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."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book Banning, Author Expelling

Today started badly for me.

I began it reading Jagmohan: "...Look at the Indian Parliament. What an uninspiring spectacle it is. The 14th Lok Sabha, for example, had about 100 members who were involved in criminal cases — 30 of whom had been charged with murder, dacoity, rape and extortion. Could an institution, dominated by such men and women, provide a national environment conducive to the realisation of Sri Aurobindo’s great vision?"
(The Asian Age, August 19 2009)

Then it became worse.

A little while ago, one of the most upright members of the 15th Lok Sabha- Jaswant Singh, has been expelled from his party- the BJP.

For writing a book.

This is what I wrote on August 17, 2009 about "JINNAH: INDIA-PARTITION-INDEPENDENCE"
by Jaswant Singh at India Today website:

"I haven't still read the book. But going by excerpt, it has potential to become one of the best book written by an Indian politician.

T S Shejwalkar argues in "Panipat 1761" (available in English and Marathi both) that the third battle of Panipat was fought to save the Mughal empire ( and the then 'secular India') and that the Marathas were sacrificed for the cause.

He further argues that if J L Nehru had shown willingness for similar sacrifice, India may not have been divided in 1947.

Future historians will find it hard to condone J L Nehru.

And why aren't more people in BJP (and in its allies like Shiv Sena) as sensible as Mr. Singh?"

I liked the book excerpt because of following passages:

"...The cruel truth is that this partitioning of India has actually resulted in achieving the very reverse of the originally intended purpose; partition, instead of settling contention between communities has left us a legacy of markedly enhanced Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or other such denominational identities, hence differences. Affirmative action, reservations for Muslims, other castes and communities unfortunately does not dissolve those identities; it heavily underscores them, waters their roots, perpetuating differences through the nutrient of self interest being poured constantly in separateness. Reservation results finally in compartmentalising society, hence ultimately in fragmenting national identity. That is what 'special reservation' for Muslims in India did...

...There are now no more points left to score; all have already been scored, no great issues of partition left to resolve, except one: an inability to understand what, after all, did this partition achieve? Other than constant pain and the suffering of crores of humans, all around, which has now finally moulded itself into a kind of a sealed and an abrasive continuity...

...The partitioning of India is the defining event of the twentieth century for this entire subcontinent. The searing agony of it torments still, the whys and what-fors of it, too. We relive the partition because we persist without attempts to find answers to the great errors of those years so that we may never, ever repeat them. Also, perhaps by recounting them we attempt to assuage some of our pain..."

Jaswant Singh's book has been banned in the state of Gujarat.

Indians have always had difficult relationship with books.

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."

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.

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

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

Hope Jaswant Singh has written his own book...

Following cartoon appeared after the publication of L K Advani's tome- “My Country, My Life” in 2008.

The guy throwing away the book in disgust is A B Vajpayee.


Artist: R K Laxman, The Times of India, March 27, 2008