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."

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Karl Marx...8th Chiranjivi? अश्वत्थामा बलिर्व्यासो हनुमांश्च विभीषणः...

Today May 1 is  International Workers' Day and May 5 2013 is 195th Birth Anniversary of Karl Marx

अश्वत्थामा बलिर्व्यासो हनुमांश्च विभीषणः। कृपः परशुरामश्च सप्तैते चिरंजीविनः॥

George Orwell:

"Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing. There is always a new tyrant waiting to take over from the old — generally not quite so bad, but still a tyrant. Consequently two viewpoints are always tenable. The one, how can you improve human nature until you have changed the system? The other, what is the use of changing the system before you have improved human nature? They appeal to different individuals, and they probably show a tendency to alternate in point of time. The moralist and the revolutionary are constantly undermining one another. Marx exploded a hundred tons of dynamite beneath the moralist position, and we are still living in the echo of that tremendous crash. But already, somewhere or other, the sappers are at work and fresh dynamite is being tamped in place to blow Marx at the moon. Then Marx, or somebody like him, will come back with yet more dynamite, and so the process continues, to an end we cannot yet foresee. The central problem — how to prevent power from being abused — remains unsolved. Dickens, who had not the vision to see that private property is an obstructive nuisance, had the vision to see that. ‘If men would behave decently the world would be decent’ is not such a platitude as it sounds."

Terry Eagleton:

"There’s irony in the fact that in the midst of the most affluent civilization history has witnessed people are scavenging in rubbish baskets for food. That’s the kind of contradiction I think Marx was talking about. I also stressed how much Marx admired the way that capitalism had in a very short space of time accumulated such wealth—material, spiritual, cultural—but that it couldn’t do that without the contradiction of generating inequality at the same time; we’re seeing a stark instance of that in Greece today. So that’s the kind of thing I’d point to to show the relevance of Marx. Even within the anti-capitalist movement, Marx is not a majority presence. One has to say that. It’s partly because of the discrediting of Marxism by Stalinism, which will take a long time for the Marxist left to recover from. But I’m not myself madly concerned about whether people stick the label “Marxist” onto themselves as long as they take a critical stance towards the present situation. It doesn’t matter what they call themselves."


Jonathan Sperber:

“The man who would write the Communist Manifesto just five years later was advocating the use of the army to suppress a communist workers’ uprising!”

Karl Marx on German-Jewish socialist Ferdinand Lassalle:

"It is now completely clear to me, that, as proven by the shape of his head and the growth of his hair, he [Lassalle] stems from the Negroes who joined the march of Moses out of Egypt (if his mother or grandmother on his father’s side did not mate with a nigger). Now this combination of Jewry and Germanism with the negroid basic substance must bring forth a peculiar product. The pushiness of this lad is also nigger-like."

Once I was almost a card-carrying Marxist- communist. That was long time ago.  

Then I used to buy lots of low-cost English translated Russian books from frequently held exhibitions in Kolhapur and Sangli

Most of the books I bought,  including those by greats Alexander Pushkin and Fyodor Dostoyevsky,  went almost unopened. The only such books I read were of  metallurgy, an engineering subject

I thought my book-buying spree,  wasting in the process my father's very hard earned money, was helping the cause of revolution.   It was not helping anyone, really. 

I loved and read and re-read Anil Barve's (अनिल बर्वे) poetic play in Marathi-  'Thank you Mister Glad' ('थँक यु मिस्टर ग्लाड') and I cried and although I wanted to die like the protagonist there,  by then I had lost faith in revolutions (even before I lost it in bachelorhood).

For a while later I was a 'socialist' and then one day I saw and read Vijay Tendulkar's (विजय तेंडुलकर) 
"Kanyadan" (कन्यादान) and since then I have seen, read and heard so many 'socialists' like Nath Deolalikar (नाथ देवळालीकर) in India. They now belong to all the castes. 



Artist: James Thurber, The New Yorker, October 30 1937 (btw This is the month my mother was borne!)

But all along I never forgot Marx because of the late Prabhakar Padhye's (प्रभाकर  पाध्ये) Marathi book 'Manav aani Marx' ('मानव आणि मार्क्स') that I had read in the late 1970's. I have never forgot parts of the book.

My respect for Karl Marx has never diminished ever since my father told me that the veteran boar Old Major in 'Animal Farm' was him.

For me,  today he is a Don Quixote like character. Some people may judge him as a failure but more importantly for me he is a dreamer and eternal. I like to think of him as 8th Chiranjivi (चिरंजीवी).

