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."

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?