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."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Was Mahatma a Pioneer in the Art of Media Manipulation?

Pankaj Mishra:

"Gandhi’s greatest contribution to the arsenal of political activism, however, is his theory and practice of bringing together great masses of highly motivated and disciplined protesters in public spaces. Here his spiritual beliefs were crucial: the assumption, in particular, that, regardless of the regime people lived under—democracy or dictatorship, capitalist or socialist—they always possessed a freedom of conscience, an inner capacity to make moral choices in everyday life. As his mass campaigns often proved, and the recent Arab uprisings have affirmed, such strongly self-aware individuals acting cooperatively in the spotlight of the world media could come to wield an astonishing amount of moral authority—the “authentic, enduring power” of people that, as Hannah Arendt wrote in her analysis of the Prague Spring of 1968, a repressive regime or government could neither create nor suppress through the use of terror, and before which it must eventually surrender."

(May 2 2011, The New Yorker)

Some people say Anna Hazare is a product of Indian electronic media...they say he manipulates media or media manipulate him... Or both.

As Pankaj Mishra argues, 'the spotlight of the world media' was central to Mahatma's activism. And so is to Anna Hazare's.

Before I go to media aspect, let me discuss Mr. Mishra's 'disciplined protesters in public spaces'.

Joseph Lelyveld writing on Quit India movement of 1942:

"...Gandhi's last campaign hadn't achieved anything like his standard of nonviolent discipline...By the end of the year, nearly one thousand persons had been killed in clashes with the police...Indian nonviolence had always been imperfect, "limited in both numbers and quality," he coolly told American correspondent- that is, in the availability of trained satyagrahis who could be relied on to make the requisite self-sacrifice- but "it has infused life into the people which was absent before." He isn't threatening or justifying violence, but assuming for the moment the position of a detached observer, a realist, he seems to be suggesting that this time it couldn't be ruled out. This Gandhi sounds like the pre-Mahatma of 1913 who warned the South African authorities he might lose control of his movement."

('Great Soul Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India', 2011, page 287)

Now to media.

Lelyveld on Gandhi's days in Noakhali 1946:

"...A pioneer in the art of press manipulation, Gandhi insisted the journalists file not on the words that had actually come out of his mouth but on versions he "authorized" after his own sometimes heavy editing of the transcripts..." (ibid, page 298)

On this blog, I have written about P L Deshpande's (पु देशपांडे) very poular play 'Tujhe Ahe Tujapashi', 1957 (तुझें आहे तुजपाशीं). There is a character of Acharya facing off with character of Kakaji.

Acharya in the play pauses to say something 'profound' so that his followers get a chance to take out their notebooks and pencils to note it down. He even repeats it for their convenience!

I was told that Acharya was not a caricature of Gandhiji but some of Gandhi's followers.

I am not so sure after reading Lelyveld.