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."

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

B S Mardhekar, Now there are Old Embers on New Corpses in Korean War

TOM NAGORSKI: "...When it came to war, Gen. MacArthur was merciless. As the battle for the North soured, MacArthur ordered an aerial bombardment to strike every possible "installation, factory, city and village" in the North. Cities across North Korea were reduced to ashes; hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed. Mr. Cumings asks why, when the conduct of World War II (the firebombing of Dresden, say) or Vietnam (My Lai) has been so thoroughly examined, U.S. tactics in Korea have merited so little attention. No one knows or remembers "that we carpet-bombed the North for three years with next to no concern for civilian casualties."..." (WSJ, July 27 2010)

Thanks to Bruce Cumings's new book "The Korean War: A History", the “forgotten war”- the one that has still not ended because it ended in an armistice, rather than a full peace treaty- is under a bit of spotlight.

The Korean war (1950–1953) rarely figures in Marathi literature.

B S Mardhekar’s (बा. सी. मर्ढेकर) few poems must be an exception because he was a poet with global sensibilities.

"अजून येतो वास फुलांना" (Still fragrance emanates from flowers) first published in February 1951, written probably in Trichy / Tiruchchirappalli, is one of them.

Third stanza:

"भूकंपाचा इकडे धक्का
पलीकडे अन् युध्द- नगारे;
चहूंकडे अन् एकच गिल्ला,
जुन्या शवांवर नवे निखारे."

(Here a shake of a tremour
That side war-drums;
all around one hell of racket,
new embers on old corpses.")

Tremour here is the Assam one of August 15 1950. War drums belong to Korea.

7th stanza too refers to the war:

"जगून थोडें अखेर मरणें
उघडझांप ही डोळ्यांचीच;
अंधारांतुन राडाराचा
किरण चालला सलत पुढेंच."

(To die after living a while
Like blinking of eyes;
through darkness radar's
ray moves ahead cutting.)

[some of this is based on M V Dhond's 'Tarīhi Yeto Wasa Phulānnā' (म. वा. धोंड, 'तरीहि येतो वास फुलांना')]

Korean war is still not over. In March 2010, North Korea allegedly torpedoed a South Korean naval corvette, costing 46 lives.

Old embers on new corpses?

नव्या शवांवर जुने निखारे?


Artist: Alan Dunn, The New Yorker, August 26
1950


Sixty years later, the picture above remains relevant. Just replace Europe with Iraq and Korea with Afghanistan. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace?