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."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

वाऱ्यात उडणारे काळेभोर केस...Mandela from Maharashtra, G K Gokhale

Today February 19 2015 is 100th Death Anniversary of Gopal Krishna Gokhale (गोपाळ कृष्ण गोखले) 1866-1915


A G Noorani, Frontline, May 2 2014:

"...Nelson Mandela’s greatness lay not only in liberating the blacks of South Africa but in taking along the whites and the rest with him. None of the leaders of India had that quality. In the hour of their trial, they all emerged as small men, indeed.
India suffered because it could not produce a Mandela or a Gokhale after Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s death..."

Ramachandra Guha, 'Makers of Modern India', 2010:

"...As a leader of the Congress, Gokhale tried hard to reach out to the Muslims. He was wholly free of sectarian prejudice himself. However, he was regarded as excessively pro-British by militants such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak. His was the classical liberal dilemma—too moderate for the radicals, yet too extreme for the Establishment. One viceroy, Lord Hardinge, called Gokhale ‘the most dangerous enemy of British rule in this country’..."

G K Gokhale, 1904, Pachaiyappa’s College, Madras:

"...There is work to be done for the mass of your countrymen who are plunged in ignorance and superstition. This mass has been kept at a lower level of existence, from which level it has got to be raised. Then there is work to be done for the elevation of the status of the womankind of the land. A whole sex shut out from the intellectual life of a people—this is not good for any country. In religion many of the old institutions are existing only in form and the spirit seems to have fled from them. You have got to recognize that there is work to be done in that direction as well. Further, the whole country is on a low level in regard to political existence and that means arduous work for those who interest themselves in that question. Lastly, the industrial development of the country needs to be urgently attended to. In all these directions there is work to be done..."

लोकमान्य टिळक, 1893 :

 " गोखले हे हुशार आहेत, तरुण आहेत, तरतरीत आहेत हे आम्ही मोठ्या आनंदाने कबूल करतो; पण उतावीळपणा व अविचार हे त्यांच्यामध्ये मोठे दुर्गुण आहेत… "

 ('Agarkar' by Y D Phadke, 1996/ 2002 / 'आगरकर', य दि फडके)


I am not sure about Mr. Tilak's views of Gokhale. Some might say those limitations- impatience and hastiness-  were Tilak's and not Gokhale's!  As Mr. Guha's quote suggests above, I don't think Tilak and Gokhale really were friends. I have a book of Palhad Keshav Atre 1898-1969 (प्रल्हाद केशव अत्रे) where Atre frankly admits how as a Tilak groupie he among many others used to shout slogans against Gokhale in public places in Pune.

But more importantly does any one- other than a few like Messrs Noorani and Guha- remember, let alone celebrate, Gokhale, 100 years after his death? It's to be noted that recently a Marathi cinema on Mr. Tilak's life ('Lokmanya - Ek Yugpurush') was released with a lot of publicity. 

In our class at Miraj High School, Miraj (1969-1975) we had a friend whose name was Gopal Krishna Gokhale. When he told his name, people nodded in appreciation. I wonder, these days, if any one has such a name and even if he does, any one really nods.

Y D Phadke describes Gokhale c 1886 as:

"...गोपाळराव गोखले तेव्हा जेमतेम वीस वर्ष वयाचे. सर्व शिक्षकात वयान लहान. तांबूस गोरा रंग, वाटोळा हसतमुख चेहरा, भव्य कपाळ, वाऱ्यात उडणारे काळेभोर केस. किंचित फुगीर लाल गाल. भरलेली छाती. नीटनेटका पोशख. ऐटीत चालणारे गोखले…" 

("...Gopalrao Gokhale then just twenty years old. The youngest among all the teachers. Brownish fair skin, round smiling face, broad forehead, thick black hair tousled by wind, slightly plump red cheeks, broad chest. Smartly dressed, Gokhale who walked with elan...")

Twenty-eight years later and despite receded hairline bordering on baldness, one can still see some of those features in the picture below.



G K Gokhale and Ratan Tata, c 1914

courtesy: Ramachandra Guha's 'Gandhi Before India', 2013

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