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."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In Praise of Hunter-gatherer Kakaji / of Pu La's 'Tujhe Ahe Tujapashi'

Holly Brubach:

Bogart’s appeal was and remains completely adult — so adult that it’s hard to believe he was ever young. If men who take responsibility are hard to come by in films these days, it’s because they’re hard to come by, period, in an era when being a kid for life is the ultimate achievement, and “adult” as it pertains to film is just a euphemism for pornography.

(Feb 4 2011, WSJ)

I must have read P L Deshpande's (पु ल देशपांडे) 'Tujhe Ahe Tujapashi', 1957 (तुझें आहे तुजपाशीं) dozens of times. Once I knew all its dialogues by heart.

My favourite character from the play is that of Kakaji (काकाजी).

Read the following set of dialogues from the play:

"काकाजी: जाऊ द्या यार. जंगलात तर दोनच वेळा. दिवस आणि रात्र. भूक लागली की जेवायची वेळ आणि थकलो की झोपायची.

आचार्य : म्हणजे मी समजत होतो , की हा वाडा चोवीसच वर्षे मागे आहे. पण नाही , अगदी आदिमानवाच्याच काळात आहे. जंगलात राहणार्या आदिमानवानं त्यानंतर काही प्रगति केल्याचं ह्या वाड्याच्या कानावर आलेलं दिसत नाही.

काकाजी: कुणाला ठाऊक काय केलंय ते? प्रगति की अधोगति !"

(Kakaji: Let it be friend. In jungle there are just two times. When hungry it's eating time and when tired sleeping one.

Acharya: I was thinking this house was behind the times by twenty-four years. But no, it's in prehistorical period. Looks like it has not heard any progress the primitive man has made since.

Kakakji: Wonder what is it? Progress or degeneration!)

Now this must be one of the most scathing attacks, in 20th century Marathi literature, on the concept of progress, by one of the most popular and main-stream artists and not by an 'outsider' like Bhau Padhye (भाऊ पाध्ये)

Kakaji seems to be praising the life of a hunter-gatherer.

Jared Diamond concurs:

"… Thus with the advent of agriculture and elite became better off, but most people became worse off. Instead of swallowing the progressivist party line that we chose agriculture because it was good for us, we must ask how we got trapped by it despite its pitfalls...

...Forced to choose between limiting population or trying to increase food production, we chose the latter and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny.

Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history. In contrast, we're still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it's unclear whether we can solve it...
"
("The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race," Discover Magazine, May 1987, pp. 64-66.)

And on Kakaji's question of progress or degeneration, John Gray says:

"...Today liberal humanism has the pervasive power that was once possessed by revealed religion. Humanists like to think they have a rational view of the world; but their core belief in progress is a superstition, further from the truth about the human animal than any of the world’s religions.

Outside of science, progress is simply a myth."

('Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals', 2002)

People asked Pu La if the character of Kakaji was based on the real life figure of Ramubhaiya Date (रामुभैया दाते).

Pu La answered them in 'Gangot' (गणगोत): "Kakaji in the play keeps saying 'I am still young' ('अभी तो मैं जवान हूँ') but here (in case of Mr. Date) the childhood (शैशव ) itself is not over yet."

Today I am enthralled by 'adult' appeal of Humphrey Bogart and Balraj Sahni, the guys who always took responsibility, often beyond our expectations. It's hard to believe if they were ever young.

Kakaji too takes responsibility. A lot of it. Staying unmarried himself, he raises the two kids of his brother after he and his wife pass away.

But unlike Bogarat and Sahani, Kakaji is young forever, perhaps a kid for life. A loveable hunter-gatherer.


Kakaji on the left and Acharya on the right.