मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

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: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

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