मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

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);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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."

Friday, September 21, 2007

What Colour Band-Aids for Dalits?

Many upper-caste Hindus – sympathetic to the plight of the untouchables over centuries- often complain about their inability to ‘understand’ Dalits, their politics, their actions, their thinking, their leaders, their art etc.

They are correct because Dalits now have decided to navigate to their own destiny themselves. They feel upper caste gods, leaders, writers, thinkers, artists, philosophers have let them down.

Shripad Krishna Kolhatkar श्रीपाद कृष्ण कोल्हटकर (1871-1934), arguably 20th century's best writer in Marathi , was an exception. He reminds me in many ways- particularly humour and social sensibilities- of Mark Twain.

Keshav Meshram केशव मेश्राम, a prominent Dalit and ex-president Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, has written about qualities of Kolhatkar’s literary work as well as his vision. (“Shabdavrat शब्दव्रत” by Keshav Meshram). Meshram quotes what Kolhatkar said after reading H N Apte ह ना आपटे’s (first Marathi novelist of any sigificance) “Pan Lakshat Kon Gheto पण लक्षात कोण घेतो”.

”If Mr. Apte could tell the story of misery of backward caste people (Dalits) the way he has told of (Brahmin) women, such a novel would be second in revolutionary qualities only to ’Uncle Tom’s Cabin’”.

Meshram says Kolhatkar’s conscience based bold opposition to the practice of caste brought him in direct confrontation with Lokmanya Tilak लोकमान्य टिळक and N C Kelkar न चि केळकरwho chose to ‘ignore’ challenges of caste instead of addressing them.

Another quality of Kolhatkar was his ability to identify and encourage young talent.
R D Karve र धो कर्वे(1882-1953) – visionary social reformer and practicing sexologist- wrote only one obit in his periodical-Samajswasthya समाजस्वास्थ्य (July 1927- November 1953)- ever. It was of S K Kolhatkar!

Young historian and thinker T S Shejwalkar त्र्यंबक शंकर शेजवलकर too received valuable encouragement from Kolhatkar.

Shejwalkar’s writing is brilliant, vision broad, thinking global, language precise but there is only one problem.

He probably never gauged accurately the importance of Dalit-movement led by Dr. Ambedkar to the future of India. Contrast that with V S Naipaul’s description of Dr. Ambedkar’s birthday celebration at Mumbai in his book “India A Million Mutinies Now” (1990).

Shejwalkar is not alone. This blog is indebted to The New Yorker. It has scored many hits and few misses. Here is their biggest miss of them all.

John Updike says:”(During the fourth decade of The New Yorker 1955-1964) the foremost domestic issue of the time was the struggle of the black minority for civil rights, yet people of color are almost totally absent from these cartoons.”

The only exception is this picture...

Artist: William O'Brian The New Yorker May 10, 1963