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!"

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."

Chris Ware: "Being a cartoonist means you don’t consider yourself too fancy."

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: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Paresh Mokashi is Wrong. Very Wrong.

परेश मोकाशी (दिग्दर्शक, 'हरिश्चंद्राची फॅक्टरी'):"...भारत हा एक कथांचा देश आहे. इथे शब्दमाध्यम प्रभावी आहे. दृश्य संस्कृती पुरेशी विकसित झालेली नाही..."(ललित, 2010 दिवाळी)

Paresh Mokashi (Director, 'Harishchandrachi Factory'): "...India is a nation of stories. Here medium of word is very effective. Visual culture is not sufficiently developed here..." (Lalit, Diwali, 2010)

Who told this to Mr. Mokashi, a young promising talent from Maharashtra and grandson of a true great D B Mokashi (दि बा मोकाशी)?

This could be true of culture of most people he meets or hears or reads. But this is grossly misleading when he implies a subcontinent's culture over a period of almost 3000 years.

India's visual culture has been as rich as its "word culture". In fact, in a few centuries at least, it was probably richer.

To fully appreciate how developed visual culture in India was, read Frontline's majestic 25-part series on Indian art, starting with the issue Aug. 11-24 2007.

I have with me, all twenty five issues of Frontline and reading them has left no doubt in my mind that no other nation on this planet has had more developed visual culture than India for most part of the known history.

What about Maharashtra or the Western India?

“Does Maharashtra have its Own Distinct Culture?” was the title of an essay by Prof S M Mate (श्री म माटे) in 1954. A debate raged on the subject, joined by the likes of sculptor V P Karmarkar (विनायक पांडुरंग करमरकर), K Narayan Kale (के नारायण काळे), Irawati Karve (इरावती कर्वे), H.D Sankaliya (हंसमुख धीरजलाल सांकलिया).

D G Godse (द ग गोडसे) joined the battle err debate- any debate in Marathi sounds like a battle!- with his essay-‘Shilpi Maharashtra’ (शिल्पी महाराष्ट्र)- first published in ‘Chhand’ छंद (May-June 1955), now included in his book “Samande Talash”, 1981 (समंदे तलाश).

Godse’s verdict- Yes, natives largely created the art you see in Maharashtra. He asks “why 90% of all Indian carvings are in Maharashtra?” and explains this abundance ”…. this is not just because of the ruling dynasties of Maharashtra –Shalivahan, Vakatak, Chalukya, Rashtrakut-but also because of patronage of art by ordinary people”. (What Godse means by 'ordinary' is non royal: traders and businessmen.)

Frontline says: “In western India, the 2nd century B.C. ushered in one of the greatest periods of the art of India and the entire art of Buddhism. Over a period of about 1,000 years, more than 1,200 caves were hewn out of the mountains of the Western Ghats, not very far from the coast of present-day Maharashtra. They were profusely sculpted and painted in the Buddhist traditions. Leaving behind the cares and confusions of the material world, the devotee came to these splendid havens of contemplation…”

Sure, Mr. Mokashi, we may have turned picture-blind in recent centuries. But it doesn't mean that the disease is congenital!

And talking of visual culture, I haven’t seen more attractive woman than the almost 2000-year old beauty in the picture below:



MITHUNAS, CAVE 3, Kanheri, 2nd century A.D.