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."

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Gross Injustice to G A Kulkarni's Memory?

(There are a few more entries on this blog on G A Kulkarni and his art. Click here to access them.)

Recently I was reading "Priya Jee E Sa. Na. Vi. Vi.", 1994 (प्रिय जी. ए. स. न. वि. वि.) edited by G A Kulkarni's (जी. ए. कुलकर्णी) cousin-sister Nanda Paithankar (नंदा पैठणकर) one more time.

G A Kulkarni received Sahitya Akademi Award in 1973 for his collection of short stories 'Kajalmaya' (काजळमाया).

Although today it looks no more than a storm in teacup, the award created a huge controversy that stirred middle class Marathi world.

No one doubted the merit of the book but the controversy was about whether the book qualified for the award in the first place.

The criterion laid down by the Akademi was that the book had to be published between Jan 1 1970- Dec 31 1972.

'Kajalmaya' wasn't published before March 1973!

This was raked up by 'Maharashtra Times' (महाराष्ट्र टाईम्स) whose staff member wanted to hit Ramdas Bhatkal (रामदास भटकळ), GA's publiher. (So much bitching went on in that small, claustrophobic world)!

Instead G A was devastated by the controversy and promptly returned the award. He wrote many letters in great anguish and received as many.

Ms. Paithankar's book carries a lot of that correspondence and even carries a picture of the receipt of the award amount- the then princely amount of Rs. 5,000- by the Akademi.

The book has an undated- from 1975- English letter by G A Kulkarni to the Akademi where he says: "...I have no desire to accept the award as it is, whatever the rules of the Akademi, which do not recognize a new problem like my book's. Unless the Akademi condones the irregularity, or accepts the book definitely in 1972,The award may please be treated as permanently returned..."

Since the Akademi's website still carries G A's name as the recipient of 1973 award, it should refer to this controversy and announce there what G A desired so desperately: "condones the irregularity, or accepts the book definitely in 1972."

It should also clarify the small matter of Rs. 5,000 because G A's best friend Jaywant Dalwi (जयवंत दळवी), in a lighter vein, wondered if G A's 'return' cheque was ever encashed by the Akademi!