 Wikipedia defines them as " long lived beings in Hinduism who are to remain alive through this Kali Yuga until the next Satya Yuga".

As long as we have so much economic inequality in this Kali Yuga,  Marx will continue to prick our conscience.

Like Ashwathama,  he will continue to come to our door...Like King Bali he will continue to hold mirror to the fundamental unfairness of our system...Like Parashurama he will remind us the mindless slaughter that happened in his name...

Karl Marx sure didn't know how to to get to  Satya Yuga, if one exists, and admittedly his self styled followers have slaughtered innocent men and women in millions, but he knows what Satya Yuga may look like:


‘…in communist society, where nobody [has] one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus make it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have in mind, without ever becoming a hunter, fisherman, cowherd, or critic."

In a recent essay, John Gray says: "No doubt the belief that humankind is evolving toward a more harmonious condition affords comfort to many; but we would be better prepared to deal with our conflicts if we could put Marx’s view of history behind us, along with his nineteenth-century faith in the possibility of a society different from any that has ever existed."

But I doubt if humans will ever stop dreaming of a "society different from any that has ever existed." And how can they as long as Chiranjivi Marx keeps showing up at their doors or their dreams?


4 comments:

एक रेघ said...

अनिरुद्ध,

खूपच गुंतागुंतीचं आहे हे. त्यामुळेच बहुतेक ऑर्वेलसारखा लेखक, जो ही गुंतागुंत तरी एकदम सरळसोटपणे आणि प्रामाणिकपणे मांडतो, तो मोठा वाटतो.
अनिल बर्व्यांची 'थँक यू मिस्टर ग्लाड' कादंबरी अलीकडेच आणलेय. वीसेक पानं वाचली. रोचक आहे, पण आता (म्हणजे तुम्ही ती वाचली असणार तेव्हापासून पंचवीसेक वर्षं गेल्यानंतर) एखाद्या तरुण वाचकाला, तिच्यावर भाळू का नये याची जास्तीची कारणं उपलब्ध झालेली आहेत. त्यामुळे कदाचित... पण तरी पूर्ण वाचायला पाहिजे.

प्रभाकर पाध्यांच्या 'मानव आणि मार्क्स'चा उल्लेख तुमच्या ब्लॉगवर पाहिला आणि मी ते एक-दोन ठिकाणी पाहिलं, पण मिळू शकलं नाही. पाहू कसं जमतं ते.

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ह्या ब्लॉगवर पत्रकारितेच्या एखाद्या विद्यार्थ्याला डेझर्टेशन किंवा असा लहानसा अभ्यास करता येईल, असं मागे मी म्हटलेलं कुठल्यातरी पोस्टखालच्या कमेन्टमध्ये. ते कसं अधिक स्पष्ट होतं पाहा.. आता ह्या पोस्टमध्ये तुम्ही (म्हणजे अनिल बर्व्यांचं वाचून भाळण्याच्या वयाच्या साधारण दुप्पट वयाचे झालेले असताना) त्यांचं 'काव्यात्म' लेखन आवडल्याचं एवढ्या प्रामाणिकपणे सांगताय. आता तुम्ही जे वाचत असाल ते खूपच वेगळं असणार. आणि तुमचा आता दृष्टिकोन केवढा वेगळा असेल! तुम्ही ह्या पोस्टमध्ये दाखला दिलाय त्या टेरी इगलटनच्या 'व्हाय मार्क्स वॉज राइट'सारखं किंवा तसं काही तुम्ही पुस्तकं-लेखांमधून वाचत असाल. आणि त्याकडेही आता तुम्ही चिकित्सकपणे पाहणार, ते ह्या ब्लॉगमधल्या लिहिण्यात दिसून येणार.
असा तो मेंदूचा प्रवास, मी म्हणतोय तो.
म्हणजे माध्यमं 'स्वतः'भोवती फिरण्याची एक शक्यता आता तयार झाली असेल तर हा ब्लॉग हे त्याचं एक उदाहरण असू शकेल. आणि हे वाकड्या अर्थाने नव्हे, तर खरोखरच. म्हणजे 'स्वतः'बद्दल बोलायचं तरी ते कसं बोलता येईल.. किंवा काय बोलता येईल.. काही तपासणी करता येईल का.. त्यातलं सार्वजनिक काय असेल.. वगैरे अनेक मुद्दे त्यात येतील.

