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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

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."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Vasant Sarwate वसंत सरवटे

(There are dozens of posts on the art of Vasant Sarwate on this blog. Find them here.)

Vasant Sarwate वसंत सरवटे remains one of the most under-rated cartoonists in India. Maybe because he has primarily contributed to Marathi publications.
His art has been moving me for more than three decades now.

I have selected two pictures here to represent him. More may follow.


First picture (1968) pokes fun at middle class ethos of Maharashtra, India as effectively as other literary masters of 20th century like the late Shri Kru Kolhatkar, Chi Vi Joshi and Pu La Deshpande did. And in far fewer words.

Man has just sipped his tea which perhaps is hotter than usual and it has given him a sore tongue. He admonishes his wife (not in the picture) why she poured such a hot cup. Picture becomes so poignant because the broadsheet he is reading has these news-items: "A quake in Iran kills 5,000 and injures thousands", "floods in Gujarat killing hundreds", "Boat capsizes" etc! Even reading of these catastrophes has not made a dent on our Marathi speaking Homer Simpson's sensitivity. He remains just like HIM.


Second picture is from 1974 (33 years ago!) and brings out visionary qualities of good art.

Architects and urban planners like Charles Correa had opposed expansion of Mumbai into Arabian sea. They saw what would become of Mumbai. But no one 'saw' it better than Sarwate.

Picture shows few in the crowd spotting Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor flying over them in a helicopter and are shouting his name.

Picture captures beautifully what was eternal in Mumbai- her glamour manifested mainly through film industry and what was changing- her physical landscape, getting perhaps uglier.