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.”
Albert Einstein: “I am content in my later years. I have kept my good humor and take neither myself nor the next person seriously.” (To P. Moos, March 30, 1950. Einstein Archives 60-587)
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: "… इ. स. 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."
Saturday, June 25, 2011
"(India's) Opposition leaders have compared the hardline response to the state of emergency implemented in the 1970s under former prime minister Indira Gandhi."
The Times of India, July 4 2011:
"...It’s not just mullahs and mahants—(Asghar Ali) Engineer says that even the progressives have failed the country. As a young member of the club in Mumbai of the 1960s and ’70s, he would actively participate in their meetings and befriended Urdu writers like Ali Sardar Jafri, Kaifi Azmi and K A Abbas. “But I lost faith in them in June 1975—this was when, after Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency, Jafri, Bedi, Abbas, Krishan Chander and a few others actually supported it in a letter to The Times of India,” he claims..."
36 years ago today The Emergency was declared in India.
The Emergency (25 June 1975 – 21 March 1977) hasn't gone away.
Rightly or wrongly, Anna Hazare's recent movement evoked images of Jayaprakash Narayan of early 1970's.
When I remember The Emergency days, I remember the song- 'Hum Honge Kaamyaab'.
It is a Hindi version of 'WE SHALL OVERCOME'.
(होंगे कामयाब होंगे कामयाब
हम होंगे कामयाब एक दिन
हो हो हो मन मे है विश्वास
पुरा है विश्वास हम होंगे कामयाब एक दिन॥धृ॥)
Abby McGanney Nolan says about 'WE SHALL OVERCOME':
"Powered by its straightforward melody and generous procession of verses, "We Shall Overcome" has covered a lot of ground. Developing out of a Southern spiritual called "I'll Be All Right" into an international anthem of perseverance, the song has proved to be a potent unifying force for people in trying circumstances..."
(The Washington Post, March 3 2010)
Sadly, I became familiar with 'Hum Honge Kaamyaab' during "The Emergency" as it played on state controlled All India Radio's Sangli station, almost every day!
For a long time I thought it was a propaganda song created by Mrs. Indira Gandhi's spin-doctors! It made me sick.
It sounded like Garuda Purana.
(The second section of this Purana deals with issues connected with death, particularly funeral rites and the metaphysics of reincarnation. Portions of the Garuda Purana are used by some Hindus as funeral liturgy. Indeed, some consider it unlucky to read this text except during funerals.)
I always thought: No wonder the cult film "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro" shows Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani, in the end, going to the gallows to the tune of 'Hum Honge Kaamyaab'.
Even today, when I hear the song, I am reminded of one of the darkest chapters of independent India.
See the picture below.
There the vote is being taken to deplore Benito Mussolini. It's 15:1 against him. (For some reason, in American art, these days I feel, Mussolini is made more fun of than Hitler...Perhaps to counterweight 'The Great Dictator'.)
An open vote on Mrs. Gandhi, taken among leading Marathi intellectuals, during the Emergency, would have been 15:1, in favour of her, because most of them were either silent or crawling in front of her.
The lone opposing vote would have been of the likes of Durga Bhagwat (दुर्गा भागवत) .
Artist: Helen E. Hokinson, The New Yorker, Sept 28 1935
Paul A. Rahe:
In our time, the scholar, the writer, and the artist may not be parasites dependent on aristocratic patrons, but that does not mean they are truly free. The desire for applause tends to inspire servility in anyone subject to it—and it is a short step from flattering one's public to flattering monsters who wield influence and power.
(The Chronicle Review, March 15 2011)