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, September 27, 2011

Banning Books- These Indians are crazy!

Wikipedia on Obelix:

"His catchphrase is: "Ils sont fous ces romains", which translates into "These Romans are crazy!", although he considers many other nationalities to be just as strange."


The Times of India (Ambarish Mishra, TNN Sep 26, 2011):

"...Akthar's autobiography was to be released at a function in Mumbai on Saturday. However, the event was cancelled even as the 'Rawalpindi Express' gave interviews to the electronic media about the book.

Akhtar has lashed out against his own team members in the book and is understood to have made remarks about the Indian batting master, who he claimed was afraid of his bowling as the delivery speed was over 150 kph..."


How low have we got on tolerance?

One cricket player is making some comments on another player's cricketing abilities- neither casting aspersions on his character/ integrity nor intruding into his private life- and we don't want that book to be even released, let alone respond to it sensibly or just ignore it.

But why am I surprised? Our history is littered with this.

A G Noorani said in Economic & Political Weekly December 1, 2007 :

"Book banning is a civilised form of the vice of book-burning which is a sure symptom of fascism. India has a formidable record of book banning. As with much else, independent India simply took over the habits of the British raj."

According to the late Durga Bhagwat (दुर्गा भागवत) Indians burnt down Bhasa’a (भास) play 'Pratima' (प्रतिमा)- one of the greatest Indian plays- because they didn’t like it!

'Pratima’ is based on the life of Lord Rama.

“But people didn’t like it and they burnt it. After passage of hundreds of years someone discovered it and hence we have it…"

[Source- 'Easy Conversations: With Durgabai' by Pratibha Ranade, 1998 (ऐसपैस गप्पा : दुर्गाबाईंशी, लेखक: प्रतिभा रानडे)]

Website DailyLit is conducting a survey, asking its readers 'VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE BANNED BOOK'.

Some of the options there:

"-Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (a classic)
-Henry David Thoreau's On the Duty of Civil Obedience (get inspired)
-Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (learn first hand why it's controversial)
-Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (I can't believe that was banned)
-And then there's The Bible (need I say more)
."

My vote went to "The Arabian Nights".


Artists: René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo


‘An excellent weekend, thank you. We went to a literary festival. I burned many books.’

Spectator, September 2009