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."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dousing Fires of Nationalism Lighted by Staging of Kichak-Vadh

Do we learn anything from history at all? Or history is just one damn thing after another and hence to be ignored?

I read ROGER COHEN (IHT August 12, 2007) saying:
“….America has incurred a debt to Iraq, and the liability is weightier than the paper on the sub-prime mortgage market. Those in a hurry for neat resolutions in Mesopotamia might cast their minds back 60 years to the summer of 1947 when, on Aug. 15, after almost a century of direct rule, the British quit India, having drawn some hasty lines on a map.

The lines produced Pakistan. The rapid exit - independence and partition had only been approved a couple of months earlier by Parliament - produced a savage outbreak of killing and rape among millions of Hindus and Muslims attempting to disentangle entwined existences. India and Pakistan went to war over still-contested Kashmir.”

I thought we were learning from history. Or is it?

NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF in NYT August 12, 2007 says:”…. There’s lots of talk about partitioning Iraq to reduce the violence, and it’s happening already — and that de facto partition is a crucial step to reduce the risk of genocide once we leave. But for the U.S. to embrace partition would be disastrous: We would be portrayed in madrassas around the world as the infidels who dismembered an Arab country to seize its oil and emasculate it on behalf of Israel.”

Portioning Iraq? How can they even think when they should know that what happened in India in 1947 could be traced back to the partition of Bengal by Lord Curzon in 1905. Yes, the same Curzon who once said: “As long as we rule India, we are the greatest power in the world. If we lose it we shall drop straightway to a third rate power”. (Is George Bush saying the same for Iraq?)

Lord Curzon is arguably the most unpopular personality of British rule in India. Blockbuster Marathi play of year 1907, “Kichak-Vadh” was a metaphor for Curzon’s rule in India. It’s based on an episode in Mahabharata. Curzon became tyrant Kichak and India became his hapless victim Draupadi. The play charged many a youth in Maharashtra against the British rule.

One of them, it is said, was Anant Kanhere who assassinated collector of Nashik, A M T Jackson, of the Indian Civil Service in December 1909, at a theatre where he had gone to watch another famous Marathi play Sharda.

Calling the play seditious, its performance was banned by British government on January 27, 1910. Ban was in force until 1926. (There is also a Marathi film "Kichak Vadh" made in 1959 that has this haunting song-Dhund madhumati rat re nath re- written by G D Madgulkar and composed by Master Krishnarao. But I find villain Kichak played by Baburao Pendharkar much dearer than hero Bhim!)

Currently Iraq is staging its own "Kichak Vadh". American Curzons will find it hard to extinguish the fire, especially if they are going to use oil for the job!


Artist : Mike Luckovich

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