्यंबक शंकर शेजवलकर) says in his classic Panipat 1761 (पानिपत १७६१):  “Ahmad Shah Abdali probably had a disease like syphilis and so too was the case of Najib khan”.

Shejwalkar also speculates that some chieftains from Maharashtra (most names he quotes are Brahmins) too might have suffered from the disease. Those bigwigs married multiple times and also kept mistresses. One reason, he argues, they married very young girls late in their life because it was believed an intercourse with such a girl would rid them of the disease. The other possible reason was hypothesized increase in virility that came after mating with such a girl.

It is worth noting that all these Marathi bridegrooms left behind very young widows.

Even today that belief exists in parts of India: “… having sex with a ''fresh'' girl can cure syphilis, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases, including the virus that causes AIDS.” (The New York Times May 11, 1998)

उपदंश (Syphilis) या ब्लॉग वर यापूर्वी दोनदा आला आहे: मे १५, २००८ आणि जानेवारी ३० २०१४. उपदंशाने खूप इतिहास घडवला आहे. पण तरी हे वाचून धक्का बसला की जगातले सगळ्यात प्रसिद्ध स्मितहास्य उपदंशाने जन्माला घातले आहे!

courtesy: Wikimedia Commons  

Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, February 6 2017:

"...When Del Giocondo posed for Leonardo in 1503, syphilis was shaking Europe to its core. Some said this new disease had been brought from the new world by Columbus’s sailors in 1492. It spread like wildfire. Could there be hint of it in Leonardo’s most famous painting? The Mona Lisa is shown in front of a hilly landscape through which a road snakes towards distant water and mountains. Perhaps the far-off mountains across wide, blue water represent the new world – the source of the Mona Lisa’s secret...

...If the Mona Lisa is a portrait of someone with a sexually transmitted disease, these hints of death and illness suddenly make sense. As for her half-smile, it becomes a wry acknowledgement that sex can make you sick...

...Freud would surely think it interesting that the model of the Mona Lisa may have had syphilis. Of course, he made a lot of mistakes in his book about Leonardo. This is probably a red herring, too. However, there is surely something unhealthy about the obsessive allure that draws so many people to admire this beauty behind her screen of glass. Whatever the true meaning of the Mona Lisa, it is a slightly decadent masterpiece. Fin de siècle fantasies of syphilis-spreading vampires don’t seem so wide of the mark."

Artist: Charles Addams, The New Yorker,  April 1952