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."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Most Extreme Mom of South Asia- Mahatma Gandhi

Last night I watched the film "The Most Extreme Mom” on Animal Planet channel. The most extreme of them all is Sea Louse. She makes the ultimate sacrifice for her family.

Her babies kill and eat her.

Marathi speaking poet-saints call Vitthal, a male deity, mother “Vithai”. Vithai makes all kinds of sacrifices for her sons and daughters. Bhakti literature is awash with those stories.

Like Vitthal, Mahatma Gandhi too was mother to South Asians although Indians now call him the father of the nation.

William Dalrymple reviewed few of the books, released to coincide sixtieth anniversary of India’s independence, for FT (Aug 18, 2007).

He says: “…Partition brought on a sectarian Armageddon that left 14.5 million uprooted and more than half a million dead in inter-religious massacres… Gandhi’s ideal of an India of village republics remained the enthusiasm of a minority, along with his spinning wheels, friction baths and saline enemas. But thanks to the way he died, India remained the pluralistic democracy he had always fought for, and the Hindu extremists he so disapproved of were marginalised for the next 40 years.

And mother, after her death, managed to leave a “clean smell” even for a skeptic like George Orwell, for who the stench of all other political personalities of 20th century was unbearable.

Orwell wrote in January 1949 :”… And if, as may happen, India and Britain finally settle down into a decent and friendly relationship, will this be partly because Gandhi, by keeping up his struggle obstinately and without hatred, disinfected the political air? ……regarded simply as a politician, and compared with the other leading political figures of our time, how clean a smell he has managed to leave behind!




Artist: Dana Fradon The New Yorker February 17, 1968

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