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."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kumar Ketkar has seen the Future and there is no LokSatta in it!

Joker: I¡­ I've seen the future and it will be
I've seen the future and it works
And if there's life after, we will see
So U can't go like a jerk - no, no (by Prince, Batman)

Business Standard: "Indian language print is the new growth story in the $17-billion Indian media and entertainment industry." (May 11 2010)

From his interview done by Frontline May 21 2010 here, I agree with Kumar Ketkar (कुमार केतकर) on more issues than I disagree with.

But as his wont, he occasionally becomes sloppy and verbose.

Ketkar claims: "...The de-communitisation of Marathi-speaking population gives them a complete feeling of disconnect..."

This may be true of people like him and me but not necessarily of many thousands of others.

He continues: "...So what remains as their identity? ‘I speak Marathi. I’m proud of being a Marathi [-speaking person]. What is my connectivity with Mumbai or Maharashtra? It’s my language. I may be disconnected socially but I’m connected by language.’..."

Now this is not true of people like me, including even those living in Mumbai, because a large part of our identity is not based on our native tongue.

Ketkar says: "...I remember when I used to go to college in the local trains, they were crowded but there was some kind of bonding between the people inside the compartment and outside, on the platforms. Now there is no bonding, everybody is there by himself...What I am saying is that Marathi community life has been disrupted. Mumbai began to be populated by new groups of people… people who are yet to form communities… people who are still individuals..."

What has this to do with Mumbai or Maharashtra or Marathi community alone? Isn't this universal?


Reviewing David Kynaston's four-volume City of London
, John Lanchester says:

"...…The modern City is a less interesting place, from the human point of view: in the fourth volume of Kyanston's work, the systems are more important than the people. "The modern City is in many ways a cruel, heartless place," Kynaston observes, "and its occupants work such cripplingly long hours that inevitably they lack much of the roundedness of earlier generations." It's a sad observation, but it feels true, and in a sense adds even more importance to Kynaston's work of telling the stories of these buried lives. "This continuing history of the City is, among other things, a memorial to all those who spent too much of their lives sitting at desks, trading on market floors, keeping the wheels of finance and commerce turning. Who are we to disparage their illusions of gold?"..."

Or as Jeremy Paxman says:

"If someone asked you to identify the great human characteristic of our age, what would you say? Gender equality? Wealth? Social mobility? Sexual freedom? It seems to me the answer could just as easily be solitariness. This, surely, is one of the oddities of the present: at a time when there have never been more of us crowded onto a small island, it has never been easier to be isolated." (The Observer, Sunday 9 May 2010)

Ketkar speculates: "...Twenty years from now there will be no Lok Satta – it will not be economically viable. In fact there will be no Marathi paper. There may be pamphlets or something. People will speak Marathi but the newspaper will not be viable..."

This is absolute nonsense.

I don't like almost all of Marathi newspapers but- for good or for bad- many of them will be around in year 2030. What they will publish is a matter of conjecture.

My guess: Pictures of half-naked women, coverage of IPL (or whatever it's called then) and Sachin Tendulkar, Belgaum, scaremongering on account of flu's/plagues/Islamic terrorism/ Monsoon failure, travelogues of visits to sons and daughters based in USA, promotion of favourite politicos/builders/businessmen/Gurus/castes etc will still remain strong contenders.

When Frontline observed: "You sound very pessimistic", Ketkar replied: "I am not pessimistic. I am realistic. And realism is bad."

Now Ketkar's views are clearly pessimistic, especially as they are expressed when Maharashtra completes 50 years as a state.

Sample a few more of them:

"Girgaon has been uprooted.",

"What Maharashtra has done in the past 50 years is total ruin of Mumbai.",

"The virtue, dynamism and vibrancy of life have declined every day. And in my lifetime it will not improve.",

"Poor? There’s no governance.",

"You cannot. There is no chance of resolution. Because the entire Marathi middle class, which is the leader of the culture… not the poor people unfortunately, has given up the language."

"For the last 35 years we have been asking whether the city is dying, but Mumbai is dead. Mumbai doesn’t exist. No body accepts this."

Therefore, I wonder why he goes on defensive with his final answer.