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."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hope King Shivaji Comes Back Without His Century! राजे तुम्ही परत जन्माला या, तुमचे शतक मागे ठेवून!


तुकाराम : "रात्रंदिन आम्हा युद्धाचा प्रसंग। अंतर्बाह्य जग आणि मन।"

Geoffrey Parker and Lesley M.Smith

"Writing early in 1643 some friends of the count-duke of Olivares, the disgraced chief minister of Philip IV of Spain, noted a global context for the failures of their hero in the apologetic tract, Nicandro: All the north in commotion… England, Ireland and Scotland aflame with Civil War… The Ottomans tearing each other to pieces… China invaded by the Tartars, Ethiopia by the Turks, and the Indian kings who live scattered through the region between the Ganges and the Indus all at each other’s throats."

('The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century', 1978)

रा भा पाटणकर :


"शिवाजीने रयतेच्या भल्यासाठी केलेल्या गोष्टी सर्वश्रुत आहेत. पण तरीही तेथील सामान्य रयत सुखात होती असे म्हणता येणार  नाही ."

(पृष्ठ 56, 'अपूर्ण  क्रांती',  1999)


JOHANN HARI :



"You and I and everyone we know are always living only a few weeks of food away from famine psychosis. Here’s how it goes. Deprived of meals, your body starts to consume itself. It uses up the glucose stored in your liver and body fats. It uses up the proteins in its own muscles and cells. Rapidly, your body starts to mock you: your belly swells as if you are becoming fat, because the breakdown of muscle causes the remaining fat to bunch there.
And then your personality is consumed. As Thomas Keneally puts it in “Three Famines”: “The victim becomes a new person. The fastidious become slovenly; the kindly become aggressive; the moral are caught up in the great amorality of famine. Fraternity and love wither. Judgment vanishes, and a hyperactive anxiety seizes the mind.” You are gripped by psychotic delusions. Sometimes you will eat your own children. You will become so insane you don’t even recognize food when it is put in front of you; rescued famine victims often howl for sustenance long after it is offered to them. And then you die..."
 

In Maharashtra, I have now seen a number of motor vehicles (and even other structures) that carry Shivaji's (1630-1680)  picture with an appeal.

The appeal in Marathi reads something like this: "राजे तुम्ही परत  जन्माला या." (King you be borne again.)

I believe people are so fed up with the current state of administration in Maharashtra that they long for what they perceive as the good administration: Shivaji's rule.

A commercially successful film 'Mee Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy' (मी शिवाजीराजे भोसले बोलतोय), 2009  had the theme of return of Shivaji to the current times to address the so-called woes of middle-class Marathi speaking people in Mumbai.


I too wish Shivaji returned to rule Maharashtra with a small rider: He doesn't bring back 17th century along with him!

Why?

I recently read a review of  Geoffrey Parker's book "Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century". Review is done by Christopher Booker  for  The Spectator, UK. (The following words are based extensively on that review.)
 
All around the globe except in a few countries like Japan, 17th century was peculiarly cruel time to be alive.

"It marked the depths of that ‘Little Ice Age’ which saw global temperatures lower than at any time since the end of the last glaciation 13,000 years ago."

This change of climate would play a decisive role the way 17th century shaped. 

When we read popular history of 17th century Maharashtra, this fact seldom comes across. 

Not just that but I don't recall even D G Godse (द ग गोडसे) or T S Shejwalkar (त्र्यं शं शेजवलकर) or Setu Madhavrao Pagdi (सेतु माधवराव पगडी) mentioning it- little ice age-  in any of their great essays on Maratha history and culture.

It is a big miss because of what that huge climate change did to people of India.

"Everywhere from China and India to Britain and Ireland, droughts, floods, cold summers and freezing winters caused massive crop failures and economic breakdown, not only leading to widespread famines but making it impossible for impoverished and starving populations to meet those ever-rising tax demands."

Anthony Reid writes: "In India as a whole the worst years were 1630 and 1631, representing ‘almost certainly the most destructive Indian famine of the early modern era’, which killed about 3,000,000 people in Gujerat alone...In 1660–61 another appalling drought struck South India, and particularly Tanjore, where ‘famine has so increased that whole villages, towns and hamlets have been depopulated, and hardly anyone remains, the dead lying in dried-up tanks’."

 ('THE CRISIS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA')


Poet-saint Tukaram (1598 ? - 1650) was very much alive during 1630-31. His life too like most others was wrecked by the recurring droughts and famines of 17th century. 

Since self-rule started in 1947, the rain-gods have generally been kind to Maharashtra, planet earth has not seen anything like a little ice age and yet we have this huge water crisis in the summer of 2013.

How lucky we are that we don't live in 17th century and how lucky 17th century people were that they didn't have 21st century rulers!




Natives Waiting for Relief at Bangalore

The Great Famine of 1876–78,  the worst famine of the century, which claimed perhaps 5.5 million lives in the Deccan and the south

Artist: Unknown, The Illustrated London News , October 20 1877


courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.
  
"It has long been familiar that the 17th century was also a time of extraordinary political turmoil right across Europe and Asia, from the Thirty Years War which laid waste vast tracts of Germany to the overthrow of the Ming dynasty in China; from the murderous civil wars and revolutions which rocked Britain and France to the disintegration of the Spanish empire. As early as 1643 a Spaniard observed that it was ‘one of the epochs when every nation is turned upside down’. Voltaire noted, a century later, how many rulers had been murdered or executed, from the Ottoman Sultan Ibrahim in 1648 and Charles I in 1649 to the Mogul emperor Shah Jehan in 1658, calling it ‘a period of usurpations almost from one end of the world to another’.

Again and again we see similar patterns, as empires and kingdoms became drawn into a plethora of wars, requiring their rulers to raise ever larger sums of money in taxes. But again and again, as countries and whole regions were thrown into chaos by war, made worse by epidemics of disease, such as smallpox and the last recrudescence of that plague which had wracked Europe since the Black Death, we see how extreme weather events intervened to make the situation much worse.

 It is no accident that it was right in the middle of the 17th century that Thomas Hobbes included his heartcry in Leviathan that the life of man is ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’. Reading Parker’s painful accounts of how the general crisis tore apart one country after another, from Ireland to China, one can only think how fortunate we are not to live in a time as desperate as any in human history.

 In Szechuan alone, in the chaos surrounding the downfall of the 200-year old Ming dynasty, more than a million died. Vast areas of Europe in the chaos of the Thirty Years War lost up to a third or more of their population. The French civil war between 1649 and 1653, the Fronde, caused a million deaths. In Britain the various civil wars between 1638 and 1660 led to the deaths of seven per cent of the population, far greater than the two per cent who died in the first world war. In Ireland this rose to a fifth.

 By adding the vagaries of the weather to the overall equation, Parker is not suggesting that these were the cause of the general catastrophe. But what he does show for the first time, with his wealth of evidence drawn from thousands of sources, is how the climate seriously aggravated the effects of all those wars and other disorders which made the 17th century such a peculiarly cruel time to be alive... "

That is why I appeal to Shivaji: King you be borne again, leaving behind your century! (राजे तुम्ही परत  जन्माला या, तुमचे शतक मागे ठेवून!)