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!"

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: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

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