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, March 16, 2010

Why Vinda, Kusumagraj, Khandekar but NO Bhagwat, Tendulkar, Chitre?

Vinda's popularity after the Jnanpith (ज्ञानपीठ) Award soared and probably reached the levels previously attained by Kusumagraj (कुसुमाग्रज) and V S Khandekar (वि स खांडेकर).

All three of them Jnanpith awardees.

Like Vinda, Kusumagraj too was a good poet and a great human being. (Kusumagraj was our family friend and attended my sister's wedding. He had great regard for my father and his writings. He exuded only kindness and love.)

The same can be said of the third awardee, V S Khandekar. Average writer but a great humanist who motivated scores of budding artists. (At IIT, Madras, I once asked my Tamil speaking class-mate: who were popular Tamil writers? His answer stunned me because one name on that very short list was Khandekar. Yes, V S Khandekar in translation! Yes, he was that popular.)

The award was not given to Durga Bhagwat, Vijay Tendulkar and Dilip Chitre, for my taste, all of them better writers than the Jnanpith trinity.

Is it because M/s Bhagwat, Chitre and Tendulkar constantly rebelled against the establishment? The government of the day as well as extra constitutional authorities and power-centres in Maharashtra.

Remember fearlessness of Durga Bhagwat during the emergency, Vijay Tendulkar's run-ins with Shiv Sena and the government on many issues, death threat to Chitre in the wake of James Laine controversy?

Vinda, Kusumagraj, Khandekar avoided such conflicts. I like to think: Not for want of courage but they were built differently.

11 comments:

Nandan said...

Not sure that conflicts with the government or extra constitutional authorities is the only reason - could very well be the main one, though. Then, of course, there is internal politics. Rumour was that U. R. Anathamurthy made sure that Gangadhar Gadgeel never made to the final list and so on...

I think, the award was offered to Durgabai but she refused to accept it (like Sartre and Nobel for literature). Interestingly, when Girish Karnad won the Jnanpeeth, his reaction was Tendulkar should have got it before I did.

I also think Borkar should have been in this august list as well. Have read a passing reference somewhere that he did not get the award due to Marathi-Konkani language issue.

Anyways, it is probably a matter of an independent article; but I always find it somewhat insensitive or morbidly populist when the demand for an author's books goes up immediately after his death. Few years ago, I could not find a collection of Tendulkar's five plays in three of the leading bookstores in Mumbai. In 2008 though, the picture was quite different. His books, plays and biographies were the first things that greeted you through showcases as you entered. (Apologies for the digression)

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks Nandan.

I did not know Durgabai's refusal because Jnanpith is not government award.

I do not much like Gadgil and don't like Borkar at all!

It is no digression at all.

But I am happy, at least after their death, they excite Marathi readers.

Yes, I am sure all the books of Vinda will greet you next time you go there!

G A Kulkarni's books too are now available in full strength.

mannab said...

This discussion of who should have been awarded Dnyanpeeth or who are missed, is absolutely needless. How did you exclude Pu. La., Jayvant Dalvi, Shri. Naa. Pendse and so on? I am disappointed to read this post. Regards.
Mangesh Nabar

Gauri said...

I was not impressed by Durgabai much. She has a great "Vyasang" however, her writing does not have as much depth and sensitivity.

Borkar's AnandaYatree (Rabindranath) is very good.

Sachin Ketkar said...

I think Arun Kolatkar and Namdeo Dhasal too deserve recognition far beyond Marathi world. Kolatkar is one of the best poets India has ever produced.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks Sachin, Gauri and Mangesh for your comments.

First, as a reader, I don't give a damn to any award.

I just contrasted the three who got it Vs. the three 'rebels' who were difficult to 'handle'.

Our Three Vs. Those Three.

Never once I meant to say who all should have or shouldn't have got any award.

I respect Gauri's view on Durgabai but totally disagree with them.

I hope she has read G A Kulkarni's praise for "Pais".

Or "Vyasparva".

Those are dizzying depths for me to develop vertigo.

And what do I say about Kolatkar?

He is one of the greatest Marathi speaking artist of 20th century.

In poetry, he is SIXTH in all-time great list, next only to BIG FIVE - Dnyaneshwar, Eknath, Tukaram, Namdev and Ramdas.

Mahesh said...

Aniruddha,
At the outset sorry for a late comment on the blogpost. Actually, am new here to this blog which I hit onto through some un-related Google Image search (was looking for a specific R K Laxman's cartoon of 1992-93 Mumbai riots era). In either case, it is nice to see a good blog by fellow Marathi.
About Tendulkar not getting a state recognition - Tendulkar was far too anarchic for state recognition. Be it comparing ShivSena with Mafiadom, or metaphorically articulating Capital Punsihment for Narendra Modi, or highlighting corrupt Peshwai, reflections of feudal culture in Dalit castes (articulated - if me remembers correctly - in kanyadaan), Tendulkar could never be "tamed". Compare this with Padgaonkars, Karandikars whose political positions - with their token progressivism - were conveniently flexible enough to recieve state patronage. Given this, it is hardly surprising for Tendulkar to be skipped for state recognition.
On a related note - Suresh Bhat was another artist with comparable un-compromising attitude towards establishment, except for his last few years which rather tragically saw him recieving ShivSena's patronage.
Cheers,
Mahesh.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks Mahesh.

Anarchic? Yes, we all should be little more.

But I would still like to believe Vinda didn't compromise.

He was true Marxist who believed that this was not the last chapter.

Revolution was in the making. Christ was coming back.

Naive? Yes. Compromising? No.

Mahesh said...

Aniruddha,
A small correction on my original response :
"About Tendulkar not getting a state recognition - Tendulkar was far too anarchic for state recognition." Here I meant "rebellious" as against anarchic.
Cheers,
Mahesh.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Mahesh,

I just wonder if there is a word in Marathi for "anarchist".

I know anarchism is very alien to today's wealth-counting Marathi middle class. But it was not always so.

I hope it returns one day.

Shriprasanna Bavadekar said...

Hi There Everybody
My view is 'As the success of a human being can not be measured by Exams he passes or Marrks he gets ' So is The artiste 's sucess and greatness also should not be mneasured by Awards he is conferred . What award will you confer to Sant Dyaneshwar , Tukaram or Ramdas.
In any case, the reason I am writing on this blog is because I am looking for a Film on respected Durgabai Bhagwat. If any of you have any clue as to where I can get it please let me know. I stay on Prabhat Road in Pune
Long live Marathi Literature !