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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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, October 22, 2013

Hamlet of G G Agarkar, H N Apte and of Lego...हा मिल्ल का मोठा मल्ल?

The Economist, November 2013:

"After a strong 2012, Lego's sales to Asian consumers have risen by 35% so far this year, outperforming the Asian toy market by a factor of five. Sales have grown by 70% in China, 35% in South Korea and 20% in Singapore. The company will start building its first factory in China next year. Anything associated with Lego seems to flourish in Asia at the moment..."


Ashok Shahane (अशोक शहाणे) says in his book 'Napeksha' (नपेक्षा):

"...टिळकांनी तुरुंगात 'गीतारहस्य' लिहल. अन नेहमी ठाम बोलणार्या आगरकरांनी मात्र 'हॅम्लेट'चं रुपांतर केल. 'विकारविलसिताबद्दल मात्र महाराष्ट्र आगरकरांच्या ऋणात राहील… "

("...Tilak wrote 'Gitarahasya' in prison. And Agarkar- who always spoke with firmness- translated 'Hamlet'. Maharashtra will always remain in Agarkar's debt for 'Vikarvilasit'...") 

[Page 41, 2005/2008, Lokvangmay Gruha]

'Vikarvilasit' ('विकारविलसित' अथवा शेक्सपीअरकृत हॉम्लेट नाटकाचे भाषांतर '), 1883 is a translation of 'Hamlet'.
 
I have already written on this blog about J S Mill's iron-like grip on Agarkar's (and many others who followed him) intellect.  Read for instance the post "R D Karve, Skepticism Not Included...जो शंकाच घेत नाही त्याला ज्ञान कसे मिळणार?" dated August 25 2013.

So how did Shakespeare, for Agarkar,  fit in Mill's 'utilitarianism'?

I was carious about it. It was not just the love of great literature. There was more to it. Shahane's statement only implies irony.

H N Apte (8 March 1864- 3 March 1919)  (ह. ना आपटे) answered it for me. 

Apte has written reviews of a few Marathi/ Sanskrit plays. One of them is Agarkar's 'Vikarvilasit'. The review was first published in 1883-84.

"...त्याची (शेक्सपीअरची) नाटके म्हणजे, विकारविलसितकारांच्या मताप्रमाणे केवळ मनोरंजनार्थ नाहीत, तर ती त्यांच्या योग्यतेप्रमाणे वाचून त्यांचा अभ्यास केला असता आपणास जीर्णारण्याप्रमाणे भासणार्या जगात उपयोगी पडणारी वर्तणूक शिकवणारी आहेत.…"

["...his plays (Shakespeare's) plays, according to the author of 'Vikarvilasit'- are not for entertainment alone. But if they are studied as per their merit, they may teach us useful conduct in this rickety-forest like world..."]

[from 'Nivadak Hari Narayan Apte', Sampadak- Vidyadhar Pundalik, Sahitya Akademi, 1991/2013

'निवडक हरि नारायण आपटे', संपादक - विद्याधर पुंडलीक]

So there you go....Hamlet has a utility and hence you should read it and perhaps translate it!





"How now? A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!" --Hamlet from "Hamlet" (Act III, Scene iv)

Hamlet using  Lego

courtesy: FB page on Shakespeare

 Even H N Apte was deeply influenced by J S Mill more than any other contemporary social reformer. [Note- Later V D Savarkar वि दा सावरकर too would be an ardent follower of Mill's
utilitarianism (उपयुक्ततावाद)]


Vidyadhar Pundalik informs, in the book quoted above, that the protagonist of Apte's incomplete novel 'Ganpatrao' (गणपतराव) takes an oath of social reforms on the copy of Mill's 'The Subjection of Women ', 1869 (quoted wrongly as 'Subjegation of Women' in the book).

Not just this, in year 1991, Pundalik adds his own testimonial to Mill:

" ...इथे हे सांगितले पाहिजे की, मिल्ल हा आजच्या स्त्रीमुक्तीवाद्यांनासुध्दा प्रेरक आणि मौलिक वाटेल असा असामान्य प्रज्ञावंत होता..."

("...it must be stated here that Mill was such an extraordinary intellect that today's proponents of women liberation would find him inspirational and valuable...")

I wonder what Agarkar and Apte would have thought of 'Hamlet' using Lego... And what did they think of the ghost in 'Hamlet'?


 courtesy: Getty Images


"Materialism - the philosophy, not the perennial human tendency to pursue and accumulate material things - sees the universe as a physical system. Everything that exists in it must be some sort of matter, or something that emerges from matter. In a fully scientific view of the world, only material things are real. Everything else is just a phantom. Materialists would see the ghost in Hamlet as a figment of the imagination." 

(John Gray, 'Ghosts in the material world', BBC)

I have another thought on Agarkar's Hamlet.


Tim Lott says: 

"...You can’t get away from jealousy and rivalry when you’re brothers and that, taken to the extreme, is what happens in Hamlet. It’s about how brothers sometimes really fucking hate each other. I know there are times in my childhood when if I’d had a gun in my hand, I would have shot my brother dead. That dark impulse, although suppressed and effaced by what we want to believe about ourselves, is very deep and dark.."

When Tilak and Agarkar, once almost like brothers,  fought a bitter wordy duel in public in 1893, documented on this blog here,  did Agarkar remember Hamlet?

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