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."

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."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What did Mamata Banerjee Burn Down?

Humour always was an integral part of Indian elections.

Even when the Congress party was sweeping election after election in Southern Maharashtra, as a school/college boy, I was entertained by graffitis, songs, handbills, posters and slogans.

Cow-dung (more of buffalo actually) was thrown at the rival's posters and graffitis. It was considered the ultimate humiliation , next only to the loss in election.

Jan Sangh candidate usually lost his deposit and his posters/graffitis collected a lot of dung in every election but the party showed more tenacity than what it shows today. Its leaders were incorruptible. They reached every middle-class home (In Pune, I haven't met a single BJP candidate of my constituency in last 10 years). Even Congress leaders in power that included giants like Vasantdada Patil वसंतदादा पाटील were very accessible to ordinary people. There was a good fight on display.

When Bapusaheb Jamdar (of Congress?) lost an election, people shouted: "पैसा पसरला, बापू घसरला." ("Money was spread but Bapu slipped over it.")

Of late in Pune, there have been almost no posters, no songs, no graffitis during elections.

Therefore, I was thrilled to see following graffiti.

In the picture, instead of a factory, I see oversized egos of Prakash Karat, stock-market-bhad-me-jay A.B. Bardhan, D Raja and other sundry communists like Mohammed Salim.

Anti-industry: CPI(M) graffiti in Nandigram features Mamata

Artist: Anon

Picture Courtesy: Sandipan Chatterjee, Outlook, May 18 2009