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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

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, July 21, 2014

उत्तमे ढमढमे पादे सामुराई...The Right Honourable Lord Lytton or Decadent Wajid Ali Shah?

It has hardly rained in Pune since June 2014. They say El Niño. There is nothing new about  El Niño...

Munshi Premchand's story 'Shatranj ke khiladi' is full of condemnation for Lucknow’s degeneracy.


 from Satyajit Ray's 'Shatranj Ke Khilari', 1977

courtesy: the current holder of the copyright of the feature

Satyajit Ray's attitude is more ambivalent: "I was portraying two negative forces, feudalism and colonialism. You had to condemn both Wajid (1822-1887) and Dalhousie."

What all did colonialism bring to India?

Mike Davis has some answers in his "Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World", 2001.

"...The central government under the leadership of Queen Victoria’s favorite poet, Lord Lytton ( Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880), vehemently opposed efforts by Buckingham and some of his district officers to stockpile grain or otherwise interfere with market forces. All through the autumn of 1876, while the vital kharif crop was withering in the fields of southern India, Lytton had been absorbed in organizing the immense Imperial Assemblage in Delhi to proclaim Victoria Empress of India (Kaiser-i-Hind). As The Times’s special correspondent described it, “The Viceroy seemed to have made the tales of Arabian fiction true … nothing was too rich, nothing too costly.” “Lytton put on a spectacle,” adds a biographer of Lord Salisbury (the secretary of state for India), “which achieved the two criteria Salisbury had set him six months earlier, of being ‘gaudy enough to impress the orientals’ … and furthermore a pageant which hid ‘the nakedness of the sword on which we really rely.’ ” Its “climacteric ceremonial” included a week-long feast for 68,000 officials, satraps and maharajas: the most colossal and expensive meal in world history. An English journalist later estimated that 100,000 of the Queen-Empress’s subjects starved to death in Madras and Mysore in the course of Lytton’s spectacular durbar. Indians in future generations justifiably would remember him as their Nero..."



Remember, Maharashtra lost  8.2 million (India 12.2–29.3 million) people during the famine of 1876-1879. (disclaimer: death toll estimates vary but are mind numbing in any case)

p.s Where can I read Mahatma Phule's (महात्मा फुले) condemnation of the British Raj for its handling of the  "The Great Famine of 1876–78"? I am sure he criticized it? Didn't he?


 
....And how I wish Japan stuck to 'such' wars instead of the real wars they waged in 20th century.


Japanese 'fart battle' scrolls date from the Edo period (1603–1868) 

Artist: Unknown to me  

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