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!"

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."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is Mukul Shivaputra modern day Diogenes?

गोविंदराव टेंबे (1881-1955): "एकनिष्ठेने दीर्घ काल संगीताराधना करणाऱ्या व्यक्तीच मुळी प्रतिष्ठित पोषाखी समाजात दुर्मिळ असतात." (माझा संगीत व्यासंग, १९३९)

Govindrao Tembe: "In a well-dressed established society, rarely there exists people who loyally worship music over a long period of time." (My Study of Music, 1939)

Tembe hated radio. And then, we had television!!!

There has been hue and cry in media about Mukul Shivaputra, a gifted Hindustani classical singer and the son of Kumar Gandharva, when he was found begging. He has been known to live a reclusive life.

Urban middle-class India's attitude towards poverty and begging is- like most things in their life- identical to that of Anglo-Saxon attitude.

I wonder how we may treat Ashwatthama, Buddha, Gorakh Nath, Kabir, Tukaram... if any of them were to ring our apartment's bell today.

Or Diogenes.

"...Diogenes (412-323 BC), the story goes, was called a “downright dog,” and this so pleased him that the figure of a dog was carved in stone to mark his final resting place. From that epithet, kunikos (“dog-like”), cynicism was born.

Diogenes credited his teacher Antisthenes with introducing him to a life of poverty and happiness — of poverty as happiness. The cynic’s every word and action was dedicated to the belief that the path to individual freedom required absolute honesty and complete material austerity.

So Diogenes threw away his cup when he saw people drinking from their hands. He lived in a barrel, rolling in it over hot sand in the summer. He inured himself to cold by embracing statues blanketed with snow. He ate raw squid to avoid the trouble of cooking..."

(SIMON CRITCHLEY, NYT, April 1 2009)

Is Mukul Shivaputra modern day Diogenes?