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!"

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."

Chris Ware: "Being a cartoonist means you don’t consider yourself too fancy."

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

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Taslima Nasreen and Sanskrit Playwright Bhasa, What is Common to them?

Outlook December 10, 2007 said: Taslima Nasreen is on the run again. Earlier she was attacked in Hyderabad in August 2007 at a book launch. In November 2007, riots in her name erupted in Kolkata.

Her detractors want her work burnt down. Here she is in good company of great Sanskrit playwright Bhasa (circa 4th/5th century BC).

Take heart Ms. Nasrin.

A G Noorani said in Economic & Political Weekly December 1, 2007 : "Book banning is a civilised form of the vice of book-burning which is a sure symptom of fascism. India has a formidable record of book banning. As with much else, independent India simply took over the habits of the British raj."

Does India have a formidable record of book burning too?

According to the late Durga Bhagwat दुर्गा भागवत, Indians burnt down Bhasa’a भास play “Pratima प्रतिमा” because they didn’t like it.

Durga Bhagwat liked Bhasa’s plays more than any one else’s.

She said: “Kalidasa is sweet to ears but there is no ‘stuff’ in him. No ‘stuff’ no drama…”

Bhasa wrote ‘Pratima’ based on the life of Rama.

She further said: “…But people didn’t like it (Pratima) and they burnt it down. After passage of hundreds of years some one discovered ‘Pratima’ and hence we have it…

…Such was the unprecedented talent of Bhasa. I like Bhasa very much. There is not an iota of artificiality in him.”

(Source- Easy Conversations: With Durgabai by Pratibha Ranade ऐसपैस गप्पा : दुर्गाबाईंशी, लेखक प्रतिभा रानडे 1998)

D G Godse द ग गोडसे too wrote a beautiful essay on controversial ‘Pratima’.

According to Godse, Rama in Bhasa’s play has the main objective of expanding Arya’s empire beyond river Godavari by conquering Anaryas (non-Aryans). (No wonder M Karunanidhi isn’t happy.)

Like the Old Testament, both Ramayana and Mahabharata (episode of burning of Khandav Forests) tell us chillingly how Aryans went about acquisition of new land, dispossessing it of its earlier inhabitants.

The Economist December 15, 2007 said:"...Over the centuries, pioneer peoples, from the Ulster Protestants to the Boers, have drawn inspiration from passages in the Old Testament which describe the acquisition of new land, and the dispossession of its earlier inhabitants.

What makes America's Christian Zionists unusual is that their fascination with conquest is vicarious: it is projected onto a land thousands of miles away. The movement's followers are unlikely to feel at first hand the consequences of the policies they advocate. This makes their aspirations both more aggressive and more fantastical."

One interesting observation of Godse is as follows: Jatayu is a traitor Anarya. While killing a fellow Anarya- Jatayu, Ravana says: I will send you to dwelling of Yama (यमसदन). But dwelling of Yama is an Aryan concept. Therefore, Ravana’s usage of this alien phraseology is very meaningful.

(source: "Destiny in Bhasa's Play Pratima"------ "भासाच्या 'प्रतिमा' नाटकातील 'नियती' "-------'नांगी असलेले फुलपाखरू' 1989)

On December 9, 2007, the Hindu reported:

“…Mr. Bhattacharjee was referring to the controversy generated by reports in a section of the media that said that the Chief Minister, while delivering a public speech on the 15th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid on Thursday, had said that Lord Ram existed only in the poet’s imagination.

“While addressing a public meeting organised by the government of West Bengal, Sports and Youth Service department, in connection with the 15th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, I quoted the following lines from Rabindranath Tagore: ‘Kobi tobo monobhumi Ram er jonmosthan Ayodhya r theke satya jeno’ [the poet’s mind is the birth place of Ram, which is more real than Ayodhya],” the statement said.”

Tagore is dead for a while now. Else, he would be on the run! How can anything be more real than Ayodhya?

Like in the picture below, Ram indeed has become a dreaded word for many people.


Artist: R K Laxman Times of India 18 September 2007