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."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We Cried for Boxer and Shyamchi Aai

Yesterday, January 21 was Orwell day. The great man died in 1950 on that day at the age of 46.

He has appeared on this blog many times but he has been with me ever since my father translated "Animal Farm" into Marathi  "...Aani Kranticha Mudada Padala" (...आणि क्रांतीचा मुडदा पडला) - "...And the revolution's corpse fell"- around 1970.

We read it as  a kids' book. We did not know where USSR was. We did not know what revolution was. We did not know who Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky were.

But we read the book many times. We imagined all those animals using our little imaginations. And we cried for Boxer.  The way we cried for "Shyamchi Aai" (श्यामची आई).

Since then I have read most of Orwell in English but not 'Animal Farm'. My father's translation is still good enough for me.

There is tons of pro and anti-Orwell material on internet but I liked best what  Barry Gewen said recently about him

"...Orwell was against abstractions of every kind: fascism, Communism, especially nationalism; “Americanism,” he once said, was a term that could easily be used for totalitarian ends. His socialism was pragmatic, anti-utopian, perhaps little more than an expression of his hope that the conditions of the poor and the powerless could be improved...He was a friend of the common man who also had an appreciation of James Joyce. He was a socialist with little hope for real change unless decency could somehow prevail..."

Will decency somehow prevail?

New cover of the book

courtesy: Penguin Books, penguin.co.uk. typeasimage.com.

"The deep foreboding red of the Animal Farm cover evokes the political charge of Orwell's allegorical novel of 1945 – the type treatment managing to look jauntily cinematic and cartoon-like, and wholly unnerving at the same time."

Old cover of the book

courtesy: History Today