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.”
Albert Einstein: “I am content in my later years. I have kept my good humor and take neither myself nor the next person seriously.” (To P. Moos, March 30, 1950. Einstein Archives 60-587)
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: "… इ. स. 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."
Friday, September 07, 2007
Crowds define India. Even Babar noticed them.
But as C P SURENDRAN says in Times of India September 5 2007 "Mobs on the rampage", crowds have started degenerating into mobs with the slightest of provocation.
“…If justice and punishment are a matter for a throng of people to dispense with, why have courts of law?
Other instances abound of mob assuming for itself a kind of vigilantism that is hard to distinguish from full-fledged riot. Just about anything could spark it. A desecrated statue, a professor who passed a lewd remark on a student, a movie with lesbian innuendoes, a scholar who said the king was naked, a novelist who laughed at a god - just about anything, including two displaced leopards, trapped and beaten to death in Nashik by the mob recently. Anything is reason for the crowd to morph itself into the killer mode of the mob. Any object, painting, truck, or wildcat could be the wand that waved a mob out of men merely staring into the middle distance and sipping tea.
The sad fact is that the mob is so much a part of the so-called Emerging India. It is people who have lost trust in the due process of law, whose sense of retribution brooks no delay in gratification. Mob is a people in a hurry to avenge. And there are so many of them. Add to it poor policing. Every thousand Indians need to make do with just one policeman. Compare that with the UN recommendation of one policeman to 400 people.
An equally contributory cause is the high level of frustration that a vengefully consumerist society - India, for instance, is one of the fastest growing car markets in the world - will transmit to the voyeuristic have-nots. The increasing incidence of mob fury is more a warning than an indication that there are a lot of unhappy people looking for an excuse to get angry as hell.
As pockets of plutocrats increase, we are likely to see more and more of the mob, representing the Indians left out from the movement forward, taking to the road and travelling backward to the stone age of intolerance and violence, a twilight land where a botched attempt at snatching a chain could be seen as an act of arch villainy and mindless violence as its inexplicable but just comeuppance…….”
Dr. Shreeram Lagoo डाँ. श्रीराम लागू (who makes first appearance on this blog earlier) once said how disturbed he felt when mobs attacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) at Pune in January 2004. It reminded him of arson in many parts of Maharashtra, targeting Brahmins, after assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.
Writer Pratibha Ranade (famous for her first-hand account of Afghanistan and books on life and work of Rani Laxmibai & Durga Bhagwat) has given a chilling account of that period, describing what happened to her middle-class Brahmin family in Kolhapur when their cosy neighbourhood morphed into a mob.
Artist: Vasant Sarwate वसंत सरवटे 1973 (source- “Savadhan! Pudhe Valan Ahe!” Mauj Prakashan 1990)