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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

कुठली सीता, कुठला राघव? Which Seeta, Which Raghav?

I wrote the original post a couple of days ago. I need to revise it because sadly M V Dhond म वा धोंड, who I have quoted extensively on this blog, died on December 5, 2007 at the age of 93. Along with D G Godse द ग गोडसे and Durga Bhagwat दुर्गा भागवत, he was one of the greatest art critic anywhere in the world. This now becomes his obituary.

See few more entries from this blog on Dhond's scholarship here.

I have had number of interesting exchanges with him. Some of them have already been described, more will follow. One such letter is included at the end of this post. He gifted me an autographed copy of his classic ज्ञानेश्वरी:स्वरुप, तत्त्वज्ञान आणि काव्य (Dnyaaneshwari : Nature, Philosophy and Poetry 1980) in year 2001. I was in tears when I received it.

Headline in Marathi newspaper Pudhari पुढारी on December 6, 2007 says: "M V Dhond merged with infinity."

Atheist Dhond would surely object to that description! Lucky he, now he knows if there is a heaven or a hell or just nothingness.


Asian Age December 3, 2007 has a moving photo (see the picture of a woman holding baby at the end of this post):

"Mothers hold their children affected during the Bhopal gas tragedy...Hundreds of thousands of babies were borne in the years since a deadly gas billowed over Bhopal in 1984, but the survivors of that night say their children are forever stunted by that tragedy."

Frontline December 7, 2007 said:

"In June, activists working among the survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster obtained certain documents from the Prime Minister’s Office under the Right to Information Act. These documents suggest how keen the government is to relieve the Dow Chemical Company of any liability for the disaster and its toxic legacy.

...Dow has consistently denied inheriting any liability for the Bhopal legacy from UCC. However, back in the U.S., it set aside $2.2 billion to address future asbestos-related liabilities arising out of the Carbide acquisition. Activists of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal argue that if Dow can assume responsibility for asbestos-induced illnesses among victims in America, why then it should deny responsibility towards the victims of Bhopal and its continuing toxic legacy..."

93-year old M V Dhond म वा धोंड has written another brilliant article in Lalit Diwali 2007 (ललित दिवाळी ) lambasting our apathy towards poor and downtrodden, while appreciating poetry of Tukaram and B S Mardhekar (तुकाराम,बा. सी. मर्ढेकर) on the same subject.

In following Marathi poem, Mardhekar describes how Sharvari शर्वरी-young, hardworking, practical woman- while making cow-dung cakes, is telling Shabari शबरी-devotee of Ram- that Ram and Seeta are never going to return from Ayodhya to Dandakaranya to accept her offering.

खप्पड बसली फिक्कट गाल
तळभिंतीवर घेउन जख्खड
मातीची ही जुनी झोपडी
आंबट मिनिटें चाखित रद्दड.

मधेंच दचकुनि बघते वरती,
अष्टदिशांचा सासुरवास;
चंद्रमौळि परि बेढब शबरी
क्षण-बोरांची रचिते रास.

मातीवरती करीत मात;
मिनिटांमधुनी काढित व्याधि;
तापकिरि-पिवळ्या मउ सालीचें
बोर गवसतां जरा सुगंधी,

कुरवाळित तें बोटांनी मउ
मिनिट सुवासिक हसते शबरी;
माणुसकीच्या दंडकांत अन्
गौर्या थापित वदे शर्वरी:

येइल का कधि सीतापति ग
चुकून तरि पण ह्या वाटेला?
घेइल का अन् रुजू करूनी
ह्या बोरांच्या नैवेद्याला?

कुठली सीता, कुठला राघव?
पुसे खडीचा रस्ता फक्कड़;
आंणि ठेविते गाल झोपडी
तळभिंतीवर फिरून खप्पड.

(poem 11 "आणखी कांहीं कविता" "some more poems")

(double click on the image to get a larger view)
Ma Va Dhond's Letter in December 2001