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: "… इ. स. 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."
Friday, November 13, 2009
अशोक शहाणे Ashok Shahane (नपेक्षा, Napeksha 2005)
("...In the period from Dnyaneshwar (1275-1296) to Tukaram (? -c1650) Marathi comfortably spread its legs. Now this language was ready to bear almost anything...")
Sheldon Pollock, EPW, 26th July 2008:
"...Sanskrit, for D D Kosambi, was a language that had lost all contact with the sensuous world of “real life” in ancient India (some lives being apparently more real than others); it was purely an instrument of elite power and “legitimisation” of power...
...As for the Sanskrit poets themselves, their work “necessarily” carried the stamp of parasitism and decay. This prohibited them from ever addressing “major problems of the individual spirit” or of humanity at large, and it condemned their works and biographies to near oblivion..."
Despite this, on November 10 2009, Girish Bapat & Girish Mahajan, two newly elected Maharashtra lawmakers, whose mother tongue is presumably Marathi, unlike that of Abu Azmi, chose to take their oaths of office in Sanskrit even when it was objected to-initially at least-by pro-tem speaker Ganpatrao Deshmukh. (Times of India)
Reviewing "THE HINDUS/ An Alternative History" by Wendy Doniger, PANKAJ MISHRA says:
"...In fact, most Indians in the 18th century knew no Sanskrit, the language exclusive to Brahmins. For centuries, they remained unaware of the hymns of the four Vedas or the idealist monism of the Upanishads that the German Romantics, American Transcendentalists and other early Indophiles solemnly supposed to be the very essence of Indian civilization...
...In “privileging” Sanskrit over local languages, she writes, they created what has proved to be an enduring impression of a “unified Hinduism.” And they found keen collaborators among upper-caste Indian scholars and translators. This British-Brahmin version of Hinduism — one of the many invented traditions born around the world in the 18th and 19th centuries — has continued to find many takers among semi-Westernized Hindus suffering from an inferiority complex vis-à-vis the apparently more successful and organized religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam..."
Meanwhile, how is Marathi doing?
"...आपल्याकडे मराठीत जी भाषा रूढ झाली आहे ती अगदी प्रखर, हाणून पाडणारी, मारक, बोचक, दाहक, अशी आहे. आणि हे सर्व सुमारे ७0-८० वर्षातले अलीकडचे जे मराठी साहित्य आहे त्यामध्ये दिसून येते...जसा एखादा काचेचा पेला जमिनीवर आपटला म्हणजे त्याचे तुकडे तुकडे होतात. त्याप्रमाणे महाराष्ट्रामध्ये कोणत्याही प्रश्नाचे तुकडेच होतात. इथे शाबूद प्रश्न राहतच नाही...शब्दामध्येच सर्व असलेनसलेले भाव ओतून पराक्रमाच्या क्षेत्रामध्ये आम्ही फिके पडत चाललो आहोत..." (c 1950)
(विनोबा सारस्वत "Vinoba Saraswat" edited by राम शेवाळकर Ram Shewalkar 1987)
(Vinoba Bhave: "...the Marathi language that is established amongst us is strong, biting, knocking over, killing, hot and this is all reflected in the Marathi literature of last 70-80 years...the way a glass tumbler falls and breaks into splinters, any issue in Maharashtra splits into pieces. No issue remains intact here...By pouring all our feelings in only words, we are fading in the field of bravery...")
I wonder what Vinoba would have felt had he heard fanatics and rabble-rouser of Maharashtra in year 2009.
‘Of course, I use foul language. What other language is there?’