मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

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);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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."

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?