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."

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."

Friday, March 23, 2012

In Purdah: Poverty and Pachyderm

George Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant":

"We began questioning the people as to where the elephant had gone and, as usual, failed to get any definite information. That is invariably the case in the East; a story always sounds clear enough at a distance, but the nearer you get to the scene of events the vaguer it becomes."

Film: Shikar, 1968, Voice: Asha Bhosle, Music Director :Shankar-Jaikishan:

"Parde Mein Rehene Do, Pardaa Na Uthaao
Pardaa Jo Uth Gayaa To Bhed Khul Jaayegaa
Allaah Merii Taubaa, Allaah Merii Taubaa"

India's election commission's decision to cover elephant statues in UP ahead of polls drew worldwide attention. Including cartoonists.

Time magazine has a photo essay.

Courtesy: Daniel Berehulak / AP, Time magazine

It was fascinating. You can cover a woman. Indeed her statue. But elephants?

Cover no cover, voters voted out the ruling party BSP.

Artist: Sudhir Tailang, The Asian Age, March 2012

India's planning commission was watching this. It felt: If they did it to elephants and Ms. Mayawati (whose statue is standing on left in the cartoon above), we could do it to poverty.

Indian government is claiming seven-percentage-points reduction in the national incidence of poverty between 2004-05 and 2009-10. Poverty lines on which these estimates are based: a per capita daily consumption expenditure of Rs. 28.35 and Rs. 22.42 in urban and rural areas respectively.

For a family of four the figure is `2,700 a month in rural India, and `3,420 a month in urban India for subsistence survival. Within this amount, India's planners think, they should be able to take care of food, clothing, shelter, health and education!

Artist: Sudhir Tailang, The Asian Age, March 2012

Mr. Tailang could also show how Montek Singh Ahluwalia, current Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India is making the statue of poverty vanish in one single stroke of statistics.

Two pictures, above, of Mr. Tailang prove, once again, how he probably is the best political cartoonist in contemporary India. On the brink of entering the class of past masters like K. Shankar Pillai, Abu Abraham and R K Laxman.