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."

Monday, August 05, 2013

Marathi Literature at Sea!...मराठी साहित्यात समुद्राच वास्तव किती सातत्याने दुर्लक्षित केलं आहे


"यथा काष्ठं च काष्ठं च समेयातां महार्णवे। 
समेत्य तु व्यपेयातां कालमासाद्य कंचन।
एवं भार्याश्च पुत्राश्च ज्ञातयश्च वसूनि च ।
समेत्य व्यवधावन्ति ध्रुवो ह्येषां विनाभवः ॥" 


[Ramayana, 2/105/26, 1/105/27]

 (In a great ocean, two logs meet, they come together;
after some time they separate.
Similarly wife, son, relations and wealth come together and then after some time they start going away from each other because their separation is pre-determined.)


Herman Melville:

"...Close to our bows, strange forms in the water darted hither and thither before us; while thick in our rear flew the inscrutable sea-ravens. And every morning, perched on our stays, rows of these birds were seen; and spite of our hootings, for a long time obstinately clung to the hemp, as though they deemed our ship some drifting, uninhabited craft; a thing appointed to desolation, and therefore fit roosting-place for their homeless selves. And heaved and heaved, still unrestingly heaved the black sea, as if its vast tides were a conscience; and the great mundane soul were in anguish and remorse for the long sin and suffering it had bred..."

 (Moby-Dick)


दुर्गा भागवत :

"…देशबंधू दासांची आणखी  एक गंमत सांगते. त्यांनी 'सागरसंगीत' म्हणून समुद्रावर कविता लिहिल्या आहेत. समुद्रावर चाळीस कविता लिहिणारा हा  जगातला एकुलता एकच माणूस. त्या कवितांबद्दल साने गुरुजींनी इतक सुंदर, इतक सुंदर लिहिलंय, की ते वाचल्यावर मला बंगाली भाषा शिकायचा मोह झाला. मी शिकले बंगाली आणि मूळ बंगालीतून   'सागरसंगीत'च मराठी भाषांतर केल…"

("ऐसपैस  गप्पा: दुर्गाबाईंशी",  लेखक : प्रतिभा रानडे, पृष्ठ: 59, 1998)

{Durga Bhagwat:

"...I tell you another interesting thing about Deshbandhu Das. He has written poems- called 'Sagarsangit'- on sea. He is the only man in the world to write forty poems on sea. Sane-guruji has written so beautifully, so beautifully about them that after reading it I was tempted to learn Bengali. I learnt Bengali and translated 'Sagarsangit' from the original Bengali into Marathi..."

("Aispais Gappa: Durgabainshi"  by Pratibha Ranade )]


Emily Dickinson:

"THE Sea said “Come” to the Brook,
The Brook said “Let me grow!”
The Sea said “Then you will be a Sea—
I want a brook, Come now!”
"



Simon Winchester:

 "...As a small boy I once just loved the sea; I then came to fear it and revere it; and for a brief few months and years—after my small navigational triumph in the Indian Ocean doldrums—I thought I had come to know it. But that was all fantasy—for as the small creature of the Sargasso so adroitly reminds us—we know less about the seas today than we know about the surfaces of Mars, or of the moon. The water covers all in a shroud of mystery. And love the oceans though we might and fear them though we should, to know their waters truly will simply not be possible until, as Robert Burns put it so long ago, “the seas gang dry, my dear, /and the rocks melt wi’ the sun.”"


Lewis Carroll:

"There are certain things—as a spider, a ghost,
The income tax, gout, an umbrella for three—
That I hate, but the thing that I hate the most
Is a thing they call the sea."




 I lived first almost 21 years of life in Miraj. Our favourite vacation destination was Kolhapur.

As the crow flies,  both places are not too far from the Arabian sea.

My mother was born in Mahad, Konkan. She had many stories to tell from life there, some imaginary, many real. None had sea in it.

India has a coastline of 7,517 km.

And yet, sea hardly figured in my life or fantasies. I had no (and still don't have any) emotional connection with an ocean in contrast to even a neighbourhood hillock.

I wonder why.

The shloka from Ramayana I have quoted at the top becomes most moving because of the presence of ocean in it. If it were river or any other water-body, the impact would be far less.

Sri Rama Vanquishing the Sea 
 Artist: Raja Ravi Varma
courtesy: Kamat's Potpourri and Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Mysore


I have still not fully read Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea", 1952. (My father used to teach this book to college students.)

I have also not fully read probably one of the greatest novels in English language Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick", 1851.


Therefore, it was interesting to read the following.

विलास सारंग:

"… मराठी साहित्यात समुद्राच वास्तव किती सातत्याने दुर्लक्षित केलं आहे, हे माझ्या विवेचनाच सार होतं… आपण वास्तवाच्या -वाङमयीन सामग्रीच्या- केवढ्या मोठ्या भांडाराला मुकतो आहोत, हे माझ्या लेखात निर्देशित केलं आहे...मराठी वाङमयातील समुद्राची अनुपस्थिती मराठी समाजाच्या संरचनेशी कशी निगडीत आहे, हे माझ्या लेखात स्पष्ट केलेलं आहे."

("वाङमयीन संस्कृती व सामाजिक वास्तव", 2011, पृष्ठ 66-67)

[Vilas Sarang:

"....How consistently Marathi literature has ignored the reality of sea: that was the summary of my  interpretation...the huge extent of reality - literary content- we have lost has been pointed in my article. The absence of sea in Marathi literature is linked to the structure of Marathi society has been clarified in my article."

("Vangmayin Sanskruti va samajik vastav")]


Courtesy: Lapham's Quarterly Summer 2013 Issue

p.s written on September 1 2013:

Arun Kolatkar (अरुण कोलटकर):

"where the sea jostles
against the wall
vacuous sailboats snuggle
tall and gawky
their masts at variance
islam
mary
dolphin
their names appearing
music"

('the boat ride')

p.s. I am writing the following on September 11 2013.

Those who want to read in depth on this subject, please read Vilas Sarang's essay titled "कुंपणा मधला समुद्र" (kumpanamadhala samudra), now part of his book "मॅनहोलमधला माणूस", 2008 (manhol madhala manoos).

I read it first time on the rainy night of Sept 10 2013.