स्वतःबद्दल बोलूनही प्रदर्शन न करणारं असणं, हे ह्या ब्लॉगच्या निमित्तानं काही तपासता आलं तर पाहायला हवं. हे तपासताना वेगळ्या काही त्रुटीही सापडू शकतील कदाचित. हे सगळं तटस्थपणे कोणी अभ्यासलं तर जरा मजा येईल.
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ह्या चांगल्या पोस्टसाठी थँक्स. आणि शुभेच्छा नेहमीप्रमाणे.

Aniruddha G. Kulkarni said...

Thanks Ek Regh.

Your this comment is really involved. And brings up issues I never thought.

First simpler things : "खूपच गुंतागुंतीचं आहे हे. त्यामुळेच बहुतेक ऑर्वेलसारखा लेखक, जो ही गुंतागुंत तरी एकदम सरळसोटपणे आणि प्रामाणिकपणे मांडतो, तो मोठा वाटतो."...I agree. Orwell was honest above all and that comes through evry time. He chats with you but does not oversimplify.

I read Barve's book in play form and that captivated me but your point "आता ह्या पोस्टमध्ये तुम्ही (म्हणजे अनिल बर्व्यांचं वाचून भाळण्याच्या वयाच्या साधारण दुप्पट वयाचे झालेले असताना) त्यांचं 'काव्यात्म' लेखन आवडल्याचं एवढ्या प्रामाणिकपणे सांगताय. आता तुम्ही जे वाचत असाल ते खूपच वेगळं असणार. आणि तुमचा आता दृष्टिकोन केवढा वेगळा असेल! तुम्ही ह्या पोस्टमध्ये दाखला दिलाय त्या टेरी इगलटनच्या 'व्हाय मार्क्स वॉज राइट'सारखं किंवा तसं काही तुम्ही पुस्तकं-लेखांमधून वाचत असाल. आणि त्याकडेही आता तुम्ही चिकित्सकपणे पाहणार, ते ह्या ब्लॉगमधल्या लिहिण्यात दिसून येणार." is so true and appealing but I am not fighting any possible self contradictions there.

"स्वतःबद्दल बोलूनही प्रदर्शन न करणारं असणं, हे ह्या ब्लॉगच्या निमित्तानं काही तपासता आलं तर पाहायला हवं." ...but isn't any expression borne out of self? Now it is vulgar or not is reader's call. But I am sensitive about how much to reveal about personal side.

thnaks again . you intrigue me!

एक रेघ said...

.but isn't any expression borne out of self? -- हे अगदी खरं आहे. मी आधी जी कमेन्ट लिहून ठेवली होती नोटपॅडमध्ये त्यात हा उल्लेखही केला होता. पण मग मला ते सगळं 'लिहिणं' ह्या गोष्टीवर जाईल आणि ह्या पोस्टपेक्षा किंवा माध्यमांबद्दल जे म्हणायचं होतं त्यापेक्षा वेगळं होईल असं वाटायला लागलं. म्हणून मग ते सोडून दिलं. पण अगदीच खरंय तुम्ही म्हणताय ते.

थोडी माझी सध्याची मर्यादा अशी आहे की मी सगळं 'लिहिण्या'च्या ऊर्जेतूनच तपासू लागलोय. कादंबरी असो की ब्लॉगवरची नोंद सगळं 'लिहिण्या'च्या अंगाने तपासलं जातंय माझ्याकडून. त्यात 'एक्स्प्रेशन'चे जितके प्रकार असतील त्यात 'लिहिणं' कुठे बसवावं वगैरे काही मुद्दे डोक्यात पडतात. पण यावर काही अजून नीट अंदाज आलेला नसल्यामुळे मी जरा बिचकून ते थांबलो.

Aniruddha G. Kulkarni said...

"थोडी माझी सध्याची मर्यादा अशी आहे की मी सगळं 'लिहिण्या'च्या ऊर्जेतूनच तपासू लागलोय. कादंबरी असो की ब्लॉगवरची नोंद सगळं 'लिहिण्या'च्या अंगाने तपासलं जातंय माझ्याकडून. त्यात 'एक्स्प्रेशन'चे जितके प्रकार असतील त्यात 'लिहिणं' कुठे बसवावं वगैरे काही मुद्दे डोक्यात पडतात. पण यावर काही अजून नीट अंदाज आलेला नसल्यामुळे मी जरा बिचकून ते थांबलो."...I know...Yes your comments and blog entries are oriented towards that 'inspection' and to that extent you are tied down...but it's ok and also useful...one day you will outgrow it and then begin a new phase...