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!"

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."

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, November 22, 2011

D'Oliveira Helped me Understand Our Own Dalit's Pain Just a Little Better


"People responsible for the disposal of night soil are considered untouchables in India."

Vic Marks:

"In Peter Oborne's excellent book Basil D'Oliveira. Cricket and Conspiracy: The Untold Story the author tells us how D'Oliveira was invited to lunch by Nelson Mandela a few years ago after a coaching trip to South Africa. Oborne describes their parting. "At the end Mandela rose from his chair and hugged D'Oliveira. "Thanks for coming, Basil", he said. "You must go home now. You've done your bit.""

Christophe Jaffrelot:

We also have to admit that on behalf of this vision he (M K Gandhi) was not prepared to let Dalits emancipate themselves the way Ambedkar wanted to emancipate them because he equated that emancipation strategy with separatism.

For the Ambedkarites, this is probably a cause of resentment that remains the strongest. They do not believe in Harijanism, which they find patronising.

Jean Dreze, Amartya Sen:

"...the fact that not even one of the 315 editors and other leading members of the printed and electronic media in Delhi surveyed recently by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies belonged to a scheduled caste or scheduled tribe, and that at the other end, 90 per cent belonged to a small coterie of upper castes that make up only 16 per cent of the population, obviously does not help to ensure that the concerns of Dalits and adivasis are adequately represented in public debates." (Outlook, Nov 14 2011)

If my 17-year old cricket loving son asks: 'Who the hell was Basil D'Oliveira?', he should be pardoned.

The Times of India on November 20 2011 covered Mr. D'Oliveira death by giving more than half a page. (Remember, the same newspaper is hardly covering one of the best test cricket matches currently taking place between two strong teams in D'Oliveira's South Africa!)

South African test cricket team playing a test match against visiting Australian team wore black armbands on Nov 19 2011.


I knew very little about Basil D'Oliveira before year 1968. Although, I knew his name, he was not a prominent player like M C Cowdrey, G Boycott, J Snow in the English team. And then D'Oliveira affair happened.

It was extensively covered in Marathi newspaper 'Maharashtra Times' (महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स) on its sports page. I read every single word. I still remember mild pleasure I felt when the English cricket team's tour to SA was cancelled.

Not that I understood apartheid fully even then. It was also confusing because Mr. D'Oliveira looked white in pictures! I would not hear about a man called Nelson Mandela for a few more years.

But it was clear apartheid was something as horrible as our own untouchability. At that time in Miraj I used to see every day a female municipal employee carrying night soil on the head.

Saying no to D'Oliveira was like preventing that female municipal employee from entering Hindu temple's sanctum sanctorum. Or our own kitchens.

It was unfair. But did I really understand the pain of D'Oliveira or a Dalit?

I like to think D'Oliveira affair sensitised me at least a little bit to that pain. The pain of discovery- perhaps expressed in following moving picture- that Band-Aids of every flesh colour are still NOT available!

Artist: William O'Brian, The New Yorker, May 10 1963

p.s. This is the second appearance of this wonderful cartoon on this blog. For the first instance, read this.